• Tarskian
    301
    How do you know? Where is the evidence?Vera Mont

    If there were a pure-reason explanation for the existence of the universe, why would anyone be interested in addressing the question by means of spiritual belief?

    https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/philosophy/article/abs/reason-the-universe-exists-is-that-it-caused-itself-to-exist/393019C8CFEBE88DD10347577702AEAD

    Philosophers have traditionally responded to the question, ‘why does the universe exist?’, in one of two ways. One response is that ‘the universe exists because God created it’ and the other response is that ‘the universe exists for no reason—its existence is a brute fact’.

    If there is no reason for it, then the very existence of the universe is meaningless. If, on the other hand, you insist that you do need meaning, you will have to find it in a spiritual answer.

    This is pretty much standard metaphysics.

    If life is deemed meaningless, then the absurdist philosophy predicts that the struggle with the absurd will culminate in suicide, which is the magnificent and grandiose apotheosis of absurdism as a way of life and especially death. All you have to do, is to categorically deny spirituality as a source of meaning, and then you are good to go.
  • jorndoe
    3.4k
    , have you run a correlation with happiest countries, and places of violence or war, for example?
  • Vera Mont
    3.8k
    If there were a pure-reason explanation for the existence of the universe, why would anyone be interested in addressing the question by means of spiritual belief?Tarskian
    Conclusion: What you don't know can't exist.
    If there is no reason for it, then the very existence of the universe is meaningless.Tarskian
    To one who demands that everything have a meaning that he can understand, and doesn't know the reason for the universe, the universe is meaningless. For everyone else, it's a futile question with no available answer.
    If life is deemed meaningless,Tarskian
    by that same teeny little mannikin who expects to know everything, but can't,
    then the absurdist philosophy predicts that the struggle with the absurd will culminate in suicide,
    That's surely an issue only for the absurdist philosopher and his next of kin, not for sensible people.
  • Tarskian
    301
    That's surely an issue only for the absurdist philosopher and his next of kin, not for sensible people.Vera Mont

    In my opinion, absurdism is very, very sensible, rational, and eminently reasonable. I certainly believe that absurdism is truthful. It is very good at explaining what you can see around you.
  • Tarskian
    301
    have you run a correlation with happiest countries, and places of violence or war, for example?jorndoe

    That is not the correct comparison.

    You need to compare these places when they are both violently at war and then measure how they manage to cope with extreme circumstances. Do they give up? Or do they walk on foot thousands of miles from Syria to Germany, in the middle of the rain, the snow, and the winter, trying to stay alive?

    A true litmus test of survival was Napoleon's battle of Maloyaroslavets. He did not want to go back to Smolensk, because he would not be able to resupply along that route. The French lost the battle and therefore knew that the situation had become hopeless. It was a true test of their resolve when they started walking back anyway.

    But then again, look at how the Battle of Berezina went:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Berezina

    By 1 p.m. the smaller of the two bridges was complete and Oudinot began to lead his infantry of 7,000 men across the river and establish a defensive position to protect against the Russian forces to the south. Later that afternoon, the larger of the two bridges (for the artillery) was completed, but collapsed twice. Napoleon began to move his force across the Berezina in earnest.

    The bridges were then available for the stragglers; however, despite encouragement, most of those who had fought so hard to get across the river during the bombardment chose to light their campfires and spend the night on the east bank. The next morning, the commander of the engineers, General Eblé had Napoleon's order to burn the bridges at 7 a.m. Eblé delayed the execution of that order until 8:30 a.m., at which time, tens of thousands of stragglers and their civilian companions were left behind.

    The unfortunate men who had not taken advantage of the night to get away had at the first appearance of dawn rushed on to the bridge, but now it was too late. Preparations were already made to burn it down. Numbers jumped into the water, hoping to swim through the floating bits of ice, but not one reached the shore. I saw them all there in water up to their shoulders, and, overcome by the terrible cold, they all miserably perished.

    Cossacks and Wittgenstein's troops closed in upon Studienka and took the stragglers on the east bank as prisoners.

    These French stragglers, who in the meanwhile had become the majority of Napoleon's army, simply did not do what it took, despite encouragement. This is the precise event which eventually cost Napoleon his imperial crown.

