Integrating Rationality


I’m gooey and you’re prickly. This may be the root of our disagreement…




i think there my be a distinction in the ‘personality’ of our philosophy… heres what ive been thinking though regarding our discussion:

Like i said before, and im going to try to make more clear in another video… i see philosophy as nothing more than a type of game. the game for me is to, giving the experiences i have, obtain as many ‘true’ beliefs as i can, with a true belief meaning that the content of the belief corresponds to my ‘experienced world’. this may lead me to conclude various things about this ‘world’, whether the world is objective, whether it is subjective as far as i can tell, or whether i cannot tell. tell me, is this the game you are playing as well?

if so, i can argue that you are making ‘mistakes’ in the game, i think.




I agree that philosophy is a game, but part of the nature of the game is that the rules are always being changed (a rule in this context is roughly equivalent to an axiom). So the players and the referees are the same. We each hold the other accountable, as if we are going to communicate at all, we must play by at least somewhat similar rules. I think I am attempting to shift some rules that you are used to thinking of as foundational. One of my rules is that rules are made to be broken. No rule is eternal and nothing in the universe exists a priori (in other words, there is no objective world out there with pre-determined qualities that we as subjective philosophers must obey). This doesn’t mean that any old illogical claim about reality can be true, but it does mean we have to be careful not to stock the pond with fish before we cast our line.

I think one of our key differences is that you place the faculty of the rational intellect in the driver seat. while I usually give more credence to intuition. My view is predominantly spiritual, which entails we assume (but only because of immediate experience of its reality) a non-dual understanding of the cosmos. Rationality is not unimportant to me–I’m actually quite addicted to this philosophical game we are playing, as you can probably see–but I think when it steals the reigns from the rest of the psyche (or soul, or embodied mind, or whatever it is about you that is aware, not just of words, but of your total experience as an existing being among other beings who are born and who die), the intellect has a tendency to replace reality with duality, forgetting completely about its original unity. The word itself, “rational,” implies ratio: to make one equation into two so that a contrast can be drawn between the pieces, or a measurement made of their relative worth. This is certainly a useful ability to possess, and when used wisely it can contribute to well-being…

[Incidentally, about well-being, I think it too has a place in the game of philosophy. I’m probably playing this game for different reasons than you, because based on your moral “system” (which is basically ambivalence, or more technically termed “emotivism”, correct me if I’m wrong), you wouldn’t consider well-being to be an objectively measurable quality. I wouldn’t disagree completely (as you know I think objectivity is impossible), but I would say that I do not separate my philosophy from my life, or my goals in thinking from my goals in existence and moral action. So even when I seem to be describing reality as accurately as is possible, I am simultaneously willing that it be that way for the sake of well-being. The significance of my accurate description and my accepted will occurring within one and the same moment is that they are both identical. So when I attempt to assert the truth, and it is accepted, I have commanded that the world be that way. Neither the truth nor the command is present first, because neither exists in and of itself. They arise always together, always in unison. To sum this little excerpt about well-being up, I’m basically saying that philosophy for me is a game aimed at producing well-being. It is also aimed at producing truth, but again, I make no ultimate separation between truth and goodness. The two are never found apart.]

…but rationality, used exclusively, becomes a trap set to catch itself. Through the exclusive view of rationality, well-being becomes something unmeasurable and therefore useless at best, nonexistent at worst. Knowledge becomes only that which can be represented in some timeless abstraction or another, in some logical or mathematical formula, while anything that cannot be so codified (particular experience, emotion, intuition, memory, will, non-duality) is reduced to an epiphenomenon or subjective illusion.

I do not ascribe to the same kind of exclusivism in my approach to reality. Nature has provided me with many other faculties to express and employ aside from the rational intellect, each of which having possession of its own unique way of calling upon the world and shaping our experience of it.

Now I don’t want to straw man you here. I get the feeling that you would say you are perfectly wiling to use your emotions to make moral decisions, and to use intuition to make future plans, but just that you are unwilling to employ anything but rationality when you do philosophy (when you attempt to represent the truth about the objective world in words). I suppose my only response to that is what I have already said above, that part of my way of playing the game of philosophy is to see it as synonymous with the game of life. To philosophize is to learn to die… I think that was the wisest thing a philosopher ever said (I think it was Cicero).



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