Lacey Smith

Reason

In Uncategorized on May 16, 2011 at 12:25 pm

Everyone has opinions. Some of them seem completely illogical to people looking in. For example, my sister is a big foodie but she doesn’t like brussels sprouts. I don’t understand that.

On matters of food and style, simply liking or disliking something is reason enough. However, when it comes to matters of ideology, reason should factor into what we believe and why.

Miriam-Webster defines reason as both “a rational ground or motive” and as “the power of comprehending, inferring, or thinking especially in rational ways.” This word covers both why we hold an opinion and how we got to that opinion.

The reason that reason is so important in our opinions is that we must both know why we believe something and how we got to believe it before we can possibly articulate that to someone else. Another person cannot begin to appreciate or admit the potential logic in your opinion if you cannot articulate why you think that way.

If you and I disagree on something, there are two scenarios.

We can disagree because both of us have read and studied and have simply come to different opinions. This difference is likely based on experience, childhood, level of study on this and other topics, how important we think this subject is and the context in which we place it.

My sister-in-law and I really disagree on government-funded health care. Both of us have done (some) research and come at it from different directions. The disagreement comes from ideological differences but also from logical differences.

The other option when we have disagreements is that we disagree because one or both of us has not done our research. Often this means we know what we know and can’t possibly believe that anything else might be right.

A friend of mine disagrees strongly with me on birthing options. Both of us have had emotional experiences with people close to us being in dangerous situations while giving birth. We will never agree. No matter the facts, emotion overrules the ability to have a conversation about it.

The first scenario leads us to positive, healthy debate that may convince, persuade or still end in disagreement but not without some degree of respect. The second scenario leads to a stalemate and often a degradation of regard for the other person.

Perhaps part of the problems with politics today is that everybody believes something but no one knows why. We can’t explain or persuade because we haven’t thought it out in a rational, logical way that allows us to articulate those beliefs and potentially find acceptable middle ground.

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  1. Very well thought out and, dare I say, reasoned article! I agree completely that some form of reason is vital to back up ones opinion; be it academically, experientially or theologically based, is vital when stating your opinion and debating or discussing it with others. On the healthcare issue (and I don’t wish to start any kind of fight!) I believe that I have experiential and academic bases for my opinion. Being from the UK (one of the world’s pioneers of government funded healthcare) I take the position that having experienced the tyranny such a system places upon its citizenry and the freedoms it inhibits and curtails and having studied the differences between the public and private systems I can say with positive certainty that government-funded/run healthcare is more damaging than it is helpful. That’s my two cents anyway, great job Lacey, interesting stuff!

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