    When everything is easy, and the country is happy, you learn nothing about the people involved. Put them in difficult circumstances and then look at how they cope. Half of them may give up without even trying. The other half may still respond by taking alcohol and drugs instead of fighting to survive. It is not possible to always prevent the shit from hitting the fan, and when it does, it is not the crowd that has always had it easy that will perform the best. Only when the tide goes out do you discover who has been swimming naked.
  • Philosophim
    2.5k
    I have done that. Real people, in pain and fear, cannot be unemotional about their situation. Rule 1. bites the dust at the diagnosis of cancer or the repossession of someone's house.Vera Mont

    The topic was how to rationally approach suicide. I didn't state you wouldn't be emotional. I stated don't make decisions due to emotion. That's irrational. Saying, "People can't be rational," is not a counter to point 1, but an emotional denial. Whether or not a person chooses to be rational is in their power. But if you are going to be rational, you cannot make your choice by emotion.

    That being said, these are decisions you really cannot make on your own, and need other rational people to analyze the situation with you. If you don't want to tell anyone that you're thinking of doing it for example, then you shouldn't do it.
    — Philosophim
    That is the most difficult piece of advice, and I have told you why, several times. Other people are also emotional. They can't turn it off just because you tell them to.
    Vera Mont

    Difficult to follow doesn't mean 'irrational'. I've noted you find people who care about you, and consult several people. I've noted that despite there being other people that you may encounter who will not be rational, assuming they won't is irrational as well. A solo mind is weak and vulnerable, and a monumental decision to end one's life should not be made alone.

    Your fear that others around you will not be rational is emotional. Rationally, you should be approaching terms of suicide ahead of emotionally turbulent times. As I noted earlier, my parents have already discussed with me end of life procedures. If you come to a point that doesn't meet those parameters and want to end your life, that's a sign its emotional and you need to reach out to others.

    Sometimes even people who have discussed end-of-life care go back on their promises when the death of a parent or spouse is imminent.Vera Mont

    This is always a possibility when trust is involved. That is a risk you have to take, and once again, why you involve multiple people to handle if one goes rogue. That's part of being rational about it. Saying, "Everyone might not follow what I ask and everyone is going to be irrational," is an irrational emotional reaction.

    Many family members and friends, if you tell them you're contemplating suicide, go ballistic, get religious and righteous on your ass, plead and cry and maunder on about the sanctity of life, then confiscate your meds and have you put in a locked ward, where you are deprived of all means of ending your own pain: you no longer have a choice, freedom or autonomy. I know this from having witnessed it. (One patient was so desperate, she stuffed her bedsheet down her throat.)Vera Mont

    I assume we're talking adults here. Children do not have the right to suicide period. Their brains are underdeveloped and do not have full rational capacity yet. If you're an adult, no one can do this to you. Further, I noted that rational reasons for suicide are excessive resource use both time and monetarily, or excessive crippling over time and being kept alive by machines. More people agree with this rationale than you think. If you're not in one of these cases and wanting to commit suicide, then you are being irrational. If they cannot reason with you when you're being irrational, then monitoring you until you get over your emotional turmoil is the smart thing to do.

    I'm not really hearing any rational counter argument here, just emotional ones. And the emotions generally are, "But I WANT to commit suicide. I don't want to tell other people because I'm afraid they'll stop me." That's emotional, not rational. The rational way to approach suicide is this. "I want to commit suicide. I better consult other people I trust who care about me to make sure I'm not being crazy." There is always risk in involving other people, but avoiding other people is a tried tactic of, "I want to do what I want, and I'm afraid other people will talk me out of it because deep down...I know its probably not right." Again, an emotional avoidant tactic, not a rational approach.
  • Joshs
    5.4k


    To the unspiritual rationalist, the foundations of our universe are irrational and meaningless. There is simply nothing that allows him to conclude differently. From what premises would be be able to do that?Tarskian

    You claim that rationality leads to the conclusion that the universe is absurd, irrational and meaningless, and that therefore spirituality is the only alternative to despair and desire for suicide. It seems to me you are forced into this assertion by a conception of rationality that is abstractive, narrow and rigid (the same conception of the rational that led Enlightenment and German Idealist philosophers to posit the need for a god) . It leaves out a deep range of ways of producing intelligibility , meaning and understanding that are more fundamental than abstract, derivative modes of thought like formal logic and mathematical calculation. There are more intricate and robust forms of order, continuity, consistency and relevance available to thinking than that of the stultifying and stifling forms of rationality you have in mind.

