The Principle of Clarity

The Principle of Clarity (1) states that some things are clear to reason. By reason is meant the laws of thought. (2) Some things are clear to reason because we must distinguish between a and non-a, being and non-being, God and non-God, good and non-good. If the distinction between a and non-a is not clear, then nothing is clear. If nothing is clear then thought and talk are empty. The distinction between a and non-a is clear, and failure to recognize the distinction is without excuse. We make distinctions through reason. Reason is the basis for clarity and inexcusability.

The Principle of Clarity states that the basic things are clear. The basic things are foundational philosophical truths about God and human nature and what is good and evil for human beings. It is clear that either God exists, or God does not exist (a or non-a). It is clear that some is eternal, that matter exists, and that matter is not eternal, that the human soul exists, and the human soul is not eternal. Therefore, it is clear that some other spirit is eternal. This eternal spirit is God the Creator. God is eternal, and all else is created and temporal. God creates human nature in the image of God, and the good for human beings is based on human nature as created by God. Human beings are fundamentally rational. It is good for humans to use reason to the fullest. Reason used to the fullest brings knowledge of the nature of reality, it brings the knowledge of God through the things that are made. Evil for humans is what is contrary to human nature. It is to neglect, avoid, resist, and deny what is clear to reason about God. Moral evil is the failure to see what is clear. Moral culpability is based on what is clear and easily knowable about God and man, and good and evil. Use of reason to see what is clear brings meaning, knowledge, understanding, and wisdom. Neglecting, avoiding, resisting and denying reason leads to less and less meaning, skepticism and fideism, nihilism, foolishness, and stupor.

Objections to the Principle of Clarity may include any of the following alternatives: affirming the contradictory view that nothing is clear; denial that the basic things are clear; denial that something is eternal; denial that God’s existence is clear; denial that human nature is clear; denial that the good for human beings is clear; denial that moral culpability is based on clarity; denial that the consequences of moral evil are inherent. Those who raise objections to the Principle of Clarity assume the laws of thought, which are the most basic and are most clear. To deny the Principle of Clarity is to assume clarity. If one denies the Principle of Clarity, that person should live consistently with the implications of denying clarity.

Kelly Fitzsimmons Burton, Ph.D.

(1) The Principle of Clarity is a concept that is identified and developed by Surrendra Gangadean. Arguments for the claims of Clarity may be found in: Gangadean, Surrendra. Philosophical Foundation: A Critical Analysis of Basic Belief (Lanham: University Press of America, 2008).
(2) The laws of thought include a) the law of identity: a is a; b) the law of noncontradiction: not both a and non-a in the same respect and at the same time; and c) the law of excluded middle: either a or non-a.

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