In posts constructing a conceptual model of the Paschal Mystery, I have written about human reasoning and especially human moral reasoning as containing certain thoughts such as “violation of moral laws ought to result in undesirable consequence.” As a philosopher, I acknowledge assumptions I make about what there is. “Ontology” is the title for the topic of making assumptions or offering definite claims about what there is. In the ontology for these blog posts I assume that there is human thinking above and beyond the thinking occurring in the minds of individual people.
Most people make this assumption at several levels. I assume, for instance, that there is a collection of thoughts which could be called the public opinion of residents of Columbus, Ohio in August 2017. I assume there is a system of thought which could be labelled “what Catholics think.” Many more examples come to mind: What climate scientists think, What liberals think, What mathematicians hold, etc..
Of course, I go much further to assume that there is a vast collection of thoughts composed of what humans have thought, presently think and will think. I call this “human reason.” It is the reasons and reasoning available to aborigines and scientists at MIT. This universal human reason is the location of the thought of setting aside morality. This thought reserving a right to override morality once in awhile is the original sin which we all inherit* just by virtue of being the kind of animal which can think some of the thoughts in universal human reason.
There is so much to say about this human reason that I could easily fill a book with my views as well as theories of philosophers such as Hegel and Kant. I develop no theory of what human reason is. Here I make a few remarks with especial attention to how we can get truth since this universal human reason is so comprehensive that it seems we cannot get beyond it to determine whether or not our thoughts represent reality apart from thoughts. Can we put thinking in the back of our minds to simply look and listen at what makes our thinking correct?
This universal human reason is not the actual thinking of some mind above and beyond the minds of individual human beings. Human reason itself is not aiming at any goal although there are many thoughts about goals in human reason.
As a collection of thoughts, human reason is logically inconsistent. A problem for individuals who think the thoughts contained in universal human reason is coping with inconsistencies in our thinking. Inconsistencies, when identified, can be set aside so that complete logical chaos is avoided in an individual’s thinking. Hidden inconsistencies give us trouble.
Much of what we make truth claims about in daily life have been constructed by human reason. Without human thinking there would not be any social facts such as those about economics, politics, wars, revolutions, etc.,. Indeed this human reason being discussed in this post is constructed by human reason. However, I am not a philosophical idealist who holds that there is not reality beyond thought which provides justification for what we think. I am a realist who holds that there are things in themselves apart from human thinking which make thoughts in human reason correct or appropriate. However I concede that realism could be wrong**
Current disputes about gender identity provide a way of illustrating my stance on truth. Both biological sex and gender are social constructs in so far as the conceptual schemes used to talk about them are both components of universal human reason. Universal human reason is, as noted above, a social construct. Now however, consider two claims:
1.Henry’s biological sex is male
2.Henry’s gender is female.
If we turn to realty to find which claim is true, we find that if (1) is true (2) is false. If (2) is false, then Henry, and those who agree with his female impersonation are, if not lying, at least misrepresenting the way things are. To be sure, I have assumed that gender depends upon biological sex. This claim about the gender depending upon biological sex must also be verified by recourse to reality. I think reality verifies it. Unfortunately, others do not. That is why there is dispute. However, dispute does not show that there is no reality which shows that one side or the other is wrong.
In Chapter X*** of my book Confronting Sexual Nihilism, I develop more fully my thoughts on confronting reality to discover truth.
I do not think that only factual claims fit or do not fit thought independent reality. Value judgments can be correct or incorrect because of what is in reality. This is very significant because it goes against the widespread assumption of a fact/value discrimination. It is popularly assumed that factual claims might be true but that judgments of right/wrong, good/evil are inevitability opinions. Opinions get ranked as warranted or unwarranted only by other thoughts; never by conditions outside thought. So, in my ontology, I accept conditions in reality which make value judgments correct or incorrect as well as radically**** different kinds of conditions which make factual claims true. That is why I use “look” and “listen” when talking of turning to the way things are.
This is enough, if not too much, on universal human reason. In the next post, I plan to elaborate on the construct of angels and their role in my construction of a Christian conceptual model of our salvation
*How Original Sin is InheritedConfession of a Truth Sceptic
*** My book Confronting Sexual Nihilism: Traditional Sexual Morality as an Antidote to Nihilism was released by Tate Publishing on March 11, 2014. See Book Web Page for information about the book. The publisher’s listed price is $26.99. Printed copies can be purchased here by credit card for $3.99, plus $3.71 for shipping and handling.
To purchase the printed book by check, send check of $3.99 plus $3.71 for shipping and handling per copy. Send to:
Charles F. Kielkopf
45 W. Kenworth Rd.
****I am speculating that this reality in itself which justifies, or refutes, our thoughts is personal in so far as it gives commands: You ought to assert P as a statement of fact, You ought to deny that Q states a fact, You ought to do act A, You ought not do act B.