    I completely agree with you that rationality as you understand it is profoundly arbitrary in its foundations, but what you forget is that it is a human invention, one method among many possible methods we concocted at a certain point in history to organize our world. And , as you have discovered, it is a limited and ultimately inadequate way of making sense of the universe. But you make the mistake of blaming the universe for one crude and inadequate way of making sense of it that human beings happened to become enamored of at a certain point in our cultural development. Instead of replacing this clunky device you call rationality with a more adequate way of organizing events, you hold onto it and supplement it with ‘spirituality’, which is just your clunky rationality in another guise, a guise which allows you to fill in the holes of you logical analyses with whatever attributes you think it leaves out (the origin of purpose, love, meaning). Instead of filling in your failing ‘rationality’ with an equally inadequate ‘spirituality’ , I suggest you dump both sides of your dualist ontology in favor of a more useful and productive method of understanding and meaning-making.
  • Vera Mont
    3.8k
    The topic was how to rationally approach suicide.Philosophim
    No, actually. It was an unfortunate choice of the critical word in the OP: I failed to consider all the ways it might be interpreted. Entirely my fault.
    What I asked was not how the potential suicide himself ought to consider the issue, but whether you consider anyreasons for suicide to be rational - as distinct from moral or legal.
    Whether or not a person chooses to be rational is in their power.Philosophim
    I very much doubt that.
    This is always a possibility when trust is involved. That is a risk you have to take, and once again, why you involve multiple people to handle if one goes rogue.Philosophim
    Not if that one has power of attorney. That's not a rational risk to take; you only get one shot at escape.
  • Philosophim
    2.5k
    No, actually. It was an unfortunate choice of the critical word in the OP: I failed to consider all the ways it might be interpreted. Entirely my fault.
    What I asked was not how the potential suicide himself ought to consider the issue, but whether you consider anyreasons for suicide to be rational - as distinct from moral or legal.
    Vera Mont

    Ah, no worry! Numbers 2 and 3 are my reasons then. Feel free to comment further or end the conversation then. I don't think you had any issue with what I considered rationally viable, only in how to approach it.
  • Vera Mont
    3.8k
    Ah, no worry! Numbers 2 and 3 are my reasons then. Feel free to comment further or end the conversation then. I don't think you had any issue with what I considered rationally viable, only in how to approach it.Philosophim
    I have no argument with your reasoning; I just don't see it applied in real-world situations.
    Different perspectives here: I've worked in health care, seen and read many case studies. In not one instance did it go the way you prescribe.
  • Joshs
    5.4k



    The topic was how to rationally approach suicide. I didn't state you wouldn't be emotional. I stated don't make decisions due to emotion. That's irrationalPhilosophim

    I have a quibble with the way both of you have been opposing the rational and the emotional in this conversation. Are either of you familiar with the affective turn in the social sciences and philosophy that took place a few decades ago (Antonio Damasio’s work is one exemplification of it)? The gist of it is that emotion is the cradle within which rationality rests. It is what gives the rational its coherence, intelligibility and relevance. Without emotion rationality becomes dysfunctional and useless. I understand what you mean when you refer to situations where persons dealing with illness and death become lost in a fog of confusion. Last year my mother starved herself to death as a result of advanced dementia. My brothers and I had to support my 101 year old father in making difficult decisions concerning whether and to what extent to intervene in my mother’s actions ( feeding tube vs home hospice vs nursing home). The issue of agency becomes critical as people we love get older and their mental functions are compromised. Earlier in my mother’s illness, I fought with one of my brother over whether to sneak antidepressants into her regimen of pills to counteract her depression and agitation. I remembered that prior to the onset of her symptoms , she was opposed to the idea of anti-depressants. My brother was convinced that her alzheimer’s made her incapable of making that decision any longer, as though there was no core sense of self left there.

