‘Sometimes we hear reasoned arguments that oppose a view to which we are emotionally committed; sometimes we hear a passionate plea for a view we have good reason to reject. Bearing this in mind, discuss the importance of reason and emotion in distinguishing between belief and knowledge.’

In the modern and technological age of the 21st century, almost everyone in the world is united through the relentless outpouring of information that may play a significant role to desensitise our reason and sensitise our passion. This information is seemingly presented but in fact, reiterated and almost forcefully being driven into our minds. As the frequency of these updates increases and our minds become more accustomed to it, the amplitude and connotations can lose their context to result in us, the audience, being presented with this information, where neither reason nor emotion is sufficient to differentiate between knowledge and belief. When reason and emotion conflict, we are presented with the age-old question, of whether to “listen to your head, or listen to your heart?” To be able to distinguish between the two, one must first understand the similarities within their definitions.

A belief is a form of knowledge that is largely based on something personal, from a source usually lacking judgement, understanding or justification. A belief derives from one’s personal and cultural background and is steeped with personal experiences and the resolutions behind them. In elaboration to this, when a belief undergoes an investigation of its pre-existing ideas, and hereby gains a fluid verification of that idea, it can finally be labelled as knowledge. As we draw light to this, the differentiation between the two can be a difficult one, which is how we are introduced into the other ways of knowing. While differentiating between beliefs and determining knowledge, it is largely accepted that reasoning plays the most significant role. However this does not always apply, where perception, language and emotion all coincide for the final determination of knowledge. Although this process is largely accepted it carries with it a certain amount of variables, where the area of knowledge in question plays a major role in the quest for understanding, and the nature of the knowledge gained.

When taking this concept and applying it to the area of mathematics, it is apparent that reason plays the most prominent role among the other ways of knowing, whereas emotion does not even seem to appear. For example, in math, when one is trying to deduct or prove a statement, one goes about using sequential and logical steps to reach the final consensus. In effect, when given a simple equation such as (3 × 3 = x), one first uses multiplication to find that the answer does in fact equal 9. In elaboration to this, reasoning then continues to prove that this statement is in fact true, where the equation is reversed in the manner of (9 ÷ 3 = 3). In this process of reasoning the nature of emotion does not come forward, however might have taken place in the estimation or guesswork of mathematics. An example of this would take shape as     (3 × 3 = 10), where the belief imposed by emotion, is subject to reasoning, in order to determine its role as knowledge. As we once again reverse the equation, and attempt to divide the sum by 3, we reach the consensus that (10 ÷ 3 ≠ 3). It is by this nature that reasoning plays the most prominent role in mathematics, however this is not to suggest that emotion cannot be used within the area, just that it is simply inefficient as deductive and inductive reasoning take priority.

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The scientific area of knowledge carries significance in the process of understanding, where the experimental and hypothesis-based procedure can closely be related to that of mathematics, to assist us in the differentiation of reasoning and emotion, as well as the belief or knowledge gained. With regard to any science or experiment, a devised structure has been developed to allow for the end result gathered being both correct and reliable. This is achieved through the formation of an aim designed to either support or disprove a hypothesis by undertaking a variety of experiments bound by a number of variables. Through ...

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