Evaluate the Ways in Which Emotion Might Enhance And/or Undermine Reason as a Way of Knowing

Published: 2021-09-13 18:10:09
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Category: Psychology

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Evaluate the ways in which emotion might enhance and/or undermine reason as a Way of Knowing

When answering this question, one must asses what reasoning actually is. In 1651 Thomas Hobbes published his magnum opus, Leviathan, in which he concluded that reason was an immediate function of all senses, and does not exist without them, meaning that reasoning is adding up all the signals from our senses and things we know. Emotions can both enhance and undermine reasoning, both consciously and unconsciously. As a society, we are taught that emotions not only hinder reasoning, but also render the individual weak; however there are certain situations when emotions can help a situation, just as there are situations when emotions cloud the reasoning process. Our emotions are used to manipulate others with, and are used by others to manipulate us. Despite this, those without pity or empathy are criticized as uncaring, or sociopathic.

Emotions enhance reason in many ways. In one aspect, emotions allow us to focus on more specific details. Attitude in a class is dependant on your feelings towards the instructor for the course. If the teacher fails to add inflection in his or her voice, or intrigue his class in any way, he becomes ineffective. The thirst for learning is dependant on ones emotions, and good grades follow a high interest level in the course. Courses that a student finds boring become tedious and boring to study for, yet in other courses, where he or she is interested by the subject matter, learning more, and committing what is already known to memory, does not become a problem.

Emotion can also enhance our reason through sympathy. Without feelings of pity or empathy, we would be inclined to help no one but ourselves, and when considering others, we make far better decisions. Mother Theresa devoted her life to helping the impoverished and the underprivileged, with little thought for her self. By considering our emotions and feelings for others, we engage in activities to aid them. Without emotion, our acts of kindness would be limited, or totally focused on how partaking in such an action will affect our image.

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