At one point the Underground Man says that twice two makes four, this is a scientific fact, but man does not always function merely by scientific fact. For Dostoevsky, the rational part of a man's being is only one part of his makeup. That is, man is composed both of the rational (two times two does make four) and the irrational — "it would be nice to think sometimes that twice two makes five." This would be, in Dostoevsky's words, "a very charming idea also." The point is that if man functions solely as a rational being, then man's actions are always predictable. Thus, Dostoevsky's point is that man's actions are NOT predictable. Raskolnikov will rationally stop a young dandy from having his way with a young girl and then suddenly decide it is none of his business, or he will tell his sister that he forbids her marriage and then contradict himself by saying "Marry whom you please."
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This note was uploaded on 12/07/2011 for the course ENG 3309 taught by Professor Staff during the Fall '10 term at Texas State.