The thesis of The Roots of Sound Rational Thinking is that:
 
The most feasible way to honestly and justly resolve serious problems (Big Puzzles) that confront individuals personally and society in general is to sufficiently employ root verities and adequately correct root errors.
 
Root verities are good enough answers to questions about thinking. They do not create problems because they are solutions.
 
Root errors are insufficient answers to questions about thinking. Root errors only create grave problems when they are taken in earnest.
 
This thesis is based on two premises and a conclusion.
 
MAJOR PREMISE: The most feasible way to honestly and justly resolve serious problems is to (A) develop clear ideas, (B) esteem impartial truth, (C) promote right reason, (D) foster fair play, (E) augment good will, (F) cultivate civil discourse, (G) set wise priorities, (H) strive for legitimate verification.
 
MINOR PREMISE: The most feasible way to (A) enlighten understanding, (B) esteem impartial truth, (C) promote right reason, (D) foster fair play, (E) augment good will, (F) cultivate civil discourse, (G) set wise priorities and (H) strive for legitimate verification is to sufficiently employ root verities and adequately correct root errors.
 
ERGO: The most feasible way to honestly and justly resolve serious problems is to sufficiently employ root verities and adequately correct root errors.
 
If we are to honestly and justly resolve serious problems, we best serve our goal by supporting sound rational verities and by correcting errors in rational thinking. If we follow this course we will improve negotiation quality, increase our chances for peace and enrich society.
 
In line with the major premise above, this study is divided into eight parts. The more we incorporate roots of sound rational thinking into our systems of thought, the more we improve our abilities to resolve serious problems in an honest and just manner -- because we:
 
A: Develop Clear Ideas (Part A)
 
B: Build Esteem for Impartial Truth (Part B)
 
C: Encourage Respect for Right Reason (Part C)
 
D: Foster Fair Play (Part D)
 
E: Spread Good Will (Part E)
 
F: Enrich Civil Discourse. (Part F)
 
G: Set Wise Priorities (Part G)
 
H: Strive for Legitimate Verification (Part H)
 
More exactly:
 
Part A: Develop Clear Ideas: This section addresses the logical need of coming to terms. It includes Definitions; Motive; Method; Negotiation Skills, Rational Style, Intuition, Commonsense, Criticism, Honesty, Illusion, Knowledge, Complexity; Improvement, and much more.
 
Part B: Build Esteem for Impartial Truth: This section stresses the relation of truth to judgment. Human judgment is limited and continually in a process of growth and decay. On the other hand, Impartial Truth is reliable, firm and universal. It is the same for all people. Part B includes chapters on Language Wisdom, Definition Theory, Intension, Authentic Root Claims, True-False Talent, Terms and Propositions, Core Meanings, Certainty, Qualification Gap, Definition of Truth, Complaints, Word Squandering and more.
 
Part C: Encourage Right Reason: This section deals with the distinction between valid and invalid reasoning. It includes Syllogisms, Facts, Principles, Deduction, Experiment, Good Humor, Benefit of the Doubt, Breakthrough Discovery Set, Fallacies, etc.
 
[Personal note: In 1975 I wrote several chapters on the rules of right reason. Although my ideas have not essentially changed, my ability to express myself is much improved and my research is more extensive. I choose not to put these chapters on line until I have time to polish them and update examples]
 
Part D: Foster Fair Play: The main thrust of this section is to show the connection between reason and obligation. Fair play examines what we should do. This section also shows how the distinction between Fair Play and Foul Fighting is connected to the distinction between valid and invalid reasoning. It discusses the relation of Individualism & Community; Liberty & Equality, Freedom & Law, Theory & Practice, Justice & Mercy, Science & Superstition, Trust versus Suspicion, and more.
 
Part E: Augment Good Will: This section deals with human nature. It includes an expanded discussion of Balanced Realism, Affirmative Psychology; Free Will, Choice, Human Nature, Privilege and Responsibility, Manners, and other related ideas.
 
Part F. Uphold Basic Values of Civil Discourse: This section dwells on our abilities to talk with each other and shows how successful outcome of conflict management depends on our abilities to uphold basic values of civil discourse. It includes Dialectic, Civil Discourse; Democracy, Enlightenment (genuine versus pseudo), Conciliation, etc.
 
Personal note: I have on line an essay: "Dialectic, Which is Which" that presents a brief history of the term dialectic until modern times. With Kant, Hegel and Marx, the term 'dialectic' acquired a new interpretation that is crucial to know if we are to understanding the plight of 'rationality' in current academic theories.
 
Part G: Establish Wise Priorities: This section includes Goals, Ordering of Values, Progress; Peace; Business of Philosophers; History; Science and Religion.
 
Part H: Strive for Legitimate Verification: To test the values of sound rational thinking we have to use the values of sound rational thinking. A simple explanation of the practical syllogism is the key to understanding how theory and practice connect in application and behavior.
 
This presents a problem. What do we do about mistakes in rational theory?
 
I call this the Ultra Root Problem.
 
The best way to solve the Ultra Root Problem is by educational methods that adequately promulgate the basic requirements of sound rational thinking. When students develop high quality rational skills, they are better able to resolve serious problems and enjoy the results.
 
We can measure the state of our rational thinking by how well we promote trust, understanding and good will in our society.
 
Updated 2009 April 09.