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Primacy of Nature Over Reason

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Steve-n
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A return to nature is not in anyway mystical or regressive. Nature is far more intelligent than reason. Reason is simply one of nature's functions (only occurs in humans as Rand pointed out). Nature not reason is ultimate reality.

You must clarify your concepts (if you like to, if you don't, nevermind, you can continue day-dreaming)

Nature is not intelligent. "intelligent" means (etimologicaly) "able to discern", and by necessity, "to identify".

Nature is a collection of things, it is not an entity. It has no "reason".

Reason is a function of a man's mind, it is not a function of the collective "nature".

Reality just is. Part of reality is "nature" part is man-made.

r u mixing nature and reality?

define "nature". define "reason". define "reality".

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Sorry, I thought you were sharing something you found amusing.

If I came across this I would chuckle.

I didn't realize you were taking it seriously.

Philosophy is to guide one's life.

What guidance does having a tenant like "primacy of nature over reason" provide?

For example you could now say, "OK, I take your tenant seriously, nature has 'primacy' over reason. Now what? I am still alive and I still need guidance."

Understanding that nature has primacy over reason, puts reason into context. Reason is a function of nature occurring in human beings. It can provide some guidance but can never be an authority. Your reason is actually of more use to you when you understand its limitations.

Reason is an aspect of nature. Reason is not unnatural. Thus it is not as if "nature" is a separate object, which another object depends. Rather, "reason" is an instance of nature, that is, it is subsumed under the concept nature.

Thus, we have no choice about it. It is therefore nonsensical to provide an argument to try to convince people to choose one *prior" to the other, which is what the use of the term "primacy" is intended to do in such contexts.

I have no intention to advocate abandoning reason. Man's search for meaning arises out of a false sense of separation from nature. Man has a mind capable of reasoning, it is an illusory experience to live as if what you are is the "reasoning mind" .

To state that nature has primacy over reason, is to state we should be aware of and choose to keep nature primary to reason, which is to state that reason is unnatural, existing apart from nature.

I have made no such claim that reason is unnatural. Your attacking a straw man. Reason is one of many functions of nature. It is possible that human beings, who are nature, will evolve superior functions and have no need for reason in the future.

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You must clarify your concepts (if you like to, if you don't, nevermind, you can continue day-dreaming)

Nature is not intelligent. "intelligent" means (etimologicaly) "able to discern", and by necessity, "to identify".

Nature is a collection of things, it is not an entity. It has no "reason".

Reason is a function of a man's mind, it is not a function of the collective "nature".

Reality just is. Part of reality is "nature" part is man-made.

r u mixing nature and reality?

define "nature". define "reason". define "reality".

Nature and reality are synonymous. If you say nature is not intelligent than you might as well say that you are not intelligent as you are nature as are all organisms. Nothing exists apart from nature. If you go outside and see a bird's nest, its obvious that it is nature even though its bird-made. That which is man-made is as much nature as that which is bird made.

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Nature and reality are synonymous. If you say nature is not intelligent than you might as well say that you are not intelligent as you are nature as are all organisms. Nothing exists apart from nature. If you go outside and see a bird's nest, its obvious that it is nature even though its bird-made. That which is man-made is as much nature as that which is bird made.

Nature=Reality, not the best synonym.

You're confusing the individual with the collective. I'm not "nature", I'm "part" of nature. It's not the same.

I can think, "nature" can't, because is a collection of things.

You are You. You are not the colllection of all things (reality or nature in your definition)

Then, "you" are not "nature".

Maybe you mean "natural"?. You are "natural". But remember "natural" is an adjective. adjectives can't think.

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Good, because it explicitly addresses that "reason is limited" argument.

Great, I'd be interested to see her refutation of that. The reasoning mind can never known the taste of a delicious fruit. The mind can only have concepts about what the tongue has direct knowledge/sensory-experience. That is just one example and context in which reason is limited. I'd like to see her refute that...

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Nature=Reality, not the best synonym.

What reality is there besides nature?

You're confusing the individual with the collective. I'm not "nature", I'm "part" of nature. It's not the same.

I can think, "nature" can't, because is a collection of things.

You are You. You are not the colllection of all things (reality or nature in your definition)

Then, "you" are not "nature".

Maybe you mean "natural"?. You are "natural". But remember "natural" is an adjective. adjectives can't think.

