Category Archives: Semantics

It’s time to drive a stake through the heart of Objectivism

John Van Eyssen and Valerie Gaunt

I’m not sure how I ended up here. But I did.

The desire for the unearned has two aspects: the unearned in matter and the unearned in spirit. (By “spirit” I mean: man’s consciousness.) These two aspects are necessarily interrelated, but a man’s desire may be focused predominantly on one or the other. The desire for the unearned in spirit is the more destructive of the two and the more corrupt. It is a desire for unearned greatness; it is expressed (but not defined) by the foggy murk of the term “prestige.” . . .

Unearned greatness is so unreal, so neurotic a concept that the wretch who seeks it cannot identify it even to himself: to identify it, is to make it impossible. He needs the irrational, undefinable slogans of altruism and collectivism to give a semiplausible form to his nameless urge and anchor it to reality—to support his own self-deception more than to deceive his victims.

– Ayn Rand in “The Monument Builders,” The Virtue of Selfishness

And I was mortified. Just a few days ago I accused Rand of this.

The conventions that govern our use of stipulative definitions demand that any use of a word stipulatively defined is preceded with the appropriate disclaimer, i.e., “In what follows, I use ‘X’ to mean ‘Y’. Rand rode roughshod over this convention with cavalier contempt.

But in these two paragraphs (the Ayn Rand Lexicon entry on Prestige) not only does Rand adhere to the rules meticulously, – (By “spirit” I mean: man’s consciousness.) – she levels the very same charge at those who desire unearned greatness that I’d leveled at her.

I hastily posted an embarrassed retraction to atone for my rush to judgement. 🙁

But then I realised. I’d thought I was wrong but actually I was right. The two paragraphs do not exonerate Rand. They seal her doom.

Rand knew the rules. She knew the danger of ambiguity. She acknowledged the need of one who seeks unearned greatness for “irrational, undefinable slogans … to give a semiplausible form to his nameless urge and anchor it to reality—to support his own self-deception more than to deceive his victims.”

And she went and broke the rules. She capitalised on the foggy murk of the very ambiguities she introduced to underwrite her egoistic creed. She satiated her need for prestige with the irrational, undefinable slogans of Objectivism – not to support her own self-deception but to deceive her wretched victims – her own followers.

Rand knew exactly what she was doing.

If I’m not wrong, I’ve resolved something that has long puzzled me. You see, I’ve spent considerable time in the virtual company of Rand’s deluded disciples. And over the course of that time I’ve developed a grudging respect for Objectivism’s founder. The lady was smart, super-smart. But her philosophy simply doesn’t stack up.

It was never meant to stack up. It’s a philosophy for life on earth. Rand’s life on Earth, surrounded by an inner-circle of adoring sycophants. And her philosophy served its purpose. It created an army of hapless dupes in thrall to their evil dominatrix.

Rand earned her greatness. But what shall she give in return for her soul?

Say what you mean and mean what you say


Have you considered an egg?

Consider Humpty Dumpty, the world’s most famous egg.

I poached the following passage from Lewis Carroll’s Through the Looking-Glass (1872), where Humpty discusses semantics and pragmatics with Alice.

“I don’t know what you mean by ‘glory’,” Alice said.

Humpty Dumpty smiled contemptuously. “Of course you don’t – till I tell you. I meant ‘there’s a nice knock-down argument for you!'”

“But ‘glory’ doesn’t mean ‘a nice knock-down argument’,” Alice objected.

“When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean – neither more nor less.”

“The question is,” said Alice, “whether you can make words mean so many different things.”

“The question is,” said Humpty Dumpty, “which is to be master – that’s all.”

What an egg-otist! Whosoever exalteth himself shall be abased. It’s no wonder Humpty Dumpty had a great fall.

A long time ago I was a philosophy student at Otago University. And one exam time I was looking at some past exam papers and came across the following exam question: What is the meaning of a word?

It’s a simple question with a simple answer. The meaning of a word is determined by the conventions that govern its use. This is no mere platitude. It’s philosophical orthodoxy and has been since David Lewis – ranked by his peers as the third most important philosopher of the twentieth century – published Convention: A Philosophical Study (1969). Platitude. Orthodoxy. Truth.

The meaning of a word is determined by the conventions that govern its use.

