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Kant's Understanding of the Relation Between Reason and Passion/Emotion - Essay Example

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Kant's Understanding of the Relation Between Reason and Passion/Emotion

Kant has tried to explore the reasons of human actions, as these reasons are related to emotions. In his study, the Groundwork for the Metaphysics of Morals Kant presents the key characteristics of the above relationship. It seems that reason, as a critical element of human decisions/ actions, is closely related to emotions, even if this relationship is not easily distinguished, as explained below. In the third Chapter of the Groundwork for the Metaphysics of Morals, Kant focuses on the importance of will, as a reflection of the freedom of each individual to decide. It is also in this chapter that reason, as an approach used for understanding the external world, is described. Emotions are also evaluated, as elements affecting human behavior. In order to understand the relation between reason, or cause, and emotions it would be necessary to understand the criteria on which human behavior is based; reference should be made especially to the concepts of freedom and causality, as related to will on which human behavior is highly based. At this point the following fact should be highlighted: reason may have two different contexts: cause, as a factor influencing freedom, is related to morality; reason, is a term that can be also used for showing the criteria on which the understanding of external world is based....
In other words, when the freedom of will of the individual is absolute, the relation between cause and emotions is quite limited, almost non-existent. In the above case, emotions have absolute power on a person’s will, setting the criteria on which the actions of the individual are based. Kant explains that the above form of freedom cannot exist in practice since it would lead to the lack of any control on human behavior (Kant Ch3, p.41), meaning that human behavior would be out of the control of law, a phenomenon that would severely threaten societies worldwide. On the contrary, freedom seems to be necessarily depended on law, a view that is based on the following fact: ‘freedom, as a concept, incorporates causality, which, by its turn, is related to law’ (Kant Ch3, p.41). It is implied that freedom is related to law, a view that is reflected in the following statement of Kant: ‘free will and will under moral laws are identical’ (Kant Ch3, p.41). In other words, freedom is related to law and not just the written law but also the moral law. Under these terms, emotions cannot have a decisive power on human behavior; the latter is necessarily influenced by morality, or else causality, and needs to be aligned with the principles of moral laws. At this point, the relation between emotions and reason, or cause, can be weak, serving different interests; emotions promote an increased freedom of the individual to act while the latter sets limits to the freedom of humans. At this point the following issue should be discussed: would emotions and reason have another relation, i.e. apart from the relation discussed above? Kant notes that there are two different types of world: ‘the sensible world, being ...Show more

Summary

The explanation of human behavior can be characterized as a challenging task. Usually, human actions are based on specific causes, but this rule is not always applicable, as for example in the case of automated human responses to certain events…
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Kants Understanding of the Relation Between Reason and Passion/Emotion essay example
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