Arquivo para April 21st, 2022

Reason, Belief and War

21 Apr

The evidence of two world wars, where rationality was challenged by the barbarities of the concentration camps, the atrocities committed, and the Hiroshima bomb is also included, give evidence that it is necessary to examine in depth what built what was called the reason passing through Kant’s critique of pure reason and the critique of practical reason.

At the opening of the book “Disenchantment of the World”, Pierre Bourdieu introduces his analysis of economic and temporal structures as follows: “Those who pose the ritual question of cultural obstacles to economic development are exclusively (i.e., abstractly) interested in “rationalization”. “of conducts, economics and describe as resistances, attributable only to cultural heritage (or, worse still, to one or another of its aspects, Islam for example), all omissions towards the abstract model of “rationality” such as defines economic theory.” (Bourdieu, 1979, pp. 11).

The recent history of our civilizational process develops the physical (and therefore only material) aspect and mathematical calculation, in particular the rationalizations of economic structures, when quoting Max Weber, the author explains: “the very character of the capitalist epoch [writes Max Weber] and – one at the root of the other – the importance of the theory of marginal utility (as well as of the whole theory of value) for the understanding of this epoch consists in that. just as the economic history of countless epochs in the past) has rightly been called “the history of the non-economic”. In the present conditions of life, the approximation of this theory and life was, is, and asks to judge, it will be bigger and bigger and will have to determine the destiny of more and more ample strata of humanity.” (Bourdieu, 1979, pp. 17).

His analysis is too extensive and almost complete (I will explain later) to be summarized here, but the aspect that interests us of the “non-economic” cultural cosmovision, which is that of belief and can be explained in a sentence of his about how he sees the relationship of science and belief: “The paradoxical enterprise that consists in using a position of authority to speak with authority, to teach a lesson, but a lesson in freedom … would be simply inconsequential, or even self-destructive, if ambition itself of making a science of belief did not presuppose belief in science” (Bourdieu, (1994, p. 62), which means that it is necessary to combine reason and belief.

The current war involves these economic (and ideological beliefs, which include religious beliefs), and it is thus neither a practical nor a theoretical reason, peace is possible if we limit beliefs to the common principle of defending peace for the civilizing process (already that the concept of progress is also a belief in a certain sense of “economic history”).

Bourdieu, P. (1979) O desencantamento do mundo: as estruturas econômicas e estruturas temporais. Trad. Silvia Mazza. Brazil, São Paulo: Editora perspectiva.

Bourdieu, Pierre (1994). Lições de aula. (Lessons from the class). Brazil_ São Paulo: Ática, 1994.