• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

are reason and emotion equally necessary in the justifying a moral decision

Extracts from this document...


Are reason and emotion equally necessary in justifying a moral decision? Ethics is defined as motivation based on the ideas of right and wrong. It is plausibly the only area of knowledge that clearly summarizes the moral decision of mankind. Reason is the process of consciously using good sense and sound judgement while making a decision. Reasoning takes place when the pros and cons of a situation are weighed rationally and then a decision is taken with little or no room for error. While reasoning, emotion is the variable, which poses a great obstacle. Emotion is a mental state that arises spontaneously rather than through conscious effort and is often accompanied by physiological changes; a feeling: the emotions of joy, sorrow, reverence, hate, and lovei. But emotion, being more chaotic than reason i.e. more unpredictable at times can cloud a person's judgement whereby he or she loses emotional control and maybe not know all the facts so as to react appropriately whereas reason is more logical. Justification is defined as a statement in explanation of some action or beliefii. It plays an important role in explaining our emotions and the probable reasons behind them. ...read more.


It was her rationality on the other hand which made her decide that the man's behaviour was unacceptable and thus he had to be reported. Thus giving rise to the fact that emotion and reason at the same time can be crucial in making a decision. Take the example of a panel member on the jury panel of a court. Their main purpose is to judge the case presented before them logically with reason. Then they weigh the different aspects of the case with the facts given to them and then deliberate a verdict, with reason given the highest regard during the entire process. The outcome: the defendant has been convicted and is justly given his due punishment. This is a clear cut case of reason being used to make a decision where a rational and correct decision has been taken. But let's involve emotion into this situation. Suppose one of the jury members lost one of his close relatives because of a murderer, he would naturally be blood-thirsty for revenge. Thus, he would have his mind set on punishing the criminal, even if the defendant had the slightest chance of being innocent or being acquitted in the name of self defence, the emotion of that particular jury member would be enough to ruin all the hope for the defendant. ...read more.


An example of a context in which it seems right to lie is this: you are a citizen of Nazi Germany, 1940. You are hiding a family of Jews in your attic. The German police come to your door and ask whether you know the whereabouts of that particular family of Jews. This seems a clear case in which preventing harm seems more important than telling the truth. A contrary case might be the following: Imagine that an acquaintance of yours reveals that she has committed manslaughter and that she's very remorseful about it. You are called into court to testify. You know that if you tell the truth, she will go to jail (i.e. suffer a harm). The remorse she shows suggests that she will never commit another crime if she is not sent to jail. Our instincts probably tell us that you should nonetheless tell the truth in such a case, even if it seems likely to do more literal harm than good. This decision might be made on the grounds that truth telling is part of supporting a system of justice that we think overall fair and very valuable."iv . i http://www.thefreedictionary.com/emotion ii www.wordreference.com/definition/justification iii http://www.allaboutphilosophy.org/morality.htm iv http://www.ethicsweb.ca/guide/moral-decision.html ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our International Baccalaureate Theory of Knowledge section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related International Baccalaureate Theory of Knowledge essays

  1. Free essay

    Are reason and emotion equally necessary in justifying moral decisions?

    The idea is that only one aspect can prevail, usually the belief is that emotion should be suppressed and reason should be focused on. Problems are solved by reason and emotions are seen as the barrier that obstructs the path.4 Emotion tends to be seen as a problem for knowledge

  2. The Ascent of Money Book Report

    Instead, he dances around this assertion, weakening his argument considerably. In the end, however, the rationality of Ferguson's argument overcomes these small flaws and problems. In the bigger picture, Ferguson's argument that finance is at the root of all human progress serves a great purpose.

  1. Reason and emotion

    It might be argued that history requires greater emotional contribution, to relate to the subject and try to empathise more with the previous populations thus gaining a deeper understanding.

  2. Seeing James the Red Engine cry, prompted me to ask whether a machine could ...

    Turing believed that this proved machines were capable of thinking. The problem with this argument is that just because the computer is capable of fooling the interrogator into believing it is human does not directly correspond to the conclusion that the machine is a thinking thing.

  1. captains decision

    Therefore I would tilt to free Billy; due that I know his situation and I think would be unfair to kill him. On the other hand, Billy's situation is more delicate and inflexible if we base our decision in the universal law rather than utilitarianism law.

  2. Reason And Emotion

    At the same time, each person's beliefs and experiences create a bias that taints the events being retold, and thus influences what the listener knows. History is essentially facts that are interpreted by a variety of perspectives which are dependent on the historian's emotions towards the event.

  1. Are reason and emotion equal in justifying moral decisions?

    is dependent on the experience and the reason is dependent on the emotion. In some cases, being fully rational or being fully emotional is considered immoral.

  2. Can Emotion be rational?

    This example proves that emotions can effect our reason and it is more frequent that emotion is irrational than rational.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work