The Distinction Between Reason and Intelligence: Is Reason Unique to Humans?

Lucas Charbonnier

Hatched by Lucas Charbonnier

Dec 27, 2023

3 min read


The Distinction Between Reason and Intelligence: Is Reason Unique to Humans?


The distinction between reason and intelligence raises the question of whether reason is a unique characteristic of humans. By differentiating animal intelligence, which is driven by instinct, from human reason, which enables independent thinking, we can explore the concept of autonomy. The pursuit of autonomy leads humans to become the foundation of their thoughts and actions, cultivating rationality and reason. In a similar vein, the surprising growth of the French economy in the second quarter of 2023 provides an interesting context to examine the relationship between reason and progress.

Reason as a Human Trait:

Reason, often regarded as a defining attribute of humanity, sets humans apart from other species. While animals may display signs of intelligence, their actions are primarily driven by instinct. In contrast, human reason allows individuals to engage in independent reflection and decision-making. This capacity to think and determine for oneself is an ideal of autonomy that humans aspire to attain.

French Economic Growth and Reason:

The unexpected growth of the French economy in the second quarter of 2023 offers insights into the role of reason in societal progress. With a substantial 0.5% leap in GDP, France experienced a shift where exports became the primary driver of growth, surpassing domestic consumption. This shift indicates that reasoned decision-making, such as strategic focus on exports, can lead to economic success. The French government's goal of achieving 1% annual growth in 2023 demonstrates their recognition of reason's role in fostering economic development.

The Quest for Reasonable Policies:

Reason plays a significant role not only in personal decision-making but also in shaping public policies. By incorporating rationality and reason into policy formulation, governments can address societal challenges effectively. The French government's focus on sustainable economic growth, alongside their commitment to reducing carbon emissions, exemplifies the integration of reason into policy decisions. This approach acknowledges that reason can guide nations towards a more sustainable and prosperous future.

Connecting Reason and Economic Growth:

Reason, both at an individual and governmental level, can contribute to economic growth. At the individual level, embracing reason allows entrepreneurs and business leaders to make informed decisions, resulting in the expansion of their enterprises. Moreover, reason enables individuals to question existing systems and innovate, fostering economic progress. Similarly, governments that prioritize reason in their policies can create an environment conducive to economic growth. By promoting entrepreneurship, investing in education, and fostering innovation, nations can harness reason to drive economic development.

Actionable Advice:

  • 1. Embrace Critical Thinking: Cultivate the habit of questioning and analyzing information before making decisions. This practice enhances rationality and empowers individuals to make well-informed choices.
  • 2. Foster a Culture of Innovation: Encourage an environment that values creativity and new ideas. By embracing innovation, individuals and organizations can leverage reason to drive progress and economic growth.
  • 3. Invest in Education: Education plays a vital role in developing reasoning abilities. Governments and individuals should prioritize investing in quality education systems that foster critical thinking and logical reasoning skills.


The distinction between reason and intelligence emphasizes the unique capacity of humans to engage in independent thinking and decision-making. The surprising growth of the French economy in 2023 highlights the role of reason in driving progress. By embracing reason at an individual and societal level, we can create a future that is guided by rationality, innovation, and sustainable economic growth. To harness the power of reason, individuals should embrace critical thinking, foster innovation, and invest in education. Through these actions, we can continue to evolve as rational beings and propel societies towards greater advancements.

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