Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Will and Reason

I have blogged much about Will and Reason, usually by talking up the role of Will as determining the context in which we reason and downplaying Reason as doing the grunt work once Will determines the axioms and values. It has occurred to me lately, though, that Will without Reason is limp.

Without Reason to provide models and pictures, Will has no form or direction. I want, but the want has no structure. Maybe we could call it dissatisfaction: it does not quite rise to the level of moving us to act, but it does ensure that we sleep poorly. It is only after Reason provides us with Concepts, Relations, and Paths that our Will actually takes on a form and compels us to motion.

Suppose a man is dissatisfied. There is nothing he can do about it. Suppose the man observes that after lifting weights there is muscle growth, and after cardio there is weight loss, and that after eating some foods his muscles are larger and feel better and after eating other foods his gut becomes larger. Reason allows him to define concepts like Hypertrophy, Caloric Deficit, and Nutrition and it allows him to relate proper Nutrition to Caloric Deficit and Hypertrophy, finally showing him the consequences that result from his actions relevant to these concepts.

Only with the model does his dissatisfaction become something like Will-to-Health or Will-to-Strength. Prior to the model, it's just a little groan he gives when he grabs his gut fat.

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