Reason is "the capacity for logical, rational, and analytic thought; intelligence; good judgment; sound sense; a premise, usually the minor premise, of an argument." Reason is "that intellectual power or faculty which is ordinarily employed in adapting thought or action to some end; the guiding pinciple of the human mind in the process of thinking.

In the Kantian transcendental philosophy, the power (versnunst) by which first principles are grasped a priori, as distinguished from understanding (verstand). Reason is "the ordinary thinking faculty of the human mind in a sound condition; sanity."

We ordinarily employ reason in adapting thought or action to some end. Reason deals with our conscious application of abstract principles in a relative way to gain understanding. All reasoning is thinking but not all thinking is reasoning, because not all thoughts are necessarily conscious.

People often use reasoning in place of logic to excuse the self. This is a tactic of sophistry and creates many logical fallacies. Reason is a law of doing and a mental faculty that we apply with logic, discrimination, discretion and discernment.

Edna Lister on Reason

Logic is the science of reasoning, proof, thinking and inference. You can use a chain of reasoning correctly or incorrectly. Starting from a correct premise is essential to correct logic. – Edna Lister, What Philosophy Deals With, September 3, 1935.

Reason and judgment both must rule and hold the heart's vain emotions under control until you conquer them. – Edna Lister, Unpublished Papers, September 28, 1938.

Reason is the intellectual faculty you ordinarily employ in adapting thought or action to some end. Reason deals with the conscious application of abstract principles in a relative way to gain understanding. All reasoning is thinking but not all thinking is reasoning, because not all thoughts are necessarily conscious. – Edna Lister, A Design for Ascension, 1941.

Conscious mind holds all rational faculties, it can reason, understand and make itself perfect in thinking. Yet the subconscious can still hinder conscious mind by unexpectedly projecting old memory patterns while the conscious mind seeks to involve itself in something new. – Edna Lister, A Design for Ascension, 1941.

God has given you the power of right reason; use it. – Edna Lister, Unpublished Papers, September 24, 1945.

Your limited logic and reason, based on outer experience, often block your inner knowing. You must become aware of this. – Edna Lister, Unpublished Papers, February 25, 1947.

You duplicate any outer lack of using logic, reason, discretion, discrimination and discernment on the inner. – Edna Lister, Unpublished Papers, July 29, 1947.

From applying logic and reason under thinking, your great creative tool, it becomes easy to move higher into the Light, where you apply discretion, discrimination and discernment to your analysis under a just appraisal before you speak or act. – Edna Lister, Faith in Action, 1954.

You must sharpen thinking until it is the wonderful precision instrument God provided for you and intended it to be when He created mankind. You do this under your use of the faculties of logic and reason, without which you just think that you think. This usually happens when you allow thinking to become involved with sentiment instead of compassion, for example, or thought with specious reasoning. – Edna Lister, Eternal Youth, 1956.

Faith is a matter of logic and reason; faith falters only when imagination works overtime. – Edna Lister, Ten Commandments and Beatitudes, November 4, 1958.

Rationalization is a puerile and sentimental application of completely selfish reasoning, not to be confounded with analysis. – Edna Lister, Ephraim, Manasseh and Prophecy, November 11, 1958.

Imagination, reason and judgment are three faculties that are also intellectual capacities, related to soul or conscious development. We must teach three- and four-year-olds reason and judgment to help them balance their active imagination. – Edna Lister, Is it Right to Ask for Myself, June 14, 1960.

We use reason to adapt thought or action to some goal, to grasp a concept prior to experience, as distinguished from understanding after the fact. Reason is the relative application of principles as laws to gain understanding. – Edna Lister, Is it Right to Ask for Myself, June 14, 1960.

God gave us the faculty of reason to use as just appraisal. When you use rationalization instead, it becomes criticism and negative judgment. – Edna Lister, What Is Virtue, July 12, 1960.

Reason, o'ershadowed by logic, reaches out, gathers outer facts and fits them into place. – Edna Lister, What Is Virtue, July 12, 1960.

Meditation practices that focus consciousness in the lower centers cut off the white Light of the Christ, the etheric currents, so you must work on the magnetic currents of earth alone. Focusing on the navel center drags you down because you to work from the frontal lobes of the brain, divorced from the Mind of God. This results in the lowest self-centered reasoning and rationalizing, not logic and reason. – Edna Lister, The Seven-Branched Candelabrum, October 17, 1961.

