'The Thinker' by Rodin -- Embodies the use of reason.


Reason is man's tool of understanding. It is the method of identifying entities through one's senses. It is the means of integrating those perceptions into concepts, gaining knowledge through this integration, integrating that knowledge into the rest of one's knowledge, and evaluating and manipulating ideas and facts.

Reason is the process of thinking. Its fundamental attribute is clarity. The use of vague notions, fuzzy feelings, or "instincts" is not reason. Reason requires clear, identifiable building blocks. It uses ideas, memories, emotions, and sensory input. The ideas must be clear and definable. The memories must be recognizable, and vivid. The emotions are recognized as emotions only, with no further meaning. The sensory input must be identified in order to be used.

Reason is organized. It is systematic and purposeful. It concentrates on fundamentals, and makes pertinent associations. Since clarity is the purpose of reason, it must use clear methods, as well as clear tools. It must use logic, deduction, and induction.

Reason is the method of thinking in an organized, clear way to achieve knowledge and understanding. Since it is a means, its importance and significance is in its method. The ends toward which it is used defines the validity of the method. Understanding and knowledge is the criteria for evaluating the use of reason.

Knowledge is knowledge about reality. Its base is perception, and its method is reason. We gain knowledge through observing reality. We use our minds to identify what we have observed by gathering more perceptual information until we can understand what we see. Reason is the tool that allows us to determine how to gather more information, and what kind of information we need. Reason is then used to compare and combine that new information into the rest of our body of knowledge in order to acquire a more complete understanding.

Knowledge requires clarity and the identification of limits and boundaries. Only reason can collect sensory data into something meaningful, which is clear and definable. To speak of knowledge that we don't understand is a contradiction in terms. Emotions, perceptual memories, or vague notions are not knowledge. Knowledge is lucid and can only be formed by the use of reason. There is no other path. Reason is absolute.

Copyright 2001 by Jeff Landauer and Joseph Rowlands