• Wallows
    6.2k
    Philosophy seems obsessed with reason. One can run around in circles talking about it, much like the person without emotion cannot decide which pair of shoes to pick, for hours, until someone intervenes or commands a choice. Emotions seem to make decisions possible, as to what is preferable or desireable.

    I've been a strong believer of Stoicism and CBT in the past; but, have come to the realization that speaking or thinking about reason in isolation from 'emotions' is a futile and hopeless task. People aren't either fully rational or completely irrational. There are instances where reason flies out of the window and the emotions take hold in some psychotic fit, and there are some instances where reason seems to be in complete control; but, speaking about one or the other in isolation seems fallacious.

    Hume, I think, came to this realization epitomized in his famous saying that reason is instrumental to the passions or desire. Do any of you think this is correct to state the previous or is there some freedom of the will manifest in reason operating on a higher ground than obeying the commands of desire or the passions? I ask because I find the notion that reason being the slave of the passions incommensurable with having a free will. Otherwise, we seem to all be animals in some sense just reacting to situations or states of affairs.
  • Moliere
    1.4k
    People aren't either fully rational or completely irrationalPosty McPostface

    I think that's the best way to put it.

    Reason is slave to the passions for some people. And reason cannot do what it does unless it is motivated.... by passion. Similarly, reason is the master to the passions for some people and passions cannot be satisfied without reason.

    I think the balance varies from person to person. But it's very fair to say that people aren't either. In fact I think the distinction is just one of convenience -- one that works in some situations and not in others. It's not as if our mind has a reason/passion dichotomy working within it in some sort of factual sense. It's just a useful set of categories for many situations -- but reason is motivated by passion, and passion is curtailed by reason.
  • Wallows
    6.2k
    I would like to also add, that, what I call a false dichotomy between emotions and reason runs very deep and is even ingrained in linguistic analysis. The law of excluded middle seems to be rife when talking about the two.

    I am interested, if possible, if a new method of talking about how reason and emotions operate together in a complementary fashion, can be formulated? Much like how psychology and science are two different fields with little overlap.
  • Bitter Crank
    6.8k
    One thing we can do is to stop opposing reason and emotion. Our senses, emotions, memory, reason, metabolism, hormones, muscles, and so on are all one system. Yes we can separate out more and more parts for examination, but elucidating parts ought not set parts in opposition. We wouldn't say that the liver operates in opposition to the stomach; let's not say emotions operate in opposition to reason. They are a reciprocal system.

    You are right that our language and thinking is rife with dichotomies, but we aren't compelled to honor them every time we set pen to paper.

    Think/write from the POV that beings are holistic; wholes made of integrated systems. If you stick with this idea, your thinking about thinking and being will change. A little, sure. That we are holistic isn't exactly a revolutionary idea that was not previously put forward.

    So, don't put reason and emotion in opposition. Don't compare the mind to a computer (it's insulting to the mind). Don't oppose the mind and the body. Whatever is going on in one area affects the whole. A being is like an ecology - many integrated systems.
  • Noble Dust
    3.2k
    It's not as if our mind has a reason/passion dichotomy working within it in some sort of factual sense. It's just a useful set of categories for many situations -- but reason is motivated by passion, and passion is curtailed by reason.Moliere

    :up: But too bad this isn't the general zeitgeist of philosophy/politics, etc. As posty mentions,

    I would like to also add, that, what I call a false dichotomy between emotions and reason runs very deep and is even ingrained in linguistic analysis. The law of excluded middle seems to be rife when talking about the two.Posty McPostface

    Thankfully, everyone here, regardless of whether they realize it, are making emotionally charged rational arguments. Or maybe not thankfully. It would probably be better if this was more widely acknowledged.

    Reason needs a home, and home needs to a reason to exist.
  • Wallows
    6.2k
    Thankfully, everyone here, regardless of whether they realize it, are making emotionally charged rational arguments. Or maybe not thankfully. It would probably be better if this was more widely acknowledged.