No confusion at all, you just misunderstood me. You are an individual human being. A human being, like a bird, like a tree, is nature. Yes, only a part not the collective, but I stated it in that way to emphasize that there is no separation.

If you, a part of a nature, are intelligent then nature, the collective, has that property. However, the collective nature is not limited to humans, especially you. :)

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Understanding that nature has primacy over reason, puts reason into context.

As I stated, stating "nature has primacy over reason" misuses the term "primacy."

I don't know what context you think an invalid statement put "reason" in.

Is there someone some where arguing that "reason has primacy over nature" and you don't like it so you're trying to argue the opposite?

Because the statement "reason has primacy over nature" is just as absurd and invalid.

Reason is a function of nature occurring in human beings.

What is a "function of nature"?

It can provide some guidance but can never be an authority.

How do you know what an authority is and is not? What did you use to come to that conclusion if it was not reason?

Is this statement authoritative?

Your reason is actually of more use to you when you understand its limitations.

What are reason's limitations?

How did you come to know them?

Is this an authoritative conclusion?

I have no intention to advocate abandoning reason.

Good for you...

Man's search for meaning arises out of a false sense of separation from nature.

What is a search for meaning? The meaning of what?

What is a true sense of union with nature? I.e., what's the opposite of a "false sense of separation from nature."?

How did you come to this conclusion?

Man has a mind capable of reasoning, it is an illusory experience to live as if what you are is the "reasoning mind" .

I've never known anyone to believe they are a "reasoning mind."

I don't understand.

I have made no such claim that reason is unnatural. Your attacking a straw man.

Such a claim is implicit when you use the term primacy in relation to two object. If reason is an aspect of nature, then it makes no sense to claim nature has primacy. Primacy is a statement of order, specifying a relationship between (at least 2) different objects, as I explained in my post. It specifies that one thing depends on, precedes, and/or makes possible another thing.

But if two objects are of the same kind, it makes no sense to state that one has primacy over the other.

Reason is a certain kind of nature.

Saying nature has primacy over reason is like saying nature has primacy over our stomachs; or nature has primacy over my heating and AC; or nature has primacy over animals.

Its nonsense.

Reason is one of many functions of nature.

What is a "function of nature"? Nature has many "functions" can you name some?

Are the functions for some purpose?

It is possible that human beings, who are nature, will evolve superior functions and have no need for reason in the future.

So? What's your point?

Edited by phibetakappa
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Oh dear goodness. You're Dich-An-Sich-ing all over the place.

Here, read this book, it'll help clog up those unsightly leaks (click on the book to go to its page):

SlightestPhilosophy.jpg

Also, do read the previously recommended book.

Great, I'd be interested to see her refutation of that. The reasoning mind can never known the taste of a delicious fruit. The mind can only have concepts about what the tongue has direct knowledge/sensory-experience. That is just one example and context in which reason is limited. I'd like to see her refute that...

post-4438-1261980326_thumb.jpg

Edited by kainscalia
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As I stated, stating "nature has primacy over reason" misuses the term "primacy."

I don't know what context you think an invalid statement put "reason" in.

Is there someone some where arguing that "reason has primacy over nature" and you don't like it so you're trying to argue the opposite?

Because the statement "reason has primacy over nature" is just as absurd and invalid.

The definition of primacy is the state of being first or foremost. Nature came before reason. It has primacy. The implications of nature's primacy are discussed in the article.

"If our knowledge were represented by the radius of a circle, as we increase our knowledge the circle becomes larger. What is beyond the circle is the unknown, so that the more we know, the more that is unknown and it goes on that way" - Bear Heart

What is a "function of nature"?

The wind blowing is a function of nature. The grass growing. The birds singing. Humans reasoning.

How do you know what an authority is and is not? What did you use to come to that conclusion if it was not reason?

Nature does not act according to your reasoning or the reasoning of anyone else. That would be an inversion. Therefore, reasoning has no authority over nature. Your reasoning is an attempt to understand nature/reality.

I never said I do not use reason, so not sure why you are trying to prove to me that I do.

What are reason's limitations?

The map can never be the territory.

I've never known anyone to believe they are a "reasoning mind."

No one would say it in that way, but almost everyone "lives in their head." Most people have a mentally-derived sense of self.

So? What's your point?

