Philosophy and Reason Essay

Submitted By kiamadison91
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Pages: 5

In the 500 year period prior to the Christian era Western Philosophy began by advocating a method of enquiry based on the primacy of reason. Discuss the strengths of this approach.
Reason is primacy over religion and faith. Reason would not have been introduced if the early Greek philosophers did not discover religion, however religion was soon rejected as the answer to the questions of life. There are a few points which lead to the conclusion of reason being more superior to religion. Firstly reason seeks to find the truth and avoids faith. Secondly reason brought about problem solving. Third, reason is a way in which to construct ideas to make an argument. There are some philosophers who believed that faith was primacy over reason and understanding and knowledge was found through God and faith, however that will be rebuked by the fourth point that reason has brought about understanding and knowledge through experience. Philosophy firstly evolved in Greece about six hundred years before the birth of Christ. Up until that time people found answers to all their questions through religion, these particular religions were handed down from generation to generation in the form of myths. A myth is a story about the Gods where they endeavor to explain why life is as it is. Much of the Greek mythology was written down by two philosophers named Homer and Hesiod which took place around 700BC. A philosopher called Xenophanes challenged Homer’s mythology and had claimed that men had just created gods in their own image. During this period all manual work and hard labour was done by the slaves which left citizens free to devote all their time to politics and culture. In that particular environment people began to think in a completely new way, any citizen could question the way society ought to be organised, thus also ask philosophical questions without recourse to ancient myths. That was called the development from a mythological mode of thought to one based on experiences and reason. Religion was there after rejected as a way of answering questions and reason was now the new theory (Gaarder, 2009). The Pre-Socratic philosophers such as Plato and Aristotle were the ones who rejected the traditional mythological explanations of the phenomena they saw around them in favour of more rational explanations. These philosophers asked questions about the essence of things such as the primary stuff of the universe, the structure and function of the human soul, human knowledge and morality. They initiated an approach based on reasoning. Reason (or rationality) in the simplest form is the process of thinking, reason seeks to find the truth, it avoids superstition, faith, magical thinking and whim. Reason also rejects the idea that authorities can or should tell us what the truth is, instead people should be able to judge ideas themselves (Stallknecht & Brumbaugh, 1950). The Pre-Socratic philosophers brought about problem solving with reason, allowing people to be able to analyze concepts, definitions, arguments and problems, and contribute to our capacity to organise ideas and issues to deal with questions of value. Reason also helps to present ideas through well-constructed systematic and reasoned arguments. The Pre-Socratic philosophers each learned to defend their own views, to appreciate their competing positions and to indicate forcefully why they considered their own views preferably to alternatives. Philosophers defended their views on rational explanations and using reason which has truly impacted the way in which philosophers study today (Wallace, 2009). There were some philosophers who believed that faith should take primacy over reason. Søren Kierkegaard is a philosopher well-known for his critical texts on organised religion and philosophy of religion. He believed that reason is human, all too human- as the rationale of the current social order, which knows nothing higher than itself. Søren…