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

    I shall be looking at philosophical and moral justifications of evil. I made a research questionnaire which will help me justify the moral view of what an atheist, theist and agnostic's believer will say from their own point of view if beyond doubt the problem of evil is actually what leads to atheism.

  2. We see and understand things not as they are but as we are. Discuss ...

    by our brains; it also requires us to be able to make links between knowledge or to explain them using legitimate reasoning. But ultimately understanding is invariably done by our individual minds and thus requires a personal input. Hence, when we accumulate in us a wealth of information we are

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

    The first objective truth is: 1"Existence exists with or without the existence of consciousness to witness it" The second objective truth is: "For a consciousness to witness the first truth, it must be true that it exists " Descartes summed up these two thoughts in his quote "Cogito, ergo sum" or "I think, therefore i am ".

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

    Language will therefore help the audience form a decision on what is true and what is believed to be true. If the body presenting the news is certain that what they are reporting is true then they will say that it has been ?reported that...? but if they are not

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

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