Reason is one of man's tools. Don't make your tool your master.

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Oh dear goodness. You're Dich-An-Sich-ing all over the place.

Here, read this book, it'll help clog up those unsightly leaks (click on the book to go to its page):

SlightestPhilosophy.jpg

Also, do read the previously recommended book.

I've noticed that often the people who seem to recommend books in discussions/arguments are those who are unable to refute or make a point in their own words. That said, I'll check your book recommendation out.

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I've noticed that often the people who seem to recommend books in discussions/arguments are those who are unable to refute or make a point in their own words. That said, I'll check your book recommendation out.

If you look about the rest of this forum you will see that is hardly the case. I will refute your argument tomorrow I just don't have the time or the wish to go through the effort right now. The non-fiction works are quite useful though, and if you need thorough answers to these questions you might as well get OPAR. I have yet to see anyone legitimately refute the metaphysics and epistemology of Objectivism without either misrepresenting the positions/ideas of Objectivism in those areas or otherwise being ignorant of them in some fashion (not that this is their fault, as long as they attempt to correct the error).

The loophole seems rather obvious to me but I am trying to think of the proper way of wording and explaining this to you. I haven't gotten deep into philosophy until recently so my "lingo" isn't great in that regard.

Edited by Jennifer
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When I first began to read Ayn Rand, I was certain that her depictions of modern philosophy and academia were spurious. I just couldn't believe the things she wrote in regard to modern intellectualism. They were just too absurd.

Everyday I realize how correct she was/is. This guy is just further validation.

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Did I say not to trust your brain? I have nothing against reason. It is a very useful tool of nature operating through/by human beings. It is a great means of acquiring knowledge.

You didn't say anything. You implied that reason doesn't exist, but you wrote "This is because the content of the Reason does not itself Exist.". You wrote "the Reason" and you capitalized the verb exist, which was an intentional transgression of the rules of grammar, and a use of both words in a sense that doesn't exist (in any dictionary), and therefor will not be understood with any certainty.

I responded the only way I could to a purposefully meaningless sentence, by ridiculing you. Sorry, but unless you start speaking clearly and explaining your position in terms defined in a well known dictionary, there's really nothing to respond to, post #2 resolved your objections to the fullest. ("nature operating through human beings" is also a meaningless phrase. If you're denying causality, or the law of identity, start there, so that I can point our your error the usual way, if you're not, prove the existence of an intelligence controlling me, and explain the causal chain by which I am being "operated out of")

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Reason and language are as natural to our species, as bipedalism. How has nature primacy over reason? Our brains are built to support structured thought and language. Sometimes our social protocols and conventions interfere with both speech and reason, but the basic stuff of both is present from birth (except for trauma and very rare genetic defect).

Bob Kolker

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Life is sustained and enjoyed by nature/existence.

This is simply NOT true, human life is not sustained by nature, it is sustained only by reason.

Try this experiment: set your baby outside under a tree and see if it is sustained by nature. Or if that seems overly simple, then try living your life without using reason; it cannot be done.

Our lives are sustained ONLY by rational action.

Meaning exists independent of the mind's ability to comprehend.

Perhaps you would be so kind as to inform us what that "meaning" is and how you know it exists.

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I'm certain that I do not interpret this as the author intends.

Quote from Article

Ultimately, the Taoist is the Tao. He is himself
Existence
and Truth. Although this may sound heretical, it is nonetheless true. How long, we wonder, will it take for a man to understand that there is no enlightenment outside himself. How much time will pass before man realizes once and for all that there is no spiritual illumination or social perfection waiting for him in the future?

The plain fact is that unawakened men can never, regardless of how they try, build anything solvent and holistic. Only the awakened man can live perfectly and authentically and know all there is to know about himself and the world. However, such a Being cannot and will not live his life in an environment constructed and inhabited by unsane men transfixed by false ideas about Existence. He naturally prefers to live separately and alone, away from "civilized" communities and institutions. Their ways are not his ways. Their problems are not his problems, and their satori is not his satori. He remains profoundly
unmutual
and
negative
.

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Mark basically touches on it.

There is but one basic alternative in reality. It applies only to living beings. Organisms face a constant alternative: the matter of life and death. Any organism must intitiate and sustain an ongoing series of actions to remain alive. If it fails to find or grow food, build shelter, etc. (things that require the use of reason when human beings are concerned, not animals) it will die.