    Health care workers have undoubtedly been influenced by studies showing that those with advanced dementia perform poorly on emotion recognition tests. But these studies can easily be misinterpreted as indicating that people advanced dementia lose their ability to understand emotion, which can lead to under-appreciating their agency and humanity in this regard. By the same token, opposing emotion to rationality by treating the former as ‘irrational’ leads to dismissing the traumatized person’s communications as deranged. That is, we blame their confusion on their ‘emotions’ rather than on the unfamiliar new situation they have been thrown into. All I’m saying is that rather than couching the issue in terms of rational vs emotional , you might consider it in terms of breadth of perspective. Those dealing with profound trauma and loss lack the conceptual anchors to process their situation, since familiar intelligibility is precisely what has been lost, not rational capacity.
  • Philosophim
    2.5k
    Are either of you familiar with the affective turn in the social sciences and philosophy that took place a few decades ago (Antonio Damasio’s work is one exemplification of it)? The gist of it is that emotion is the cradle within which rationality rests. It is what gives the rational its coherence, intelligibility and relevance. Without emotion rationality becomes dysfunctional and useless.Joshs

    If fully disagree with this assessment. Emotion is the aspect of impetus and motivation. Rationality is an evaluation of if we should, and how we should act if we should. This is through my own personal experience. I have many deadened and addictive tendency emotions. If I listened to my emotions, I would likely be homeless or dead at this point in my life. Its not that I don't have them, but they do not make the decisions, I do.

    What matters in life are outcomes. I might feel bad and not want to work, but I go in anyway. I may not care that someone is doing poorly in life, but I know that reaching out can make things better. I could kill somebody and likely not feel any guilt or remorse. But what good would that do?

    Emotions are for children and animals. They are guides and impulses for doing, not thinking. Rationality is contemplative. It considers all sides. It looks for outcomes. Then you have to decide if you want to act on that rational outcome, or your emotion.

    The impetus from a young age is to rationalize acting upon emotions you feel. Rationalizing is inventing and coming up with ideas that 'back up' the emotional outcome you want. Being rational often times directly challenges your emotions, and thus the natural inclination of people from a young age is not to be rational, but to rationalize.

    As you get older, hopefully you have people who teach you that being rational results in better outcomes. Sometimes outcomes align with our emotions, but many times they do not. That's a major difference between stupid and intelligent people. Stupid or ignorant people invent all sorts of rationalizing to justify fulfilling their strongest emotions like sex, love, hate, "I do what I want and its moral", etc. The reason why you can't tell a stupid person that they're stupid, is because they're enraptured by their own emotions. So they'll get angry and blame you. They'll come up with 'reasons' to justify their emotions. They'll say, "I don't feel stupid," then rationalize why.

    Intelligent people can be called stupid, and analyze it. They might feel angry, but perhaps the other person has a point. They swallow their pride and realize, "You know what, I was stupid there. Time to correct it," despite feeling shame or embarrassment about it.

    That being said, emotions still propel us. Especially early on when we're not rational. But as we improve in life and build ourselves up to lose rationalizing and become more rational, emotions matter less and less. But the seat of rationality itself? No. Just impulse.
  • Joshs
    5.4k
    Emotions are for children and animals. They are guides and impulses for doing, not thinking. Rationality is contemplative. It considers all sides. It looks for outcomes. Then you have to decide if you want to act on that rational outcome, or your emotionPhilosophim

    I know this won’t convince you, but I wanted to counter your comment with Robert Solomon’s view of emotion:

    “I didn’t mean it; I didn’t know what I was doing. I acted without thinking; I acted irrationally. I was emotionally upset.” How often we hear that! And, without attempting a refutation, we sense its falsity, the hollow desperation that accompanies a feeble and halfhearted excuse. “I was emotionally upset”; that is the touchstone of a cop-out plea of momentary insanity. But we know better; not only did you “mean it,” but that single ephemeral “lapse,” as you call it, was more full of meaning than the years of labored inhibition that preceded it. You knew exactly what you were doing. You seized the precise moment, and you went straight for the most vulnerable spot. You knew exactly where to cut deepest, how to manage the most, and you knew exactly what the consequences would be. You had planned it for years, brooding and in fantasy, privately rehearsing and envisioning its effects in quick forgetful flashes.

