• 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...

Introduction

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.

Middle

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.

Conclusion

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. 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.

  2. Evaluate the ways in which emotion might enhance and/or undermine reason as a way ...

    But different people perceive it differently. A Buddhist may believe in it as it is what they have been taught, but a Muslim person may not, this view is subjective due to different beliefs. It may also be argued that how do you know that the knowledge gained by "Negative

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

    friends and I had a hearty laugh about it, without even waiting to research the evidence behind that claim.

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

    This explains that objective truth can only exist after it has been proven to be true through math, science or any other way. By saying "Cogito, ergo sum", Descartes tries to prove that the existence of truth needs validation. On the other hand, subjective truth is usually more concerned with a person�s way of thinking.

  1. Evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of reason as a way of knowing.

    One famous prayer has a line that thanks God for the music that lifts us to heaven in one breath. Now if you started reasoning then there is no music that can physically lift us to heaven. In Indian movies it is quite common to see all characters sing beautifully

  2. Journal Entry: Emotions

    a wrong emotion on a certain situation, which has already happened to me same as to any other person I believe.

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

    this is true because through peoples experiences when they touched fire or came into contact with it they got burnt and using our sight we confirmed it to be true. This links with the statement that was made at the beginning that something which is true is something which can be proven.

  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)

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