Alice is right. ‘Glory’ doesn’t mean ‘a nice knock-down argument’. You can’t make words mean so many different things. You can’t make ‘glory’ mean ‘a nice knock-down argument’ on your own, any more than you can determine the next government by casting a single vote. What’s more, one of the conventions that governs the use of the term ‘glory’ is the convention of correcting people when they use the word to mean something else. Our linguistic conventions have a built-in inertia that safeguards our very ability to communicate.

Humpty Dumpty’s semantics was scrambled a long time before he met the same fate.


Sense of Life Objectivists (SOLO) is the world’s foremost forum for disciples of Ayn Rand. Go there and check out the banner at the top-right of every page. Every few page loads it advises

Say what you mean, and mean what you say

It’s good advice. But, SOLO being the hive of hypocrisy that it is, well, you’d hardly expect its delusional denizens to take it, would you? No, you wouldn’t and they don’t.

Recently, I’ve been following (one side of) a conversation on SOLO. An Objectivist said this.

What did you understand I meant by “human (i.e. existential) survival”? Let me tell you, because I think you misinterpreted me. I meant what Ayn Rand meant by it, namely, living in accordance with man’s identity as having the potential to be a heroic being

This has the more general form.

What did you think I meant by ‘X’? I meant ‘Y’.

To which I respond, if you meant ‘Y’, why didn’t you find the word or words which actually mean what you meant, and use those instead? To enter into a philosophical discussion is to commit to upholding certain standards of rational debate. It is inexcusable to say ‘X’ when you mean ‘Y’. I know, I’ve done it myself. I’ve said ‘X’ when I meant ‘Y’. And I’ve apologised. There is simply no excuse for not saying what you mean, let alone any entitlement to use words any which way. Why should other participants in the debate have to take time out to establish the meaning of your every utterance? It’s an imposition.

There’s another problem. Words have meanings. Their meanings are determined by the conventions that govern their use. Their meanings are not determined by you on an ad lib basis as you see fit on any given occasion. Consider the case of someone who habitually says ‘X’ but means something else. (In other words, consider an Objectivist.) The Objectivist tells us he actually meant ‘Y’. But what does he mean by ‘Y’? Perhaps by ‘Y’ he means ‘Z’?

This can go two ways. One is an infinite regress of stipulative definitions. The other is a regress that stops when the Objectivist tells you that what *he* actually means is the same as what the *words* he uses actually mean. But if the Objectivist is demonstrably capable of using words to mean what the words mean, as he is in the latter case, he is without excuse for not using words to mean what they actually mean in the first place.

We use words to talk about reality. The constant redefinition of ordinary words that goes on in Objectivist circles has the inevitable consequence that the relations of reference that obtain between words and the world come unstuck.

Ayn Rand described herself as an advocate of reason. I know what ‘reason’ means. I don’t know what Rand meant by ‘reason’ but I know what she didn’t mean. She didn’t mean reason.

A Mathematician Debunks Atheist Evolutionism. Lennox vs Dawkins


I love how Dawkin’s hangs his disdain for the word ‘faith’ … according to his own warped definition of the term. And this is a fundamental Sophist Semantic Delusion… an anti-concept purposely designed to make Faith look ridiculous. Lennox annihilated Dawkins puerile argument that belief in a creator tends towards and is a product of Intellectual sloth! He was able to show that not only was it Faith in a God of REASON which spurred the idea that the universe was *Rationally constructed and therefore comprehensible, But also that increasing scientific wisdom and discovery increases reverence for the Creator!

Dawkins contradicts himself? One minute he is saying Theism is Anti science… and intellectual sloth, the next he is admitting that Theism / creationism is making Scientific claims! Haha!
Dawkins has shot himself in the foot here. It is one thing to say theistic Faith is Anti-science, and quite another to say it is Bad science.

The greatest aspect of the Theism/ atheism debate is that Atheists are delusional about holding a monopoly on science… because of their worship of Naturalism… They think *their myths* are somehow ‘more rational’ because they are cloaked in naturalistic jargon…. and conversely, they foolishly assume that because Theists believe in a Super- Nature above and beyond the laws of physics that they have utterly abandoned all claims to science… and that their notions of creationism… because they involve intelligence which is not a naturalistic law, or property of matter…. are somehow more absurd that their own far fetched Fantasies. And yet Design is by far the most Rational reason for the existence of such things as man than the blind forces of Nature, and belief in a Super nature does not negate belief and understanding of mundane nature also … atheists really are pitiful creatures!
“The fool hath said in his heart there is no God”.