    Reason needs a home, and home needs to a reason to exist.
    Noble Dust

    Yes, the ambiguity as to whether 'thankfully' or not is due to me not knowing what your beetle looks like. Or to put it another way, the lights are on; but, is anyone at home? Words only convey their meaning through their use, and since not everyone obeys the same rules of the game at play, then we are left with a constant sense of ambiguity about the speaker's intention until asked about in some manner or form (sometimes things need to be shown).
  • Noble Dust
    3.2k


    :roll: Right, Witty said language is use, so now we don't know who is saying what in what way, because we don't know how people are using language. That's...one of those "games people play". Is my use of that language sufficiently clear?
  • Wallows
    6.2k


    I don't know. But, I think, your making sense here. 'I think' being the performative utterance.
  • Noble Dust
    3.2k


    "I don't know" is my performative utterance. That's an emotional statement, not a reasonable one.
  • Wallows
    6.2k


    Then we're in the same boat. My propositional attitude about my lack of certainty is the same as yours, hence we understand what we're dialectically going on about hereabouts.
  • Noble Dust
    3.2k


    As long as the emotional/intuitive precedes the rational, then we're in agreement.
  • Wallows
    6.2k


    Isn't that called "emotional reasoning" in CBT? A "cognitive distortion" otherwise.
  • Leesa Johnson
    4
    This post is based on topic "reason-and-emotions". Reader's posted views are really admirable. Keep it up.
  • NKBJ
    316


    In Harvey Siegel's book Rationality Redeemed the critical thinker is defined as: "one who is appropriately moved by reason."

    I think this is spot on. Note that the thinker must be "moved," which involves at the very least the emotion of caring about what is true or reasonable.

    Note also the word "appropriately," as in, emotions should keep the thinker in check, but also not take over and lead the thinker astray.

    Philosophy seems obsessed with reason. One can run around in circles talking about it, much like the person without emotion cannot decide which pair of shoes to pick, for hours, until someone intervenes or commands a choicePosty McPostface

    I would argue that emotions merely help us assess what is truly reasonable. Deciding between the black or brown shoes may be ultimately a choice of taste, but when I go hiking today, I will leave my slippers at home even though I may "like" them more than my boots.
  • Wallows
    6.2k
    I think this is spot on. Note that the thinker must be "moved," which involves at the very least the emotion of caring about what is true or reasonable.NKBJ

    Yes, although it sounds like rationality has no will or intentionality of its own. I find this troublesome; but, even Kant mentioned that what is good originates from the good will or 'volition'.

    Note also the word "appropriately," as in, emotions should keep the thinker in check, but also not take over and lead the thinker astray.NKBJ

    I seem to be of the other angle in that people need to get out of their comfort zone and feel emotions such as empathy and a feeling of care for another. Philosophers on the other hand seem to be isolated in their assumptions about human nature and go on and on about reason and its place with respect to emotions. Some middle ground is needed between the two and most people seem to find it. However, in this day and age, everyone seems to live in their own "bubble" or sphere of interest and have no concern about the welfare of others apart from their own self-interest.

    I would argue that emotions merely help us assess what is truly reasonable.NKBJ

    This is a typical no true Scotsman fallacy phrased in good will. What is 'truly reasonable'?

    Deciding between the black or brown shoes may be ultimately a choice of taste, but when I go hiking today, I will leave my slippers at home even though I may "like" them more than my boots.NKBJ

    Yet, reason seems to be instrumental here. One could go in slippers if one so desires. Again, the Humean saying of reason being the slave to desire or the passions.
  • NKBJ
    316
    I seem to be of the other angle in that people need to get out of their comfort zone and feel emotions such as empathy and a feeling of care for another.Posty McPostface

    Being appropriately moved by reason often entails just that... I'm not sure I understand how you understand the word appropriate if not entailing that we do things going against our comfort zone at times because reason tells us we ought to?

