Note on Intelligibility

I’ve made a fair amount of noise here about the intelligibility of reality – that there is an inherent rationality, order and intelligibility in the universe which is open to our inquiry. But it came to me last night that perhaps there doesn’t need to be built-in intelligibility for us to be able to make sense of things. Consider television static – concentrate on it long enough, and you’ll start to hear or see patterns that aren’t there. I don’t think static has any intelligibility – but the analogy shouldn’t be pushed too far.

The example above does takes place in our universe, so maybe we can’t get away from the built-in intelligibility. Of course, this may just go to show the extent to which we are meaning-makers – the extent to which our minds in their own way give shape to reality. Not idealism, mind you, but what the classical tradition called ‘the active intellect’, which is a kind of formal cause for the sensory data we receive.

At any rate, I slept poorly, so I’ll end my coffee-fueled rant.

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