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Author Topic:   Rationalism: a paper tiger?
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Message 1 of 4 (433307)
11-11-2007 10:32 AM

"The new rebel is a skeptic, and will not entirely trust anything. He has no loyalty; therefore he can never be really a revolutionist. And the fact that he doubts everything really gets in his way when he wants to denounce anything. For all denunciation implies a moral doctrine of some kind; and the modern revolutionist doubts not only the institution he denounces, but the doctrine by which he denounces it.
Thus he writes one book complaining that imperial oppression insults the purity of women, and then he writes another book in which he insults it himself. He curses the Sultan because Christian girls lose their virginity, and then curses Mrs. Grundy because they keep it. As a politician, he will cry out that war is a waste of life, and then, as a philosopher, that all life is waste of time.
A Russian pessimist will denounce a policeman for killing a peasant, and then prove by the highest philosophical principles that the peasant ought to have killed himself. A man denounces marriage as a lie, and then denounces aristocratic profligates for treating it as a lie. He calls a flag a bauble, and then blames the oppressors of Poland or Ireland because they take away that bauble.
The man of this school goes first to a political meeting, where he complains that savages are treated as if they were beasts; then he takes his hat and umbrella and goes on to a scientific meeting, where he proves that they practically are beasts.
In short, the modern revolutionist, being an infinite skeptic, is always engaged in undermining his own mines. In his book on politics he attacks men for trampling on morality; in his book on ethics he attacks morality for trampling on men. Therefore the modern man in revolt has become practically useless for all purposes of revolt. By rebelling against everything he has lost his right to rebel against anything."
-- G.K. Chesterton
This is the face of postmodernism which lives in consummate contradiction-- moralizing absolutely about the falseness of a moral absolute, with an allegiance to nothing but its own self-congratulatory spirit. How eloquently does Chesterton get to the heart of matter by denuding rationalism of its rationality, exposing it to the light of reason which they so earnestly raise up as an idol.
If one looks for internal inconsistencies as a way of uncovering flawed truth claims, how does the rationalist view deal with its own glaring contradictions?
If postmodernists and rationalists applaud tolerance as a virtue to be sought after, how do they come to grips for their own intolerance of a view that must remain cogent with the law of non-contradiction-- that two opposing principles cannot both be simultaneously right?
How can this irrationality be called the face of Rationalism when it so tragically flawed?
Lastly, I believe there is nothing, at the heart of the matter, wrong with rationalism, because it employs the same deductive and inductive reasoning as any other critical thinker. The problem is, those who sometimes refer to themselves as Rationalists occasionally have irrational and contradictory devotion to a system of thought.
Perhaps to avoid confusion, I will use an upper case "R" for Rationalists or "P" for Postmodernists.
Edited by Nemesis Juggernaut, : edit to add link

“This life’s dim windows of the soul, distorts the heavens from pole to pole, and goads you to believe a lie, when you see with and not through the eye.” -William Blake

Replies to this message:
 Message 2 by AdminModulous, posted 11-11-2007 11:02 AM Hyroglyphx has replied

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Message 3 of 4 (433318)
11-11-2007 11:25 AM
Reply to: Message 2 by AdminModulous
11-11-2007 11:02 AM

There is often some dispute over what postmodernism is at its core, so it might be an idea for you to include this so that the refutation you posted by Chesterton has some context.
How can this irrationality be called the face of rationalism when it so tragically flawed?
I believe the statement behind this question will be the subject of the first few pages of debate. Having explained why you think it is irrational, you should probably explain why you think that postmodernism is called the 'face of rationalism'. You're only going to have to do it anyway, I think.
I am going to add a link to postmodernist viewpoints. If for whatever reason you feel that is insufficient, then let me know and I'll go back to it again.
Edited by Nemesis Juggernaut, : No reason given.

“This life’s dim windows of the soul, distorts the heavens from pole to pole, and goads you to believe a lie, when you see with and not through the eye.” -William Blake

This message is a reply to:
 Message 2 by AdminModulous, posted 11-11-2007 11:02 AM AdminModulous has not replied

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