Reason Tyler Handin

Name: Tyler Handin

Group: Ben, Zara, Eduardo

Date: Feb 14-Feb 23, 2017

Badge Title: WOK Badge: Reason

My Title: Reason and its Limitations as a Way of Knowing

Journal #1: February 16th

What is the main point about your WOK that you want to make in your Badge Project?

We want to explore the question whether humans are instinctively rational? Using our TOK book, elective readings, and additional online resources we plan to explore and come to an overall conclusion about whether humans are instinctively rational or if it is something that has to be taught. As of now we are still in the early phases of our project and have not had time to look into specifics in regards to our main question.

Journal #2: February 16th

How reliable is reason as a way of knowing?

We decided to change our question to how reliable is reason as a way of knowing? We did this because we believe that we will be able to give a more in depth and complete presentation. This question allows us to to branch out and discuss more ideas than before.


Reason is useful as a way of knowing when applied correctly.

Allows the knower to have objective knowledge that is less disputable than knowledge acquired from emotion.

It can be argued that knowledge cannot be acquired without reason.


Deduction and induction rely on each other which can be generalized and formed into unprovable statements.

Reason is a good way of knowing but should not be relied on too heavily.

Even though the conclusion isn’t technically correct it may be true based off its premises. As a result, reason as a way of knowing is limited in itself because it focuses on the structure of the argument.

Today I learned a lot about reason and how limited and complicated it is as a way of knowing by itself. To “fact check” the conclusion you usually have to use your other ways of knowing to make sure that the conclusion is correct.

Journal #3: February 21st

The main point of our project is to decipher whether reason is a reliable way of knowing? In order to do this we will use multiple resources such as our TOK book, online websites, videos, elective readings, and Mr Morrison to get to an answer. Our plan is to present our finding in an interactive lesson with our classmates. Using specific explanations and strategies we will help them understand how we got to our conclusion.

Elective Reading: Verberg: Methods of Proof

Varberg approaches reason as a way of knowing through mathematics. Using things like Venn Diagrams he is able to break down and decipher the logistics of reason and come to a deeper understanding.

What did I learn today?

Today I learned a lot about logical fallacies, equivocation, and ad ignorantiam. These specific examples are very important to us because we will be able to use them as evidence and examples to prove our overall point. Moreover, I learned that working as a team is quicker and easier when everyone is committed, focused, and ready to share ideas.

Main Point: Reason works well when used with other WOKs, but does not provide us with truth when used alone.

Overall, I feel very prepared for our Badge Project. We did a lot of wok today and figured out what we are going to do for our presentation.

We still have to put finishing touches on our presentation, we have to delegate specific roles, and we still have to practice.

Journal #4: February 23rd

Today we presented on reason. It went really well and I believe we were able to teach the rest of the class very well. We helped them to understand why reason as a way of knowing was limited in itself. Using notecards in our activity we showed the class how the premises determine our conclusion. Without other WOKs to ‘fact check’ the conclusion we are not able to determine whether our conclusion is actually valid. All in all, the presentation went very smoothly.



In an interactive activity we used specific examples of language-based reasoning that were flawed in order to show the limitations of reason as a WOK.

Interactive Activity (Flashcards)

Example 1

  • My car is in a jam
  • Jam is a paste made out of fruit
  • Conclusion: My car is covered in a fruity paste

Example 2

  • My fingers have nails
  • Nails are made out of metal
  • Conclusion: my fingers are made out of metal

Through these examples, we were able to show that using reason as our sole way of knowing can sometimes lead us to outrageous conclusions. Our conclusions are only as solid as the premises on which they are based. As a result, we must use other ways of knowing to confirm or debunk our conclusions.

Extension Proposal

I propose to add this website to the elective readings because of its added benefits. It provides a detailed overview of reason as a way of knowing and talks about the many strengths and weaknesses it holds. It's simplistic design helps the reader understand a certain aspect of reason that they may be confused over. The website talks about syllogisms and breaks it down so the reader understands its many parts such as premises and conclusions. Moreover, the article addresses that while reason has certain benefits like previous knowledge and logic, there are still a vast amount of disadvantages. For example, reason is based off opinions, ideals, and morals from the environment and culture in which you were raised. However, one's morals and beliefs vary from person to person. As a result, one's reason is vastly different in the eyes of others. Overall, this website is an excellent resource and tool for someone looking to gain a deeper understanding of reason as a way of knowing.

Supplemental Materials

Reason (Notes): February 14th

systematic thinking


syllogism or idealized argument: Premise (assumption): All dogs are mammals—> Assumption: Fido is a dog—> Conclusion: Therefore Fido is a mammal

3 basic types of reasoning: inductive (specific—>general), deductive (general —> specific), informal (logical fallacies, language-based reasoning)

pure reasoning: only the structure of the argument matters.

Reasoning is only as strong as the premises (assumptions) on which it is based.

Reason does not yield truth

Validity: when the conclusion is the inescapable consequence of the premises.

If one of your premise is false or shaky then your argument breaks down

if your conclusion is escapable then it is invalid

Validity and invalidity all depends on the structure

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