Philosophy 78 - 5.1.2 The Use of Reason to Discover Truth

Reasoning allows us to hypothesize, work out consequences of our hypotheses, run thought experiments, assess the coherence of a set of beliefs, and generate plausible explanations of the world around us. As Chapter 1 explained, coherence is the property of consistency in a set of beliefs. Thus, when a set of beliefs is inconsistent, it is not possible for every belief in the set to be true. We must use reason to determine whether a set of beliefs is consistent and work out the logical implications of beliefs, given their truth. In this way, reason can be used to discover truth.

The rules of logic are like the rules of math; you cannot make 1 + 1 = 3. Indeed, math is a form of deductive reasoning that ensures truth. Answers to problems in math are derived using known functions and rules, which is also true in logic. Unlike math, however, not all of logic can guarantee correct answers. Nonetheless, logic supplies means by which to derive better answers—answers that are more likely to be true. Because logic is the study of proper reasoning, and proper reasoning is an essential tool for discovering truth, logic is foundational to the pursuit of learning.

This lesson has no exercises.

The content of this course has been taken from the free Philosophy textbook by Openstax