#57 Reason

PAPER NO. 57

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REASON

  1. It is self-evident that we think: we form concepts and make judgments and inferences, the forms of all thought, expressed in words, statements and arguments. Thought is an act of the mind, not an event of the senses.
  2. It is self-evident that there are laws of thought: the law of identity—a is a; the law of non-contradiction— not both a and non-a at the same time and in the same respect ; the law of excluded middle— either a or non-a. These laws of thought are reason-in-itself.
  3. Reason-in-itself as the laws of thought is transcendental; they make thought possible. Reason is the test of meaning, which is more basic than truth—if a law of thought is violated there can be no meaning. Reason is authoritative: if there is no meaning there can be no truth.
  4. Reason is ontological: it applies to being as well as thought. There are no square-circles, no uncaused events, no being from non-being. Reason applies to all being, to the highest being, to God’s being: God cannot be both eternal and non-eternal in the same respect at the same time. Reason (as the Logos) is eternal; miracles transcend created laws of nature, not the laws of reason. Paradox, complexity and incomprehensibility cannot set aside the laws of reason.
  5. Reason is self-attesting; only reason is self-attesting. It is irrepressible: it arises spontaneously so that we cannot cease from thinking by withdrawal to any mystical state. Any attempt to neglect, avoid, resist or deny reason is futile: the light shines in the darkness of unbelief and the darkness cannot withstand it. The light illuminates itself, and all else, and is not illuminated by anything else.
  6. Reason in man is fundamental: it is not one among many aspects but basic to the unity of all aspects of man’s being. Reason distinguishes man from animals: non-rational and anti-intellectual attitudes are self-destructive. The good for man is based on man’s rational nature needing cognitive meaning. Truth is not reducible to beauty or power.
  7. Reason in man is natural; it is not conventional but the same in all who think. Man, by nature, is a rational animal, created in the image of God to know God in all of creation and providence. The Logos is the eternal Word of God who makes God fully known. The life of the Logos is in all men as the light of reason by which all of God’s self-revelation is understood.

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