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What is Reason?

 
Jamie
 
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Jamie
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17 October 2016 16:13
 

Sam and other New Atheists often use world like reason or common sense.  It feels like there is a clear line between reason and superstition and never the twain shall meet.  I would love to hear exactly how reason works and how to recognise it in an argument.
It seems to me that this is a HUGE problem. We are not taught how to recognise consistency in reasoning. We tend to reason on our gut feelings. We hear an argument and that tends to resonate with us so we call it reasonable. Studies have show that people tend to judge as reasonable, arguments that agree with their particular world view.

 
nonverbal
 
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nonverbal
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17 October 2016 17:02
 

An argument or stance needs to have some sort of good reason to be considered valid. That is, it needs to be able to stand up to objections that might be argued. We don’t always have good reasons to argue the way we do, and “reasoning” collects, modifies and clarifies various reasons that support the views we propose.

 
 
jdrnd
 
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jdrnd
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17 October 2016 17:44
 
Jamie - 17 October 2016 04:13 PM

  I would love to hear exactly how reason works and how to recognise it in an argument.

It is often said that arguments are won and lost by how they are framed.
By framing the question the way you did you suggest that “Reason” is a way of winning an argument.

That would not be how I refer to the term “reason”.
Reason is not a specific method.
It is a group of techniques used to try to determine what actually is (objective reality).

When one uses reason, one uses empirical (measurable) data, logic, and observation. 
Reason tries to distinguish the difference between what is vs what one wishes something is.

 
Throwdare
 
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Throwdare
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18 October 2016 14:02
 

Reason is, in my definition:

Making sure that someone can follow my kind of thinking, no matter who, under what circumstances, we meet.

In other words: The attempt to make (true, real) communication possible. Which is not merely lecturing somebody on my take on what ever I think is the case, but trying to have an eye-to-eye conversation with someone who may not naturally agree with what I think is the case.

 
 
jdrnd
 
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18 October 2016 16:16
 
Throwdare - 18 October 2016 02:02 PM

Reason is, in my definition:

Making sure that someone can follow my kind of thinking, no matter who, under what circumstances, we meet.

In other words: The attempt to make (true, real) communication possible. Which is not merely lecturing somebody on my take on what ever I think is the case, but trying to have an eye-to-eye conversation with someone who may not naturally agree with what I think is the case.

How would your definition of reason work if you were having a conversation with someone who disagreed with you and you were in fact incorrect about what you were saying?

 
Throwdare
 
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18 October 2016 16:25
 
jdrnd - 18 October 2016 04:16 PM
Throwdare - 18 October 2016 02:02 PM

Reason is, in my definition:

Making sure that someone can follow my kind of thinking, no matter who, under what circumstances, we meet.

In other words: The attempt to make (true, real) communication possible. Which is not merely lecturing somebody on my take on what ever I think is the case, but trying to have an eye-to-eye conversation with someone who may not naturally agree with what I think is the case.


How would your definition of reason work if you were having a conversation with someone who disagreed with you and you were in fact incorrect about what you were saying?

How would you define “incorrect”? Like if I lie about the fact that the italian (bio) white wine costs 1.99 Euro at Penny supermarket?

Or I lie about Donald Rumsfeld and his buddys are being seen as war-mongers by me. And so are others, in Europe, America and elsewhere?

What is considered as “incorrect” in the realm of concepts/ideas? National policies and such…Please elaborate. I can hardly wait to read it.

 
 
jdrnd
 
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18 October 2016 16:28
 
Throwdare - 18 October 2016 04:25 PM
jdrnd - 18 October 2016 04:16 PM
Throwdare - 18 October 2016 02:02 PM

Reason is, in my definition:

Making sure that someone can follow my kind of thinking, no matter who, under what circumstances, we meet.

In other words: The attempt to make (true, real) communication possible. Which is not merely lecturing somebody on my take on what ever I think is the case, but trying to have an eye-to-eye conversation with someone who may not naturally agree with what I think is the case.


How would your definition of reason work if you were having a conversation with someone who disagreed with you and you were in fact incorrect about what you were saying?

