This module mentioned that during the time period of the Enlightenment, philosophers like Voltaire and Diderot argued that “reason” was more important than custom or tradition. To live by “reason,” in this system of philosophy, means to leave aside the traditional way of doing things and the customary way of thinking about things and start over, questioning everything using scientific methods. It means to question the old ways of doing things and to start from scratch.
I have three main questions for you to consider about this point of view:
1. Do you agree that, in general, people should abandon custom and tradition and try to live their lives strictly by” reason” or science?
2. Is it possible to truly leave aside the customs and traditions of the society in which you were raised? For the sake of argument, let’s say that you were raised in a certain society for 18 years. Can you forget the traditions and customs you were raised with and live a life dictated by “reason?”
3. How do you think most people in the United States live today: are they more reliant upon tradition or more reliant upon “reason”?
Both 1 and 2 can be answered “yes” or “no” but obviously you should explain why you think the way that you do