Read more…

Multiplying Absurdities Equals Certainty… The Math Magic of Modern Atheist Astrologers!

You’re no fun(ction) any more


This post continues the discussion on Tim’s post The Ludicrous Claims of Evolution! Why not ESP?

In comments on Tim’s post, Terry (who is both an Evolutionist and an Objectivist) says

a camera is NOT an eye (nor is an audio recorder an ear, etc). A camera is a piece of equipment used to record images, whereas an eye is an organ of sight. The former mimics the functions of the latter, but apart from that they are worlds apart.

simply because human technology [has] been built so as to mimic certain biological functions does not justify grounds for claiming that the reverse applies and that biology can therefore ‘possibly’ mimic human inventions via the process of evolution. … Evolution is not a creative process – it is an entirely responsive process, which means that new functionality only develops and is maintained in response to the need to survive.

Terry has just committed Objectivism’s “stolen concept” fallacy and violated a fundamental tenet of Evolutionism! Doubleplusungood!

According to Evolutionism, there are no biological functions. The eye, for example, is an organ of sight, but the eye has no purpose. Its function is not to see. It has no function.

According to Evolutionism, there are no biological malfunctions, either. A blind eye, by definition, is not an organ of sight. A blind eye has not malfunctioned, because there is nothing it is supposed to do. An eye has no purpose to be fit for.

If it’s the case that the eye was designed for a purpose, as Creationists claim, then we can say that the function of the eye is to see, and that there is something wrong with an eye that does not see. It ain’t doing what it’s supposed to do, and if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch. But Evolutionism is quite explicit that no biological organ is designed for any purpose. As Dawkins says

Biology is the study of complicated things which give the appearance of having been designed for a purpose

and, as Terry himself puts it, “Evolution is not a creative process – it is an entirely responsive process.”

Evolution according to Evolutionists is a blind, stochastic process. Any appearance of design, purpose or function is just an appearance. The reason that we have eyes that see is simply because having eyes that see helped our ancestors to survive. But eyes do not, in virtue of their evolutionary history, ever acquire a purpose or a proper function.

All talk of biological functions is pre-Darwinian. Consistent Evolutionists should not talk of biological functions. If they do, they must explain that their use of the word ‘function’ is just shorthand for facts about an organism’s evolutionary history. If they don’t, they are guilty of Ayn Rand’s stolen concept fallacy.

The “stolen concept” fallacy, first identified by Ayn Rand, is the fallacy of using a concept while denying the validity of its genetic roots, i.e., of an earlier concept(s) on which it logically depends.

The concepts of ‘function’ and ‘purpose’ logically depend on the concept of a Creator. They are pre-Darwinian. Evolutionists have no right to use them.

Thou shalt not quack


The following is an op-ed by former (?) television newsreader and interviewer Lindsay Perigo, originally published online at But don’t read it there, and don’t read it here, either. Read it on Stuff Nation, where, in just a couple of days, Perigo’s piece has attracted 490 comments (last time I checked). Nice one, Linz!

Kiwi accent killing the news

I wonder how many television viewers there are like me for whom watching the six o’clock news on TVNZ or TV3 was until recently a staple of their daily routine, but who now repair to online sources for their news because the network bulletins have become unwatchable – or more precisely, unlistenable?

An army of airheads has been let loose on the airwaves who have no business being anywhere near a microphone sounding the way they do. They don’t speak, they quack.

Many newsreaders and most reporters on flagship news bulletins now sound like panicked ducks at the start of the shooting season.

Their employers, far from being alarmed by the situation and sending their uneducated charges off for remedial speech training, embrace the barbarian triumph as a victory for the authentic Kiwi accent. It is nothing of the sort.

The quacking epidemic spawned by TVNZ and TV3 is now a national plague and an international joke, an unseemly blight on a nation claiming to be civilised.

In recent times, high-profile commentators Karl du Fresne, Sir Robert Jones, Deborah Coddington and Janet Wilson (herself a former television reporter) have rung alarm bells about it.

The newsreaders’ quacking, droning, grunting and mumbling are our worst form of noise pollution.

Their “yeah-no,” “you-know,” “like, like,” “awesome,” “cool,” “wodevva,” and so on are the bane of coherent conversation. Their mangled vowels and muddied consonants make swine sound educated.

