Cardinal Newman spoke of the illative sense, which is, according to Prof. Wiki, "the faculty of the human mind that closes the logic-gap," "thus allowing for assent" to translogical truth.
It seems to me that it is related to the higher imagination; or at least that it allows us to imagine and apprehend higher truths. It is, writes Moore, "a means of perception beyond the merely ratiocinative faculty," and although not rationalistic, "far from irrational in its workings and conclusions."
Kirk writes (in Moore) that it includes "impressions that are borne in upon us, from a source deeper than our conscious or formal reason. It is the combined product of intuition, instinct, imagination, and long and intricate experience." Thus, it is very much incarnotional, that is, embodied gnotions of enlived truth.
It is not that the illative sense necessarily discloses truth, any more than does logic. It will be irrational if a man's nature is either too irrational or too rational. The illative sense can always assent to a false proposition. Which is why it must be disciplined and guided by tradition. If your illative sense informs you of truths with which none of the luminaries of the past agree, then you are probably a mere ec-centric, or just somejerk outside the Circle.
You will have noticed that an education that is merely "useful" or pragmatic or utilitarian will not engage, much less develop, the illative sense. Might this be one source of the irrational dreams and schemes of the left, with its alternatively withered or perverse fantasies? "The problem with rule by the specialist is not so much that he knows more about something than other people, but rather that he sees everything through that one thing which he knows, however well" (Moore).
Conversely, the Raccoon tries to see any-thing through the lens of Everything.
We all must think and act on the basis of truths that cannot be demonstrated in the usual way. Reason #72B for why it is so fruitless to argue with a leftist is that they habitually try to deploy reason to prove things into which they themselves were never reasoned. Obama -- and liberals in general -- should stop pretending to anchor what he wants to do in the constitution or in the rule of law, since he's going to do it anyway. Just be honest about your dishonesty! That's all we ask.
One such trivial but typical example occurred in our comment section just yesterday, where our wisely anonymous visitor took us to task for affirming the truism that dependent and ineffectual people will tend to support the state which renders them comfortable in their condition of dependence and dysfunction. Or in other words, we should not be surprised when the drug addict votes for the dealer.
Our visitor attempted to prove with corrupt "data" that the people who are actually most dependent on the state are independent-minded conservatives. His error was in trying to prove his crankish illative truth with empirical data at all.
Note that the contradictory data will in no way alter his leftist convictions, because again, he was never reasoned into them to begin with. His particular views are informed by a much grander, unconstrained vision of mankind (not the actual men, mind you, for whom he has such contempt; think of Obama, who loves immigration but must hate the illegal immigrants who suffer under his policies).
All such philosophies are founded upon "something no normal man would believe, if it were suddenly propounded to his simplicity" (Chesterton, in Moore). Such disordered thinking ultimately redounds to a "cleverness actively deployed in the cause of Nothing" (Lewis, ibid.).
Along these lines, it is always useful to remember Gödel, who logically proved to the eternal satisfaction of the metaphysically adequate that man has access to a whole realm of truths that cannot be proved with mere logic. Yes, you are freed from the chains of logic that bind you to the terrestrial! If you want to be.
As alluded to above, the illative sense is bound up with various experiential modes that are only present in a body, or better, a person. Therefore, if our ultimate truth does not converge upon Personhood, let alone Life, then we can be sure we're on the wrong and even tenure track.
Moore speaks of "the utilitarian university," where "knowledge has become disintegrated" and therefore produces "unintegrated people." Nor can human beings create life, not in the laboratory, much less in the soul; they can never put all the dead fragments of the universe back together again. Ironic that they conquer nature only to be conquered by her. D'oh!
But as we ʘnce put it, we are not meant to be "a scattered, fragmented multiplicity in futile pursuit of an ever-receding unity, but a Unity that comprehends and transcends the multiplicity of the cosmos."
Only with the illative sense are we, in the sometime, sometimeless words of Petey "Back upin a timeless with the wonderfully weird Light with which everything was made, a Light no longer dispersed and refracted through so many banged-up and thunder-sundered images of the One."
Indicted by time, we are reprieved by eternity. Which is why I'd rather be a living slave in the vertical than a lifeless tyrant in the horizontal.
I am not writing for scholars, but for people like myself.... [W]hat one must be guided by, scholar or no, is not particularized knowledge but one's total harvest of thinking, feeling, living and observing human beings. --Eliot