Do you agree that the human reason may have its limits and not lead to progress? Using examples in history including movements and reforms.

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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I do certainly agree that human reason may have its limits and that it cannot bring about constant progress.  The dream of a utopia ruled by reason is just that—a dream.

There have been hopes that reason will bring us a perfect society for centuries.  These hopes began at least with the Enlightenment, about 300 years ago.  It was felt that human beings could use their reason to determine the best ways to form their societies and that those societies could be perfected through the use of reason.  300 years later, this does not seem to be possible.

The main factor that prevents us from having perpetual progress through reason is that human beings do not always agree on what is reasonable.  For example, let us look at the Civil Rights Movement in the United States.  This movement had some notable successes through reason.  It convinced people that it was unreasonable to discriminate on the basis of race.  However, the movement ran into problems when it tried to convince people that it was reasonable to spend money to try to help non-whites make economic (as opposed to legal) progress.  This ran into problems because different people can come to different conclusions even if both are applying reason to an issue.  One person can say that it is reasonable to use money in this way while another will argue that it will create dependency on the government.  Both are using reason, but they are coming to different conclusions.

Reason will never make human beings agree on everything.  Therefore, there will always be limits to how much we can progress through the use of reason.

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