What if most humans, regardless of their background, age or sex, gave wildly different reasons for why they made their particular choices?
We all act in a certain way and we all have our reasons why. A professor of mine in high school once told me “there are reasonable reasons and unreasonable reasons”. Something that is reasonable to you might not be reasonable to me.
Rather than reason guiding action, it seems that we most of the time act first and use our reasons to rationalize and justify our acts. And there is no limit, for good or evil, to what reason can rationalize.
But does moral action depend on reasoning as well?
This is also a big question, which can be answered differently.
Recent research in human brain science shows that multiple factors feed into the largely automatic processes that drive our moral decisions. Some theorists think that our brains possess a big number of moral modules that have certain response preferences.
Other theorists argue that it is through experience and culture that we learn how to play by the rules of our social group. As we accumulate this conscious knowledge, the decision networks in our brains learn the various costs and benefits of different actions, and our moral behavior emerges through a traditional learning pattern. Believers of this view see our social environment as the dominant factor in the development of our moral behavior.
‘It depends’ would be the best answer for such big questions, but I hate this answer. To me ‘it depends’ is not an answer. So in order to answer my own question I’ll say ‘NO – a reason is not enough to justify everything”
How about you? Is reason enough to justify everything?