All living beings are endowed by nature with specific attributes by which they seek survival.

For example, plants survive by means of purely physical functions.

Automatically, with no faculty of awareness and consequently no power of choice, they dig their roots into the soil to gain chemical nutrients and grow their leaves toward the sun to gain light.

The higher animals possess perceptual consciousness, the ability to perceieve entities, and based on this the capacity of locomotion.

Also, if the use of reason to acknowledge and perceive reality is fallible, then how can we know that anything is true? You must contradict your notion of man as fallible in the context of gaining objective knowledge through the use of reason to even suggest such a contradiction. How do you know you are not wrong? This is one of the many issues with subjectivism.

Skeptic: "Man is fallible. Even with the best of training and intentions, he is capable of error. SO how can you be certain you are not wrong.?"

Objectivist: "Man's general capacity to err does not warrant a hypothesis of error in a particular case. And I have validated my conclusion; I have demonstrated that in this case I am right."

S: "But your validation itself might be fallacious. How do you know it isn't?"

O: "Can you point to any sign of such fallacy, such as a logical flaw in my argument, or a neglected fact, or an improperly defined term?"

Here the skeptic is stopped. In order to identify specific fallacies, he would have to enter the field of knowledge; he would have to concede that he is able to assess evidence and thus distinguish truth from error. To do this reality must be objective, and man must be able to perceive and integrate this objectivity in his mind, via his consciousness, via his senses and observations, comparing items of observation to see if they are able to be integrated together, and in this way the false washes from the truth. So the discussion has to end with the skeptic simply sweeping aside the whole context and declaring: "I can't specify your error, but maybe it's there. I can't tell the different between your argument and a perfectly valid one, but still, I'm not sure. Prove that this non-detectable error does not exist."

Your assertion is arbitrary in respect to the fallibility and subjectivity of man's mind. And I have already shown that reason is a primacy of man in his survival. Nature is not a primacy over reason, although it does play a part, as it creates the nature of the entity, and therefore attributes certain actions as necessary for him to survive and progress his life. For man, this is the use of his mind, his reason. The more a person is able to use reason in respect to his specific contextual relationships and situations, necessarily he will be more successful in his endeavors.

I also ask you, that if you are going to continue this discussion, to clarify your position better, and not have these hard to understand and identify arguments and propositions as you have so far. It's barely worth taking the time to sort it all out. Stop talking like a Philosophy 101 professor that is blazed out of his mind, and make your arguments clear and well defined and provide proper evidence for your claims.

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Not to be rude but this is just nonsense. Seriously, go to your local Barnes & Noble right now and pick up OPAR, it's not much money especially with all the content it provides, and it will answer all of these types of questions and more quite throughly, and save everyone on here a lot of time that would be unnecessarily expended. Your argument is self-defeating in regards to reason and the fallibility of man's mind (the proposition of error) and in regards to nature, you understanding of it and how it applies is incorrect. Check your premises.

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This is simply NOT true, human life is not sustained by nature, it is sustained only by reason.

Try this experiment: set your baby outside under a tree and see if it is sustained by nature. Or if that seems overly simple, then try living your life without using reason; it cannot be done.

This is just the either/or fallacy. Nature vs reason. Nature includes reason as I've already stated. And when a woman breast feeds her baby, shelters and cares for her needs that is nature.

Our lives are sustained ONLY by rational action.

Your blood is not circulated by reason, nor is your breathing regulated by it. Also, situations can arise in which you are forced to make split-second decisions. It is not reason that is relied on then.

Perhaps you would be so kind as to inform us what that "meaning" is and how you know it exists.

Your question misses the point. Truth (regarding any matter) exists independent of the reasoning minds comprehension of it.

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Not to be rude but this is just nonsense. Seriously, go to your local Barnes & Noble right now and pick up OPAR, it's not much money especially with all the content it provides, and it will answer all of these types of questions and more quite throughly, and save everyone on here a lot of time that would be unnecessarily expended. Your argument is self-defeating in regards to reason and the fallibility of man's mind (the proposition of error) and in regards to nature, you understanding of it and how it applies is incorrect. Check your premises.

Check your own premises as I've never argued against reason. I've never create a false conflict between nature vs reason. No such conflict exists. I will check out OPAR as that seems to be authority everyone here is appealing to.

