Reason, is the capacity for consciously making sense of things, for establishing and verifying facts, and changing or justifying practices, institutions, and beliefs based on new or existing information. It is closely associated with such characteristically human activities as philosophy, science, language, mathematics, and art, and is normally considered to be a definitive characteristic of human nature. The concept of reason is sometimes referred to as rationality and sometimes as discursive reason, in opposition to intuitive reason.
Reason or "reasoning" is associated with thinking, cognition, and intellect. Reason, like habit or intuition, is one of the ways by which thinking comes from one idea to a related idea. For example, it is the means by which rational beings understand themselves to think about cause and effect, truth and falsehood, and what is good or bad.
In contrast to reason as an abstract noun, a reason is a consideration which explains or justifies some event, phenomenon or behaviour. The ways in which human beings reason through argument are the subject of inquiries in the field of logic.
Reason is closely identified with the ability to self-consciously change beliefs, attitudes, traditions, and institutions, and therefore with the capacity for freedom and self-determination.
Psychologists and cognitive scientists have attempted to study and explain how people reason, e.g. which cognitive and neural processes are engaged, and how cultural factors affect the inferences that people draw. The field of automated reasoning studies how reasoning may or may not be modeled computationally. Animal psychology considers the controversial question of whether animals can reason.
Famous quotes containing the words human and/or reason:
“Yet here at least an earnest sense
Of human right and weal is shown;
A hate of tyranny intense,
And hearty in its vehemence,
As if my brothers pain and sorrow were my own.
O Freedom! if to me belong
Nor mighty Miltons gift divine,
Nor Marvells wit and graceful song.
Still with a love as deep and strong
As theirs, I lay, like them, my best gifts on thy shrine!”
—John Greenleaf Whittier (18071892)
“Your brother and my sister no sooner met but they looked;
no sooner looked but they loved; no sooner loved but they
sighed; no sooner sighed but they asked one another the
reason; no sooner knew the reason but they sought the
—William Shakespeare (15641616)