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Reason, perception, emotion and language are all ways of knowing. Reason is defined as formal logic or knowledge that is gained through rationalism.

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Introduction

Reason, perception, emotion and language are all ways of knowing1. Reason is defined as formal logic or knowledge that is gained through rationalism. Perception is an empirical inquiry gained through experience. Emotion is a normative judgement that while language is comprehensive rationality. Different ways of knowing affect different areas of knowledge, which are Mathematics, Human Sciences, Natural Sciences, Ethics, History and the Arts. Both are closely linked with one another. For example, reasoning is the principle theory behind math, affecting the way in which one uses logic to reach answers in Mathematics. Hence, if one does not understand the Mathematical problem, one will not be able to solve it. Similarly, emotion is needed when painting on canvas or writing the lyrics to a song as it involves the expression of ones' feelings. Perception is often necessary as well because an artist uses his past experiences and forms his own ideas by observing his surroundings. Before we can evaluate the ways in which emotion enhances or undermines reasoning, we must have a clear definition of an emotion. An emotion is a cognitive and/or a physiological response to a perceived stimulus while reason is any kind of cognitive activity2. There are a few problems in the analysis of an emotion. One of them is the fact that we cannot be definite as to what counts as an emotion. While certain passions are considered emotions, it is difficult to define what constitutes an emotion because there are feelings, like moods, which are long-term and do not fit into the usual "violent passion" definition of an emotion. ...read more.

Middle

In a man's eyes, even if his lover is the most unattractive woman, she is as beautiful as Xi Si. This proverb implies that love is blind and can distort one's view of another person. Emotions thus overrule objective, rational thought, undermining the capacity for reason entirely. Another time that emotion undermines reasoning is shown is when a mother fearlessly jumps into the ocean to save her drowning child. Reason will tell her that she is endangering her life by doing so but because of her selfless love for her child, she will risk her own safety to save her child. Her emotions of love and affection for her offspring overpower her concern for the safety of her life, which reason serves to bring to mind. Hence, she chooses to disregard her own safety to ensure the well being of her own child. Shakespeare demonstrates many cases of emotions undermining reasoning in his plays. One strong example is in the play Romeo and Juliet, when Romeo kills Tybalt in a fit of rage8. Romeo's irrational behaviour is sparked off when Tybalt kills Mercutio, Romeo's best friend. He loses all sense of right and wrong and the only thing that is he on his mind is revenge. His anger and sorrow over the death of his friend causes him to lose all rationality. He chases Tybalt down and kills him. It is only after Tybalt's death that Romeo realizes what he has done and the severe consequences of his actions. ...read more.

Conclusion

The soldier's patriotism causes him to fight till the end for his country and his people. Reasoning only comes to play a part when we use our minds to label what we are feeling and why we feel that way based on past experiences. Hence, our actions, done mostly in the heat of the moment, do not show any rationalization or formal logic until after it is carried out. This shows that emotions undermine reasoning more often than it enhances it. 1 Harold H. Titus, Living Issues In Philosophy: An Introductory Textbook, (New York: American Book Co, 1964) page 251-254. 2 Robert C. Solomon, What is an Emotion? Classic Readings in Philosophical Psychology, (New York: OUP, 1984) page 3. 3 Judith W. McMahon, Psychology and You, (United States of America: West Publishing Company, 1995) page 144. 4 Ibid 5 Robert C. Solomon, What is an Emotion? Classic Readings in Philosophical Psychology, (New York: OUP, 1984) page 10. 6 Judith W. McMahon, Psychology and You, (United States of America: West Publishing Company, 1995) page 144. 7 "Qing ren yan li chu xi si", Sunrain, www.sunrain.net, January 19 2002 8 William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet, (Singapore: Pansing House, 1998) page 168. 9 Robert C. Solomon, What is an Emotion? Classic Readings in Philosophical Psychology, (New York: OUP, 1984) page 4. 10 Judith W. McMahon, Psychology and You, (United States of America: West Publishing Company, 1995) page 145. 11 Ibid 12 Robert C. Solomon, What is an Emotion? Classic Readings in Philosophical Psychology, (New York: OUP, 1984) page 21. ...read more.

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