How would you define “incorrect”? Like if I lie about the fact that the italian (bio) white wine costs 1.99 Euro at Penny supermarket?

Or I lie about Donald Rumsfeld and his buddys are being seen as war-mongers by me. And so are others, in Europe, America and elsewhere?

What is considered as “incorrect” in the realm of concepts/ideas? National policies and such…Please elaborate. I can hardly wait to read it.

In general, if you were wrong about something (say the final score of a football game) and the person you were talking to disagreed with you.  How would reason work in such a conversation?

 
Jamie
 
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Jamie
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19 October 2016 14:23
 
jdrnd - 17 October 2016 05:44 PM
Jamie - 17 October 2016 04:13 PM

  I would love to hear exactly how reason works and how to recognise it in an argument.

It is often said that arguments are won and lost by how they are framed.
By framing the question the way you did you suggest that “Reason” is a way of winning an argument.

That would not be how I refer to the term “reason”.
Reason is not a specific method.
It is a group of techniques used to try to determine what actually is (objective reality).

When one uses reason, one uses empirical (measurable) data, logic, and observation. 
Reason tries to distinguish the difference between what is vs what one wishes something is.

I use the term argument in the mathematical sense, rather than in the two people disputing sense. My understanding of reason is that it somehow matches the mathematics of logic and thus is given the elated position of certitude above that of mere rhetoric.

 
Jamie
 
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Jamie
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19 October 2016 14:30
 
Throwdare - 18 October 2016 02:02 PM

Reason is, in my definition:

Making sure that someone can follow my kind of thinking, no matter who, under what circumstances, we meet.

In other words: The attempt to make (true, real) communication possible. Which is not merely lecturing somebody on my take on what ever I think is the case, but trying to have an eye-to-eye conversation with someone who may not naturally agree with what I think is the case.

I think there is something true about the idea that in using reason we must be able to clearly see each step of the argument.  The problem is that what may appear as objectively clear to one person, doesn’t to another.  This can be clearly seen when two incredible intellects disagree with one another. Perhaps when AI is sufficiently evolved. We can put questions to it and have it calculate a logical answer. Even this, though may not pertain to reality. Zeno’s Paradox and Godel’s proof of God are both mathematically consistent arguments which do not necessarily pertain to the truth in the outside world

 
nonverbal
 
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nonverbal
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20 October 2016 06:51
 
jdrnd - 17 October 2016 05:44 PM
Jamie - 17 October 2016 04:13 PM

  I would love to hear exactly how reason works and how to recognise it in an argument.

It is often said that arguments are won and lost by how they are framed. . . .

Yes—successful reasoning involves ways of speaking or writing that exclude potential errors. For instance, I wouldn’t be reasoning very well if I were to say something like, “Police officers are superior people.” If such a statement contains any bit of truth, it’s still an over generalization, just as claiming that “Police officers assigned to poverty-stricken neighborhoods tend to hate the people they’re paid to protect.” Again—way too general even if a grain of truth might be present.

 
 
Nhoj Morley
 
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Nhoj Morley
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20 October 2016 10:29
 

I think many too easily confuse logic with fantasy when it comes to reasoning. There is logical reasoning which gives us the plain unarguable truth. Then there is fantasy reasoning which includes anything people can disagree about.

Our capacity for logical reasoning is limited by our perception. Beyond this limit, all is fantasy reasoning which may or may not reflect or metaphorically represent the plain truth.

Logical reasoning is unseen and automatic. Answers simply become plain for all to see. Fantasy reasoning is driven and deliberate. If one’s fantasy is to be as natural about information as possible, one can proudly claim a science-based point of view. Otherwise, it is a religious or spiritual or invent-a-word-here point of view.

Either way, the fantasy is the same. Plain facts are only plain observations. Even illusions and misconceptions are perceptually true from a certain point of perspective. Fanta-facts cannot change but our point of perspective can, which leads to new plain observations and new fanta-facts. Then the old fanta-facts vanish as if they were never really there.

It’s all completely reasonable.

