There can be no rational argument against rational argumentation

Geplaatst door

Titus Rivas   (publicatiedatum: 22 May, 2011)


Any rational argumentation against rationality is self-defeating.


There can be no rational argument against rational argumentation: a very short statement

by Titus Rivas

Opponents of the rational method for philosophy or science often resort to argumentation to bolster their position. Implicitly, they assume that their arguments against rationality make sense, i.e. that their arguments are rational. However, if one rejects the validity of rational argumentation, by definition, one cannot use rational arguments against the rational method.

For instance, it is often claimed that the results of quantum mechanics go against reason and therefore undermine the validity of rational argumentation. This is absurd, because such results can only (rationally) lead to the undermining of reason if rational thinking is valid. Either the rational method is valid or it is not, but you cannot use it to prove that it is not. (By the way, this implies that anti-rational conclusions based on quantum data must be false and that theorists should draw different conclusions. Quantum reality may be weird, but it cannot be "rationally incoherent" since we could never establish this through the rational method. We could not establish anything anymore. But reality cannot be incoherent, even though it can be misunderstood. Incoherence is a characteristic of certain theories, not of reality.)

Some may say that the rational method is self-defeating, because it leads to anti-rational conclusions in the context of quantum mechanics. But this is nonsense, because it can only do so as long as it is NOT self-defeating but valid. If reason really collapsed, no rational argument could hold anymore. We'd stop knowing anything whatsoever, even the (over-rated) Socratic insight of "knowing nothing" would become baseless.

Does this mean that the rational method is necessarily the only method to reach true insights? Certainly not. There can be other valuable methods, such as the intuitive method, for example in the realm of the establishment of ultimate axiological and ethical principles.
Such methods are non-rational or a-rational, which is not the same as irrational though, let alone anti-rational.

Any method that is compatible with the rational method deserves some respect. Only the rejection of rationality itself does not. It is self-defeating and therefore untenable.

This very short statement was published on txtxs.nl on May 21st 2011.

Contact: titusrivas@hotmail.com