Group members: Reshmi Patel, Ashmal Lalani and Shivani Bathija.
HOW REASONABLE IS IT TO CONSIDER THE UNRELIABILITY OF REASON
Reason is a very important WOK. It is tricky. Rationalists use reason as the main way to get certainty about an idea or truth. That is why they are most interested in areas of knowledge: logic and mathematics. Scientists love inductive reasoning because they try to find out a quality from multiple trials and different data. What are the dangers of quick judgements? Why are scientist constant explorers? Why is it that we provide evidence for every research? In all, why is it important to use reason as a way of knowing?
14 FEB 2017 - 23 FEB 2017
14 Feb 2017: Reading about Reason.
Today I started learning about the WOK: Reason. The basic definition is that it is systematic thinking. There is a way to do it. It is thinking using a process. It tells you that you can assume something due to prior knowledge. You get knowledge from other knowledge that you already have. One important thing to take our of using reason as a way of knowing is because it gives us certainty. This is not a matter of culture or the way something influences you, you reason personally because you have enough evidence to. Reasoning is only as strong as the premises (assumptions) on which is based.
16 Feb 2017: Reason Quiz
We took the WOK quiz in class today. I completely forgot that we had a quiz today. I got a 6/10 on the quiz for my first attempt. I am satisfied that I only missed two questions out of the five by remembering whatever we had done last class. The questions I missed were:
- Reasoning must be in the form of a syllogism. [True/False]
The right answer is False. This is because syllogism is reasoning mapped out, it is reasoning what you see. Reasoning must not be a form of syllogism. We use syllogisms to see the systematic part of “systematic thinking” in reason.
- If an argument is the inescapable conclusion of a given set of assumptions, it is said to be… [deductive, valid, inductive, invalid]
The right answer is valid, but I chose invalid. I understand why I missed this now. It was a misreading error.
However, In order to complete the requirement for earning a badge, one has to get an 8 or above. I have to re-quiz. On the re-quiz, I got an 8/10; I passed the quiz requirement. The only question I missed was:
- Which of the following are NOT an influence on reasoning. [the truth of an assumption, the validity of an argument, your emotion, your knowledge].
I chose emotions but the answer is the truth of an assumption. If you’re writing out a syllogism, you assume your two premises are true. If you find out that one assumption or premise is not true, it has a big problem on your conclusion. However, that does not stop you from reasoning.
21 Feb 2017: Group work day
Today, I learnt a really important lesson about reason: it is not necessarily reliable. It is not completely uncertain and it can be reliable. Therefore it has a limit. I related this to mathematics. It made me think aboutthis better. In math, we learnt about limits. The idea that a number can be as close to some other real number, but not equal to it. This means the function has a limit as it approaches the number. In reason, the limit is that it does not yield the truth. One can be as close as it can to the truth and being certain— but that does not mean the reason is certain. A mystery is a good way to use reason. You can use reason but it is not necessarily certain. My group was really productive during this class. We finished our presentation slide and all we have to do now is interview people to perform the experiment.
We also moved on to make new groups for our next WOK project.
23 Feb 2017: Group presentation day
Today was the dual schedule day. We took the quiz on imagination and we had presentation for our reason project. Our essential question is “what are the limits of logical reasoning and how can logical fallacies cause us to come to an unreasonable conclusion?” Our experiment was inspired from a story corps story (which we gave credit to at the end of the presentation). Each member of the group to read the different remade story to another person and have them decide if the statement is true, false to uncertain. So we made a story using sentences that could easily lead to the logical fallacy of false dilemma (assuming there are only black and whites to a situation). Personally, I asked my interviewee to state which out of the 10 questions were true, false or uncertain. I got some very interesting answers, an important one was: “I am not sure if this is true or not… I am not certain but.. no, I actually think this is true..” My interviewee was in a state dilemma. It came down to guessing sometimes. This showed me how logical fallacies (false dilemma) can cause unreasonable conclusion because the statements may not be true. They may not be certain.
Before presenting, I felt confident about our information in the slides but I was not sure how we were going to present it. We all presented at least one slide and explained our experiment. However, this was not reaching the standard for our presentation because we did not explain our points properly and we "did not make a clear connection between the concepts related to reason.” Therefore we had to redo it, which we did during our lunch break that same day.
- Inductive reasoning: specific to general. “i see 50 ducks, the ducks are white, all ducks are white."deductive reasoning: reasoning from the general to the particular. “all cats are feline, Tom is a cat, Tom is a feline"
- Syllogism/ idealized argument: a kind of deductive argument. it is also a structure for an argument. You need two premises (an assumption or a statement, it is not a fact) and a conclusion.
- Informal reasoning/rhetorical devices: more linguistic and they are logical fallacies.
- Assumption/premise: these are the assumptions on which an argument is based or from which a conclusion is drawn.
- Rationalism: a school of thought which says that reason is the most important source of knowledge.
- Pure reasoning: only the structure of the argument matters,
- Valid vs. true: Truth is concerned with what is the case. Validity is the property of an argument in which the conclusion follows logically from the premises
- Logical fallacy: an invalid pattern of argument.
IMPORTANT FIGURE OF REASON: RENE DESCARTES
Rene Descartes was a French philosopher and mathematician who lived from 1596 to 1650. He promotes the importance of using human reason to deduct truth. He is called the "Father of Mordern Philosophy." Descartes says that doubt contrasts certainty. It is a kind of inverse relationship. As certainty increases, doubt decreases. His theory of knowledge is that "knowledge is an unwavering conviction with absolute certainty as obtained through reason." This idea helped me to understand reason more. Reason is not certain but it can be close to it. There is a limit as you approach reason: it does not yield the truth.
Rene Descartes- Discourse on method, Pt 4 cogito
This is is a small section of the article. I chose this part because it contained really important information that helped me understand reasoning. Descartes wished to think everything was false and doubt his existence and is known for his famous sentence, "I think, therefore I am." This could be interpreted as the fact that he can think, means that he exists. Even if he doubts his existence, he must be alive to doubt that he is living.
This shows that the reason he is alive is because he can think and doubt his thought.