[FoRK] What is Reason?

Albert S. <albert.scherbinsky at rogers.com> on Sun May 6 22:28:27 PDT 2007

I like your exposition on the political implications
of accusing others of non-reason. Relevant to
happenings on this list and to the world at large.
Also, it showed some moxie, bravo.

However, I have some trouble with the dimensions along
which you choose to divide people, which I explain in
context:

--- Lion Kimbro <lionkimbro at gmail.com> wrote:
>   == Is Reason Terra-Firma? ==
> 
>   Perhaps I should add, "Earth is not Terra Firma,"
> because it floats in
>   space.
> 
>   I'll speculatively divide people on two axis:
>   * terra-firma & space-cases
>   * heavy-weight & light-weight
> 
>   "terra-firma" is the idea that people are will be
> inerrant, if only
>   they reason.

It is easy to show that no one should be a
Terra-firmist as you have defined them. This makes the
Terra-firma category a straw man. Reasoning from false
premises will lead to errors every time. A more
meaningful definition of a Terra-firmist would be one
who believes that people will be successful, if only
they act rationally.

>   "space-cases" deny Terra-firma.  I used a
> pejorative, to hasten the
>   inevitable.

Now a Space-caser is somebody who believes you can be
successful by acting irrationally. If wealth is your
definition of success, you could just buy a lottery
ticket. By pure, highly improbable chance you have
achieved your success. The point is not about wealth
as success, the point is Space-casers are completely
at the mercy of chance.
 
>   "heavy-weight" think that the distinction has
> profound consequences on
>   the nature of the world.  (For example, X-Men is
> "heavy-weight,"
>   because ideological notions have sweeping and
> profound influence over
>   the world.)
> 
>   "light-weight" think that ideas don't really
> matter so much, and the
>   world proceeds more or less independent of the
> development of ideas.
>   Perhaps a naughty religion or idea or two needs to
> be culled here or
>   there, but for the most part, ideas (barring
> technical developments)
>   don't really play much influence over the world,
> nor should they.
> 

The light-weight/heavy-weight distinction is a better
one. However, you may be mistaking levity displayed on
this list as evidence for a lack of seriousness by the
authors in other matters, when levity is just part of
the culture of this particular spot in cyberspace.

Another dimension which I think may be worthy of some
thought is the "ends justifies the means" vs "the
means are the ends" distinction.

Regards,
Albert


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