and <the > reason may postulate

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sanspacey

Senior Member
Brazil Portuguese
Hello, everyone

Searching about philosophy I found this: (...) and that the reason, in order to find a meaningful basis (...) may postulate things (...)

What's the reason they put "the" before "reason" in this case? Shouldn't it be without "the"? I never know when to use the definite article.

Thanks for any help.
 
  • xqby

    Senior Member
    English (U.S.)
    No offense, but that's not much for context. You are probably confusing the meanings of "that" though.

    "This is that reason." - adjective, reference to specific reason already mentioned, no article needed
    "He is sure that the reason is inadequate." - conjunction, connecting two clauses, article needed
     

    Wilma_Sweden

    Senior Member
    Swedish (Scania)
    The problem here is that possibly we are dealing with reason as an uncountable noun, meaning judgement/thinking/thought, and if that is the case, it ought to come without the definite article. At the same time, I agree with the others in that the context is not enough to properly analyse the sentence.

    /Wilma
     

    sanspacey

    Senior Member
    Brazil Portuguese
    Sorry. More context it is.

    "The mind interprets data presented to it as phenomena in space and time, and the reason, in order to find a meaningful basis for experience (...) may postulate things unknowable to it, as the existence of a soul."

    Wilma: you are right, that's why I can't understand the use of the definite article before "reason" in this context. If I wrote "Reason may postulate things unknowable to it", will it be correct? I mean, to take away the definite article?
     

    sanspacey

    Senior Member
    Brazil Portuguese
    KHS
    Well, I'll have to ask you the same question I asked Wilma:
    would the correct form be "Reason may postulate things unknowable to it",
    or it'd rather be "The reason may postulate things unknowable to it"?
     

    Forero

    Senior Member
    It can be either one.

    This is difficult to explain. "Reason" without "the" is a general abstraction; "the reason" is more specific, though still indefinite, meaning something like "the reason a person has" or "human reason".

    "Reason" without "the" is like "blood" or "dragons". "The reason" is like "the blood" or "the dragon". For example:

    Blood is red. [blood in or out of an organism]
    Dragons are ferocious. [any dragons in the world]
    Reason is rational. [reason independent of any sentient being]

    The blood actually contains cells of more than one type.
    [blood as part of an organism]
    The dragon is a large mythological monster with wings and fiery breath. [the type of creature known as "dragons", that particular part of creation]
    The reason sees things that the heart might not. [reason as a part of "the person"]
     

    meowser

    Senior Member
    Flemish and English (midwest U.S.)
    Sorry. More context it is.

    "The mind interprets data presented to it as phenomena in space and time, and the reason, in order to find a meaningful basis for experience (...) may postulate things unknowable to it, as the existence of a soul."

    Wilma: you are right, that's why I can't understand the use of the definite article before "reason" in this context. If I wrote "Reason may postulate things unknowable to it", will it be correct? I mean, to take away the definite article?
    The usage of "the" here is correct, and no, it would not make sense if you said "reason may postulate..."

    In your text, it refers to the reason why something is happening.So in that context, you wouldn't just say "reason why the mind interprets the data", but the reason.

    For absolute grammatical correctness, it could have been written, "and the reasoning is as follows" or "and here is the reason why". But it makes sense as written. And as you see in both of those examples, "the reason" is still used.

    Hope that helps!
     

    sanspacey

    Senior Member
    Brazil Portuguese
    Well put, Forero

    I've always been taught those different cases. The thing is sometimes I can't say which is which.

    I mean, if you say "the reason sees things (...)" you'd certainly say "the reason may postulate (...)"

    So I think that's it.

    I really appreciate your help. Thank you all.
     

    panjandrum

    Lapsed Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    According to Kant, the mind has three general intellectual powers: the Sense, the Understanding and the Reason.
    The Sense giving us presentations of phenomena, the Understanding binding these by categories and the Reason bringing the judgements of the Understanding to unity by ...
    The Intuitions of the Mind Inductively Investigated
    By James McCosh
    Published by Robert Carter and brothers, 1867
    LINK


    So the writer is indeed referring to the reason as an entity (see post #7) and requires no correction whatsoever.

    Clearly, we need to recruit a few Kantian philosophers to this forum :)
    I found this by Googling, not by studying philosophy.
     

    sanspacey

    Senior Member
    Brazil Portuguese
    Panjandrum: "I found this by Googling, not by studying philosophy". So did I.

    But unlike you, I don't think Kantian philosophers would help us with this sort of questions ;) (as a matter of fact, I don't think philosophers help at all, they get me confused)

    Anyway, your googling comes in handy. Quite clarifying, thanks. I should have googled it harder, hee hee.
     
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