Michael Tsarion, the author the article I posted, is well versed in Ayn Rand's philosophy. He integrates the value she has produced with values others have produced and his own discoveries. If any of you are interested in going beyond objectivism I recommend his articles/radio interviews highly. Lisa, if you think this thread is a waste of time then don't bother with it. The rest of us will do what we choose with our time.

If what I am saying is unclear here, anyone who might be interested can also listen to the interview Michael gave on the article on http://www.redicecreations.com .

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Check your own premises as I've never argued against reason. I've never create a false conflict between nature vs reason. No such conflict exists. I will check out OPAR as that seems to be authority everyone here is appealing to.

Michael Tsarion, the author the article I posted, is well versed in Ayn Rand's philosophy. He integrates the value she has produced with values others have produced and his own discoveries. If any of you are interested in going beyond objectivism I recommend his articles/radio interviews highly. Lisa, if you think this thread is a waste of time then don't bother with it. The rest of us will do what we choose with our time.

If what I am saying is unclear here, anyone who might be interested can also listen to the interview Michael gave on the article on http://www.redicecreations.com .

"I do not think reason is deluded. Just that it is limited"

This is what I was referring to, I think there is some confusion.

Our lives are sustained ONLY by rational action.

Your blood is not circulated by reason, nor is your breathing regulated by it. Also, situations can arise in which you are forced to make split-second decisions. It is not reason that is relied on then."

I do not think this discussion is a waste of time, I am speaking about things like this response of yours. Your statements and propositions, at least to me, are unnecessarily unclear and confusing, and you do not seem to have the kind of knowledge basis in Objectivism to have a proper discussion on this topic because otherwise there would not be comments like the one above, because it should be understood what he meant by "lives sustained only by rational action". Blood circulation as well as other bodily automated responses are already covered in-depth in this regard. That is why I said there would need to be a lot of ground covered for a proper, on-level discussion, to be had on this subject.

I quickly skimmed through this thread before my original posting, I will go through it again tonight and see if I can get a better handle on what you are trying to posit here.

Michael Tsarion, the author the article I posted, is well versed in Ayn Rand's philosophy. He integrates the value she has produced with values others have produced and his own discoveries.

How does this not cause contradiction issues? I will have to read this article, I didn't have the time before, I was going off the discussion after that.

"If any of you are interested in going beyond objectivism"

I am not sure what you are trying to imply here, but would going beyond objectivism suggest that it is defunct in comparison?

Anyways, this is what I was going to post before, I don't know how well it applies to this discussion after reading your latest post, so please ignore parts that are not consistent because as I said your earlier postings, at least to me, were much more confusing than what I am used to dealing with in the nature of the delivery of information that I am responding to now, but here we are:

There is but one basic alternative in reality. It applies only to living beings. Organisms face a constant alternative: the matter of life and death. Any organism must intitiate and sustain an ongoing series of actions to remain alive. If it fails to find or grow food, build shelter, etc. (things that require the use of reason when human beings are concerned, not animals) it will die.

All living beings are endowed by nature with specific attributes by which they seek survival.

For example, plants survive by means of purely physical functions.

Automatically, with no faculty of awareness and consequently no power of choice, they dig their roots into the soil to gain chemical nutrients and grow their leaves toward the sun to gain light.

The higher animals possess perceptual consciousness, the ability to perceieve entities, and based on this the capacity of locomotion.

Also, if the use of reason to acknowledge and perceive reality is fallible, then how can we know that anything is true? You must contradict your notion of man as fallible in the context of gaining objective knowledge through the use of reason to even suggest such a contradiction. How do you know you are not wrong? This is one of the many issues with subjectivism.

Skeptic: "Man is fallible. Even with the best of training and intentions, he is capable of error. SO how can you be certain you are not wrong.?"

Objectivist: "Man's general capacity to err does not warrant a hypothesis of error in a particular case. And I have validated my conclusion; I have demonstrated that in this case I am right."

S: "But your validation itself might be fallacious. How do you know it isn't?"

O: "Can you point to any sign of such fallacy, such as a logical flaw in my argument, or a neglected fact, or an improperly defined term?"