    And yet you think the seeming spontaneity of that instant negates those years of strategy and rehearsal. “Irrational”? Nothing you have ever done has been more rational, better conceived, more direct from the pit of your feelings, or better directed toward the target. That momentary outburst of emotion was the burning focus of all that means most to you, all that has grown up with you, even if much of it was unacknowledged. It was the brilliant product of a lifetime of experience and knowledge, the most cunning strategy, and it had the most marked sense of purpose of anything you have ever done. Despite the consequences, can you really say that a you wish you hadn’t done it? And yet we hear, “emotions are irrational”—virtually a platitude. The emotions are said to be stupid, unsophisticated, childish, if not utterly infantile, primitive, or animalistic—relics from our primal past and perverse and barbaric origins. The emotions are said to be disruptions, interfering with our purposes in life, embarrassing us and making fools of us, destroying careers and marriages, and ruining our relationships with other people before they have even had a chance to take hold. “It was fine, until you got involved,” “it would be all right if you didn’t feel so guilty about it,” or “it was a fine triangle until he got jealous and spoiled it.”

    The emotions are said to disrupt our thinking and lead us astray in our purposes. This what I call the Myth of the Passions: the emotions as irrational forces beyond our control, disruptive and stupid, unthinking and counterproductive, against our “better interests,” and often ridiculous. Against this platitude, “emotions are irrational,” I want to argue that, on the contrary, emotions are rational This is not only to say that they fit into one’s overall behavior in a significant way and follow regular patterns (one’s personality”), and that they can be explained in terms of a coherent set of causes according to some psychological theory or another. All of this is true enough. But emotions are rational in another, more important sense. Emotions, I have argued elsewhere,1 are judgments, intentional and intelligent. Emotions, therefore may be said to be rational in precisely the same sense in which all judgments may said to be rational; they require an advanced degree of conceptual sophistication, including a conception of self and at least some ability in abstraction.

    They require at least minimal intelligence and a sense of self-interest, and they proceed purposefully in accordance with a sometimes extremely complex set of rules and strategies. In this sense, we may well talk of the “logic” of the emotions, a logic that may at times be quite difficult to follow but a logic which is, nevertheless, never merely an emotion’s own. Even the most primitive emotions, fear for one’s life of love of one’s mother, require intelligence, abstraction, purpose, and “logic” in this sense.
  • Vera Mont
    3.8k
    Are either of you familiar with the affective turn in the social sciences and philosophy that took place a few decades agoJoshs
    No, I wasn't. But then, I'm not opposing emotion to reason on principle. In fact, that's more or less what I've been arguing: that someone can make a reasoned decision, one that appears rational to an impartial observer, without turning off their emotions. I'm perfectly aware that people can greatly fear what is about to happen to their body and mind (e.g. if they're about to be tortured - and, no, that isn't a far-fetched example ), and reasonably seek a way out. That people can be so bereft by the loss of their home, their sight and their spouse that they reasonably prefer to curtail their own descent into a lonely decrepitude.

    My POV of that of elderly persons of sound mind, with debilitating, painful and progressive health issues - a short, miserable future. Most families are content to let their parents go without a fight, but oppose any form of assistance. (mainly on religious grounds) But I have witnessed situations in which much younger people were facing a long and very bleak future, were appalled by the prospect, and yet prevented by the spouse or family from making their own decision.
    Both reason and emotion can be in conflict between two people, but only one of those people is condemned to live that life.
  • Philosophim
    2.5k
    I know this won’t convince you, but I wanted to counter your comment with Robert Solomon’s view of emotion:Joshs

    This isn't a very good counter, because it doesn't address what I said.

    “I didn’t mean it; I didn’t know what I was doing. I acted without thinking;

    I said people rationalize their emotions. That requires thinking, intention, etc. I also said emotions are an impetus to act, they are not thoughts themselves. One can act without any further thought, after rationalizing, or being rational. Emotions do not preclude thought.

    “I was emotionally upset”; that is the touchstone of a cop-out plea of momentary insanity.

    I never said emotions removed agency. I never said following emotions is something you can't control. Of course you have (most of the time) have agency when you follow your emotions. Saying you don't is an excuse. We are talking about mentally able adults of course.

    Nothing you have ever done has been more rational, better conceived, more direct from the pit of your feelings, or better directed toward the target. That momentary outburst of emotion was the burning focus of all that means most to you, all that has grown up with you, even if much of it was unacknowledged.

    Right. Emotions are an impetus. They planned around fulfilling that impetus. That's not rationality. That's wanting to emotionally fulfil a desire and planning to do it.

    And yet we hear, “emotions are irrational”—virtually a platitude.