    This is a typical no true Scotsman fallacy phrased in good will. What is 'truly reasonable'?Posty McPostface

    Um, no. That fallacy would entail my argument is so self-contained that counter-examples can be dismissed out of hand simply for being contrary to my argument... which I can't.
    I'm not making any claims about specific instances of "true reasonability." I'm saying reason and emotions help us assess what might be so. No guarantees, but it seems to me our best bet.

    Yet, reason seems to be instrumental here. One could go in slippers if one so desires.Posty McPostface

    I really, really like my slippers. My reason is telling my passions that if I go out hiking in slippers I can reasonably expect to be injured. Reason has saved me from my passions.
  • Moliere
    1.4k
    I really, really like my slippers. My reason is telling my passions that if I go out hiking in slippers I can reasonably expect to be injured. Reason has saved me from my passions.NKBJ

    But only because you care about not being injured. If you didn't care about that, slippers it would be.
  • NKBJ
    316


    True enough.
    But I would argue it is more appropriately reasonable to care about being safe from bodily harm than to care about footwear aesthetics. With competing passions, reason has shown me which one I should choose.
    Hence, not being governed by passions, but reason tampering or redirecting these if they are inappropriate.
  • Mayor of Simpleton
    392
    Philosophy seems obsessed with reason.Posty McPostface

    hmm...

    Seems obsessed?

    Why not say seems concerned or seems to focus mostly upon?

    I'm just curious about the potential emotional impact of the use of the term obsessed.

    One can run around in circles talking about it, much like the person without emotion cannot decide which pair of shoes to pick, for hours, until someone intervenes or commands a choice.Posty McPostface

    I wasn't aware that I made use of emotions to pick a pair of shoes. For the most part the reasons for the choices of my shoes are a combination of comfort and color/texture in relation to the rest of my outfit. Usually this results in some sort of relaxed sand shoes... unless I play a sport then the sport will dictate the shoe choice. Anyway... I cannot ever remember making an emotional driven decision about my shoes.

    Emotions seem to make decisions possible, as to what is preferable or desireable.Posty McPostface

    Really?

    I find this quite odd as the people I know who are basically running their lives upon emotional basis find it extremely difficult to make and decisions out of fear of making some sort of potential emotional conflicts. Often I am consulted by them to aid them in their decision making processes as I can basically ignore the emotional baggage and make a logical choice.

    People aren't either fully rational or completely irrational.Posty McPostface

    Agreed!

    Which is why we need to find a balance relative to the context to field a decent decision and after the decision is made live and adapt to the pending consequences.

    Not that this helps, but two things come into mind...

    1) Argumentum ad Passiones: a logical fallacy characterized by the manipulation of the recipient's emotions in order to win an argument, especially in the absence of factual evidence.

    2) Empathy gap: a cognitive bias where there is a tendency to underestimate the influence or strength of feelings, in either oneself or others.

    I believe that in philosophy and well... every other aspect of life... these are two things to be aware of in others and one's self.

    Also, I would suggest that emotions have not cornered the market on irrational behaviour in the same manner that applications of pure logical can be irrational in terms of tendency toward a cognitive bias. Emotions can be very reasonable and logic can be very irrational in spite of the popular notion*** that this is a rare occurance.

    *** Bandwagon effect: a cognitive bias where one has the tendency to do (or believe) things because many other people do (or believe) the same. Related to groupthink and herd behavior.

    ... we seem to all be animals in some sense just reacting to situations or states of affairs.Posty McPostface

    Well... why is that incorrect?

    We basically react on the basis of either logic or emotion or a combination of both to any given state of affairs coupled with predicating factors leading the way... whether we are aware of these predicating factors or not, but nonetheless we simply react.

    I'm not sure I follow what you are driving toward here.

    Anyway... I'd be a bit careful in the wording as at some points as there seems to be an implication of reason and emotions being non overlapping magisteria; thus creating a very difficult dichotomy to support.

