reason


reason
reason n
1 Reason, ground, argument, proof are comparable when they mean a point or series of points offered or capable of being offered in support of something questioned or disputed.
Reason usually implies the need of justification, either to oneself or another, of some practice, action, opinion, or belief; it is usually personal in its reference; thus, a father asks the reason for his son's disobedience; a person gives the reasons for his preference. Reason is often applied to a motive, consideration, or inducement which one offers in explanation or defense
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so convenient it is to be a "reasonable creature," since it enables one to find or make a reason for everything one has in mind to doFranklin

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Ground is often used in place of reason because it too implies the intent to justify or defend. When, however, the emphasis is on evidence, data, facts, or logical reasoning rather than on motives or considerations, ground is the acceptable word; thus, the reasons for a belief may explain why it is held, but the grounds for it give evidence of the validity of that belief; a scientist presents the grounds for his conclusion. Ground also suggests more solid support in fact and therefore greater cogency and objectivity than reason; thus, one may speak of frivolous or of trumped-up reasons but not grounds
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the future as we see it offers no grounds for easy optimism— Current Biog.

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grounds for divorce

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Argument stresses the intent to convince another or to bring him into agreement with one's view or position. It can imply the use of evidence and reasoning in the making and stating of a point in support of one's contention
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the debaters came well provided with arguments

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a party organ, providing usable facts and arguments, in terse paragraphs— Boatfield

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but often it suggests reasoning without reference to fact
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one of the commonest of all evasions; the argument which is not an argument but an appeal to the emotions— Woolf

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Proof in much of its use (see proof under PROVE) emphasizes not an intent but an effect: that of conclusive demonstration; therefore, a proof is a piece of evidence (as a fact or a document) or of testimony (as of a witness or expert) or an argument that evokes a feeling of certainty in those who are to be convinced
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these arguments [for the existence of God] are sometimes called proofs, though they are not demonstrations; they are, however, closely inwoven with the texture of rational experience— Inge

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Euclid, the author of the Elements, who gave irrefutable proofs of the looser demonstrations of his predecessors— Farrington

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Analogous words: explanation, justification, rationalization (see corresponding verbs at EXPLAIN)
2 *cause, determinant, antecedent, occasion
Analogous words: *motive, incentive, inducement, impulse: basis, foundation, ground (see BASE n)
3 Reason, understanding, intuition can all denote that power of the intellect by which man arrives at truth or knowledge.
Reason centers attention on the faculty for order, sense, and rationality in thought, inference, and conclusion about perceptions
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the maintenance of reason—the establishment of criteria, by which ideas are tested empirically and in logic— Dorothy Thompson

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reason is logic; its principle is consistency; it requires that conclusions shall contain nothing not already given in their premises— Kallen

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Understanding may sometimes widen the scope of reason to include both most thought processes leading to comprehension and also the resultant state of knowledge
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understanding is the entire power of perceiving and conceiving, exclusive of the sensibility; the power of dealing with the impressions of sense, and composing them into wholes— Coleridge

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philosophy is said to begin in wonder and end in understandingDewey

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Intuition (see under intuitive at INSTINCTIVE) stresses quick knowledge or comprehension without orderly reason, thought, or cogitation
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all this ... I saw, not discursively, or by effort, or by succession, but by one flash of horrid simultaneous intuitionDe Quincey

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do we not really trust these faint lights of intuition, because they are lights, more than reason, which is often too slow a councillor— AL

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Used in connection with 19th century literary and philosophic notions, understanding often suggests the cold analytical order usually associated with reason and reason in turn suggests the spontaneity of intuition
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the understanding was the faculty that observed, inferred, argued, drew conclusions . . . the cold, external, practical notion of life. . . . The reason was the faculty of intuition, warm, perceptive, immediate, that represented the mind of young New England— Brooks

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Analogous words: *mind, intellect, intelligence, brain: ratiocination, *inference
reason vb reflect, *think, deliberate, speculate, cogitate
Analogous words: *infer, deduce, conclude, judge, gather

New Dictionary of Synonyms. 2014.

Synonyms:

Look at other dictionaries:

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