Evaluating Strengths and Weaknesses of Reason as a Way of Knowing

Topics: Critical thinking, Logic, Epistemology Pages: 3 (1202 words) Published: February 26, 2013
This paper that I am writing on is a piece of paper; that is undeniable fact. Hundreds of years of development and definition also back up this statement as do any scientific experiments carried out upon it in an effort to prove that this piece of paper is indeed a piece of paper. Yet through reasoning the fact that this is a piece of paper can be disputed and even proved wrong. Reason seems like an excellent way to work out the world around us. It uses all of the facts available to come up with a suitable hypothesis which can be tested and either proved or disproved through experimentation. This is the foundation of science, which is what the majority of people would trust. So anything proved through scientific means is therefore and irrefutable fact. Of course, in every experiment write up there is an acknowledgement that the data collected might not be completely accurate or that the interpretation of results might be wayward but again this is perfectly reasonable. It is reasonable to assume that despite your best efforts you may have got the answer wrong and another answer, no matter how unlikely, may be correct. As well as reason being proved by scientific experiment it can also be proved by historical fact. For example, it is undisputable fact that on 30th May 1431 Joan of Arc was burned at the stake. That cannot be argued with, it was that date and will always be that date no matter what happens in the future and every history text or website would agree with that fact. So it is therefore illogical to start claiming that Joan of Arc died last week as historical facts, which are perfectly reasonable, tell us otherwise. However, does reason really help us in our quest for knowledge or is it a poor way of finding out about the world? Despite much scientific investigation and historical knowledge there are many questions in the world that are left unanswered and unexplained. These questions are sometimes fundamental to life itself. For example, how are we...
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