Reason

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PHILOSOPHY VOLUME 21 EDITORS GEORGE J. LOEWENBERG STEPHEN C. PEPPEB REASON LEOTUEES DELIVERED BEFORE THE PHILOSOPHICAL UNION OP THE UNIVERSITY OP CALIFORNIA UNIVERSITY OP CALIFORNIA PRESS BERKELEY, CALIFORNIA 1939 CONTENTS PAGES The Appeal to Reason 3-42 By WILLIAM B. DENNES, Professor of Philosophy, University of CaHf olhia. Artifacts of Reason 45-74 By J. LOEWENBERG, Professor of Philosophy, University of California. Reason in Science 77-96 fey V. F. LENZEN, Associate Professor of Physics, University of California. Definition 99-122 By STEPHEN C. PEPPER, Professor of Philosophy, University of California. Reason in History 125-150 By EDWARD W. STRONG, Assistant Professor of Philosophy, University of California. Rationality and Irrationality 153-180 By PAUL MARHENKE, Associate Professor of Philosophy, Uni versity of California. Reason as Custodian 183-204 By D. S. MACKA. Y, Associate Professor of Philosophy, Univer sity of California. Reason and Purpose 207-228 By GEORGE P. ADAMS, Professor of Philosophy, University of California. THE APPEAL TO REASON BY WILLIAM R. DBNNES THE APPEAL TO REASON WILLIAM B. DENNE8 THE AGE in which we live has seen advances in nearly every field of science. Yet it is an age in which devices of propa ganda are being used more brazenly and more effectively than ever before to shape mens opinions and the patterns of their conduct, and often with little respect for the findings of science. When propagandist activities appear to be diminishing mens knowledge, destroying their respect for truth, and imperiling other human values, it is customary at least in democratic socie ties where a considerable freedom of inquiry and discussion pre vails to appeal to reason for vindication of the threatened values. The validity of such appeals to reason is challenged today from many influential quarters. We are told, for example, that when men go through the motions called appealing to reason it is gen erally because they have no relevant or sufficient reasons to offer for their convictions, just as men commonly appeal to experi ence in support of their views when they are stumped for relevant empirical evidence. An appeal to reason, we are warned, is a good indication that he who makes it is himself passing from reasoning to what is better called rhetoric or propaganda or even incanta tion. When we appeal to reason, critics tell us, we are generally rationalizing our interests and appetites, our habits and preju dices we are, indeed, pretty likely to be treating the term rea sonable as if it were an implicate if not actually a synonym of the adjectives mine and ours, or of whatever is the object of the phrase I want. Such criticisms are familiar. They have been made in most his torical epochs, though never more forcefully than today. There is unquestionably a great deal in them. Some try to drive them home by arguing that the use of discourse to influence mens behavior, rather than to express, report, or communicate anything, is our inescapable predicament. Whatever we think, say, or do will only 3 4 University of California Publications in Philosophy be a variation that leaves the status of our activity, as a reshaping of the behavior of ourselves and others, still the same. Therefore, they conclude, although we ought to condemn as deceptions theo ries that pretend to offer escape from this predicament, we cannot condemn the predicament itself, since we have no Alternative but silence, unconsciousness, or death. It is very easy to point out that if such statements as these last are not themselves true or probable descriptions, but are only one sort of influential rhetoric, then those who make them can claim no superiority for them over other sorts of influential rhetoric, includ ing those which, naively taken, contradict them...

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