    Emotions are neither rational or irrational. Your actions are rational or irrational. Acting on emotion alone if you have time to think first is often times irrational. Acting on emotion after thinking about what outcomes will result, and putting the value of emotional fulfillment as a secondary concern, is rational.

    The emotions are said to be stupid, unsophisticated, childish, if not utterly infantile, primitive, or animalistic—relics from our primal past and perverse and barbaric origins.

    No, I never said this. Impetus is incredibly important for those who have not developed rational minds. Without impetus or some rational guide, you cannot do anything. Emotion is incredibly useful in accomplishing things in life. But emotion is a motivator, not thinking itself.

    Emotions, I have argued elsewhere,1 are judgments, intentional and intelligent. Emotions, therefore may be said to be rational in precisely the same sense in which all judgments may said to be rational; they require an advanced degree of conceptual sophistication, including a conception of self and at least some ability in abstraction.

    Emotions are digests of a particular situation that want an expected outcome. They are inductive snap judgements, and some people have a more accurate emotional capacity for induction then others. But it is a quick digest, not the careful examination and thinking rationality entails.

    In this sense, we may well talk of the “logic” of the emotions, a logic that may at times be quite difficult to follow but a logic which is, nevertheless, never merely an emotion’s own.

    No, this is just another person trying to justify fulfilling their emotions and elevating them in importance as something approaching rational thought. It is not. Emotions are snap judgements with what we perceive at the time, and nothing more.
  • Joshs
    5.4k


    No, this is just another person trying to justify fulfilling their emotions and elevating them in importance as something approaching rational thought. It is not. Emotions are snap judgements with what we perceive at the time, and nothing morePhilosophim

    Would you be amenable to the idea that it is just as a convenience that we separate affective and rational aspects
    of thought into district categories? What if we just treated the rational and the affective , the hedonic and the cognitive, as two inseparable components of all thinking? Affect would be more than impetus, like a reinforcer that points the way and retires to the corner while rationality does its work. At every turn in a rational argument the aim we are driving toward acts as a guide and criterion for what constitutes the correctness and relevance of our thinking. It not only constantly tells us how we are doing , but whether we should continue to do what we are doing. It sets out and adjusts what is at stake and at issue for us at every moment of rational thought.
  • Vera Mont
    3.8k
    Emotions are snap judgements with what we perceive at the time, and nothing more.Philosophim
    They're not judgments at all; they're primitive mental responses to sensory input from the environment and the body. It takes reason to name and describe them.
    Judgment is cerebral. Emotion is visceral. Both are necessary to do anything: a computer isn't motivated to act. To a degree we don't usually consider, we are motivated in everything we do by a desire. Desire is felt, but it takes thought to articulate it and formulate a strategy for its attainment.
  • Philosophim
    2.5k
    Emotions are snap judgements with what we perceive at the time, and nothing more.
    — Philosophim
    They're not judgments at all; they're primitive mental responses to sensory input from the environment and the body. It takes reason to name and describe them.
    Vera Mont

    I have no disagreements with this take. If you want to define judgement in the cerebral sense that's fine by me. A quick digest of a situation is probably a more accurate term.

    Would you be amenable to the idea that it is just as a convenience that we separate affective and rational aspects
    of thought into district categories?
    Joshs

    No. Its a clear difference in approach and thought. Everyone knows that 'rationality' is the gold standard. Emotional thinking craves that standard for itself. It hates that it isn't at that level. But if it could convince everyone it is, then there's no stopping it.

    What if we just treated the rational and the affective , the hedonic and the cognitive, as two inseparable components of all thinking?Joshs

    They are separable because even basic living creatures have emotional thinking. There is a clear separation between the two.

    At every turn in a rational argument the aim we are driving toward acts as a guide and criterion for what constitutes the correctness and relevance of our thinking.Joshs

    Again, this is rationalizing. If you're reasoning to obtain the satisfaction of a certain emotional desire, you're going to reject anything that goes against that emotional desire as 'wrong'. This is why emotion is not a good guide for rationality. To be rational, we must often go against ourselves.
  • Vera Mont
    3.8k
    Emotional thinking craves that standard for itself. It hates that it isn't at that level.Philosophim
    I think you're attributing a separate consciousness and thought process to feelings. There is no 'emotional thinking', but emotions do prompt thought and affect the thought process. And only one emotion can hate - and that one doesn't require a great deal of reasoning.

