Summary and Info
This book describes a lost tradition that can be called reasonableness. The tradition began with Aristotle, was recommended to Western education by Augustine, flourished in the schools of the Renaissance through the nineteenth century, then got lost in the academic and philosophic shuffles of the twentieth century. Representative of the tradition is John Locke's story of a King of Siam who rejected reports of the existence of ice. The King would have had to risk too much trust in another man whom he did not know too well-a Dutch ambassador-in order to believe that elephants could walk on cold water. John Locke presented the story to encourage his readers to think about the responsibilities and risks entailed in what he called 'the gentle and fair ways of information.' The art of thinking is largely social. Popular textbook writers such as Quintilian, Boethius, Philipp Melanchthon, John of St. Thomas, Antoine Arnauld, Thomas Reid, Isaac Watts, Richard Whately, William Hamilton, L. Susan Stebbings, and Max Black taught strategies of belief, trust, assent, and even submission as part of reasonableness. The Aristotelian tradition of topics laid the foundation for teaching the handling of testimony and authority. Arnauld was exuberant about the possibilities of reforming Aristotle's structure so as to be more natural and mathematical. Locke was dubious about Arnauld's hopes. Augustine was magisterial and psychological on the subject. Quintilian distinguished methods of handling historical reports from the rough courtroom responsibilities of examining a witness. Anslem experimented with not using testimony, then apologized. Abelard thought it the method of Jews, not philosophers. Cicero warned about problems of divine testimony. Watts offered an extensive checklists for proper discernment of divine and human testimony. Reid and Hamilton thought it best to focus on the practical fact that humans have a social operation in their thinking.
More About the Author
Rick Kennedy (born 11 December 1960) is a former Australian rules footballer who played for Footscray in the Victorian/Australian Football League during the 1980s.
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