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[27] Reactions to Rationalism.doc
[27] Reactions to Rationalism.doc

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University of Toronto St. George
Kenneth Bartlett

February 28, 2011 Reaction to Rationalism - enlightenment mode - began with world w/ Galilee, descartes - Darwin & darwinism continued - Human reason th - Reason for powerful belif in progress, acceptance of gifts made abialbe by 19 c. Culture - Law of acceleration = humans were most civilized than they ever had been because they lived in rational, structured universe - Those who rejected conventional middle-class rationalism -- prgress was bad - All the problems of the world WON’T go away just because we have science and technology - Belief that there’s a challenge - driven by issues - terrible experiences that made them question progress - Won’t accept rationalism - fRENCH felt this way - esp because of franco-prussian war, paris commune --> question maybe they aren;t rational at all nd - 2 empire napoleon III - frenchmen felt betrayed by rationalism - Anti-rationslist = Les Déracinés (the uprooted -- uprooted from world and culture that had raised them and are cut off because they feel reason is a feaud - Let’s give up and be sad - hedonism = let’s just be drunk because the world’s going to hell; astehetisim = only truth is in beauty; religion = reason doesn’t work, let’s let God fix - Above: good solutions - combined -- extreme nationalism, anti-Semitism, authoritarianism (look to hero to save us so we won’t have to think b/c thinking is bad) --> form french right- wing, fascists - Thinkers, writers, politicians - Reduce role of rational, reasonable middle --> you’re either with them or against them - Belief in rationalism, reason, seeing naPOloeon III as utopian socialists --> collapsed - Europe in genral - growing interest in irrational, unconscious, talking to the dead, etc --> reac- tion against science, reason, rationalism - Philosophers, psychologists, artists -- raised irrationality to creative world, look for vocabulary to explain the irrational - Came to recognized - Sigmund Freud (1856-1939) - hypnosis (getting through reason), interpreting dreams -- human mind did possess powerful, fundamental, irrational side --> tried to give it a scientific reality by analyzing unconscious - Darwinian - like animals, we have instincts (no reason) and follow them - Belief in non-rational, non-learned, instinctive response - Ivan Pavlov (1849-1936) - condition animals to program them to act in a certain way -- condi- tioned dogs => conditioned humans? - You can condition a physiological response to psychological reaction - Behaviorism = humans are purely physiological creatures - M. Barrès, Les Déracinés - our intellect - what a small thing on the surface of ourselves (reason is just a small part of ourselves) --> tyou’ll always follow instinct b/w you can’t control your in- stincts with reason - Freud didn’t like behaviorism -- unconscious mind (id) is more powerful than conscious mind (ego) - Humans are motivated by most basic urges: power, self-preservation, sex - Society = superego -- suppresses urges so we no longer recognize them even though they’re there; occasionally surface - Building on irrational aspects of human condition - pavlov and freud bring new insights to hu- man condition (human behavior) - Both = like Darwin? - But their theories challenged primacy of reason and that reason can enable you to get to a goal (dominant view in society) th - Without reason - all movements of 19 c. Collapse - we are in control of own destiny - Continuation of enlighment mode - But if we’re motivated by s/t beyond reason -- society has no reason because society - Progress, change = meaningless and irrational th - World of irrational swirling - critics challenge things reason built in 19 c - Artists saw themselves at forefront of challenge to reason - world not determined by viewing things in a rational, organized way - Artists: say let’s go beyond “pretty things” and look to deeper, subconscious of nature and hu- manity => alternative realitty - Create darker vision - There isn’t collective experience -- the mind of the artist imagines and gives insight into your own mind - Marcel Proust (1871-1922) - symbolist truth -- what you see
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