encouraging reason-based thinking
improving personal, societal, and global decision making
Creating a nurturing place for those who prefer reason as the basis of personal decisions.
Encouraging people, institutions, and societies to use reason to improve their priorities and assumptions.
Engaging in humanitarian efforts, charity, and volunteer work to help those in need.
Providing educational and professional developmental programs to enhance rational thinking and critical discourse.
Researching and presenting the intellectual and cultural traditions of the world in a way that promotes rational thought, inspiring personal vision, and coherent perspective.
Providing resources that assist people, institutions, and society to use reason more effectively to understand issues, set priorities, define goals, resolve conflicts, and perform self-evaluation and assessment.
Acknowledging the works of individuals and institutions that show leadership in the use of reason to benefit society.
frequently asked questions
Q1. What does the Center for a Reasoning Society do?
A. Center for a Reasoning Society (CFARS) is a diverse group of people with diverse interests, who have a common interest in the promotion of reason in personal lives and society in general. Based on our Mission and specific aims, CFARS promotes the use of reason through resources on this website, through CFARS Chapters,
humanitarian efforts, critical thinking educational modules, special interest groups, and local chapter activities for all ages.
Q2. What is reason?
A. CFARS isn’t trying to promote any particular rigid style of reasoning. We use the common understanding of the term that generally means methodically considering things without demanding a preconceived result, always trying to work towards better understanding and therefore making better decisions. It is in one way the opposite of rationalization, which is just using argument to defend a point that one is unwilling to fairly question but wants others to believe. Reason is also in a way the opposite of fundamentalism, in which people assert that there are fundamental assertions that we must just “accept as true” without understanding and that the only way we can do this is to mentally force ourselves to believe uncritically. Usually in fundamentalism there is some authority that we aren’t allowed to critically examine telling us what to think. Reasoning can be done alone, but it is tangibly seen and developed through the social interaction we use to resolve disagreements in perception and expectations. That process is initiated when someone is skeptical (again, just the ordinary use of the word) of an idea and wants an explanation to understand it more before agreeing or disagreeing. This interaction includes a coming to consensus of common methods of investigation that include stating what is not acceptable (fallacies of argument), developing systems for
corroborating evidence, refining testing practices, and the like, all of which we are constantly trying to improve.
CFARS doesn’t claim that reasoning can help people find some abstract “absolute truth” but it does promote the
active use of reasoning as a way to help us resolve differences and clear up misconceptions. It helps us
think better as individuals, as societies, and as a planet.
Q3. What about emotions?
A. Reason is not a suppression of emotions, but our conscious method of resolving different emotions, habits,
assumptions, memories, and desires. Intuition is the subconscious method for doing that, and plays an integral part in our daily lives too, but we should choose reason whenever possible to move decision-making from
the subconscious to the conscious, where that process can be evaluated and improved in a self-aware way. In
social decisions, reason is preferable to other emotionally charged methods of resolving decisions, like intimidation,
rumor, peer pressure, insistence of authority or other irrational methods of persuasion. CFARS provides an
emotionally enriching environment in which to nurture rational, effective, and personally fulfilling mental habits.