We rely on all the four ways of knowing; sense of perception, language, emotion and reason. However, they all have weaknesses. We often use ways of knowing in conjunction with each other. Some areas of knowledge might not use sense of perception as such but we sometimes think that Maths for example uses mainly logic or reason. Is this true?
Reason is one of the strongest ways of knowing. One of the strengths of reason as a source of knowledge is that it seems to give us certainty. We can refer to logic as the study of the correct reasoning. It involves argument, inference truth, falsity, validity and invalidity. Logic facilitates us to understand more about what our belief’s mean, and shows how clearly we can express them. Throughout the period logicians have discovered two different types of reasoning; inductive and deductive reasoning. Inductive reasoning is the use of scientific principles to draw the most probable conclusion from evidence.
Inductive reasoning usually derives from observations and generalisations are made about the unobserved. However, because it is based on observations, it can be biased to the person therefore it might not be concrete knowledge and it might be subjective.
Deductive reasoning is the use of necessary inference to draw sure conclusions from premises. Since its premises determine the validity of the form, therefore the argument is dependent upon the validity of the form of the argument and the truth of the premise. Thus the only weakness of deductive reasoning is the truth-value of its premises.
Mathematics, which is one of the major areas of knowledge, is a subject that seems to charm and alarm people in equal measure. Mathematics in fact seems to give us more certainty than other areas of knowledge. And it said to be purely based on reasoning. Without reasoning, mathematics will not work. Is this true?
When you reason formally, you begin with axioms. Mathematics is based on axioms. Axioms are based on assumption however the axioms of mathematics were considered to be self-evident truths, which offer a firm foundation for mathematics knowledge. There are four requirements for a set of axioms; they should be consistent, independent, simple and fruitful.
Solving mathematical equations require logical thinking. Thus reason is an important aspect in math. Without reason, one will not be able to proof and explain the result to a particular mathematical equation however, when put into real life situation, reasoning will need to be evaluated due to other circumstances for example
A mathematician will agree that the result of the equation above will always be two. Logically, when based on the axioms of math, 1+1 will never be equal to 4 or 5, thus making reason as a strong justification for math problems. However, one can argue that in real life situations, the two apples will not always be there. Imagine 100 years later, throughout time, the apples will rot away and therefore 1 + 1 will not always equal to two.
When one uses reason as a justification for the present, reasoning may be seen as strength. However, when we attempt to evaluate the future and the aftermath of a situation, reasoning might not be one of the strongest ways of knowing, as shown from the example above. Therefore we could say that reasoning can be said as a misleading aspect when one ignores other circumstances, such as time.
Although many say that math is based on reasoning, this is untrue, because math also utilizes axioms, therefore it is not strictly reasoning, but also on an assumption.
Reasoning can also be applied to ethics. The ethical dilemma of abortion makes complete sense; when you don’t want something, you get rid of it. If you are against abortion; this means that you feel uncomfortable in taking other people’s lives. The reason behind this, might link to individual’s emotions. The emotions that speak to some, the guilt that one would feel when...
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