    If you're reasoning to obtain the satisfaction of a certain emotional desire, you're going to reject anything that goes against that emotional desire as 'wrong'.Philosophim
    It's never that simple. The only time we have only a single desire in extremes of physical need or arousal, and those are also the occasions on which the reasoning mind is shouted down.
    Most desires result from a mix of emotions, and most desires are tempered by counter-desires. For example, one might feel a strong urge to hit another person but also desire the respect of one's peers. Usually, it's more complicated than that. And in any of those situations, the reasoning mind keeps doing its work, instructing, directing, restraining and judging.
  • Joshs
    5.4k
    To be rational, we must often go against ourselvesPhilosophim

    And by what criterion do we ‘go against ourselves?’ What higher motive intervenes against ‘emotion’ except another emotion? Let’s say I derive pleasure from playing video games all day. Then I decide it is getting in the way of my accomplishing more important goals. In both instances, the pleasure motivates my actions. The video game provides pleasure by challenging my skills. and giving me a clear measure of my progress. When it occurs to me that I could be using my time better elsewhere, this is motived by the potentially greater pleasure associated with those other activities. Perhaps they are even more challenging , or challenging in a more multi-dimensional way. In each case, pleasure is intimately associated with creativity, and constitutes the measure of what is intellectually challenging.

    Emotion here goes hand in hand with intellectual development. Why should we want to be reasonable unless knowledge were intrinsically rewarding? Why would knowledge change our mind about anything, causing us to ‘go against ourselves’, unless reason were its own reward? Addiction is so powerful because the rewards are immediate and the detrimental effects are more gradual.
  • Philosophim
    2.5k
    Emotional thinking craves that standard for itself. It hates that it isn't at that level.
    — Philosophim
    I think you're attributing a separate consciousness and thought process to feelings. There is no 'emotional thinking', but emotions do prompt thought and affect the thought process. And only one emotion can hate - and that one doesn't require a great deal of reasoning.
    Vera Mont

    I'm trying to speak in the language context they're using. The point is that there is a human tendency to argue for what we want over what is correct. A consistent strategy that people are drawn to is to try to elevate one's own emotional desires as somehow equal with rationality. Then we can do whatever we feel like and argue that we're "being smart in our own way."

    Never underestimate the human tendency, which is in both you and I, to argue for one's own unearned excellence, sloth, greed, and emotional self-interest.
  • Philosophim
    2.5k
    And by what criterion do we ‘go against ourselves?’ What higher motive intervenes against ‘emotion’ except another emotion? Let’s say I derive pleasure from playing video games all day. Then I decide it is getting in the way of my accomplishing more important goals. In both instances, the pleasure motivates my actions.Joshs

    This can be due to an emotional conflict. But for me, its a rational conflict. Playing games is a form of relaxation and entertainment. It doesn't actually assist the world in any way, make me wealthier, or more successful in actual life.

    When it occurs to me that I could be using my time better elsewhere, this is motived by the potentially greater pleasure associated with those other activities.Joshs

    Then you are merely a pleasure seeking animal. This is not rational thinking.

    Emotion here goes hand in hand with intellectual development. Why should we want to be reasonable unless knowledge were intrinsically rewarding? Why would knowledge change our mind about anything, causing us to ‘go against ourselves’, unless reason were its own reward?Joshs

    Because while reason can be its own reward, that again, is just a pleasure seeking creature. You are, once again, trying to elevate emotion to the level of rationality so you can justify your own emotional satisfaction. This is a completely normal rationalization response.

    What you should be doing is put yourself in a position where the emotion to waste your time is stronger than your emotion to be productive when you need to be productive. When it takes all the willpower you have to drag yourself away and do something you would rather not be doing. When for the next hour, all you want to do is give up and go back to what you were doing.

    If you can successfully do things that are rationally needed despite your emotional affectations towards them, then you are being a strong, rational human being. If you know you should be doing something more productive, but you can't pull yourself away from your own emotions, you are a weak rational human being. And if you just follow your emotions without thinking, you're a weak and stupid human being (not as an insult, just a description).
  • Vera Mont
    3.8k
    The key, in this as elsewhere, is balance. Doing what is 'correct' (?) goes only so far to ensure a fulfilling life. Achieving goals has its reward. So does social status and approval. But the emotions also need to be nourished: we need security, affection, trust, amusement and physical pleasure.
  • Tom Storm
    8.7k
    Would you be amenable to the idea that it is just as a convenience that we separate affective and rational aspectsJoshs

    I can see this.

