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

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Masters
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Pages 5 (1255 words)

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

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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 ...
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