Evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of reason as a way of knowing.
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Evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of reason as a way of knowing. Personally as a knower I believe reason to be the strength of the mind to logically evaluate observations. In daily life we face tons of obstacles which require us to think, understand and logically find solutions; this means that on a daily bases everybody uses reason as a way to overcome these obstacles. However is reason the only method used to overcome these obstacles and is it the most effective way to find solutions? I used to believe that reason was the most powerful and effective method to obtain sophisticated and efficient solutions to everyday problems. By giving yourself the time to think about the obstacle or challenge you give yourself the opportunity to see all the possible ways of solving the challenge and you can finally choose the most suitable solution. If you were to react on impulse the solution has a higher risk of obtaining undesired results or it may take longer to obtain the correct result. When designing a chemistry lab for example, all factors that could effect the investigated reaction should be taken into consideration and should be listed as controlled variables. These variables are then kept constant through out the experiment; their effects are thus minimized. If you do not give yourself enough time to think of all the external factors that could affect your experiment there is a greater chance of obtaining incorrect data. ...read more.
There are many situations in which deductive reasoning provides simple, fast and logical explanations. An example of deductive reasoning from when I was younger is that spiders are poisonous, poison kills, thus spiders kill. When I was younger I thought this was true as it was based upon my knowledge and logic, this was the reason I was scared of spiders; however when I grew older I realized that my reasoning ignored spiders that are not harmful to humans. This extra information made me realize that there are spiders I should fear but other I shouldn't. The example shows that the logic used in reasoning cannot always be correct and is highly dependent on the knower's knowledge of a subject. This made me realize that the theories we learn and use to explain the world we live in aren't always the truth but simply the most logical explanation of the situation at hand. I have learnt in TOK that there is no definite truth, however situations require explanations and the explanation with the least flaws is provided as the truth. As was mentioned before reason is highly dependent on observations, this means that our logic works on sense perception. Sense perception is another way of knowing and has it's arguable strengths and weakness which influence the strengths and weakness of reason. Sense perception is one of the most basic ways of knowing; ever since you were born your senses are developing. ...read more.
I also realized that there are always two sides to every situation, all my examples show a weakness as well as a strength of reasoning. It depends on your personal interpretation and your own views upon situations. Personally I still have a similar definition of reason as I had at the beginning of this essay however I know now that there are many factors that influence our reasoning; these vary from emotion and sense perception to language. TOK showed me that every situation could be approached from different perspectives. This also means that I now realize that there is no exact truth only a logical explanation for all situations and if there is no better explanation then it must be considered the truth. I also now know that reason is not the strongest but simply the most logical way to overcome daily obstacles; this does not mean it is the best way as there is no method to objectively judge what is best. Reason provides us with knowledge and intellect as human beings but is neither the strongest nor the weakest way of knowing. This entire essay however is based upon my knowledge, reasoning and personal experiences. This should be taken into consideration as the essay is based upon the assumption that I have sufficient knowledge and understand to logically explore a way of knowing. On top of that the examples based on past experiences may be experienced differently depending on the person. Word count: 1,439 Sources: * Elizabeth, Marry; "What is Deductive Reasoning?" 12/01/2009; URL: http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-deductive-reasoning.htm ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.
This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our International Baccalaureate Theory of Knowledge section.
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