    I love this wording:

    The gist of it is that emotion is the cradle within which rationality rests. It is what gives the rational its coherence, intelligibility and relevance.Joshs

    Emotion here goes hand in hand with intellectual development. Why should we want to be reasonable unless knowledge were intrinsically rewarding? Why would knowledge change our mind about anything, causing us to ‘go against ourselves’, unless reason were its own reward?Joshs

    Makes sense.

    The emotions are said to disrupt our thinking and lead us astray in our purposes. This what I call the Myth of the Passions: the emotions as irrational forces beyond our control, disruptive and stupid, unthinking and counterproductive, against our “better interests,” and often ridiculous. Against this platitude, “emotions are irrational,” I want to argue that, on the contrary, emotions are rational This is not only to say that they fit into one’s overall behavior in a significant way and follow regular patterns (one’s personality”), and that they can be explained in terms of a coherent set of causes according to some psychological theory or another. All of this is true enough. But emotions are rational in another, more important sense. Emotions, I have argued elsewhere,1 are judgments, intentional and intelligent. Emotions, therefore may be said to be rational in precisely the same sense in which all judgments may said to be rational; they require an advanced degree of conceptual sophistication, including a conception of self and at least some ability in abstraction.

    I find this ( Solomon)) very interesting.

    Possibly a digression but since you raised it - I'd be interested in trying to unpack this via some examples. For instance - when determining the guilt of someone in a court of law, someone might say of the accused - 'It feels like he's guilty to me.' - and determine guilt based on this emotion rather than any facts provided about the crime. I suspect we wouldn't want important decisions made based on how it 'feels' to any given person at the time. Would we not want to use differnt tools? How do we determine which approach to privilege in the light of what you write about emotion?
  • Joshs
    5.4k
    when determining the guilt of someone in a court of law, someone might say of the accused - 'It feels like he's guilty to me.' - and determine guilt based on this emotion rather than any facts provided about the crime. I suspect we wouldn't want important decisions made based on how it 'feels' to any given person at the time. Would we not want to use differnt tools? How do we determine which approach to privilege in the light of what you write about emotionTom Storm

    Great question. What kind of mental processing is taking place when we have an intuition, a gut feeling? How often do experts in a field, such as surgeons, pilots, tightrope walkers, rely on the felt sense of a situation to guide them? Are they ignoring the facts that they have learned over the course of their careers or, on the contrary, holistically drawing from that reservoir of knowledge to arrive at a decision? I think what makes that decision ‘felt’ rather than laid out as a logical structure is that it is too fresh an insight to articulate is such developed terms, not because it is lacking conceptual substance.
  • Tom Storm
    8.7k
    What kind of mental processing is taking place when we have an intuition, a gut feeling? How often do experts in a field, such as surgeons, pilots, tightrope walkers, rely on the felt sense of a situation to guide them?Joshs

    Sure, but I figure intuition of that kind is based on experince and lots of exposure to good and bad decision making which was more formally structured.

    Are they ignoring the facts that they have learned over the course of their careers or, on the contrary, holistically drawing from that reservoir of knowledge to arrive at a decision?Joshs

    Probably drawing from a theorized basis.

    I think what makes that decision ‘felt’ rather than laid out as a logical structure is that it is too fresh an insight to articulate is such developed terms, not because it is lacking conceptual substance.Joshs

    Could be. I guess what we'd like to avoid is capricious thinking being used to label people 'guilty' or 'undeserving' based on physical appearances or some other emotive association which does not take into consideration the matter itself.
  • creativesoul
    11.6k


    You seem incapable of understanding that some folk, myself included, fully accept that all things meaningful and/or significant are so to a capable creature. Hence, if 'the universe' excludes all such creatures, by definition nonetheless, then the universe is meaningless.

    I've no issue at all accepting that until something/someone convinces me otherwise. I have no reason to accept the limited options you offered as means to deal with a meaningless irrational universe. In fact, I'm living proof, prima facie evidence, a shining example to the contrary.
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