Tuesday, August 01, 2006


Roy's Q

Travis and I were talking to Roy yesterday and we broke down one of the issues to this point. Have a go at it, if you would like. It was worded something like this:

Where does the moral superiority of reason come from?

Good question indeed, why do we put so much value in the logic over feelings or tradition? How did we get to this point and what is its significance?

I want answers!
I'm not sure everyone does value reason over emtion/tradition.

But, either way, how we answer this question depends on how we approach moral questions in general.

If you're an Emotivist, you would say that all moral statements are merely expressions of emotion, anyway. So you're expresing an emotional responce that reason is superior to emotion? Talk about confusing!
Kant broke ranks with Mystery and Tradition when he declared that we can have Religion based on Reason alone. The Modern Age is marked for being the Age of Reason.
What seems fuzzy still is that some rationalists still believe in mysteries, revelation, etc. But how is that different from believing wholly in superstition?
From a utilitarian point of view, the rationalist is more likely to favor liberty and monotheism, and to believe in self-determination (free-will), wheras the superstitious is more likely to be fatalistic, pagan, and to favor god-kings which leads to tyrrany.
The rationalist who does not believe in mystery uses his own logic to explain the world, and can end up believing, as one Princeton ethicist does, that "there is nothing but blind, meaningless, DNA, and we all dance to its tune." Which smacks of the pagan fatalism to me, but without the superstition.
Which is morally superior? None.
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