When you use intellectual reasoning, you base decisions on what "seems to be right," on what you selfishly believe you deserve. This is the place of choice between self and soul satisfaction. Soul satisfaction always leaves burning desire in its place; self satisfaction only leaves more wants and lacks. – Edna Lister, The Seven-Branched Candelabrum, October 17, 1961.

Reason deals with the relative, the changeable, and sometimes refuses to be guided by absolute foundation principle. Reason is based on man-made premises or man-gathered facts, and man's laws apply here. Ordinarily, you use reason for self-justification, self-explanation or to convince others of the "right" way. – Edna Lister, God as Principle Applied Under Logic and Reason, November 5, 1963.

When reason refuses to be guided by logic, the result is opinion and prejudice that usually cause hopeless confusion. – Edna Lister, Undated Papers, 1933-1971.

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Stories That Illustrate Reasoning

Christ and the Pharisees: Then went the Pharisees, and took counsel how they might entangle him in his talk. And they sent out unto him their disciples with the Herodians, saying, Master, we know that thou art true, and teachest the way of God in truth, neither carest thou for any man: for thou regardest not the person of men. Tell us therefore, What thinkest thou? Is it lawful to give tribute unto Caesar, or not?

But Jesus perceived their wickedness, and said, Why tempt ye me, ye hypocrites? Shew me the tribute money. And they brought unto him a penny. And he saith unto them, Whose is this image and superscription? They say unto him, Caesar’s. Then saith he unto them, Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s. When they had heard these words, they marveled, and left him, and went their way.

The same day came to him the Sadducees, which say that there is no resurrection, and asked him, saying, Master, Moses said, If a man die, having no children, his brother shall marry his wife, and raise up seed unto his brother. Now there were with us seven brethren: and the first, when he had married a wife, deceased, and, having no issue, left his wife unto his brother: Likewise the second also, and the third, unto the seventh. And last of all the woman died also. Therefore in the resurrection whose wife shall she be of the seven? for they all had her.

Jesus answered and said unto them, Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God. For in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven. But as touching the resurrection of the dead, have ye not read that which was spoken unto you by God, saying, I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob? God is not the God of the dead, but of the living. And when the multitude heard this, they were astonished at his doctrine.

But when the Pharisees had heard that he had put the Sadducees to silence, they were gathered together. Then one of them, which was a lawyer, asked him a question, tempting him, and saying, Master, which is the great commandment in the law? Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.

While the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them, saying, What think ye of Christ? whose son is he? They say unto him, The son of David. He saith unto them, How then doth David in spirit call him Lord, saying, The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, till I make thine enemies thy footstool? If David then call him Lord, how is he his son? And no man was able to answer him a word, neither durst any man from that day forth ask him any more questions. – Matthew 22:15-46.

Jesus and the Scribes (Specious Reasoning): And again [Jesus] entered into Capernaum after some days; and it was noised that he was in the house. And straightway many were gathered together, insomuch that there was no room to receive them, no, not so much as about the door: and he preached the word unto them. And they come unto him, bringing one sick of the palsy, which was borne of four. And when they could not come nigh unto him for the press, they uncovered the roof where he was: and when they had broken it up, they let down the bed wherein the sick of the palsy lay. When Jesus saw their faith, he said unto the sick of the palsy, Son, thy sins be forgiven thee.

But there was certain of the scribes sitting there, and reasoning in their hearts, Why doth this man thus speak blasphemies? Who can forgive sins but God only? And immediately when Jesus perceived in his spirit that they so reasoned within themselves, he said unto them, Why reason ye these things in your hearts? Whether is it easier to say to the sick of the palsy, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Arise, and take up thy bed, and walk? But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins, (he saith to the sick of the palsy,) I say unto thee, Arise, and take up thy bed, and go thy way into thine house. And immediately he arose, took up the bed, and went forth before them all; insomuch that they were all amazed, and glorified God, saying, We never saw it on this fashion. – Mark 2:1-12.