They are clueless about the distinction between “children” and “choowdren,” “Wellington” and “Wawwington,” “vulnerable” and “vunrable,” “the six o’clock news” and “the sucks o’clock news,” “showers” and “showwwwwwaz,” “known” and “knowen,” “well” and “wow,” “health” and “howth,” “New Zealand” and “New Zilland”.

The locus of their emissions is not the mouth, but the nose. Their assault on the English language is a [N]ational scandal. Theirs is not an accent; it is a disease.

In their childlike glottal stops (“thuh office”), their selective emphasis that is 100 per cent wrong (hitting conjunctions and prepositions —”Woow arroyv UN Wawwington ET sucks o’clock”), their spluttering nasality, their dim-witted droning and silly sing-song, their inability to scan ahead and phrase intelligently, our reporters are stuck at the level of an infant.

It may be that they are not truly “airheads”, but they certainly seem like airheads with such retarded speech patterns.

No, one is not demanding they speak like the Queen, but is it too much to ask that they sound like educated adults?

All that attention to how they look, and none whatsoever to how they sound! (Except when articulating Maori words. If it’s good enough for Maori, why not English?)

One of my pupils, a budding TV actor barely in his 20s, confessed that he was in deathly fear of being made to sound “posh.”

Sounding “posh,” he believed, would activate Tall Poppy Syndrome, be “uncool” and jeopardise his career.

By “posh” he evidently meant “plummy, like Sam Neill,” whose career doesn’t seem to have suffered for it.

I pointed to the impeccably Kiwi rugby commentary duo of Grant Nisbett and Tony Johnson both of whom speak clearly and well without sounding remotely “plummy.”

And what about the beautifully-spoken Sir Paul Holmes? Or Eric Young and Alistair Wilkinson on Sky?

What does it matter, the barbarians’ cheerleaders will ask, as long as we get the gist of what they’re saying? Dominion Post columnist Karl du Fresne answered this as follows:

‘‘I have heard it argued that none of this matters as long as we can understand what people are saying, to which my response is twofold. First, it’s physically painful to listen to some of these awful voices torturing the language; and second, it’s getting to the point where we can’t understand them. It’s only a matter of time before we’ll need subtitles on the TV news bulletins to explain what some female journalists and newsreaders are saying.’’

A New Zealand in which quacking is as universal as it’s threatening to become will intellectually bankrupt us. Its democracy will be a travesty of freedom as vapid voters who routinely quack inanities such as “Yeah, no, I’m like, oh my god, that’s so totally awesome” will thus mindlessly endorse the most unconscionable bribes offered by the most unscrupulous politicians.

Not only being able to watch the news again, but also freedom and civilisation themselves, are at stake.

[Reproduced without permission. Whatever.]

Is there a hyphen in ‘gay marriage’?

Is there a hyphen in the term ‘gay marriage’? No. ‘Gay’ and ‘marriage’ are two separate words.

But the English language is a dynamic, evolving entity. The general pattern is this. New terms formed from two words become hyphenated as the term comes into common use. When the term becomes established, the hyphen is dropped, and the new term becomes a new word in its own right.

A familiar example is the word ’email’. This word started out as the two-word phrase ‘electronic mail’.


As soon as “electronic mail” came into common use with the advent of the Internet, the term ‘electronic mail’ became hyphenated (and simultaneously the word ‘electronic’ was abbreviated to ‘e’) and ‘electronic mail’ morphed into ‘e-mail’.

Today, a Google search for “e-mail” yields

About 4,450,000,000 results.

It’s an impressive result. But a Google search for “email” (no hyphen) yields more than twice that number! Clearly, the hyphenated term ‘e-mail’ is now somewhat archaic. Today, the correct term is ’email’. One word, no hyphen.

As more and more governmental jurisdictions around the world recognise “gay marriage”, we will see the same, familiar pattern instantiated again.

‘Gay marriage’ will very soon become ‘gay-marriage’ (hyphenated) or, more likely, ‘g-marriage’ (hyphenated and abbreviated).

By the time the children of these g-marriages are themselves old enough to g-marry, the hyphen itself will have fallen into disuse.

‘Gay marriage’ will morph into ‘g-marriage’ which will morph into ‘gmarriage’. It’s a linguistic inevitability.

Eternal Vigilance… In Da House.

Communion. Christian Libertarians / Eternal Vigilance bloggers Reed, Richard, and Twikiriwhi. Liberty Conference. Crowne Hotel. Auckland. 6-10-12.

