Considering that reason (or the application thereof) is the use of known knowledge based on objective reality and its facts to make conjectures and formulate ideas, how can this be applied to the arts and humanities? Do these fields have "known knowledge" that we can base theories on?
We know reason is vital for the sciences, but how does that translate over to the arts and humanities?
asked Dec 25 '12 at 03:04
Objectivism defines reason as "the faculty that identifies and integrates the material provided by man's senses." (See "Reason" in The Ayn Rand Lexicon.) Why would this human faculty be inapplicable to the arts and humanities? Why couldn't man observe issues in the arts and humanities, and identify and integrate what he observes?
The question asks whether the arts and humanities have "known knowledge" from which other knowledge is deduced by means of logic. The question asks this because of the following: "reason (or the application thereof) is the use of known knowledge based on objective reality and its facts to make conjectres and formulate ideas...." This formulation is correct to begin with knowledge based on objective reality. The tie to reality differentiates this formulation from type 1 misintegration (M1) described by Leonard Peikoff in his book, The DIM Hypothesis. Unfortunately, the formulation remains more similar to M1 than to 'I' (integration) in its emphasis on logical deduction. (M1 basically consists in deduction from a priori truths.) In the 'I' approach (endorsed by Objectivism), logical deduction has a more limited role. Objectivism defines logic as "the art of non-contradictory identification." (See "Logic" in The Ayn Rand Lexicon.) It is an important tool in the process of discovering and correcting contradictions and thereby achieving integration, but it is not the essence of reason.
If the arts and humanities today do not have any "known knowledge based on objective reality and its facts," why not? And why wouldn't that be the appropriate place to begin in applying reason to the arts and humanities, i.e., identifying and integrating the material provided by man's senses in order to form knowledge that is "based on objective reality and its facts"?
One can also point to The DIM Hypothesis itself as a powerful example of how reason can be applied in the arts and humanities.
In a comment, the questioner asks about the relation between reason and induction, particularly as regards forming new knowledge. I see induction and deduction both as important aspects of reason, with integration as the most essential and important aspect. I see both deduction and induction as important tools for achieving many types of integrations.
There is a brief excerpt in ITOE that summarizes the nature of deduction and induction in regard to concepts, reprinted in The Ayn Rand Lexicon under the topic of "Induction and Deduction." Concept formation is essentially an inductive process, whereas recognizing concretes as instances of a previously formed concept is essentially a deductive process.
Concepts, in turn, are the building blocks of propositions. Objectivism generally endorses Aristotle's view of what deduction and induction mean, particularly in regard to propositions, i.e., conclusions about concretes. The Glossary of Objectivist Definitions, by Ayn Rand, with additional entries by Leonard Peikoff and Harry Binswanger (edited by Allison T. Kunze and Jean F. Moroney), lists the following:
An Aristotelian definition of induction [is] the process of reasoning from the observation of concretes or individuals to a general or universal conclusion. [Excerpted from Dr. Peikoff's 1974 lecture course, "Introduction to Logic."]
Just as the opposite of induction is deduction, the opposite of integration is differentiation (or disintegration or misintegration in the DIM Hypothesis).
If there is an assumption that reason consists only of induction and deduction, I see it as too narrow a view of reason. Since reason deals with concepts as well as propositions, and with connections and relationships between different types of propositions that may fall outside of either deduction or induction per se, Ayn Rand's definition of reason, emphasizing observation and integration, seems most consistent with the full nature of man's rational faculty.