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phinal - Imran Hossain PHIL 140 Final Paper The word reason...

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Imran Hossain PHIL 140 Final Paper The word “reason” has been of much significance over the course of the last few centuries. From the seventeenth century’s Enlightenment, also known as the “Age of Reason”, to contemporary society, reason and rational thinking has dominated our culture and has been the impetus behind countless innovations and inventions. But what does the word “reason” actually imply? In the dictionary, reason is defined as the mental powers concerned with forming conclusions, judgments, or inferences. The concept of reason is connected to the concept of language, as reflected in the meanings of the Greek word "logos", later to be translated by Latin "ratio" and then French "raison", from which the English word derived. As reason, rationality, and logic are all associated with the ability of the human mind to predict effects as based upon presumed causes, the word "reason" also denotes a ground or basis for a particular argument, and hence is used synonymously with the word "cause". Now that an understanding of the word “reason” has been manifested, let us examine the word “reasonable.” By convention, “reasonable” means to be capable of rational decision making. Assuming this definition true, let us now consider the following statement: Often, whether or not it is morally permissible for you to do something depends on what a reasonable person would think or feel in your position. With this in mind, consider the case of People v. Goetz. On December 22, 1984, four young African-American men, Troy Canty, Darryl Cabey, James Ramseur, and Barry Allen, boarded a subway car in the Bronx. Bernhard Goetz boarded the same train in Manhattan, and sat near the four men. Canty approached Goetz and told him to give them five dollars. At this point, Goetz stood up, unholstered his .38 caliber pistol, and fired four shots in rapid succession. Three of the men were hit, while Cabey was not struck. Goetz then fired another shot at Cabey, severing his spinal cord. At face value, this seems like a somewhat simple case: an unstable white man (Goetz), threatened by the presence of young black males, severely overreacts after being approached by one of the men and commits the senseless crime of shooting these four seemingly innocent people. This is surely not the course of action a “reasonable man” would take. However, upon the addition of a few more elements, this case becomes a little more complex. Firstly, Goetz had been a victim of a mugging in the past and carried his pistol for protection. Secondly, although it did not play out the way they planned, the four young males admitted later that they had approached the Goetz with the intention of robbing him. Now Goetz’s actions make a little more sense. He had been mugged before and for fear of being “maimed” by the four young men reacted in self defense by shooting them. However, Goetz did not know for a fact that the men planned to rob him, nor were there any threats made by the men towards Goetz. Was it only
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