PAPER NO. 44
REASON IN ITSELF
Order in Discourse on Reason
- It is self-evident that we think; we form concepts, judgments and arguments. Denial of the self-evident is self-referentially absurd.
- It is self-evident that there are laws of thought: identity (a is a), non-contradiction (not both a and not-a in the same respect at the same time), excluded middle (either a or not-a). These laws are the laws of reason in itself.
- Reason as the laws of thought is natural, not conventional, the same in all who think.
- Reason as the laws of thought is the test for meaning; what violates a law of thought cannot be thought—it has no meaning. Meaning is more basic than truth: if there is no meaning there can be no truth. Reason is authoritative.
- Reason is ontological; it applies to being as well as thought: there are no square-circles; no being from non-being; no uncaused events. It applies to all being, to the highest being, to God’s being—God cannot be both eternal and not-eternal in the same respect at the same time. Reason (unlike the laws of nature) is an uncreated aspect of eternal being.
- Reason as the laws of thought is transcendental: it cannot be questioned since it makes questioning possible.
- Only reason as the laws of thought is self-attesting; it requires no justification. Attempts to justify reason results from failure to understand reason as the laws of thought. All else requires justification.
- Reason is used to understand all revelation—general (creation and providence) and special (scripture).
- Reason is used to understand the clarity of general revelation (Romans 1:20); what is against clarity is against reason and cannot be true.
- The life of the Logos, the eternal Word of God, is first in all men as light. Reason is the light by which we see/understand what is not visible. Reason is the self-attesting Word of God in all men.
- Reason is the ground of the Principle of Clarity: the basic things (about God and man and good and evil) are clear to reason.
- Failure to acknowledge what is clear to reason is inexcusable; it results in spiritual death—the increasing loss of meaning and morality.