    Meow!

    G
  • Wallows
    6.2k
    I'm not sure I understand how you understand the word appropriate if not entailing that we do things going against our comfort zone at times because reason tells us we ought to?NKBJ

    Reason doesn't tell us anything. It's not like some God entity that commands the mind to act in a certain way. Emotions do that for us.

    Um, no. That fallacy would entail my argument is so self-contained that counter-examples can be dismissed out of hand simply for being contrary to my argument... which I can't.
    I'm not making any claims about specific instances of "true reasonability." I'm saying reason and emotions help us assess what might be so. No guarantees, but it seems to me our best bet.
    NKBJ

    'Truly reasonable', is what you said, and it doesn't make sense to me to talk about reason in that way. Maybe you can expand on what you meant so I can clarify my misunderstanding.

    I really, really like my slippers. My reason is telling my passions that if I go out hiking in slippers I can reasonably expect to be injured. Reason has saved me from my passions.NKBJ

    I think it's the other way around. Emotions, or your instinct for self preservation or the adversity of feeling pain told you to act by choosing the more preferable alternative to go in boots for a hiking trip, not slippers which would result in (most likely) blisters or generally a painful experience.
  • Wallows
    6.2k
    True enough.
    But I would argue it is more appropriately reasonable to care about being safe from bodily harm than to care about footwear aesthetics. With competing passions, reason has shown me which one I should choose.
    Hence, not being governed by passions, but reason tampering or redirecting these if they are inappropriate.
    NKBJ

    Again, your desire not to feel pain or induce bodily harm decided that the slippers weren't the optimal choice. Reason was simply instrumental in that decision.
  • Wallows
    6.2k
    Why not say seems concerned or seems to focus mostly upon?Mayor of Simpleton

    Thanks for polishing that sentence for me. Yes, concerned or focused seems more apt here.

    I wasn't aware that I made use of emotions to pick a pair of shoes. For the most part the reasons for the choices of my shoes are a combination of comfort and color/texture in relation to the rest of my outfit.Mayor of Simpleton

    Comfort seems to be the key word here. Comfort is a attitude or emotion elicited from some state of affairs. That state of affairs seems driven by urges, needs, want's, which all are emotionally driven, in my mind.

    I cannot ever remember making an emotional driven decision about my shoes.Mayor of Simpleton

    Well, when you pick a pair of shoes at the store, then your decision to pick some pair of shoes is highly emotionally driven. Don't you think so?

    Really?

    I find this quite odd as the people I know who are basically running their lives upon emotional basis find it extremely difficult to make and decisions out of fear of making some sort of potential emotional conflicts. Often I am consulted by them to aid them in their decision making processes as I can basically ignore the emotional baggage and make a logical choice.
    Mayor of Simpleton

    In another thread, you talked about cognitive dissonance. If we were really or 'truly' reasonable, then cognitive dissonances would never arise. Just using that as an example to make the point clear.

    Also, I would suggest that emotions have not cornered the market on irrational behaviour in the same manner that applications of pure logical can be irrational in terms of tendency toward a cognitive bias.Mayor of Simpleton

    Again, if we were 'truly rational' being then cognitive bias or dissonance would never occur.

    We basically react on the basis of either logic or emotion or a combination of both to any given state of affairs coupled with predicating factors leading the way... whether we are aware of these predicating factors or not, but nonetheless we simply react.Mayor of Simpleton

    So, you're going one step further or (backwards, if you prefer) and talking about needs, wants, and instinctual desires, is that correct? Perhaps, the unconscious is at play here, in some unknown manner to us all to psychologize the issue.
  • Mayor of Simpleton
    392
    Comfort seems to be the key word here. Comfort is a attitude or emotion elicited from some state of affairs. That state of affairs seems driven by urges, needs, want's, which all are emotionally driven, in my mind.Posty McPostface

    I cannot ever remember making an emotional driven decision about my shoes.
    — Mayor of Simpleton

    Well, when you pick a pair of shoes at the store, then your decision to pick some pair of shoes is highly emotionally driven. Don't you think so?
    Posty McPostface

    I believe we shop rather differently.