The Disciples Fail to Base Reason on Logic: In those days the multitude being very great, and having nothing to eat, Jesus called his disciples unto him, and saith unto them, I have compassion on the multitude, because they have now been with me three days, and have nothing to eat: And if I send them away fasting to their own houses, they will faint by the way: for divers of them came from far. And his disciples answered him, From whence can a man satisfy these men with bread here in the wilderness? And he asked them, How many loaves have ye? And they said, Seven. And he commanded the people to sit down on the ground: and he took the seven loaves, and gave thanks, and brake, and gave to his disciples to set before them; and they did set them before the people. And they had a few small fishes: and he blessed, and commanded to set them also before them. So they did eat, and were filled: and they took up of the broken meat that was left seven baskets. And they that had eaten were about four thousand: and he sent them away.

And straightway he entered into a ship with his disciples, and came into the parts of Dalmanutha. And the Pharisees came forth, and began to question with him, seeking of him a sign from heaven, tempting him. And he sighed deeply in his spirit, and saith, Why doth this generation seek after a sign? verily I say unto you, There shall no sign be given unto this generation. And he left them, and entering into the ship again departed to the other side. Now the disciples had forgotten to take bread, neither had they in the ship with them more than one loaf. And he charged them, saying, Take heed, beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, and of the leaven of Herod. And they reasoned among themselves, saying, It is because we have no bread. And when Jesus knew it, he saith unto them, Why reason ye, because ye have no bread? perceive ye not yet, neither understand? have ye your heart yet hardened? Having eyes, see ye not? and having ears, hear ye not? and do ye not remember? When I brake the five loaves among five thousand, how many baskets full of fragments took ye up? They say unto him, Twelve. And when the seven among four thousand, how many baskets full of fragments took ye up? And they said, Seven. And he said unto them, How is it that ye do not understand? – Mark 8:1-21.

Christ on Illogical Reasoning: The Pharisees also with the Sadducees came, and tempting desired him that he would shew them a sign from heaven. He answered and said unto them, When it is evening, ye say, It will be fair weather: for the sky is red. And in the morning, It will be foul weather to day: for the sky is red and lowering. O ye hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky; but can ye not discern the signs of the times? A wicked and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given unto it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas. And he left them, and departed. And when his disciples were come to the other side, they had forgotten to take bread. Then Jesus said unto them, Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees.

And they reasoned among themselves, saying, It is because we have taken no bread. Which when Jesus perceived, he said unto them, O ye of little faith, why reason ye among yourselves, because ye have brought no bread? Do ye not yet understand, neither remember the five loaves of the five thousand, and how many baskets ye took up? Neither the seven loaves of the four thousand, and how many baskets ye took up? How is it that ye do not understand that I spake it not to you concerning bread, that ye should beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees? Then understood they how that he bade them not beware of the leaven of bread, but of the doctrine of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees. – Matthew 16:1-12.

Specious Reasoning Fails Against Logic: And when he was come into the temple, the chief priests and the elders of the people came unto him as he was teaching, and said, By what authority doest thou these things? and who gave thee this authority? And Jesus answered and said unto them, I also will ask you one thing, which if ye tell me, I in like wise will tell you by what authority I do these things. The baptism of John, whence was it? from heaven, or of men? And they reasoned with themselves, saying, If we shall say, From heaven; he will say unto us, Why did ye not then believe him? But if we shall say, Of men; we fear the people; for all hold John as a prophet. And they answered Jesus, and said, We cannot tell. And he said unto them, Neither tell I you by what authority I do these things. – Matthew 21:23-27.

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Old Testament on Reason

Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord. – Isaiah 1:18.

My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways, saith the Lord. – Isaiah 55:8.

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Etymology of reason: Latin ratio, ration-, from ratus, past participle of reri, "to consider, think."

Reason is a mental faculty.

Reasoning is a law of doing.


Aristotle. On Sophistical Refutations. Loeb Classical Library. E.S. Forster and D.J. Furley, translators. Harvard University Press; Reprint edition, 1955; ISBN-10: 0674994418

Plato. "Euthydemus," Plato in Twelve Volumes, Volume 3. Paul Shorey, translator. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1969.

The Compact Edition of The Oxford English Dictionary: 2 volumes. E.S.C. Weiner, editor. Oxford University Press, 1971.

The Holy Bible. King James Version (KJV), Public Domain.

Recommended Reading

Plato collected examples of bad reasoning, which he illustrated in his dialog Euthydemus.

Aristotle, Plato's student, codified the rules of correct and incorrect reasoning, or logical fallacies, in his book, On Sophistical Refutations.

Related Topic

See Intuition

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