Math, Natural Science and Ethics: Understood Through Reason

Good Essays
“When the only tool you have is a hammer, all problems begin to resemble nails” (Abraham Maslow). Applying the ways of knowing as an alternative of the subject matter of “tools”, this quote suggests that if one looks at the ways of knowing as one group rather than individually, the knowledge that will be gained will not be to the best of the ability of oneself. The four ways of knowing are: reason, language, sense perception, and emotion. We will be determining to what extent is reason more reliable as a way of knowing than the other ways of knowing, in math, natural science, and ethics? While analyzing math, natural science, and ethics, we will see that reason is neither more reliable or unreliable, but plays both as a strength and weakness in different areas of knowing. In math, reason is not the most reliable way of knowing, considering math is mainly about deductive reasoning and logic. Natural science does rely heavily on reason, due to the fact the scientific method is mainly about asking “why” and/or “how” questions. Similar to Natural Sciences, Ethics relies majorly on reason, because of the question “Is this morally right or wrong?”
Math is a language. Having an extensive vocabulary, math also touches upon syntax and grammar. Math relies heavily on language as a way of knowing, because math is a language itself. It is used to communicate between mathematicians, students, and teachers, etc. Globally, Math can make statements that are difficult or impossible to make in natural languages, giving it the opportunity to find truth values of statement that can be decided within the system.
Although math heavily relies on language as a way of knowing, it always requires reason. The equation 1+1=2 requires one to logically think; ...

... middle of paper ...

...owledge, thus
keeping us at the bottom of the intelligence list of society. In order to expand our knowledge, we need to accept that all ways of knowing are present at all times, each with various strengths and weaknesses. Someone who has not had the same experiences as me might say that you can do without reason in Ethics, or that Math pertains only reason as a way of knowing. Each person has their own opinion, and is entitled to it, just like I am. One day, society may come to a consensus on whether reason is more or less important that the other ways of knowing.
However, I believe that reason is neither reliable or unreliable in general. Depending on the area of knowledge, reason can be the most effective or least effective. In Math, Natural Sciences, and Ethics, reason is relied on heavily, but is not the only way of knowing that is relied on heavily.
Get Access