GOOD REASON

Rationalism

I've decided to restyle these pages which were formerly titled "Rationalist Essays" so that they take more of the form of a blog, and to allow the subject matter to cover a wider range. My understanding of "Rationalism" is the effort to understand everything and anything by the application of human reasoning powers to the evaluation of whatever reliable evidence is available. Some may prefer to call this "Rational Empiricism" but the idea that it may be possible to understand the world by pure armchair reasoning alone without examining empirical evidence is surely untenable. By calling myself a "Rationalist" I do not claim that my abilities to reason are especially great, although I have devoted some time and effort to honing my logical and self-critical abilities. Nor do I mean to imply that anyone who fails to agree with me must be "irrational", though I do find it difficult to understand how some people are able to hold what seem to me to be mutually contradictory beliefs in mind, and still claim to be rational! Nor does rationalism imply a lack of feeling or lack of artistic appreciation, though it may include lack of extrovert emotiveness, and suspicion of arguments using emotive words. "Good Reason" is the title I have had in mind for several years for a book, but since I don't seem to be making much progress with it, I've chosen to use it for my blog before someone else thinks of it. Earlier versions of a number of these essays appeared on the website of Leicester Secular Society, or derive from lecture notes prepared for Leicester Science Fiction Group or for Hastings Humanists, while others are elaborations from personal correspondence or comments I have posted on other blogs or forums. The topics are now arranged in alphabetical order rather than classified by subject.

© G. P. Jelliss 2013



The biography of Thomas Paine previously here has been moved to the new separate section on Biographies.
At present there is no facility for comments to be posted here, but I would welcome constructive comments sent to my email address: george . jelliss @ virgin . net (remove spaces) and may well publish some or revise my views accordingly.