 
 
Throwdare
 
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20 October 2016 16:13
 
Nhoj Morley - 20 October 2016 10:29 AM

I think many too easily confuse logic with fantasy when it comes to reasoning. There is logical reasoning which gives us the plain unarguable truth. Then there is fantasy reasoning which includes anything people can disagree about.

Our capacity for logical reasoning is limited by our perception. Beyond this limit, all is fantasy reasoning which may or may not reflect or metaphorically represent the plain truth.

Logical reasoning is unseen and automatic. Answers simply become plain for all to see. Fantasy reasoning is driven and deliberate. If one’s fantasy is to be as natural about information as possible, one can proudly claim a science-based point of view. Otherwise, it is a religious or spiritual or invent-a-word-here point of view.

Either way, the fantasy is the same. Plain facts are only plain observations. Even illusions and misconceptions are perceptually true from a certain point of perspective. Fanta-facts cannot change but our point of perspective can, which leads to new plain observations and new fanta-facts. Then the old fanta-facts vanish as if they were never really there.

It’s all completely reasonable.


The more I read those definitons of what reason is or isn’t, the more I think it might just be a word, a term, like god or nothingness and the like. Used to confuse people by hyping some concept/idea what looks good on paper but not in reality.

While science is what works, all the time, when applied by an expert, reason seem to be as elusive and vague in nature as the term god is.

God, in my definition means: I don’t know. But I come up with storys about why what is how.

And reason seem to be far too over-used by now, by some “experts” who claim to know, but just replaced the term god with the word reason. For the sake of hiding the fact they also only deal in semantics, propaganda, having an agenda and the appeal to authority, when it comes down to the basics in a philosphical and/or political discourse.

 

 

 

 
 
Jamie
 
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Jamie
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26 October 2016 14:21
 
Throwdare - 20 October 2016 04:13 PM
Nhoj Morley - 20 October 2016 10:29 AM

I think many too easily confuse logic with fantasy when it comes to reasoning. There is logical reasoning which gives us the plain unarguable truth. Then there is fantasy reasoning which includes anything people can disagree about.

Our capacity for logical reasoning is limited by our perception. Beyond this limit, all is fantasy reasoning which may or may not reflect or metaphorically represent the plain truth.

Logical reasoning is unseen and automatic. Answers simply become plain for all to see. Fantasy reasoning is driven and deliberate. If one’s fantasy is to be as natural about information as possible, one can proudly claim a science-based point of view. Otherwise, it is a religious or spiritual or invent-a-word-here point of view.

Either way, the fantasy is the same. Plain facts are only plain observations. Even illusions and misconceptions are perceptually true from a certain point of perspective. Fanta-facts cannot change but our point of perspective can, which leads to new plain observations and new fanta-facts. Then the old fanta-facts vanish as if they were never really there.

It’s all completely reasonable.


The more I read those definitons of what reason is or isn’t, the more I think it might just be a word, a term, like god or nothingness and the like. Used to confuse people by hyping some concept/idea what looks good on paper but not in reality.

While science is what works, all the time, when applied by an expert, reason seem to be as elusive and vague in nature as the term god is.

God, in my definition means: I don’t know. But I come up with storys about why what is how.

And reason seem to be far too over-used by now, by some “experts” who claim to know, but just replaced the term god with the word reason. For the sake of hiding the fact they also only deal in semantics, propaganda, having an agenda and the appeal to authority, when it comes down to the basics in a philosphical and/or political discourse.

So would you say that there is no distinction between “true reason” and rhetoric (propaganda, semantics etc.)? Yes there is a lot of appealing to authority in the field of science etc. The peer revision process is entirely one of appealing to authority.  I think the difference is in why we appeal to the authority. With science it is a belief that those in authority use a method that is a bona fide method for ascertaining truth, ie. the scientific method as apposed to the method of consulting a holy book. Needless to say the former is not completely reliable but I feel it is the best we have at this point in time.

 
Mark Gleason
 
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Mark Gleason
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26 October 2016 15:24
 

Reason is not a nebulous concept like God.  Reason is the means by which one has identified a concept such as God to begin with. 

