Before I get to some items of casual interest, I wanted to note some further unpacking of the concept or idea of holistic reasoning.
It was extremely interesting to read some of the comments, going back several posts, regarding my use of the term “holistic reasoning”. One would have thought I had written “rainbows and unicorns”. I was told over and over this was “my” method only and something peculiar to me alone. No, not at all. In fact, as noted again and again, it is the only method available to anyone who breathes, has brain waves (and no brain damage), and walks upright. It is everyone’s method. Welcome to the club. Welcome to being human.
And, of course, I noted several times what I meant by the term. Everyone, whether they are aware of it or not, whether it was “caught or taught” inhabits a narrative of belief, a philosophical perspective regarding the core truths of what they believe about existence, reality, themselves, others, and so on. There is a story about existence they believe is objectively, factually, and “really” True. True whether everyone believes it or not. This is a fact, whether one is a religious person, an atheist, or agnostic. How we arrive, how we become to inhabit these narratives, is complicated but they are initially adopted by faith. We might liken it to falling in love with someone. We simply believe it is right and True—capital “t” true. For instance, when someone tells us the material is all that exists, and that morality is subjective and relative, they believe that to be objectively True, capital “t” true for everyone, in all times and places. But that is only the beginning. Whether or not we are really in love with this person, whether or not this narrative we inhabit is indeed True, is where the idea of holistic reasoning comes into play.
When we think about the process of reflection and reasoning (when we begin to ask ourselves why we believe what we do), because of modernity (another narrative), we normally associate it with pure logic, rational, analytical, linear, and objective. However, even most modernists, even most analytical philosophers now admit this to be a very truncated and shallow, if not completely false, view of reflection and reasoning. It is now admitted that much more goes into reflection and reasoning. We bring the totality of ourselves to any reflection and reasoning. There is a myriad of factors in play: Geography, family history, experience, culture, religion (or lack thereof), education, and personality just to name a few. Intuition, our “gut” feelings are also an aspect.
We never approach a fact or information objectively, as if all of a sudden, we stepped outside ourselves for a moment and stood suspended in the air. Now, does that mean we cannot be objective or fair? No, of course not. In fact, once we understand this postmodern realization, once we understand we are never as objective as we think, we are actually more likely to be objective and fair. It is the person who can’t see their own prejudices who is the least objective. Another aspect of holistic reasoning, is that it regards philosophy, and all that comprises the humanities as valuable sources of knowledge, and knowledge as important, if not more so, than that produced by science or empiricism. This should be simple to see: What is more important, the scientific knowledge to build a gun, or the wisdom to know how and when to use such? Or as the Dr. Martin Luther King once said, “We have guided missiles, but misguided men.” Regardless, I doubt any reasonable person, presently, would object or doubt this is true as far as the fact we reason holistically and not in purely logical, analytical (although those aspects are present as well) ways or methods.
So, when I speak of holistic reasoning, I speak of a commonly accepted idea and concept—one held by the mainstream of philosophers, regardless the school. Of course, those inhabiting the narrative of empiricism/philosophical naturalism are always suspicious of such a view because they know it undercuts their view that the narrative they inhabit is founded differently than all the others. This essay, regarding the scientific method, notes aspects of my view regarding holistic reasoning, but it also notes the push-back (the writer’s response to comments toward the end) from those who, clearly missed his point.
As to holistic reasoning, an aspect already discussed is noted here:
“…My essay’s point, however, was to encourage us to think of good investigative thinking and problem solving as spread through all of the disciplines that comprise human knowledge. I realize that people who exclude, for example, poetry and philosophy from our collective human knowledge of nature and of ourselves, may be hard to convince…Many of those who have simply dismissed philosophy (and poetry and other nonscientific areas of inquiry and expression), including some prominent scientists, have done so without displaying any evidence that they’ve ever worked through what they’re criticizing. Scientists often react strongly when their work is criticized by those who know very little about science, often with good cause. This is a two-way street. It does not seem wise for those who are unwilling or unable to work through challenging philosophical theories (including theories of scientific method) to simply dismiss them all. Where’s the objectivity in that?”
Finally, as also noted in an earlier post, to discount or object to holistic reasoning would be self-defeating. To do so, would require that one employ…holistic reasoning. It is inescapable. Again, it is not my method but the method of every human being with normal cognitive activity.
Okay, moving on…
If there is no evidence, is that evidence for something? If so, what?
More on the “conflict” or clash thesis…
“…So, just to sum up. I believe that science gives us a distinct way of looking at the world and knowing about it, and one that’s of unique importance. But I regret the fact that, in order for this to be self-evident to us, it needs to be supported by the spurious idea that science and religion are in conflict. I think that idea says rather more about us as a society than it does about science and religion.”
As I write this, it is the inauguration of the president elect—Voldemort I believe was his name. Whoops, I guess I shouldn’t have named him. My bad. A sad day for me, and no doubt the majority who voted (he lost the popular vote). But I will pray for him and I do hope my prayers are heard. Lord, have mercy.