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Evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of reason as a way of knowing

The discussion of reason in relation to knowledge has been the focal point of debate ever since the early days of philosophy. The formulation of the concept "reason" and the enquiries into its inner workings have changed the way we think of knowledge and the process of knowing.

Depending on the importance attributed to reason, the scope and the validity of our knowledge changes. If, on the one hand, we invest too much into reason, indicating it as the sole site and guarantor of knowledge, we end up restricting the cognitive field to analytical tenets. If, on the other, we base learning on experience bypassing reason altogether, we only achieve a type of knowledge entirely dependent on contingency and therefore too vulnerable to confutation. In other words, accepting this second hypothesis we admit that nothing of what we know is absolutely true or can claim to be so. 


Finally, we can conclude that reason is fundamental in the process of knowing. Without it, knowledge would amount to a collection of data to be taken uncritically and accepted on trust only as in the case of mythological wisdom. Still, reason alone cannot supply us with knowledge. The tenets that can be processed through reason alone do nothing for our betterment which is the main purpose of knowledge. We must therefore reach a compromise that sees reason as a filter for experience, a refining tool through which empirical data must go through in order to be accepted as knowledge.

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