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The unreasoned reason

“The urge to greet every answer with another question is one we find in children not because it’s childish but because it’s natural.  Once you begin the search for knowledge, there is no obvious place to stop.  The fact that the desire for omniscience cannot be met does not make it either foolish or pathological.  Indeed, it is embodied in the principle of sufficient reason itself.  The principle of sufficient reason expresses the belief that we can find a reason for everything the world presents.  It is not an idea that we derive from the world, but one that we bring to it.” – Susan Neiman, Evil in Modern Thought

Published inLit & CritSusan Neiman

9 Comments

  1. I can’t imagine getting a B.A. in philosophy, Tetman. It takes me 4-5 attempts to understand one sentence on the principle of sufficient reason; reading enough philosophy to limp through a single college course would make an old woman of me.

    • Reading philosophy–and reading it in such a manner as to be able to write papers and pass exams–gave my mind a serious workout. I was a 22-year-old returning student, a bartending party animal, when I first started back to school, and my mind was so lax that fifteen minutes of serious reading (propositional logic, for instance) wore me out. Nothing in my West Texas public education had prepared me for the close reading philosophy demands, then there were the four years between my first and short-lived attempt to go to college and my subsequent return. As tough as it was (for the first three years I had a full-time job and was a full-time student), one of my fondest memories of the time is me pacing back and forth along the banks of the Rio Grande one summer’s afternoon, reading and rereading and rerereading Hume’s Essay Concerning Human Understanding, trying to understand it enough to pass the mid-terms.

  2. CJ CJ

    I am an old woman.

  3. I don’t know it as an irrefutable fact, that’s true. But I’m a sensual creature. I think emotionally, physically–not intellectually.

    Though I do adore an intelligent man.

  4. CJ CJ

    You two are Not into three way conversations. I will take the hint and leave you to your mutual musings.

    • CJ, my apologies for the misunderstanding. I’ve had trouble configuring this blog. I responded to your comment yesterday about being an old woman, but the way it showed up on this blog, it looked like I was ignoring you and responding only to Averil. You are always welcome here.

  5. CJ CJ

    @Tetman, thank you for explaining. Comment sections are not where I do my best communicating. Still, I try.

    • @CJ, You’re welcome. Commenting is tricky for me, too. I tend to get too pompous and try too hard to be clever.

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