April 2nd 2017 First Sunday Monthly Service on WHY BE REASONABLE?

Postings about each monthly service includes topics discussed and an open forum to further discuss those topics.
Post Reply
Posts: 84
Joined: Mon Feb 06, 2012 12:13 pm

April 2nd 2017 First Sunday Monthly Service on WHY BE REASONABLE?

Post by tim »

Our April 2017 service included a Moment of Science on how much more total mass of micrometeorites (small stuff up to 2 mm size) fall on the earth than the larger meteorite stones we are used to thinking of. Recently it was reported that such micrometeorites had been recovered from urban rooftops and how the flux of these objects reaching the earth and their composition can tell us things about the regions of space that our planet has been passing through.

Our topic of WHY BE REASONABLE was then considered. A variety of reasons can be given to this question, many of them amounting to the idea that reason is needed for human society to work, that it is better than being unreasonable, and a variety of such justifications. The April 2017 bulletin includes material relating to the legal fiction of the "reasonable person" that, in theory, everyone ought to try to conform their behavior to.

But the greater problem of justifying anything has come to be understood - by logicians and mathematicians and, in mathematics, even proven by Gödel's Theorem - as one that ultimately boils down either to an infinite regress, circularity, or dogmatic certainty. The wrong way to understand this is to excuse such things, especially dogmatic certainty, applied in arbitrary and indiscriminate ways. The right way to understand it is to consider what, as Aristotle said, may be the

"end of the things we pursue in our actions which we wish for because of itself, and because of which we wish for the other things; and we do not choose everything because of something else, since if we do, it will go on without limit, making desire empty and futile; then clearly this end will be the good, i.e., the final good."

That is, where in our concepts is that of the thing that needs no justification because it is self-justifying? What is the ONE thing that people say, is "good for goodness' sake?" Obviously, it is the idea of the MORAL GOOD. If this is used to justify reason, then it becomes IMMORAL to depart from reason. That is, there can be no reason for being UNreasonable.

Of course, how we then make sense of what is most reasonable - and therefor good - such as whether it is OK to steal a loaf of bread when one is hungry or to deny to the Gestapo that there are any Jews hiding under our floorboards, those and many other things can then be debated and discussed. But we must do so reasonably and cannot ever claim a "faith" or other unreasonable justification.

Once a moral sanction is put under a reliance on reason, we can understand a rational outlook as simply what it is to love what is good and to try to live the good life.
Post Reply