If we were simply rational, moral beings, we would not need to discuss the question of our rationality or morality. The words rational and moral would have no meaning to us: There would simply be invariably rational and moral conduct. If we did not have tendencies, say, to covet our neighbor’s wives and hold false gods before us, we would have no need of commandments.
To say that we are, or that we can be seen as at bottom irrational and amoral would not be to say that we are wholly incapable of rationality or morality, it would simply be to say that rationality and morality need to be learned, that they may prove useful or at some point necessary to a basically irrational and possibly even more basically amoral being, a being also entirely capable of making and embracing arbitrary assertions, and often unable to distinguish between arbitrary assertions and rational or moral ones. Those differing inclinations or capacities to think and act entirely irrationally or non-rationally and without reference to morality may even be good and useful things, since rational assertions may have no moral value at all or may seem to conflict with one or another strongly held moral assertion – or, to begin from the other side, since moral assertions may appear irrational from different perspectives. In short, the notion that we are moral and rational beings is at best an incomplete description of who and what we are. The logically more primary problem is that any insistence on a reasonable or non-arbitrary explanation of morality or moral pre-dispositions already pre-supposes essential rationality and natural morality.
We can accept that the postulate of fundamental arbitrariness is itself a postulate of a fundamental necessity (abitrariness as necessary), and that the postulate of non-universality is also a postulate of a universality (non-universality as universal condition). Indication of such logical infirmity is a necessary retort against skepticism and its contemporary expression as post-modernism, but an incipient or recovered fundamentally natural assertion based on the status of the anti-natural assertion inherently being the assertion of a naturalism may not necessarily lead either to modern or to classical natural law. It isolates a contradiction in skepticism that can perhaps eventually be shown to re-produce certain indissoluble antinomies known in different forms for thousands of years, antinomies whose universality or inescapability suggest that they have at least as much a claim to the mantle of “natural” as innate rationality or morality.
Whether and, if so, exactly how natural antinomy would correspond to a dialectical essence – or essential non-essentiality – always still needs to be explicated.