Rationality isn’t everything. There are many domains of life to which it lacks access. The greatest mysteries of existence exceed its reach. Still, our reason is the best faculty we have to safeguard our integrity.
Most people do not understand the correct use of arguments by inference and the proper use of logical forms, so they conduct themselves in a random, overly reactive, or muddled fashion and are easily misled.
Clear thinking is not bloodless art. Reason’s job is to critically test our conjectures, both our interpretations and our method of arriving at them. Reason is not an end by an indispensable instrument.
Questions are the engines of reason. Thus you need to learn how to frame questions sensibly, rather than emotionally. If your ability to think clearly is compromised, your moral life can become fuzzy and equivocal.
Reason can distinguish error from the truth and a deep truth from a petty one. The marks of good reasoning are clarity, consistency, rigor, precision of definitions, and avoidance of ambiguity.
Hasten to your training in clear thinking so you can confidently enter a complex argument and not be thrown by it.
The Art of Living
By Epictetus, Translated by Sharon Lebell