Formal logic is often viewed as the purest distillation or central case of reason. This is valid but narrow perspective. Logic comes with its own set of limitations. The price paid for the certainty inherent in logic and mathematics is the disjoint between their self-contained, abstract worlds and the inherent uncertainty and messiness of the real world.
Reason in the broader sense is very much a collaborative enterprise. The academic disciplines are a set of distinct, aggregative, systematic methodologies, and modes of thinking, that have been developed to answer fundamental questions about our essential nature and place in the world
How does everyday induction differ from the special case of “proof by mathematical induction,” used specifically for establishing the general rule for various arithmetic series?
To what extent does science rely on inductive reasoning? What are the underlying assumptions about the universe that lend themselves to this approach?
What is being controlled in a controlled experiment? Why must we be careful to differentiate between correlation and causation?
Does the theory of evolution have the status of a scientific fact? Is intelligent design falsifiable? What is pseudo-science? Is pseudo-science erroneous and/or useless?
What are the roles of trial and error, hindsight and creative inspiration in science? To what extent is subjectivity eliminated in science? Why do scientists need other scientists? What aspects of the scientific method resembles a formalized version of what happens naturally as we think, perceive and interact with the world?
We can say that biology rests on a foundation of biochemistry which in turn lies on the bedrock of physics. Does a similar “consilience” argument hold for a biological basis for the human sciences? Can this seamless hierarchical vision be extended to the aesthetics and ethics? Are the hard sciences and the human arena fundamentally disjoint as knowledge categories?
Is the success of mathematics at explaining the real world due, at least in part, to mathematical axioms that echo the real world? How does this inform the age-old question: “Is mathematics is invented or discovered?”
Does proof have an absolute quality? Is it ever open to interpretation? How do logicians and mathematicians respond to self-referentiality and paradox? Are the self-evident axioms of geometry and arithmetic accepted on faith?
What is elegance in mathematics? Is mathematics a full-blown language? The most elaborate game ever conceived?
Homo logicus refers to our predisposition for systematic thinking.
Reason is a broad concept that encompasses logical thinking, proving, making valid arguments, analyzing, synthesizing, weighing evidence and establishing cause and effect. Reason privileges rigor and objectivity and prefers to subjugate emotions and subjective feelings.