Reasonableness

How reasonable we are in acting in our lives is largely a matter of our emotional constitution. Our character is the result of many choices we have made, and many things that have happened to us. Character is not something we are born with; it is acquired, by living a life.

A life of reason as a moral goal has little to do with applying logic to situations in a calculating way. Reasonableness has to do with not being unreasonable — i.e., not behaving in ways that are unreasonable from the point of view of others.

A cornerstone of this is recognition of other people as independent from us and our wishes. Aristotle pointed out that mutual recognition of this sort is one of the defining marks of true friendship or love. Hegel made mutual recognition a general goal.

However, our ability to participate in mutual recognition here and now comes back again to our emotional state and our acquired emotional constitution. (See also Interpretive Charity.)

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