Unpublished 222. Review of The Limits of Reason (typed)

[1961. Review of The Limits of Reason, by George Boas. Christianity Today (May 8).]


The Limits of Reason, by George Boas (Harper, 1961, 162 pp., $3.75), is reviewed by Gordon H. Clark, Professor of Philosophy, Butler University.

George Boas “is highly skeptical of the claims of logicians and scientists [and] more sympathetic to the non-rational modes of thinking” (p. 15). In the first half of the book he uses clever and interesting examples, of varying value, to show that nature is flux, concepts are artificial, and science is over-simplification. Th meaning of reason changes, however. On one page reason is logic; on another “reason would tell us to make any sacrifice in order to avoid” World War III (p. 61). Now, this may be Communistic propaganda to demoralize the free nations, but it is not reasons.

Then turning to linguistics the author teaches that all language is figurative because the basic terms are spatial. Creation ex nihilo is a myth. To condemn euthanasia and approve capital punishment is inconsistent. The astrophysicist has pushed back the entrance to heaven and the atomic physicist has opened the gates of hell. A literal statement, then, is a statement whose metaphorical character has been forgotten.

In conclusion, reason demands that everything be expressed in differential equations; that everything be linked together in a causal chain; and that everything be caught up in an invariant network of relations. Reason therefore excludes are and religion because the law of contradiction is inconsistent with change.