Deconstructing reason as a way of knowing

Many of you chose reason as the way of knowing you trust most.

Today we are going to assess just how reliable reason can be as a way of knowing.

Task 1
After watching this video, complete the scientific reasoning flow chart with specific information from the Fairy Scientist.

Task 2
Compare your flow chart with the illustration of the Scientific Process. What do you observe? What are the similarities? Differences? What conclusions can you make?
Flow chart of the scientific method. (C)

Task 3
In your group, discuss whether reason is always reliable as a way of knowing. What might be instances when reason is NOT ENOUGH to know?

Task 4
Share your findings with the whole group.


Task 5
Write a comment in response to this post, commenting on what you learned today, September 17. Please post your response by 9.00 pm.

Author: alavina

Cognitive Coach and author. I simplify personal power so you can use mental resources and find pathways to your goals, be more productive and feel in control every day.

14 thoughts

  1. The scientific process is a way of knowing using reasoning and logic. Scientists discover new facts using reasoning by making observations, construct a hypothesis, perform experiments, draw conclusions and report the results. The result is a piece of information that went through a lot of reasoning, so hopefully it is accurate and informative. However, reasoning alone cannot fully prove something. Observations, hypothesis and experiments require perception and emotion, and reporting results require language. Reason is not always reliable, especially when there are not enough facts and evidence to back it up.

  2. Many people think that reason, facts and logic are the most trustable ways of knowing. But what they dont know is that reasons are not always correct, it can be applied to many aspects in life but not all. This can be seen in math, for example, the equation that i shown and derived with the answer 1=0. Also the question about every number divided by itself is equal to 1, but you can’t divide by zero, so what is 0/0? This raised up many questions and then someone pointed out about the Non-Euclidean geometry. This defies everything that we have learnt in math. Sometimes perspective and emotion can also change our reasoning. So everything reasonable is actually non-reasonable?

  3. Nothing is reliable, but reasoning is one of the ways to achieve what we mostly understand in the human world. What we believe nor our imagination is based on reasoning. Identity and history can be blinded due to the bias nature of humans. For example, we never knew how a T-Rex looked like but only by assumption. Nor do we know how the civilizations actually lived in the 600 B.C. what we found out are what actually is “there”. Evidences like pottery and tools are what actually exist but it is pieces and shards of infomation where human presumption tops over all logic but becoming the logic itself, becoming what is true and what we believe and how the civilizations lived.

  4. Nothing is always relaible even reason, as there are time when there is not enough reason to know something. What we know is the assumption that we are asked to accept to change what we know. Assumption is something that you must believe initially and reason is based on that assumption so if the assumption is false that everything that we believe in is not true. We need to assume to move forward in our finidng or else there wouldn’t be any goal and we wouldn’t have any knowledge as everything is so wide.

  5. The issue is does reasoning leads us to the truth? With enough evidences, we can claim that a assumption or hypothesis is true, and it becomes a fact that is widely accepted in our world. However, when scientist is searching for evidences to justify a rule that they stated in the beginning, had they only search for evidences that clarifies their statement, not defying it. For instance, the the fairy scientist only observe things that may have simlar physical appearance with fairy, and only mentions information that is supportive to the hypothesis in the conclusion, but ignores other possibilities like how the corpse she discovers is just a remaining of other animal. This indicates that reasoning in science blinds us from whole overview of a topic. Reasoning itself is limited because it lives within languages and is used for humans’ bias, and we learned that language has limitations. For example, people may have different meanings to a word in English, and this changes the truth they are informed with. Lastly, facts are assumptions. In Euclidean geometry, we study within the scopes of set of rules we assume we already comprehend, such as 1=1. In contrast, there is another branch called the non-Euclidean geometry, where you can divide number by 0, defying what we were taught in high school. These are formed by two different reasonings, and they yield different truths. Is the truth we believes in the real truth?

  6. Yesterday, I have made a comment saying reason is the most trustable ways of knowing because it’s difficult to make any changes. However, today I learned that reason couldn’t be used to look and judge everything in the world. There are many things reasons can’t be used to judge such as love, and art. Etc. Reasons are living within the language and languages are living within humans. Without humans, language mightn’t exist. Humans might be the most complicated creatures in the world. We’re encouraged to use logical to make judgment or to do something, but in fact sometimes we’re using emotional to make judgment. Love and art are the things that reason can’t be used to make the judgment upon. Although there might be strong and efficient evidences to prove the judgment such as statistic, survey, and facts, it doesn’t mean everybody should have the same feeling on the one piece of art. This is about perspective and emotional and reason can’t be used to view the piece of art. This shows reason can’t be used to judge everything.

