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Dikili for ) As the disagreement between Plato and Aristotle demonstrates, reason and rationality, like liberty and freedom, have no single, settled meaning. Yet deciding just what reason and rationality mean”like the determination of the meaning of liberty and freedom”is a serious affair with important political consequences. If, for instance, we hold reason to be a purely intellectual faculty, one 184 thinking politics that only philosophers fully exercise, we may be persuaded by Plato’s argument for the establishment of an aristocratic or monarchical system of rule. If we believe that reason is also a practical faculty, one that everyone exercises in his daily affairs, we may be persuaded by Aristotle’s argument for the establishment of a more democratic system of rule. In turn, if we think that reason inheres not only in men but also in women, we may be persuaded that patriarchal rule is illegitimate in any of its forms. In questioning the status of reason, Foucault asks: What are its historical effects? What are its limits, and what are its dangers? How can we exist as rational beings, fortunately committed to practicing a rationality that is unfortunately crisscrossed by intrinsic dangers? Foucault goes on to say that he does not mean to criticize rationality per se, but only to demonstrate how ambiguous things are.63William Connolly likewise observes the inherent instability of words such as reason and rationality, words that constitute the terms of political discourse. Dikili 2016.

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