In my opinion, reason is defined as the justification of a rational ground or motive with respect to what one thinks is right. Emotions on the other hand, are the feelings and thoughts that one goes through when facing different situations. Both elements, reason and emotion, are equally and intensely necessary for making moral decisions. First, I would like to break down how I see and define a “moral decision”. A decision, of course, is making the best choice based on the information you have about the situation. That’s logic. Morals are unwritten social guidelines followed by those who want to do good things and be good people.
Here you find the emotion. Therefore, a moral decision is making a choice that makes sense in light of the data while not violating any social guidelines. A person who makes all their decisions emotionally, will be flighty, wishy-washy, and prone to not following through on anything. Not only that, but their decisions would have no real rationale behind them, so they would be at best the random result of whatever moods the person was in that day, and they would also seem to do things just to achieve a result which would boost their emotions, without taking into account the feelings or position of others.
For example, I watched this bicycle match whereby there were two riders who got away from the main group of riders and both of them cooperated in order to take a share of the lead so that the other can shelter from the wind and as such, they will come in first and second in the race. However, what happened is that the one leading all the way and does all the hard work, the cooperator, is not the one who comes in first. The other guy, the betrayer, started on his sprint at the last 500m of the race and as such, he won.
But what is shocking here is that people use their emotions and do things without any moral guidelines in order to achieve what seems more important to the individual and in the midst of doing so, chucking the feelings and actions of other people aside. Thus, when nothing but emotion is used in making decisions, the effects can also be detrimental. When you squander your entire paycheck on gambling because you could feel that this was the “big one”, then you used no logic. Both logic and emotion are required if the decisions you make are to be both smart and for the betterment of the world, not just yourself.
A person who makes all their decisions through reasoning will be cold and distant. He won’t be able to take any pleasure in the little moments that life throws at him, because he’s too busy analyzing. He has no life at all, no sense of enjoyment, thus will have few friends. I once had this friend who did everything through reason, without any emotions at all. Despite being smart and scoring very well for his exams and school work, he still had very few friends as he merely thought about himself all the time, and only did things which would benefit him in the long run or short run.
Moreover, although he did quite a fair bit of community work, he did not benefit at all from it, as his mind was just focusing on fulfilling his CAS hours, and not on the spirit of giving. This would be a crazy world without reason. We need it for everything we do. However, trouble can start when reason is the only criteria for making decisions. It happens though. Those big faceless credit card companies, for example, run solely on reason. The decisions they make are extremely beneficial to themselves.
If they used an ounce of emotion in their business though, then they would stop getting ahead on other peoples’ misfortune. So, we have to strike a balance there. When you throw morality into the mix, every decision is coloured by a little bit of intuition. Does the decision seem right? And I think that to make those sorts of decisions, there’s a mix of reason and emotion, too. You have to be able to feel good about the decision, and at the same time, you have to be convinced that the decision was the right one.