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

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Evaluate the ways in which emotion might enhance and/or undermine reasoning as a Way of Knowing. Hannah Karwatowska D0436-020 May 2003 WORD COUNT: 1220 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. ...read more.


By forcing yourself to believe that it is possible to complete the task in hand, you become more relaxed and your movements more fluid. The shift in body language will remove pressure from your horse, and cool, calm thinking lets you plan ahead, ensuring that decisions are not made abruptly. However, emotion can also be harmful to our reasoning. Traditionally, women are considered more emotional than men and therefore less adept to reason, and making appropriate decisions (Women did not get the vote until after World War One, because it was thought they could not handle such responsibility, and could not think for themselves). Women are considered less reasonable when under the emotions of love and sadness (weaker emotions), however, stereotypically men are also more unreasonable under other emotions, such as anger (a strong emotion). From a young age, men are taught that it is not masculine to display emotions, with expressions such as "Big boys don't cry." In a patriarchal society, the belief that men should not display emotion has carried over to a belief that emotion should be showed briefly, and muted, if at all. Consideration for the individual other than ones'-self, or pity for a group of people can lead one to make unnecessary allowances. ...read more.


The initial incident was presented to us as an affront on a nation, and the western world (which it was), to convince us that our freedom and nationality was at stake, and revenge was needed. One year after the sad event, new words and images are not given to the public, instead, the same words of condolence are read, with the background of the same cathartic songs, to allow those affected by the tragedy to grieve. Politicians were warned to refrain from remarks that might have been seen as insensitive. Max Frish stated that this was "the knack of arranging the world so that we don't have to experience it." (Lapham, 9) To conclude, emotion can both hinder and help the reasoning process, and is always a good bargaining tool. However, it is necessary to remember that emotion is useful only in certain situations, under certain circumstances. Emotion, as I have stated, is at work even unconsciously, so it is impossible to block it out of the reasoning process. One cannot ever attain reasoning that is emotion free, as hard as one tries. Despite this, constantly consulting emotions before decisions are made will please no one, lest of all ones'-self. It is best to strike a balance, refrain from appearing too emotional, or too unemotional, because in our society, to differ from the norm is unacceptable and unapproachable. ...read more.

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