THE ONTOLOGY OF EXPLAINING: CONDITIONS OF CONSTITUTION OF OBSERVING

Whenever we want to compel somebody else to do something according to our wishes, and we cannot or do not want to use brutal force, we offer what we claim is an objective rational argument. We do this under the implicit or explicit pretence that the other cannot refuse what our argument claims because its validity as such rests on its reference to the real. We also do so under the additional explicit or implicit claim that the real is universally and objectively valid because it is independent of what we do, and once it is indicated it cannot be denied. Indeed, we say that whoever does not yield to reason, that is, whoever does not yield to our rational arguments, is arbitrary, illogical or absurd, and we implicitly claim that we have a privileged access to the reality that makes our arguments objectively valid. Moreover, we also implicitly or explicitly claim that it is this privileged access to the real that allows us to make our rational arguments. However, is this attitude about reason and the rational rationally valid? Can we in fact claim that it is its connection with reality that gives reason the compelling power that we claim it has or should have? Or, conversely, does reason give us a partial or total access to the real so that we can claim for reason the compelling and universal validity that we pretend it has when we attempt to force somebody else with a rational argument? Now, and in order to answer these questions, let us consider the operational foundations of rationality.