Guidelines for rational judgment and dialogue

Guidelines for rational judgment and dialogue

1. The principle of sufficient reason should be applied: everything that is has some reason to be; everything that is not has some reason not to be. Thus reality will be addressed under a conditional, hypothetical, problematic or dialectical mode, rather than under an assertoric or categorical mode.  

2. Everything that happens has meaning, all phenomena are significant: they cannot be taken exclusively in themselves, as isolated events, they reflect in some fashion the nature of reality. Therefore, everything we do happens for reasons, conscious or unconscious, which we can either know or ignore, but that we need to explore.

3. Accidents are merely phenomena where causes, intentions or conditions are not accounted for, and seem arbitrary.

4. Indetermination has to do with human knowledge, its nature, its defects and limitations, and not with objective reality in itself. Any event has to be accounted for with the most probable rationale, until this explanation is proven wrong or insufficient by further events.

5. Certitude is not necessary to make a valid assumption, since such certitude is most likely impossible. Probability is sufficient, mere possibility is insufficient, except to provide an objection, when we need to problematize a proposition.

6. All judgments are susceptible to revision since absolute certitude is a theoretical impossibility. All assertions are limited in value, content and application, constrained by determined paradigms and conditions of possibility, including the present assertion.

7. Exceptions can overthrow a judgment to the extent they are significant, in number or in content; otherwise they merely confirm the rule. Accidents are events that happen unintentionally and unexpectedly. They are insignificant unless they are repetitive, repeatable or substantial. At which point they have to be accounted for through new principles.

8. For all human actions, some intention and knowledge should be presupposed, even if unconscious, unless proven otherwise. The mind is never neutral: our desires, feelings, emotions and thoughts shape our relationship to the world and to ourselves.

9. All knowledge of events and beings should be used as an access to reality through rationality, since nothing is deprived a priori from meaning or significance. Any particular being or event potentially reveals the totality of reality.

10. Indetermination only occurs within a context of determination. Otherwise it becomes meaningless, denying any possibility of reason and knowledge.

11. Beliefs, intuitions, opinions and feelings form the substrate of our being and thinking, but they should remain available to any argument, reason or evidence provided, directly or indirectly, from our own observations and thoughts, or from other persons’, to the extent those data seem grounded.

12. Our personal views of the world constitute the basis for our own thinking, but this particular perspective should be conscious of otherness and remain open to common sense, objective reality and other singular perspectives, in order to be susceptible to broadening, revision and improvement. Our particular visions of reality should be looked at from the standpoint of their own limits, from the outside.

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