Rationalist, maxims and rules

A person engaged in practical action who recognizes that what is required for success is practical wisdom (phronesis) will recognize that the "guidelines" for such action are maxims, and not rigid rules. Thus, when in the space of a few lines in Romans, he finds Paul saying both:

"the just shall live by faith";


"But glory, honour, and peace, to every man that worketh good..."

He will recognize these as maxims, one stressing the importance of faith, the other of doing good.

But if one is of a rationalist bent, these will look like rules, and for Paul to "make sense" one of them is going to have to essentially blot out the other.

And thus folks, we give you the Protestant Reformation.

"The true maxims of golfing or of poetry increase our insight into golfing or poetry and may even give valuable guidance to golfers and poets; but these maxims would instantly condemn themselves to absurdity if they tried to replace the golfer's skill or the poets art. Maxims cannot be understood, still less applied by anyone not already possessing a good practical knowledge of the art. They derive their interest from our appreciation of the art and cannot themselves either replace or establish that appreciation." -- Michael Polanyi, Personal Knowledge, p. 31


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