Reason

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Reason is a mental faculty (or ability) found in humans, that is able to generate conclusions from assumptions or premises. In other words, it is amongst other things the means by which rational beings propose specific reasons, or explanations of cause and effect. In contrast to reason as an abstract noun, a reason is a consideration which explains or justifies.[1]

Reason is particularly associated with human nature, that which is unique and definitive about being human. As a way of coming to conclusions, it is often contrasted not only with the ways in which non-human animals appear to make decisions, but also with decisions based upon authority, intuition, emotion, mysticism, superstition, and faith. Reason is thought by rationalists to be more reliable in discovering what is true or what is best. The precise way in which reason differs from emotion, faith, and tradition is controversial, because all three are considered to be both potentially rational, and potentially in conflict with reason.

The essential difference between reason and other modes of consciousness is in explanation: thinking is more reasoned or rational if it is more consciously thought through in a way which can be expressed in language.

Psychologists and cognitive scientists study how people reason, which cognitive and neural processes are engaged, how cultural factors affect the inferences people draw. The properties of logic which may be used to reason are studied in mathematical logic. The field of automated reasoning studies how reasoning may be modelled computationally.

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