Archive for the ‘reason’ Category

reason has short wings

May 29, 2013

…reason has short wings

Dante, Divine Comedy (Paradiso, Canto II)

A bicycle is a useful and good means of transport but can only take us so far. It cannot cross oceans. The rationalist denies the existence of these other continents because his chosen means of transport cannot take him there.

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False Predictions based on accurate knowledge

August 21, 2012

In 1960…a best-selling book said that the United States had only a 13-year supply of domestic petroleum at the existing rate of usage. At that time, the known petroleum reserves of the United States were not quite 32 billion barrels. At the end of the 13 years, the known petroleum reserves of the United States were more than 36 billion barrels. Yet the original statistics and the arithmetic based on them were both accurate. Why then did the United States not run out of oil by 1973? Was it just dumb luck that more oil was discovered—or were there more fundamental economic reasons?

Just as shortages and surpluses are not simply a matter of how much physical stuff there is, either absolutely or relative to the population, so known reserves of natural resources are not simply a matter of how much physical stuff there is underground. For natural resources as well, prices are crucial. So are present values.

Sowell, Thomas, Basic Economics: A Citizen’s Guide to the Economy (Basic Books, 2004) p.205

Madame Sophistry, the clever whore

November 24, 2009

Madame Sophistry, the clever whore

Martin Luther

nothing good can be done if the will is wrong! Reason alone fails to justify itself

November 17, 2009

…nothing good can be done if the will is wrong! Reason alone fails to justify itself. Not without cause has the devil been called the prince of lawyers, and not by accident are Shakespeare’s villains good reasoners. If the disposition is wrong, reason increases maleficence; if it is right, reason orders and furthers the good.

Richard M. Weaver, Ideas Have Consequences


Thought constitutes man’s greatness…Man is a thinking reed

November 9, 2009

Thought constitutes man’s greatness…Man is a thinking reed. It is not from space that I seek my dignity, but from the government of my thought. I shall have no more if I possess worlds. By space the universe encompasses and swallows me up like an atom; by thought I comprehend the world. So man’s greatness comes from knowing that he is wretched, for a tree does not know it is wretched.

Blaise Pascal

The Greeks have but one word, logos, for both speech and reason; not that they thought there was no speech without reason, but no reasoning without speech

October 29, 2009

The Greeks have but one word, logos, for both speech and reason; not that they thought there was no speech without reason, but no reasoning without speech.

Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan, Part 1, Chapter IV

 

How postmodernism kills science

October 4, 2009

In his review of Higher Superstition, Arthur R. Kantrowitz wrote in Physics Today (January 1995): “The pigeonholing of science as a white, European, bourgeois, male, etc. view of the world is taken seriously by many members of the humanities and social science faculties of our leading universities and by literary intellectuals generally. To such demystifiers, the knowledge produced by science is no more reliable than that produced by Rother ways of knowing.

As Gross and Levitt put it, “Once it has been affirmed that one discursive community is as good as another, that the narrative of science holds no privileges over the narratives of superstition, the newly minted cultural critic can actually revel in his ignorance of deep scientific ideas.

The left’s flirtation with irrationalism, its reactionary rejection of the scientific worldview, is deplorable and contradicts its own deepest traditions. …The literary intellectuals control most of the undergraduate years of people who go on to become teachers, lawyers and journalists. To an alarming degree they have broadcast the proposition that science is too dangerous, and they have given prominence to ‘other ways of knowing,’ which they have put forward as more politically correct.

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Madame Sophistry, the clever whore

September 25, 2009

(reason is) Madame Sophistry, the clever whore

Martin Luther

Through space the universe grasps me and swallows me up like a speck. But through thought I grasp it

September 25, 2009

Through space the universe grasps me and swallows me up like a speck. But through thought I grasp it.

Pascal

Human reason… is burdened by questions which, as prescribed by the very nature of reason itself, it is not able to ignore, but which, as transcending all its powers, it is also not able to answer.

September 25, 2009

Human reason… is burdened by questions which, as prescribed by the very nature of reason itself, it is not able to ignore, but which, as transcending all its powers, it is also not able to answer

Immanuel Kant, Critique of Pure Reason