Use of Reason in the Areas of Knowledge

Topics: Logic, Mathematics, Science Pages: 3 (1091 words) Published: March 6, 2007
From the beginning of man's existence, actions have been determined, whether consciously or unconsciously, by reason. However, in today's world, where propagation and survival of the human species is not a pressing concern, reason has come into a new type of importance as a means by which insight can be gained into a subject. This new use of reason induces many questions, one of which is whether every claim must be supported by reason. Knowledge claims must be supported by reason, or the knowledge claim does not have a basis to be truly considered knowledge. It can be regarded as a number of other things, such as a feeling. The dependence on reason is varied between areas of knowledge, as reason is much more important in the natural sciences and mathematics than in history and the arts. Reason can be effectively used in some of these areas, but it can often be harmful in gaining insight into some others.

Mathematics is one area where reason plays an integral part. Reason is the basis on which mathematics is founded. Before any mathematical theorem can be taken as true, it must be backed by a reasonable mathematical proof that shows, beyond a doubt, that the answer arrived at is correct. This type of empirical, reasonable proof shows that of all the areas of knowledge, Mathematics uses reason the most. In mathematics, an answer is either right or wrong. There is no middle ground in mathematics. This type of environment causes reasoning to be effectively used. Without reason, all mathematical arguments would inevitably fail, and so if a mathematical assertion cannot be reinforced with reason, the assertion should be renounced. Mathematics is the only area of knowledge where every assertion must be backed by reason.

Reason is also a part of the natural sciences, although less vital to this area of knowledge than mathematics. In the natural sciences, experimentation is the main guide for developing reasonable models for natural phenomena. While developing these...
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