    I tend toward things I know I want or things I know I'm looking for. This makes me into a rather dreadful consumer in our current day and age. I don't really react much to commercials other than use them as information about what is avaliable. Even Facebook's bots gave up trying to toss commercials and recommendations my way.

    Rather than make a long story of the boring shoping habits of the Mayor of Simpleton, I'll address the shoes issue.

    The issue of comfort my indeed have a sight emotional basis I tend to look at how a shoe is made and buy according to how well it fits my foot. As I only wear sand shoe, casual sneaker type shoes, my purchases are according to comfort of fit and color. Color might seem emotional, but as I own many t-shirts and hoodies I tend to have my footwear match up with the tendency of color of these other items of clothing; thus I have mostly red, blue and green.

    I'm aware of fashion, but really pay it little attention. I know what I like and when I shop I look for that specifically; thus I never browse.

    The other shoes I own are for the various sports I am involved in playing. My cycling shoes are a specific brand as they fit and function for my feet the best. The same goes for my baseball cleats. As for the color choices, my current cycling team uses red/black/white and the baseball team I am now changing to will be red/navy/grey/white, so the color choices reflect those preset constraints. Perhaps the only emotion I'm dealing with at the moment is finding buyers for my old baseball stuff in dark green/white/grey.

    A funny thing about fashion... I don't follow it, but rather find what I can coexist with. Once I find a company that makes clothing that fits I stick with that company until they change the fit. If something does not fit, no matter how it looks I won't buy it. It seems just as logical to do this as it might seem to be emotional in the presentation of my outward image.

    Urges, needs, want's, which all are emotionally driven, in your mind are; in my mind quite is a logically calculated processes with a slight tinge of emotion. Perhaps we simply "tick" differetly? :razz:

    Meow!

    G
  • Wallows
    6.2k


    So, instead of contemplating the philosophy of shoe picking... May I ask about your take on the Humean saying that reason is (instrumental) or a "slave" to the passions/emotions/desire?

    Edit: The reason I ask is because as a former adherent or believer of stoicism I find it incommensurable with that philosophy, despite it seeming true. Hence the cognitive dissonance.

    On the other end I have the thought about Buddhist realizing ''nirvana'' as a state of mind similar to which the mind is no longer constrained by desire/emotions/the passions.

    Does that sound correct to you?
  • Mayor of Simpleton
    392
    In another thread, you talked about cognitive dissonance. If we were really or 'truly' reasonable, then cognitive dissonances would never arise. Just using that as an example to make the point clear.

    Also, I would suggest that emotions have not cornered the market on irrational behaviour in the same manner that applications of pure logical can be irrational in terms of tendency toward a cognitive bias.
    — Mayor of Simpleton

    Again, if we were 'truly rational' being then cognitive bias or dissonance would never occur.

    We basically react on the basis of either logic or emotion or a combination of both to any given state of affairs coupled with predicating factors leading the way... whether we are aware of these predicating factors or not, but nonetheless we simply react.
    — Mayor of Simpleton

    So, you're going one step further or (backwards, if you prefer) and talking about needs, wants, and instinctual desires, is that correct? Perhaps, the unconscious is at play here, in some unknown manner to us all to psychologize the issue.
    Posty McPostface

    I don't believe I'd ever care to use the term "truly reasonable". I find both reason and truth to be relative state of status. In short, both are subject to accumulation of information/experience leading to a subsequent refinement/adaptation of notions of truth and reason.

    I find that it might well be next to impossible to be void of coginitive bias, but one can make an effort to be aware of the pitfalls of coginitive biases... in one's self and others.

    Get this:

    Bias blind spot: a coginitive bias where one has the tendency to see oneself as less biased than other people, or to be able to identify more cognitive biases in others than in oneself.

