Phaneroscopy, Semeiotic, Logic
An Appraisal of the Faculty of Reasoning
A query lately appeared in these columns that seems worthy of being followed out. It was whether, in case a given planet were known to be the habitation of a race of high psychical development, and that in the direction of knowledge, it would be safely presumable that that race was able to reason as man does.
Next after the laws of inanimate nature and after sense-perception, nothing works so uniformly and smoothly as the instinct of the lower animals. A downright blunder on the part of instinct is extremely rare, to say the least, while our reasoning goes entirely wrong and reaches conclusions quite contrary to the truth and unwarranted by its premises with such distressing frequency that an incessant watch has to be maintained against these lapses. As for small divergences from strict logic, they are to be found in the majority of human inferences. We may as well acknowledge that man’s self-flattery about his “reason,” though we all indulge in it, is prodigiously exaggerated. Reason itself winks satirically in its boasting, and broadly hints at its own mendacity; and yet were some divinity to offer to exchange any man’s logical faculty for that “Intuition” that is usually attributed to women,—the intuition promised reaching, however, the same pitch of perfection as the instinct of bees and seals, or even so much higher, how many, think ye, would close with the offer? Hastily to conclude that such an exchange would result in making...
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