Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Reasonable Truth

Read the prior message in this series: Developing My Epistemology

Reason is the first pillar in the checks and balances of my epistemology. Reason is the power of the mind to think, understand, and form judgments by a process of logic. You cannot be a truth seeker without sound logic. The necessity of logic is so fundamental it is "properly basic" or "axiomatic" for truth seeking. Reason is a foundational premise.

Still, logic alone is insufficient for discovering truth because we have to figure out the meaning of information. Logic is just a tool to connect meaningful data. I'm continually surprised at how poorly some people, including myself, reason through things. "Know thyself" is a famous ancient Greek aphorism. I know myself enough to recognize my incredible capacity to talk myself into things, reason emotionally rather than rationally, and justify things in order to view them as I want to see them rather than they way they truly are.

Truth seeking is hard, and often uncomfortable. This is why a community of truth seekers is essential for staying on the path. Human beings aren't always reasonable, and we often need help discovering our logical deficiencies or inconsistencies.

"[Human] logic is a good mistress but a very bad master."
-- John G. Reisinger

Read the next entry in this series: Experiencing Truth

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