  7. Reason is what makes us believe something is true. It is the basis of our understandings in the world, but reason is not always something we can believe in. Reason has many different ways of proving a point, but we can never trust the reason fully, unless we have enough specific data that proves that point right, but at the same time, there is no way that you can understand that data either. For example, we never truly know what happened during the 1100s because we don’t have all of the reason or data for us to know. Just because we have text to prove something, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it is text that we can rely on. Scientists use reasoning, mostly to prove a point and to show that their data is right. They use many different samples of data and then they come to conclusion of whether or not their hypothesis was correct or not, which becomes their answer. Today, I learnt that we can never really believe something is true unless we have enough precise and correct data that can fully support the reason.

  8. Although people think of reasoning as a trustable way of knowing, there are some cases when reasons can not prove the facts and ideology. That’s because of each peoples’ different perspectives and how they percieve an information in their own way. We do not know if the Egyptian slaves actually built the pyramid. However we assume that this is true because of the evidences that shows how, who and where the pyramid was built. If we had to make an assumption with only reasoning then we would’ve a totally different knowledge. To know something for sure, it is necessary to use a scientific method. It has specific steps that ensure the people to get a trustable result or knowledge.

  9. Today I learned how scientific process worked step by step, from observation to hypothesis to experiment and conclusion. This kind of showed that the scientific process was a part of reason way of knowing, where we used reason or in this place the experiment and evidence to judge the hypothesis and make a conclusion. This showed that reasons could be a very trustworthy way of knowing. Then again in class today I also learned that reason isn’t everything. Sometime reason can also be misleading because the world didn’t only made up of reasons there are also perceptions, emotions and languages. That is also why there are four ways of knowing not one. Also, even if the scientific process was mainly on the reason, way of knowing part, but it also include other ways of knowing in it, whether it perception or emotion.

  10. Today I learned that the scientific process requires more reasoning and logic. And also I learned in more detail about the four ways of knowing. I learnt that reasoning makes us believe that something is true. But reason is not always something we can believe in. For example, the winner writes the history books, and as a result this does not necessarily mean history is recorded accurately because the winner will always tell the history in favor of their side. So we can never really believe if something is true or not just based on reason. Instead, we need more data that can support and back up the reasoning.

  11. It is a common belief that reason is the most trustable way out of all the possible ways of knowing, but, are reasons always reliable? In today’s lesson, I learned about the reliability of “reason” or “facts”. I learned that with enough evidences, anybody can claim anything true. Another thing I learned is that when people search for evidences to justify their hypothesis, they will only search for the evidence that will clarify their assumption, instead of searching for actual evidence. Take for instance the evidence that Ms. Lavina told us in class: if people have that initial belief (or assume that) there is a pattern in the behaviours of the same class of animals, they will focus on finding the pattern that they believe is there, instead of looking for general evidences that could either prove their hypothesis true or false. In conclusion, reason isn’t as trustable as we believe – it is okay to trust reasons, but we should not trust it too much, because the data could be biased.


  12. I learned that ways of knowing actually goes through a scientific process where we observe a problem first than we investigate about it, we start to experiment,and then we draw a conclusion and if the conclusion is correct the hypothesis becomes right. The ways of knowing includes emotion, perspective, beliefs, and reasoning. I also learned that if we have enough evidence for something we can prove our selves right and the result might end up being a fact or true. I also learned that some time the conclusion or result might not be true as much as we think. The conclusion might be biased it is affected by our perspective, and beliefs.

  13. I learned that the structure of the scientific method/process that was used by the fairy scientist is much like what paid scientists go about doing what they set out to discover what they are looking to discover. They have a theory, they build that theory based on past inquiries and ‘investigations’ done on similar matters and they go about trying to prove what they believe. Although some might call the fairy scientist just some silly little girl trying to find mythical story book creatures, what she conducted is what paid scientists conduct when they research or try to prove their theories as well. Its interesting that who we choose to believe in or what we choose to label as fact or truth very well could be a load of rubbish but because of the person who said it or the people who said it, it can become accepted.

  14. While reasoning may appear to (not a fact) be soundest method of knowing, the root of the problem lies in the fact that the facts are limited by our perception and ways of proof. An example is the case of the pre-historic people; before we knew how to build houses, we don’t. The concept of a house may not even exist, only the shelter may exist. Thus, reasoning is not always reliable due to it being limited by our perception, understanding and our ability to prove whether something is factual or not.

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