Rationalism [was: Re: RANT]

From: Max More (max@maxmore.com)
Date: Thu Nov 16 2000 - 13:01:43 MST

At 12:55 PM 11/16/00, you wrote:

> > > Rationalism is a dogma in of itself.
> >
> > No, its a process.
>Every read "The Ayn Rand Cult"?

You're making a mistake if you identify all of rationalism with the
practice of *some* of the followers of Ayn Rand (generally the devotees of
the official Randians rather than the more open-system Kelly-style
Objectivists). I agree that there are plenty of irrational rationalists. I
see people preaching reason while being dogmatic and utterly blind to their
own rationalizations and narrow perspectives. But that's certainly not true
of all Objectivists, and certainly not true of all rationalists.

Ayn Rand did not invent rationalism. Rejecting rationalism as a dogma
because of your views on Ayn Rand and some of her followers is unfair. Even
hear of Karl Popper? Or David Hume? Or [insert one of hundreds of other
rationalists here]?

>Ascending paradigms are those which revolve around spirit and deny matter-
>descending paradigms are those which revolve around matter and reject
>spirit. I'm borrowing this from Ken Wilber.

That's a useless distinction then. If you see no reason to believe in the
existence of "spirit" (in a supernatural sense) then the distinction cannot
even be made. Most extropians do not believe in spirits, though they may be
quite spiritual in the sense of having ideals, lofty goals, and a strong
sense of meaning and purpose. Our views do not revolve around matter but
around values and goals. (We inhabit material bodies but that doesn't mean
our paradigm revolves around matter. It actually revolves around much
higher-level abstractions.) Wilbur's distinction just cannot be made to
apply to such views. It's like trying to fit most of our political views
onto the silly one-dimensional left-right spectrum.

>Sure it's a dogma. Even reason itself requires faith.

Not correct. A thorough critical rationalism requires no faith whatsoever. See:


Max More,
max@maxmore.com or more@extropy.org
President, Extropy Institute. www.extropy.org
Senior Content Architect, ManyWorlds Consulting: www.manyworlds.com

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