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

Evaluate the ways in which emotions might enhance and/or undermine reasoning as a way of knowing.

Extracts from this document...


Evaluate the ways in which emotions might enhance and/or undermine reasoning as a way of knowing. I Blaise Pascal (1623-1662) once said that "The heart has its reasons of which reason knows nothing". He meant that emotions make humans do things that are in fact not reasonable or rational. Emotions make people say things they don't mean, and make people give into temptations more easily. They lead to irrational behavior and to not thinking clearly. An emotion consists of passions, moods and senses which then create internal feelings, which are expressed by external behavior. That behavior can vary in intensity, just like emotions vary in intensity. Emotion is one of the ways of knowing. To a great extent, emotions can affect the other ways of knowing, and especially reason. Although the James-Lange theory states that emotions only have a physical dimension emotions in fact have a physical and an emotional dimension. If emotions only have a physical dimension, then if a person would smile, that person would automatically feel happy. One can pretend to be happy by smiling, but feel depressed inside. Therefore, human emotions have both a physical and a mental aspect. That mental aspect makes our emotions more complex then animal emotions, because the mental aspect also affects our beliefs, and therefore our reasoning. They can even produce emotional prejudice and affect our beliefs. ...read more.


Emotion also affects language as a way of knowing. When one feels a powerful emotion, that emotion can affect people because they express their internal emotions externally with the usage of language, and one might say things that one does not mean. IV One might think that it is better not to have emotions at all, but that is not true. The Stoics wanted a world with apathy, which literary means "without passion". The Stoics thought that if they could ban emotions out of their lives, then things would be much clearer and more logical for everyone. One cannot ban all emotions from one's life. For example, when a Stoic, who decided to ban all emotions out of his life, meets someone that is bigger, stronger, and ready to fight the Stoic, the Stoic's brain will try to find the nearest exit. This experience triggers the Stoic's brain to send an emotion throughout the Stoic's body. That emotion is fear. Therefore, it is not possible to just ban emotions, although it is possible to have better control over emotions. V Although it has been stated earlier that emotions can lead to poor decision making, emotions can also help when one has to make decisions. Emotions narrow down the options when we make decisions. When we make a decision, all options that lead to different outcomes of that decision provoke a certain emotion within ourselves. ...read more.


For example, when you are sitting alone in a room in the dark, you know that the chance that a big vicious monster will come into that room and kill you is very slight; the emotion that you feel alone in the dark is fear for something that you know is highly unlikely to occur. It is irrational to fear that monster, but still it is very difficult to set that feeling aside. VIII The problem that arises when trying to evaluate this subject is that it is hard to define how much emotions really influence reasoning. In every circumstance no one experiences exactly the same emotions, and no one is affected by their emotions exactly the same way. Emotion can both enhance and undermine rational reasoning because they are so closely connected. Emotional coloring by powerful emotions can lead to a biased perception and poor decision making. On the other hand emotions can also help narrow down possibilities when making decisions. Emotions can be reasonable at times when they are based on a truthful view of reality in specific circumstances. Still, emotions cloud the way that we perceive experiences, and make us see things in an unclear way. Although we should not try to ban emotions like the Stoics wanted, it might be an improvement to have a better control of our emotions. The question that evolves from this essay is how we can achieve rationality and better emotional control without losing the advantages that emotion can bring us. ...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. How can different ways of knowing help us to distinguish between something that is ...

    clarify the following question: "how do we really know what we know?" Language is the key for the knowledge. For example, in 21st century, most of the academic journals are printed in English. So it is good to be fluent in English in order to understand everything properly.

  2. To what extent do you think reason is an objective, reliable way of knowing? ...

    On the other hand inductive logic/reasoning talks of going from several specific experiences or observations to making a generalized conclusion. Inductive logic is a very common way of arriving at a conclusion. On several occasions I myself have made assumptions or generalization from my past experiences and observations.

  1. In what way does the problem of evil lead to atheism?

    I will be looking at both the arguments for and against the fact that the problem of evil leads or does not lead to atheism. At the end I shall provide a conclusion based on analysing the outcome of my questionnaires; also giving my own point of view, by summing

  2. TOK: What are the effects of biased language and unsound reasoning on history?

    ?History is an argument without end? History is not the facts of the past alone but the processing of these facts into a coherent, meaningful interpretation of the past with which these facts are concerned. Historians explore the past from archives, public record offices, churches and historical documents (primary sources)

  1. How can the different ways of knowing help us to distinguish between something that ...

    know as a chemistry student that the test for hydrogen will always be a ?squeaky pop sound?, this is because I have tested this myself and I heard the sound a made.

  2. To what extent does a language enhance our ways of knowing or limit them?

    An Australian Aboriginal tongue, Guugu Yimithirr as pointed out in the article is not really able to use the egocentric coordinates at all.

  1. Is it possible to justify the different ways of knowing?

    It is through these connections that humans attain knowledge. Our minds create realities of the environment based on information derived from the five basic human senses. However, these senses do have limitations. This is true considering that our senses are not as acute as those of the animals. Humans are only capable of hearing and seeing to a certain frequency and degree.

  2. To what extent is the way of knowing the most useful in determining the ...

    Different culture and living style create gap between each country, translating one language to another is confuse because of limit understanding of actual words and culture. For example, the foreign news continues to broad cast over exaggerated information on the Fukushima nuclear plant, after them getting information from Japan.

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