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October 7, 2015 / compassioninpolitics

The inadequency of a logic-alone or reductive rationalism

Logic has also influenced perceptions about the contrast between rationality on the one hand and emotion, desire, and imagination on the other.  The historical movement called the Enlightenment championed reason.  But soon people became restless. They sensed that reason was not enough.  Reason gave us only half of humanity—or less. The Enlightenment stimulated a reaction, the Romantic movement, which depreciated reason and championed the imaginative, the spontaneous, the natural, and the pre-rational aspects of humanity. Like the opposition between sciences and humanities, the opposition between the Enlightenment and the Romantic movement expresses the contrast between logic and emotion, or between Spock and McCoy. Thus, the contrast between Spock and McCoy has analogues that play out in culture and history.  At the foundation of this cultural opposition lies logic. It feeds into the Enlightenment’s conception of reason, and it shapes the Romantic opposition to the Enlightenment as well, because the opposition defines itself in reaction to reason.  This foundation for Western thought in logic needs to be redone. And that means that the whole of Western thought has to be redone. It is a most serious issue.
Vern Poythress continues:
The widespread idea that logic is impersonal and mechanistic explains the difficulty that we find with Spock. If logic is ultimately impersonal, and if Spock is purely logical, the impersonality of logic bleeds into Spock’s entire character, and he becomes no better than a caricature of a robust human person. We may still admire his logic. After all, it is still a distorted reflection of God. But we feel its limitations. We feel unsatisfied. Or, conversely, we may feel that Spock’s character is an ideal to emulate. But by our emulation we show our own one-sidedness, and we distort our own personhood.

Logic: A God-Centered Approach, by Vern Poythress

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