If one grants that we live in an objective universe that exists independent of oneself (i.e. reality sets the terms independent of our observation of it):

• Perception provides input as to the reality in which we all live.
• Reason is what allows us to turn perception into conception.  (Ala conceptual ideas.) 
• Concepts are a level of abstraction on perceptual input and we begin to piece together relationships using a process of reason

The main tool of reason is logic in its various forms (deductive, inductive, abductive, fallacious), and the law of identity. 

In the above scenario, reason would be man’s epistemology, or his valid means to knowledge. 

NOTE: One can choose to ignore the primacy of reason and believe that the perceptual input itself is a valid means (in and of itself) for gaining knowledge of reality but that would be a form of mysticism.  In this case one’s epistemology might be… divine revelation.  In this case (and in similar cases) Reason is NOT being used as the means to knowledge itself but is instead called upon to rationalize what one already “knows” to be true via other means.

Cheers
Mark  

[ Edited: 26 October 2016 15:27 by Mark Gleason]
 
 
jdrnd
 
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27 October 2016 07:10
 
Mark Gleason - 26 October 2016 03:24 PM

One can choose to ignore the primacy of reason and believe that the perceptual input itself is a valid means (in and of itself) for gaining knowledge of reality but that would be a form of mysticism.  In this case one’s epistemology might be… divine revelation.  In this case (and in similar cases) Reason is NOT being used as the means to knowledge itself but is instead called upon to rationalize what one already “knows” to be true via other means.

What does this mean in “normal” English?

 
Mark Gleason
 
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Mark Gleason
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27 October 2016 10:27
 
jdrnd - 27 October 2016 07:10 AM
Mark Gleason - 26 October 2016 03:24 PM

One can choose to ignore the primacy of reason and believe that the perceptual input itself is a valid means (in and of itself) for gaining knowledge of reality but that would be a form of mysticism.  In this case one’s epistemology might be… divine revelation.  In this case (and in similar cases) Reason is NOT being used as the means to knowledge itself but is instead called upon to rationalize what one already “knows” to be true via other means.

What does this mean in “normal” English?


These certainly are complicated concepts to try to distill down.  Here is how I would look at it from a 20,000 foot view:


Metaphysics: What is the nature of reality?

Objective Reality (universal laws exist independent of the observer)
Subjective Reality (universal laws dependent upon the observer)


Epistemology: What is one’s means to knowledge.  How does one know what is true (Justified Knowledge)?

Epistemology of Reason: One uses reason as the means to determine how perceptions (sensations, feelings, whims, desires) translate into valid or justified knowledge.
Epistemology of Revelation: One uses divine revelation as a measure what is true.  In this case knowledge of what is true is directly deposited into the mind via perception (sensations, feelings, whims, desires). 
Epistemology of… (may be others)


In “normal” English I would translate an example of the above as…

Metaphysics: You believe in an objective reality that exists beyond your ability to observe it.
Perception: You wake up in the cockpit of a spaceship and you see a bunch of dials and gauges.  But what do they mean?  Are any of them faulty?  Can you trust them?  Is there any way you can use some of the gauges to verify others or to predict what is about to happen?    How can these dials and gauges be used to verify the nature of the universe that is occurring outside the spaceship? 
Epistemology of Reason: You judge the truth and reliability of the dials based upon the law of identification and a logic based framework of trial and error similar to the scientific method.  Slowly you learn how to steer with the concepts you create.
-OR-
Epistemology of Revelation: You have an overwhelming feeling/sense that one dial in particular is absolute truth regardless if all other dials and gauges agree or not.  Using this inherent knowledge, you learn how to steer using the one true dial as a guide for the concepts you create.  (You also use reason where it does not contradict the one true dial)
-OR-
Epistemology of… (may be others)

——————————————————————————————————-

That is about as good as I can do in a brief written explanation in “normal” English.  I have done a podcast in the past on the tools of Reason i.e Logic and the Law of Identification; I now think it might be worthwhile explaining the Metaphysics and Perception steps in more detail as well.  Feel free to PM me for details if interested.

Hope this helps. 

ATB

Mark

 

[ Edited: 27 October 2016 10:51 by Mark Gleason]
 
 
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