How effective is reasoning as a way of knowing? Did emotion or reason help you to identify the logical fallacies of the article: ‘We cannot indulge in this madness?’ Did reasoning alter your opinion about the article? If so, why?


Reason is defined by the Oxford Dictionary as “the power of the mind to think, understand, and form judgments logically”. In other words, it is how we, as human beings, try to make sense of the world using logic, rationality, comparison, judgment and experience. It is what we use to make decisions and most of the time, our reasoning occurs instinctively, almost unconsciously. I believe it is possible to train ourselves to reason consciously, and the more one thinks about the decisions one is making, the more one is able to control over them.

There are many ways of reasoning, but the most common is logic and this is divided easily in deductive and inductive. Deduction leads to specific conclusions while induction is the opposite, and produces a general conclusion from a specific case or cases. The most widely-used form of deductive reasoning is a syllogism. In a syllogism, the first premise is linked to a second, helping us arrive to a conclusion.

An example I found is the following:

Primary premise: All humans are mortal.

Secondary premise: Socrates is human.

Conclusion: Socrates is mortal.”

This is an argument that cannot be refuted because the two premises are true, therefore it is impossible for the conclusion to be false.

Now, a second example I found:

Primary premise: Many IB Diploma students speak a second language

Secondary premise: Gabriel does the IB Diploma

Conclusion: Gabriel speaks a second language”

This is not necessarily true, since the first premise is making a generalised point and the conclusion is not as accurate as one where the premises are specific.

On a day-to-day basis we use inductive reasoning more often than we use deductive reasoning, because we make generalizations on experiences that have occurred to us in the past. Those previous experiences are often just based on what we have seen or felt in the past. Due to all the mentioned above, reasoning is an effective way of knowing only if what we are analysing or concluding is based on something real and specific (logical), or else it is up to our imagination and how we deduce premises through inductive reasoning.

In our last TOK class we had to analyse the following article to find the logical fallacies in them and identify them, giving an explanation as to which logical fallacy the corresponding statement followed.


A logical fallacy is a failure in reasoning that leads to an argument being invalid. If you know what fallacies are, you can both avoid making them when presenting an argument, and be able to identify them when others make them. In the advertising industry, politics, the media, law, fallacies are over used. They are undetected by the unaware audience, which leads them to being tricked and misled. Here is a picture of many logical fallacies that one can learn in order to identify:

Screen Shot 2014-09-30 at 11.18.12 AM

Emotion can be seen as one of the most important factors in decision-making according to some people. Desperation can cause us to take rash decisions that will impact our life later on. Emotions can also persuade us to have a certain inclination (a biased view) when being faced with a question. This can be seen when one is asked would they rather have their family killed or be murdered themselves. In most cases, due to the emotional attachment, love and possible guilt in the future, one answers they would rather die than see their loved ones killed. Therefore, when one strongly opposes to something due to emotion rather than reason our decisions change if they had been taken from a rational point of view.

In this video, we can see the relationship between reason and emotion. It explains how emotions tend to take over in desperate (if we are being attacked by a bear we feel fear and run) or certain situations (if we are being persuaded by making us empathize), but reason as we grow older is always in control:

In my case, since I strongly believe in gay rights, my whole perception of the article “We cannot indulge in this madness” was illogical, making it go against all reason in my opinion and the beliefs I have. Therefore, it was hard for me to precisely identify a logical fallacy, as it made me very upset a person could even possibly think in this way, and deny two people love and I couldn’t see anything mentioned as logical. Nevertheless, I also feel like I can see reason in what the article is saying, since it is being said from a man who strongly believes in what he is saying, making it not be a logical fallacy for him.

A fallacy that emotion helped me identify in regards to gay marriage was the following:

“It would create a society which deliberately chooses to deprive a child of either a mother or a father.”

This is an example of how emotion helped me find this logical fallacy since this argument angers me. The author is making it seem as if allowing same-sex marriage will impact children negatively. It undermines the capability of homosexual men or female to become good parents when there are so many children living in terrible conditions, with unloving and abusive heterosexual parents. In my opinion, there doesn’t need to be a sexual orientation requirement for someone to become a parent, but their capabilities to become one should be based on how much they can provide for their children (love, housing, opportunities, etc.). Therefore, no one should be denied this right, and use children as an excuse.

On the other hand, a logical fallacy that reason helped me identify was this one:

“Disingenuously, the Government has suggested that same-sex marriage wouldn’t be compulsory and churches could choose to opt out. This is staggeringly arrogant.”

This fallacy reason helped me find, because it wasn’t logical and just didn’t make any sense as an argument to go against same-sex marriage. I could not comprehend how giving the choice to churches to “opt out” of same-sex is “arrogant” towards people who are against this type of marriage, since these churches can choose freely, and the Government is only making a suggestion.

In conclusion, reasoning definitely did altered my opinion about the article, where it be emotional or logical, because it shaped how I perceived what was being mentioned. Through reason and emotion I was able to disagree completely on what was being mentioned and help me form a stronger opinion on the matter of same-sex marriage. Nevertheless, it did help me see how in-depth people can disagree with a person’s sexuality and try to define what they can or cannot do.

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