Willard-MoralFoundationsRationality - How Reason Can...

Info iconThis preview shows pages 1–2. Sign up to view the full content.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
How Reason Can Survive The Modern University: The Moral Foundations Of Rationality Dallas Willard - For the American Maritain Association meeting at Notre Dame, Oct 19th to 22, 2000. When I speak of reason surviving the modern university, I refer to reason as a living, social practice. Reason as a human faculty or as a mental function, and all that essentially pertains to it, is perhaps in no danger. It is we, it is the university and education generally, that are in danger because of the loss of the practice of reason. By "reason" I refer to the capacity to apprehend truth itself, as truth is displayed in any true thought, judgment or statement. That capacity involves, among other things, the capacity to grasp logical relations and thereby appreciate evidence for truth. The primary function of reason is to see truth as a property of judgment or representation and to see the simpler laws of truth that govern truth-values as necessarily distributed over judgments that are logically related to one another by such relations as strict implication and logical contradiction. The ideal of the intellectual, artistic and academic life as the pursuit of truth, or of just being thoroughly logical, is far beyond being in "deep trouble" in the university today, and in many places is approximating the status of a "lost cause." 1 Of course truth is inseparable from the being (reality, existence) of that which the true judgment is about. So reason is intimately linked to the comprehension of being , of how things are . It is a capacity for insight into reality or what is. Maritain says in one place, "If I. ..am a Thomist, it is in the last analysis because I have understood that the intellect sees, and that it is cut out to conquer being. In its most perfect function, which is not to manufacture ideas, but to judge, the intellect seizes upon existence exercised by things. And at the same time it forms the first of its concepts--the concept of being, which metaphysics will bring out, in its own light, at the highest degree of abstractive visualization." 2 Reason is therefore indispensable to knowledge, which, it was thought in other times, the university and the intellectual life was primarily about. No longer. We now have research universities, but not knowledge universities. Our goal is 'information' and its use, or possibly only novelty. What this all means is well laid out in Lyotard's book, Knowledge: The Postmodern Condition 3 . As a description of the actual processes of university life in general, and the professionalized life that goes on around and within it, this book is not a totally misguided representation of the facts of academic life and of what is regarded and rewarded as "good work." The book shows how little is said about truth today in our "research" centers, and perhaps less still about logic as anything other than rules to be built into a computer to manipulate symbols of 'information'. Sometimes "logic" is now used to characterize actual processes of thought which some individual or group tends to carry out. But logic
Background image of page 1

Info iconThis preview has intentionally blurred sections. Sign up to view the full version.

View Full DocumentRight Arrow Icon
Image of page 2
This is the end of the preview. Sign up to access the rest of the document.

This note was uploaded on 02/02/2012 for the course PHIL 110 taught by Professor Errinclark during the Spring '11 term at MO St. Louis.

Page1 / 7

Willard-MoralFoundationsRationality - How Reason Can...

This preview shows document pages 1 - 2. Sign up to view the full document.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
Ask a homework question - tutors are online