Undermine reason as a way of knowing

Emotion is the state of mind as a result of your feelings and thoughts and is often associated to reason; reason is explanation for an action or an idea. Emotions come naturally and are usually uncontrollable; it can both enhance and undermine reason, which results to both advantages and disadvantages. As humans, we don’t know everything therefore we use logic and emotion to reason in order to make the best possible decision or what we think is the best possible decision.

Bias, passion, emotion clouding judgment and education are all emotional factors that can both enhance or undermine reason as a ways of knowledge. Emotion can easily cloud our judgments and undermine the reasons for our action. For example Duangchalerm Yubamrung a 20-year-old Thai lieutenant and the youngest son of Chalerm Yubamrung, a very powerful politician, was seen shooting and killing a police officer at the Twenty Club. Having a very powerful father who loved him became a great advantage for Duangchalerm.

His father abused his power and used his money corruptibly to prove his son innocence. This shows that because his father loved him very much he was willing to do anything to protect his son, even if he knew that his son had done something illegal and deserved to go to jail. His father’s love for his son resulted to him making an unreasonable and unethical decision. However, an outside person may disagree with the actions of Chalerm greatly due to the fact he knows that Duangchalerm has committed a crime and deserved to be sentenced.

He made this rational decision without emotions clouding his judgment, as there is no emotional connection between the two. Although it may seem that emotion does cloud your judgment, but it is not always the case, for example Keats, a 19th century English romantic poet believed that the knowledge and truth can be gained purely from emotions rather than reasoning. He called this “Negative Capability”. He believed that he could connect this consciousness and emotion directly to the universe, this way he is able to realize things instantly without the need to reason; as a result, gaining knowledge faster.

For that reason, emotions can also make things become clearer. But different people perceive it differently. A Buddhist may believe in it as it is what they have been taught, but a Muslim person may not, this view is subjective due to different beliefs. It may also be argued that how do you know that the knowledge gained by “Negative Capability” is the actual truth as there has been no reasoning or actual proof to it. This makes the knowledge gained unreliable; consequently emotion does undermine reason as a way of knowing. However, emotion can also enhance reason.

In this case passion, if you were interested in something, your passion and emotion for it would motivate you to research and work towards a given target. For example, I am interested in cooking and my passion for it inspires me to experiment with different ingredients and techniques in order to improve my skills to produce a better dish. As a result, by doing so I would also be expanding my knowledge and experience. On the other hand, one might argue that it is not real knowledge that is gained. This is because it is subjective; it depends on an individual’s senses and opinion.

What you think tastes good may be the opposite of what another person thinks. But being subjective can also enhance reason and knowledge, for example if I find out that some people liked my dish and some didn’t, my emotions will push and motivate me to improve the dish to try and please all or the majority of that group. However, another view can also be that being very passionate about something, an individual may not care about the different views, as they believe that their work is perfect and doesn’t need changes.

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