Leitmotif

Reason as the Leading Motive

Structures of Thought

Posted by Jerry on January 16, 2007

I am very eager to seek criticisms of my post below. These are my thoughts in draft form, and it leaps over several issues altogether. These thoughts arose from my ruminations regarding my post on “Lost in Grayness.” The current post seeks to explain the connection between the metaphysical nature of reality (and of human consciousness as being a part of this reality) and the epistemic methods of grasping this reality. Once this connection is revealed, then the matter of “grayness” should be considered settled because if one’s processes (tools, methods) of grasping reality are consonant with the nature of the reality being grasped, then it is possible to achieve epistemic truths that correspond with metaphysical facts, thereby eliminating “grays.”

However, I have a nagging feeling that I might be proposing a rather Kantian view of consciousness by using terms like “structures of thought” even though I am quick to point out the volitional nature of consciousness. Anyway, read below and see if any of it makes sense:

Only a rational consciousness can properly and consistently identify the nature of reality. The universe appears intelligent only to an intelligent consciousness. It is no wonder then that mystics and the fundamentally irrational are not the ones making fundamental discoveries about the nature of reality. A rational consciousness understands and is aware of the fact that the structures of rational thought are a species of the structures underlying all of reality, because consciousness is itself part of reality. The way things are dictate the way thinks will act. Or, to be is to behave accordingly.

Thus, a logical truth (like the Law of Identity) is an epistemic representation of a metaphysical fact. That is, what we describe in symbols and language (the constituents of logical propositions) and their internal relations thereof, are linguistic and symbolic representations of the metaphysical nature of reality.

Our consciousness has the ability to think along certain structures of thought, which we have over the years perfected, refined, and come to refer to as logical principles. These principles represent and describe the broadest fundamentals and relationships underlying all existence. Nevertheless, given the volitional nature of our consciousness, being bound by these logical principles in grasping reality is an act of intentional choice. This suggests even more cogently the importance of being rational and not divorcing fundamental premises of logical propositions from facts of reality, lest the propositions resemble an empty castle built in air.

However, more fundamentally, it also points to the nature of human life–like all of reality–as capable of being logical, rational, coherent, graspable, understandable, comprehensible, and therefore, NOT doomed to be a murky metaphysical and unknowable gray. Of course, modern science is bent on arguing that uncertainty is hard-wired into the nature of reality. This, in my opinion, is nothing but a sad symptom of bad premises revealing its logical conclusions.

Further, because all of reality is graspable through reason, i.e., by epistemically and volitionally adhering to the principles of logic which symbolize the nature of reality and by maintaining scrupulous correspondence with the evidence from reality, one can justifiably and truly reject the notion that there are unknowable “grays” in life. As Ayn Rand said, “there is nothing outside the province of reason.”

The nature of reality (and of our consciousness) permits us to think broadly and economically in terms of fundamental principles. Thus, we are no longer required to think and analyze every critical issue at its most superficial level; instead, we should be able to identify an issue’s fundamental principles at the root and make rational judgments based on reason. It then becomes clear that all matters are reducible to their principles–whether we grasp them readily and quickly or not. Further, this indicates that making judgments at the level of principles allows for the clarity of thought and analysis, and reveals the “black and white” aspects of any particular issue.

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