Theory of Knowledge- "Are reason and emotion equally necessary in justifying moral decisions?" - Essay Example

Only on StudentShare

Extract of sample
Theory of Knowledge- "Are reason and emotion equally necessary in justifying moral decisions?"

However, unanimous agreement is not possible in all cases or at all times. Herein one understands the significance of ‘moral decision-making’. Moral-decision making can be said as a rather complicated affair, that “involves sensitivity to the moral dimensions of everyday situations, and an awareness of the range of interests involved in specific decisions” (MacDonald, 1).
Moral decisions, as can be understood from the above, essentially involve two things; namely, 1) emotional understanding and 2) sound reason or logical explanation, emotion and reason roughly correspond to the first and second half of the above stated process. Naturally, the question arises as to whether the two are equally important? This essay shall briefly explain the meanings of the terms ‘emotion’ and ‘reason,’ ‘moral-relativism’ and the ‘self-interest’ theory, the positives and the negatives of emotion and reason in their roles in moral decision-making. It shall argue that, both are necessary in equal proportions to arrive at morally right decisions.
‘Emotions’ can be described as underlying feelings that are spontaneous and subjective (Mencl, 4). However, there is a difference between emotions and mere sensations. Jon Elster observes the latter as “the hedonic satisfaction produced by the senses, such as the taste of sweetness on the tongue;” furthermore, they cannot be called emotions since ‘emotions’ require “prior cognition” to be produced (p. 1386). Given that emotions are ‘subjective,’ it is composed of two factors namely - the particular situation and the concerned individual’s view of the situation; and this can impact not only the individual’s life, but also the life of others (Mencl, 4).
Some excessive emotions, like jealousy, anger, and so on, however, have “negative valence” (Elster, 1388). The negative emotions have the potential to wreck and ruin lives, just as positive emotions ...
Download paper


However, ‘morality’ itself is subject to change and may differ according to the place, time period, religious, educational, and…
Author : denesiksteve

Related Essays

Moral Decisions Essay
This is similar to how we acquired our morals. These are directly affected by external factors that influence us to act or think accordingly. Among the three, emotion is the only thing that cannot be controlled or influenced by other things. Janice Ho, a psychologist, once said that although emotion is one of the most primitive taints left in man, it is also the most complex, since no man has ever gained total control of it before. (Ho, Janice, 236)....
2 pages (502 words) Essay
Moral Decisions
In the Reason, Emotion and Moral Decisions article it is said that usually people imagine that human decisions are "backed-up" by reason when in fact they are the result of emotion. For example, the author refers to the fact that oftentimes the results of death penalty that is attributed to the (inculpate) is the result of fear. This fear springs from the fact that people do not want to be hurt again by the found guilty person. Fear is obvious the expression of emotion rather than reason. Behold that in this case, the emotion which is overcome by reason leads to the decision that morally a...
4 pages (1004 words) Essay
Are reason and emotion equally necessary in justifying moral decisions Theory of Knowledge Essay
2006). The fact about reason and emotion being the same, there have been various questions involving the nature of the two concepts, one pertinent being "are reason and emotion equally necessary in justifying moral decisions" Only a meticulously analyzed study and discussion of the question may find an exact answer to this. Therefore, the most focal thrust of this discussion has been the question in the backdrop of the issues of abortion and ethnic cleansing....
6 pages (1506 words) Essay
Are reason and emotion equally necessary in justifying moral decisions?
Simply put, without it the act itself and the result will be considered irrational and therefore, would never satisfy the criteria of a moral decision which requires the agent of such decision to display an ability to distinguish right from wrong. Obviously, it is the most important element in all decision-making process. But as we explore the issue of moral decision specifically, there is an added element of morality that elevates the role of emotion several notches higher....
5 pages (1255 words) Essay
Equal Importance of Reason and Emotion in Justifying Moral Decisions
However moral values are always theoretical. Consequently, there had been a difference of opinion among the scholars and philosophers, while defining moral values. In addition, there had been widespread debate over the applicability of reason and emotion to justify moral decisions. One such philosopher, David Hume argued that reason can be construed as a slave to the personal emotions. In contrast to this, Kant addressed the importance of reason in the process of taking moral decisions. Antonio Damsio, the author of Descartes’ Error, had maintained that the theories of Hume and Kant cannot...
5 pages (1255 words) Essay
Got a tricky question? Receive an answer from students like you! Try us!