Essay PreviewMore ↓
â€¢ Reasons tell us why we ought to believe (do) something. Causes tell us why we in fact do believe (do something).
â€¢ Reasons are normative, causes are factual.
â€¢ Reasons justify, causes explain.
(Caution: the terms here are imprecise, and we use terms such as â€˜explanationâ€™ or â€˜reasonâ€™ in different ways than just outlined.)
Example. Suppose I say: â€œI believe that there are no triangles.â€? You say â€œWhy do you believe that?â€? You can be either asking for the cause of my belief or (more likely in this case) for my reasons for believing it.
Suppose that you are interested in the explanation of why (as a matter of fact) I hold the belief. I may tell you (truthfully) that I hold this belief because my father told me so (perhaps kept saying so), so I kind of have come to hold the belief by default, as it were. In doing so I make no pretense to argue that this is a reason â€“ I may in fact believe that my father holds many false beliefs. I am only claiming that as a matter of fact this is how I came to believe that there are no triangles. Iâ€™ve told you what the cause is, not what my reasons are.
Suppose that you are interested in the justification of my belief. You want to know why a(ny) rational person should think that there are no triangles. Prima facie, you might add, there are reasons to believe quite the contrary. Look around you â€“ there are triangles everywhere. And, you might cinch your argument by drawing one like that: There is at least one triangle. This one (you point). And you can draw others . . . So, triangles exist! (Here is what I will say to you and what I will say to you will provide a reason for my believing that there are no triangles:) The problem is that no matter how perfect your triangle might appear, it never will conform to the standards of geometrical definition of a triangle. The sides of this triangle are not fragments of a straight line (if you look closely, the segments will turn out not to be â€œstraightâ€? at all but rugged. No matter how precise your instruments will be, when you get further and further down to the atomic level, you will have swarming electrons not straight lines! And if you sum the angles, they are not going to be exactly 180Â°.
How to Cite this Page
"Reasons vs. Causes." 123HelpMe.com. 18 Feb 2020
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- Everyone has gone without something at some point in their lives. Maybe new clothes, cell phone, cable TV, but how many have gone without a place that they can call home. It was estimated that during 2009 on any given night there was 664,414 people staying in a shelter somewhere in the United States (Khadduri & Culhane, 2010a). Through 2009, 1.56million different people were recorded to have used an emergency housing shelter (Khadduri& Culhane, 2010a). These numbers do not account for those who did not use emergency housing shelters, but were defined as homeless.... [tags: causes of homelessness]
2396 words (6.8 pages)
- Premature Ejaculation, or PE, also called early ejaculation, or rapid climax, is one of the most typical and uncomfortable problem with guies. As the name suggests, a guy affected by premature ejaculation finishes very early or easily, frequently within one minute approximately of sexual activity. Unlike the conventional ejaculatory latency of men which ranges around 4 to 8 minutes, some one suffering from premature ejaculation may ordinarily climax within one minute or less after sexual intercourse.... [tags: sex, unsatisfied, anxiety]
549 words (1.6 pages)
- Asphyxia is a term whose origin is from Greek and referred to the failure to have a pulse. It is a condition preceded by inadequate uptake of oxygen by the body cells around the brain thus leading to too much retention of carbon dioxide which can cause death. The nerve cells in the brain can only run for four minutes without oxygen. However, if at this time there is no uptake of oxygen, these cells will die and results in unconsciousness, and the greatest consequence, death. A number of factors cause asphyxia, and this forms the basis for its response.... [tags: Oxygen, Carbon dioxide, Asphyxia, Victim]
1048 words (3 pages)
- Psychological Reasons for Depression Depression a extremely serious illness that, about 350 million people suffer with it.(WHO) According to the Center of Disease Control one in ten us adults have depression.(CDC) It is the leading cause of disability and a major contributor to the burden of disease. Also when depressed people reach the point that they feel there is no return, they may decide to commit suicide. Sadly women and more like to be depressed than men. But on the dimly bright side there are treatments for depression that are effective.... [tags: Major depressive disorder, Bipolar disorder]
1232 words (3.5 pages)
- The French Revolution started during 1789, it allowed for the people to have a better government that actually protected the natural rights of the people. This toke a nearly a decade of rioting and violence for the Third Estate to have their way and get the rights they deserved. From all the causes like the famine of wheat, long debts because of wars, the heavy taxes, and their rights not being protected, some causes stood out more than the others. It is noted that these reasons had to play a major role in order for the French Revolution to occur.... [tags: French Revolution, Estates of the realm]
1134 words (3.2 pages)
- The number of teenager’s committing suicide is rapidly growing. Approximately 30,000 people die because of suicide a year, and 750,000 have attempted suicide. (“Suicide Causes”). There are many reasons people are committing suicide. Drug abuse, depression, low self-esteem, feeling helpless, any type of abuse, etc. People are committing suicide mainly because of bullying, abuse, and stress. Stress can come from a lot of different things, which could make somebody feel the need to take their own lives.... [tags: Leading Cause Deaths, Teenage Suicide Rates]
1317 words (3.8 pages)
- Causes of Suicide This essay examines the reasons why a person of good physical health decides to terminate their own life. It does not consider euthanasia, assisted or forced suicide. Compared to most aspects of psychological health it is limited in scope for research – no “follow-up” can be performed, if the act is completed, and no ethical panel would approve experiments to demonstrate a causal link. Suicide has “no one single cause or stressor” according to the Lancet 2011. Before elaborating on what causes suicide it should be understood what we mean by cause.... [tags: Suicide]
2145 words (6.1 pages)
- War for all the Wrong Reasons Why might the United States start a war with Iraq. Would this war be fought for legitimate causes or are there alternative reasons behind the war that the vast majority of the public are not aware of. These are a few questions that coincide with the questionable intensions of the Bush administration. The public of America can be swayed to support the war on Iraq because the government has control over the media, but with a little research it is not hard to find many reasons why a war on Iraq would be fought for all the wrong reasons.... [tags: Essays Papers]
1216 words (3.5 pages)
- Hernan Cortes - Reasons for Success Why was Cortes with 508 soldiers able to conquer the Aztec Empire with millions of people. Cortes was able to conquer the Aztecs for several very different reasons. In combination these reasons allowed him to have the upper hand in the conquest of Mexico. Arguably these reasons can be sorted into six different categories. The various causes for Cortes' success will be assessed in a climax pattern. To begin with the Aztecs had a harsh tribute system that was not popular among the people of Mexico.... [tags: American America History]
1842 words (5.3 pages)
- Causes of the Holocaust The Holocaust took place for a number of reasons some of which were long term and others short term. The main reasons are; for centuries Germany had been an anti-Semitic country Jews were used as scapegoats for German problems. Also centuries of Nazi persecution caused the Holocaust in particular 1933 -1939 as well as Adolf Hitler and his racist views which influenced thousands of Germans. The Main reason for the holocaust happening was that Germany had been anti-Semitic for many centuries, and during those centuries the anti-Semitism had gradually got worse.... [tags: Papers]
977 words (2.8 pages)
Note that justification and explanation do not exclude one another. It may very well be that I in fact acquired the belief that there no triangles from my father â€“ by accepting his word for it and not really investigating any alternatives. And it may also be that, upon reflection, I did find a justification for it â€“ I did find reasons for the belief, one of which I outlined above.
There need not be anything wrong about that. Sometimes we may hold beliefs that are not justified and seek out to justify them later. Other times, we may come to believe things because we are convinced that they are justified, that there are good reasons for them.