The Rationalists

Activists for reason

About

An attempt to have an informed conversation about any topic, from politics to gaming. We come here not to praise ideologies, but to bury them.

Before you ask, no, this site and admins do not advocate violence.

The Rationalists:

That Guy T
Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/user/ThatLibertarianT
Twitter: @_ThatGuyT

ShoeOnHead
Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/user/Shoe0nHead
Twitter:@shoe0nhead

6oodfella
Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/user/6oodfella
Twitter: @6ame
Patreon: http://www.patreon.com/6oodfella

Justicar
Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/user/integralmath
Twitter: @Integralmathyt
Patreon: http://www.patreon.com/Justicar

Skeptorr
Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/user/skeptorr
Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/skeptorr
Twitter: @SkepTorr

Vernaculis
Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/c/vernaculis
Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/Vernaculis
Twitter: @Vernaculis

Sargon of Akkad
Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/user/SargonofAkkad100/
Twitter: @Sargon_of_Akkad
Patreon: http://www.patreon.com/Sargon

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9 thoughts on “About

  1. “The rationalists” is a misnomer since none of you are rationalists.

    None of the videos I’ve seen (which include most of Sargon’s) suggest that:

    (a) We can know something is true by intuition alone
    (b) We can know something is true because certain knowledge is part of human nature
    (c) Sense experience can trigger innate knowledge of concepts

    To be a rationalist you’d have to believe at least one of the above. Basically it is essential to believe human beings are created with innate knowledge. This commitment often leads, unsurprisingly, to some strange views. Strange because ‘innate ideas’ are a strange idea in themelves especially when we start to think about how we know our ideas are innate and how we came to have them.

    The imagery you have chosen for your site is very strange: Descartes and Plato. Both of these philosophers would be highly critical of your videos. Not the production value but the ideas expressed and the methods by which you reach your conclusions. There’s no time to go into that but I’d like to discuss the choice of imagery for the site.

    Your figurehead at the top of the page, Descartes, believed that the source of this innate knowledge was God and wrote his Meditations to defend this idea: “of all the ideas that are in me, the idea that I have of God is the most true, the most clear and distinct.” Of course Descartes is against the idea of revelation (as a way of knowing the truth about God) because he believed reason alone proved the existence of a single creator of the universe. Which is why he was criticized and accused of deism by the likes of Pascal.

    Descartes had very little time for atheists, people he considered self-proclaimed experts with little real understanding. The Meditations were published to give good Catholics the tools to reveal to atheists that their arguments were weak and superficial. This doesn’t mean that you have to agree with him to call yourselves rationalists but it seems strange for atheists to have as their header image a man who considered atheists to be scolists. (I’m thinking of Sargon in particular only because I’ve heard him say he’s an atheist and criticise Christians).

    Your banner image is taken from Raphael’s “The School of Athens” with Plato in the centre. Plato, a rationalist, argued that innate knowledge was put into humans by the demiurge or creator of the universe. You’ll notice that in the image Plato is pointing up at the sky; what he is pointing at is the ‘World of the Forms’. This is another world that contains the essences of objects and ideas. Here on Earth we can see many different examples of say, tables, but these are only copies (or shadows) of the “ideal table” that only exists up in the World of the Forms. We can replace table with horse, the colour red, etc. We only know about the truth of things because our creator gave us innate knowledge of the forms.

    This belief led Plato to call for a ban on art, theatre, poetry and so on because these are copies of a copy and thus totally inferior. His Republic, an analysis of justice avocates for a caste system based on a (‘noble’) lie and offers a blueprint for a totalitarian state.

    Next to Plato in the image is stood Aristotle. He is depicted stretching his arm outwards pointing to the here and now. Raphael is drawing attention to the split between rationalism and empiricism; the latter claiming we only gain knowledge from our experience of the world. By labelling yourselves “rarionalists” you chose Plato.

    Very few people today would consider themselve “rationalists” since the disastrous excesses of the French Revoution. (The same goes, Sargon, for “classical liberalism”)

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  2. George B.
    Very true obviously but the choice of who should represent these Rationalists on their site I think is more to harken back to the founders of logical progressive thinking(I mean progresses in logical steps rather than progressive for the time). Even if such thinkers had some really unfounded thoughts on topics including the nature of reality and the nature of what might have caused(if you can call it that) reality or the universe or whatever, they were philosophers in the true sense of the word.
    They truly cared about understanding the knowledge and wisdom of the world, and so do these self proclaimed rationalists

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  3. Dear Sargon and Company,

    I am feeling something that in the past could only be described, through similarity in description, as the absurd a la Camus. Last night I was reading Phenomenology of Self Conscious and under the chapter ‘Stoicism, Skepticism and the Unhappy Consciousness’ page 109 where the skepticism I have acquired and built, which led me to your videos recently when I began questioning liberalism and/or parts that evidence seemed lacking, is remarkably similar to the skepticism Hegel draws upon. Full disclosure, Hume introduced me to philosophy and therefore broke away my dogmatic slumbering.

    I will try to be brief. Hegel describes the end result of skepticism as a global skepticism, which I too have found to be the result of inquiry via skepticism, but that it turns into a “negative knowledge” (109.) “We can know nothing and we cannot know nothing” and if we can’t know that we don’t know, the process further negates itself. While I concur with the aspect of freedom arising in this feeling or consciousness it pertains an overwhelming isolation and tends toward rather negative [depending on one’s perception i guess] consequences, such as relativism which just doesn’t sit right with me. For this reason, for lack of a better description and method for truthness, I have found you and others who use practical philosophy, supplying evidence for facts to attain veracity, and for lack of something better the closest approximate to any true perception of the UNiverse and our own consciousness must relie on consistency through our measurements, whether they be from our senses or from scientific instruments. Still, I feel an unrest that has cost my consciousness to be “lost” as Hegel puts it, due to its constantly affirming and denying itself. What began as a personal process through epistemological thinking now enters, i believe, the ontological one. What does my level or lack thereof of knowledge mean for my existence. It can truly be a wonderful but also terrifying experience because there exists an aloneness that goes far beyond Descartes meditations, perhaps. I don’t know [of course]

    Have you or anyone felt this? Is this what Hegel describes? or Camus? of Jung’s shadow ego? I am nearing the end of a decade long history as a functioning [highly functioning] addict, including the use of methamphetamine two to three times a day for the last two years [after quitting everything else, a horrible happenstance of coincidence that when i finally left that world behind me i met one person who only sold one thing. Therefore, while some may suspect, no one has ever openly asked if I was on/ back on drugs] I left this part of my anecdote last because I felt you might subconsciously pre-judge based on the particular final drug I am battling with and the current media narrative that those who use it are caricartures out of breaking bad.

    I have enjoyed your videos and am thankful that I found them to further my inquiries toward the political realm and not just those of traditional philosophy, helping me to make more informed decisions. If you any advice or insight for the kind of conclusion that my skepticism or that described by Hegel has formed, I would be quite interested in hearing it.

    All peace always amig@s

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