Here the skeptic is stopped. In order to identify specific fallacies, he would have to enter the field of knowledge; he would have to concede that he is able to assess evidence and thus distinguish truth from error. To do this reality must be objective, and man must be able to perceive and integrate this objectivity in his mind, via his consciousness, via his senses and observations, comparing items of observation to see if they are able to be integrated together, and in this way the false washes from the truth. So the discussion has to end with the skeptic simply sweeping aside the whole context and declaring: "I can't specify your error, but maybe it's there. I can't tell the different between your argument and a perfectly valid one, but still, I'm not sure. Prove that this non-detectable error does not exist."

Your assertion is arbitrary in respect to the fallibility and subjectivity of man's mind. And I have already shown that reason is a primacy of man in his survival. Nature is not a primacy over reason, although it does play a part, as it creates the nature of the entity, and therefore attributes certain actions as necessary for him to survive and progress his life. For man, this is the use of his mind, his reason. The more a person is able to use reason in respect to his specific contextual relationships and situations, necessarily he will be more successful in his endeavors.

I also ask you, that if you are going to continue this discussion, to clarify your position better, and not have these hard to understand and identify arguments and propositions as you have so far. It's barely worth taking the time to sort it all out. Stop talking like a Philosophy 101 professor that is blazed out of his mind, and make your arguments clear and well defined and provide proper evidence for your claims.

Edited by Lisa Brincks
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"From the earliest days of western philosophy, man was told that his capacity to reason was what his life was all about. Reason, said the Athenian philosophers, was the faculty that made man unique. Reason sets man apart and explains the cosmos. It provides man with answers to the questions that vex him. Two thousand years after the age of Plato and Aristotle men continue to believe that reason is their salvation. And practically speaking we cannot doubt that reason is indeed essential to human existence. After all, without reason where would we be? However, as Heidegger rightly surmised, reason does not give a man answers to the mystery of his Existence. This is because the content of the Reason does not itself Exist. Reason does not make the world and did not bring Nature into being. On the contrary, Nature brought the mind of man into Being. Man's Beingness - his Dasein or "Being in the World," then gives him the capacity to think and reason. One must have soil before they can garden and air to breathe before they can walk and talk. One must Exist before they can think. Therefore, reason is the child of Dasein."

http://www.taroscopes.com/miscellanous-pages/disciples.html

The bolded is a non sequitur and the italicized, while true (you have to be alive to have the faculties to think), is entirely unrelated to the argument that the quote you present seems to be skirting around.

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The bolded is a non sequitur and the italicized, while true (you have to be alive to have the faculties to think), is entirely unrelated to the argument that the quote you present seems to be skirting around.

Neither of those statements are true. If you want to explain your reasoning, I can point out the error/s.

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This is just the either/or fallacy. Nature vs reason. Nature includes reason as I've already stated.

You have just defined your query out of existence. If nature includes reason, then what are we talking about? In order to have a rational discussion about which is primary we must identify the realms over which nature and reason hold sway. This is what I have done. Let me reiterate.

And when a woman breast feeds her baby, shelters and cares for her needs that is nature.

The creation of breast milk is the province of nature, it is done automatically, it is the given. However when a mother shelters and cares for her child, that is the province of reason, it is not automatic, it is not given by nature, she has to figure it out. Providing shelter and care, building a house, gathering food, hunting, learning a skill, trade, manufacturing medicines, establishing free societies -- all require rational thought and action, all require reason, none is provided by nature, without man's reason they would not exist.

Nature and reason are two fundamentally different concepts which is why they are different words, you need to discover what they mean.

Your blood is not circulated by reason, nor is your breathing regulated by it.

It is true that your blood circulation and breathing are provided by your nature as a living being, and yet they are not the primary thing that sustains your life. Without rational action taken on your part how long will they sustain you? A week, maybe. It is only rational action that keeps you alive.

Without rationally knowing what you can eat and drink and without rationally acting to attain it your blood won't be circulating for long.

Your question misses the point. Truth (regarding any matter) exists independent of the reasoning minds comprehension of it.

I disagree but I suppose we'd first need to hear your definition of "truth" to make a definitive determination. I'll tell you what, why don't you provide us with some "truths" and explain how they are independent of our reasoning minds and then tell me how you know they are true.

Also, I thought we were talking about "meaning" and now you are switching to "truth"? I don't understand. Do these "truths" hold some "meaning" to you? If so, again, please let the rest of us in on your discoveries, what are these "truths" or "meanings" to which you refer.

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