    I feel like I just wrote a punchline to an inside joke about myself.

    Anyway...

    I've noticed that the vast majority of hardline ideologies (political, social, religious, aesthetic) that might sound very irrational have a greater tendency to be "over-rationalized" via various forms and manifestations of confirmation bias (The tendency to search for, interpret, focus on and remember information in a way that confirms one's preconceptions.)

    Such lines of (often) obvious irrationality have been thought out and reasoned meticulously, but only within the realm of a hermetically sealed worldview that allows only evidence that supports a preference.

    Using only reason... using logics alone is not enough.

    Reason and logic tell us nothing. They are simply tools used in investigation and arguments, but themselves are not the materials of the investigation or those used in constructing the argument and they are not the action of the tools being used. A hammer does not swing itself, nor does that hammer recognize the nail being driven or even it it is driving a nail or even if it is a nail wher the nail is being driven... and so on.

    My take is that emotions and reasoning are not mutually exclusive or rivals or opposites.

    I don't know if that helps clear or futher muddle up my position, but I simply don't see differences or dichotomies or domains so clear cut as seems to be presented in the ad populum of the world of everyday life.

    Meow!

    G
  • Mayor of Simpleton
    392
    May I ask about your take on the Humean saying that reason is (instrumental) or a "slave" to the passions/emotions/desire?

    On the other end I have the thought about Buddhist realizing ''nirvana'' as a state of mind similar to which the mind is no longer constrained by desire/emotions/the passions.

    Does that sound correct to you?
    Posty McPostface

    I've always thought that the Humean saying has been overly generalized. I also have the notion that passions/emotions/desires can indeed be both rational and irrational, as well as both reasonable and unreasonable. I simply cannot remove them from the context they are in and treat them all as if they are simply the same thing. Indeed a point can be made as stated by this saying in some particular context, but I believe it would not be all that difficult to present a contridiction to the saying; thus allowing it to collapse like the idealist house of card it indeed happens to be.

    I tend to avoid Buddhist things, as well as all religious or spiritual notions these days. I've never quite figured out these cryptic metaphors and why anyone would take them literally much less so seriously. I suppose my take on "nirvana" is that is just another cage of constraint known as nirvana that one needs to rid one's self of just as much as to achieve "enlightenment" one must let go of enlightenment. Beautiful placebos or simply the ability to blow smoke up one's own ass? I palindrom I? :wink:

    Meow!

    G
  • Wallows
    6.2k


    Thanks, fun talking with you Mayor!
  • Mayor of Simpleton
    392


    ..., fun ...Posty McPostface

    That's cool with me and makes me happy. :grin:

    Meow!

    G
  • Wallows
    6.2k
    That's cool with me and makes me happy.Mayor of Simpleton

    What purpose does philosophy serve you?

    I have already stated what I think philosophy seems to be for me, am quite interested in other opinions too.
  • TheMadFool
    2.4k
    I believe reason and emotion are two different things and not in an obvious definitional way.

    Emotions need to be subdivided into two categories:

    1. Cause: Emotions as cause are the most powerful and, in the same breath, most dangerous. Our sense of wonder at mystery and the unknown evoke our curiosity and prod us to the doors of knowledge and wisdom. I think love also falls in this class. This is a good thing.

    However, there are other emotions like lust, hate, anger, jealousy, etc. that have causal import and these are to be avoided.

    2. Effect: Emotions as effect is okay. One may be allowed to feel anger, sorrow, lust, etc. insofar as they are prevented from making us take action to satisfy them.

    Also @Wayfarer said that we do have a choice. We aren't slaves to our nature. I think he's right because not as obvious as the fact that emotion influences our reason we must think a little harder to realize that our reason influence our emotions too and this is a very important step to understanding that we have control over our lives. The extent of this power over the self may vary with people and this results in the variety of personalities extant in our world.
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