A few posts ago Casey was just being Casey when he wrote in a comment
I think it's really most interesting that you're willing to accept so easily [Mark Halpern's] argumentative premise: that physical reactions are not rational, and that that makes them irrelevant.And because he's being Casey I don't dismiss his claims. Plus he was kind enough to take his ideas a little farther in a post of his own. He draws a line between "heady" and "hearty" approaches to experience. He aligns these with left-brained thinking and right-brained thinking respectively.
By now, haven't we all learned the follies of "rationalism," and the ways in which the claim to rationalism often occurs on both sides of a dialectical argument or strictly in self-interest or whatever?
I'm going to ignore the issue that he raises regarding right/left-handedness. I'll focus on the topic of reason and logic being valued over... faith? Beauty? Intuition? Feeling? Physiology? Irrationality? Which is it Casey?
In my post I actually go into a defense of the relevance of physical reaction. My concession to Mr Halpern was that my reaction is not the reason you should agree with me. Nor do I argue that you should agree with me. The point of my correspondence with Halpern was that I should not change my mind based on his claims. Because I value the weaknesses I see in them. And Halpern was making a reciprocal point.
So let's look at Casey's larger issue here. He claims in his thesis
that the rational and non-rational thinking are co-equal (if very different) ways of encountering the world.
And I get the impression that he thinks I would disagree.
My thesis: We are not more "heady" than "hearty."
Through a comment thread at another blog I have been contributing to an extended debate on a topic that combines politics religion and science. I don't need to be specific about it here because this is neither a political nor religious forum and I'm not very interested in making it one. But in the more than 4000 words that I've written over there I have asked for evidence of scientific claims and I have rejected claims that are based on logical fallacies and loaded definitions and circular logic. But I have also rejected claims simply because I don't value what those claims privilege. I have told other contributors that their fears are not my fears and that their values split from mine because I simply believe certain things are self-evident. Based on what you might ask? Well it can only be my values right? And how can I argue the self-evidence of a view with someone who says it's not so. Clearly they are making the more logical claim. If we are disagreeing about obviousness then how come they don't see what I see? Because ultimately my argument is based on a principle -- not on criteria met. If I may paraphrase my ultimate rationale in that argument: fear is not a reason to protect yourself from an unknown outcome.
Perhaps politics and religion make this point too easily. Such arguments are not often the in the demesne of rationality.
I could of course turn to the arts and start another rational argument providing evidence that intuition and appreciation of the irrational is in healthy competition with logic. But I think I'll take a more interesting approach. In my next post I'll argue that linguistics doesn't always rely on the rational. And I won't ignore the arts. I'll try to connect my point to my new time killer: Lost.