It was great to meet you Reed, and to catch up again with you Richard.
HAHAHA! Check out our Halo’s!
“…And there appeared on their heads Cloven tounges… as of Fire…”
(Acts2vs3) 🙂

How many legs does a donkey have if you call the tail a leg?

[Reprised from SOLO, March 2008. Does calling a civil union a gay marriage make it a marriage?!]

The gut notion of objectivity is captured in an anecdote from the life of Abraham Lincoln. Lincoln and a political colleague were discussing how to get a policy across and the colleague suggested labelling the policy in a certain way; they happened to be near a donkey and their dialogue went like this:

‘Sir, how many legs does this donkey have?’
‘Four, Mr. Lincoln.’
‘And how many tails has it?’
‘Why, just one, Mr. Lincoln.’
‘Tell me, sir, what if we were to call the tail a leg; how many legs would the donkey then have?’
‘Five, Mr. Lincoln.’
‘No, sir; for you cannot make a tail into a leg by calling it one.’

Saying doesn’t make it so.

Lloyd Reinhardt, Warranted Doability

Politics and the English Language

Politics and the English Language is an essay written by George Orwell in 1946.

Here are some excerpts.

In our time it is broadly true that political writing is bad writing. Where it is not true, it will generally be found that the writer is some kind of rebel, expressing his private opinions and not a “party line.” Orthodoxy, of whatever color, seems to demand a lifeless, imitative style. The political dialects to be found in pamphlets, leading articles, manifestoes, White papers and the speeches of undersecretaries do, of course, vary from party to party, but they are all alike in that one almost never finds in them a fresh, vivid, homemade turn of speech. When one watches some tired hack on the platform mechanically repeating the familiar phrases—bestial atrocities, iron heel, bloodstained tyranny, free peoples of the world, stand shoulder to shoulder—one often has a curious feeling that one is not watching a live human being but some kind of dummy: a feeling which suddenly becomes stronger at moments when the light catches the speaker’s spectacles and turns them into blank discs which seem to have no eyes behind them. And this is not altogether fanciful. A speaker who uses that kind of phraseology has gone some distance toward turning himself into a machine. The appropriate noises are coming out of his larynx, but his brain is not involved as it would be if he were choosing his words for himself. If the speech he is making is one that he is accustomed to make over and over again, he may be almost unconscious of what he is saying … And this reduced state of consciousness, if not indispensable, is at any rate favorable to political conformity.

The present political chaos is connected with the decay of language, and … one can probably bring about some improvement by starting at the verbal end. If you simplify your English, you are freed from the worst follies of orthodoxy. You cannot speak any of the necessary dialects, and when you make a stupid remark its stupidity will be obvious, even to yourself. Political language—and with variations this is true of all political parties, from Conservatives to Anarchists—is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind.

A scrupulous writer, in every sentence that he writes, will ask himself at least four questions, thus:

  1. What am I trying to say?
  2. What words will express it?
  3. What image or idiom will make it clearer?
  4. Is this image fresh enough to have an effect?

And he will probably ask himself two more:

  1. Could I put it more shortly?
  2. Have I said anything that is avoidably ugly?

But you are not obliged to go to all this trouble. You can shirk it by simply throwing your mind open and letting the ready-made phrases come crowding in. They will construct your sentences for you—even think your thoughts for you, to a certain extent—and at need they will perform the important service of partially concealing your meaning even from yourself. It is at this point that the special connection between politics and the debasement of language becomes clear.

In our time, political speech and writing are largely the defense of the indefensible. Things like the continuance of British rule in India, the Russian purges and deportations, the dropping of the atom bombs on Japan, can indeed be defended, but only by arguments which are too brutal for most people to face, and which do not square with the professed aims of the political parties. Thus political language has to consist largely of euphemism, question-begging and sheer cloudy vagueness. Defenseless villages are bombarded from the air, the inhabitants driven out into the countryside, the cattle machine-gunned, the huts set on fire with incendiary bullets: this is called pacification. Millions of peasants are robbed of their farms and sent trudging along the roads with no more than they can carry: this is called transfer of population or rectification of frontiers. People are imprisoned for years without trial, or shot in the back of the neck or sent to die of scurvy in Arctic lumber camps: this is called elimination of unreliable elements. Such phraseology is needed if one wants to name things without calling up mental pictures of them. Consider for instance some comfortable English professor defending Russian totalitarianism. He cannot say outright,

I believe in killing off your opponents when you can get good results by doing so.

