a hypothesis: an althernate conception of 'irrational' and its connotations
Good afternoon RRS. Today I want to brainstorm. I've been considering some lines of hypothesis that would lead to an alternate conception of what irrationality connotes. Primarily, I am trying to overcome the negative connotations associated with irrationality. I am going to try to keep this short and sweet. Recently, I have been reading Hemingway for one of my classes and his minimalism is philosophically inspiring.
To begin, I want to ask questions and provide answers. When responding please feel free to posit your own responses to these questions as either a matter of disagreement or correction.
Question 1: Is Formal Logic an axiomatic system? Yes.
Question 2: Are axiomatic systems complete? No.
Question 3: What does it mean for an axiomatic system to be incomplete? Consistency is chosen over completeness to avoid contradiction.
These three questions are what I will derive my hypothesis from.
I cannot capture the hypothesis in one sentence, so I will try to be concise.
Hypothesis: Incorporating the above questions, I would like posit that when something is irrational it is outside a consistent axiomatic system of reasoning.
From this position, I would like to draw two distinctions of what irrationality may be conceived as :
1 . The misuse of rationality (I credit Archeopteryx with this wording)
2. A proposition or thought that is not derivable from within a consistent axiomatic system of reasoning.
The idea is, that when irrationality is conceived in terms of (1), the negative connotations arise. For example, that a thought lacks justifiable support, proper reasoning, etc. it is is deemed undesirable. But what happens to those connotations if (2) is an acceptable conception of what is for something to be irrational? They seem to disappear. The conception that (2) suggests is that when something is irrational it is outside of rationality because of the lack of completeness of an axiomatic system of reasoning. This is quite the opposite of (1) because in (2) irrationality is something that is left out of rationality entirely. Therefore, thoughts or ideas that are irrational are merely propositions that a consistent axiomatic system of reasoning cannot derive.
I realize that there are many possible objections to this conception. I will try to address some of them initially.
Objection 1: It can appear that I am trying to replace a negative connotation associated with irrationality with a positive one. By suggesting that irrational is not necessarily inferior, it appears that I am simply trying to arrive at the hasty assumption that it is level with rationality connotatively.
Response: I am not meaning to imply this. Any semblance of a positive connotation replacement is not intended. The goal that I aim to achieve is to merely provide a working hypothesis where irrationality can be conceived of as without the negative connotations, thereby, leaving it connotation-less.
Objection 2: If something is outside of a consistent axiomatic system of reasoning then it is worthless if I want to guide my life rationally. When something falls outside of rationality, it falls outside of things which I would want to hold/believe true.
Response: Indeed, this would not be something I could disagree with. It would become a matter of choice, as it should be. Like Richard Dawkins example of the irrational belief that teapots are orbiting around Jupiter this very moment and I just don't know it; do I have to believe this? No. Well, what if I do? It would appear then that my belief would be obviously irrational and I chose to accept it. Free from the negative connotations associated with conception (1) of irrationality, it would render my acceptance of teapots as a belief in a proposition which cannot be derived from my consistent axiomatic system of reasoning.
Fearing myself teetering on the precipice of Pascalian doom, I shall digress. The only thing that I'm trying to to point out is that without the negative connotations surrounding irrationality, it appears that the acceptance or rejection of an irrational thought/concept/belief cannot have a positive or negative connotation associated with it rationally. Instead, it would merely be a subjective evaluation outside of any rational reasoning.
Conclusion: Trying to be a man of my word, I will end this for the sake of concision and perhaps sanity.This hypothesis is intended to be a brainstorming act, a teasing out of something that may or not be feasible. In guiding your responses, please construct them in a diagnostic sense, not a combative or defensive sense. There is nothing yet to combat except possible blatant errors in research and or conceiving. Indeed, I look forward to your responses and criticisms.
The implication that we should put Darwinism on trial overlooks the fact that Darwinism has always been on trial within the scientific community. -- From Finding Darwin's God by Kenneth R. Miller
Chaos and chance don't mean the absence of law and order, but rather the presence of order so complex that it lies beyond our abilities to grasp and describe it. -- From From Certainty to Uncertainty by F. David Peat