Probably, therefore, he will say something like this:

While freely conceding that the Soviet regime exhibits certain features which the humanitarian may be inclined to deplore, we must, I think, agree that a certain curtailment of the right to political opposition is an unavoidable concomitant of transitional periods, and that the rigors which the Russian people have been called upon to undergo have been amply justified in the sphere of concrete achievement.

The inflated style itself is a kind of euphemism. A mass of Latin words falls upon the facts like soft snow, blurring the outline and covering up all the details. The great enemy of clear language is insincerity. When there is a gap between one’s real and one’s declared aims, one turns as it were instinctively to long words and exhausted idioms, like a cuttlefish spurting out ink. In our age there is no such thing as “keeping out of politics.” All issues are political issues, and politics itself is a mass of lies, evasions, folly, hatred, and schizophrenia. When the general atmosphere is bad, language must suffer. I should expect to find—this is a guess which I have not sufficient knowledge to verify—that the German, Russian and Italian languages have all deteriorated in the last ten or fifteen years, as a result of dictatorship.

But if thought corrupts language, language can also corrupt thought.

The pen is mightier than the sword

Modern writing at its worst does not consist in picking out words for the sake of their meaning and inventing images in order to make the meaning clearer. It consists in gumming together long strips of words which have already been set in order by someone else, and making the results presentable by sheer humbug. The attraction of this way of writing is that it is easy. It is easier—even quicker, once you have the habit—to say

In my opinion it is not an unjustifiable assumption that

than to say

I think.

If you use ready-made phrases, you not only don’t have to hunt about for the words; you also don’t have to bother with the rhythms of your sentences since these phrases are generally so arranged as to be more or less euphonious. When you are composing in a hurry—when you are dictating to a stenographer, for instance, or making a public speech—it is natural to fall into a pretentious, Latinized style.

This invasion of one’s mind by ready-made phrases (lay the foundations, achieve a radical transformation) can only be prevented if one is constantly on guard against them, and every such phrase anaesthetizes a portion of one’s brain.

I said earlier that the decadence of our language is probably curable. … There is a long list of flyblown metaphors which could … be got rid of if enough people would interest themselves in the job; and it should also be possible … to reduce the amount of Latin and Greek in the average sentence, to drive out foreign phrases and strayed scientific words, and, in general, to make pretentiousness unfashionable.

If you’ve read this far, then you’re probably chomping at the bit to start applying Orwell’s rules for writing—and thinking!—in clear, fresh, plain language.

Here are a couple of sentences from a well-known political writer.

Language is a code of visual-auditory symbols that serves the psycho-epistemological function of converting abstractions into concretes, or, more precisely, into the psycho-epistemological equivalent of concretes, into a manageable number of specific units.

Art is a selective re-creation of reality according to an artist’s metaphysical value-judgments.

I leave it as an exercise for the reader to reverse engineer them into plain English.

[Model answers are here.]

Are you lego or logos?

Are you lego or logos?

And man became a living being.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

Philosopher Nicholas F. Gier explains the Logos Christology of the Gospel of John.

The famous prologue begins: “In the beginning was the logos, and the logos was with God, and the logos was God.” The standard English translation of logos is Word, following the basic meaning of lego as to say or speak. In other words, God is the author of the logic of the world, and his son is the expression of this logic. Furthermore, in the Genesis account of creation God speaks, or as Leonard Bernstein has suggested, sings the structure of the world into being. In Christian theology Christ is the one who orders the world; he is the one who puts it together, gives it meaning, and then redeems it from its fallen state. As Paul states: “For in him all things were created . . . and in him all things hold together” (Col. 1:16-17).

The etymology of the logos, the Greek word behind “reason” and “logic,” shows that the idea of synthesis is at the origin of these words. The Greek logos is the verbal noun of lego, which, if we follow one root leg means “to gather,” “to collect,” “to pick up,” “to put together,” and later “to speak or say.” We already have the basic ideas of any rational endeavor. We begin by collecting individual facts and thoughts and put them together in an orderly way and usually say something about what we have created.

There are three Reasons that I prefer Andrew Sullivan’s translation (and mine) of λόγος.

In the beginning was Reason, and Reason was with God, and Reason was God.

[Proudly powered by LOGOS™.]