Can feelings have an rational basis philosophy essay

May 06, David S. Does he have a theory of emotions or a theory of language? How do his accounts of these topics affect our understanding of his famous discussions of self-consciousness and freedom?

Draft June 25, for A. Such states are commonly thought of as antithetical to reason, disorienting and distorting practical thought. However, there is also a sense in which emotions are factors in practical reasoning, understood broadly as reasoning that issues in action.

At the very least emotions can function as "enabling" causes of rational decision-making despite the many cases in which they are disabling insofar as they direct attention toward certain objects of thought and away from others.

They serve to heighten memory and to limit the set of salient practical options to a manageable set, suitable for "quick-and-dirty" decision-making. Current research in neuroscience and other areas indicates that practical reasoning in this sense presupposes normal emotional development and functioning see, e.

Evolutionary accounts of emotion e. Contemporary philosophy of emotion attempts something stronger, however, in according emotions a role in practical reasoning. Making this an integral role--understanding emotions as functioning within practical reasoning rather than just as spurs to it--means interpreting emotions in normative terms, as providing or expressing potential reasons for action, and as themselves subject to rational assessment and control, contrary to the traditional view of emotions as "passive" phenomena.

Emotions as Evaluative The dominant approach in contemporary philosophy rests on assigning emotions an evaluative content see, e. Human emotions typically are directed toward "intentional objects" in the sense of being about something, real or imagined but in any case an object of thought.

Can feelings have an rational basis philosophy essay

Emotions that represent their objects in some positive or negative light as most do may be said to have a content expressible by an evaluative proposition.

Where the evaluation either is or implies an evaluation of some future contingency that the agent the one who undergoes the emotion can bring about or avoid, the emotion counts as a reason for or against action.

The rational bearing of emotions on action in these terms is captured roughly by the first or major premise of an Aristotelian practical syllogism, Aristotle's three-line schema of practical reasoning see In contemporary terms the major premise expresses a pro- or con-attitude toward something that the second or minor premise tells one how to attain or avoid.

It evaluates something as good or bad, desirable or worth avoiding--or simply as an object of a current desire or aversion. For instance, fear may be said to represent its object what one is fearful of or about; a certain event, or a likely cause of it as a threat, a possible harm.

Can feelings have an rational basis philosophy essay

Anger represents its object another person, or his performance of some action as already a cause of harm or offense that now calls for retaliation. Despite differences between the propositional content of these two emotions--one describes a possibility, the other a fact Gordon --both include a reason for avoiding some future contingency: Emotions also involve a corresponding affective element, derived from pleasure or pain on Aristotle's account of emotions seethat amounts to a good or bad state of the agent and hence supplies a reinforcing reason for action Greenspan In contemporary decision-theoretical terms, the affective element modifies the "payoff structure" of the situation: The discomfort experienced in fear or anger, for instance, provides the agent with a further pro tanto reason for acting to change the situation that provokes discomfort.

On the other hand, joy or pride, as positive evaluations of some state of affairs or of oneself, do not provide a reason to change anything, but their affective aspect yields a further reason to sustain the conditions that make the evaluation appropriate. However, the focus of the agent's attention in all these cases is normally the evaluative content of emotion, not her own state of feeling.

Apart from its role as a source of reinforcing reasons, the affective or feeling aspect of emotion is useful to practical reasoning just insofar as it serves to hold in mind the evaluative content of emotion without explicit reflection. For instance, while driving on the highway one does not have to deliberate at length about possible bad consequences of swerving and their relevance to the task of steering straight.

To the extent that steering straight is not just automatic, and the driver wanders out of lane, an anxious awareness of the possibility of an accident brings her quickly back to the task. This way of anticipating practical eventualities in everyday life corresponds roughly to neuroanatomist Antonio Damasio's understanding of emotions as "somatic markers.

Emotions serve to "mark" practically significant thoughts with bodily and hence affective indicators of past experience. On an evaluative account, characteristic thoughts have come to be contents of emotion--and part of what identifies them as the types of emotion they are: A question for philosophers who accept an evaluative account is whether and in what sense emotions themselves are subject to rational assessment.

It is only in a qualified sense that an irrational evaluative stance could be said to justify action. Hume's famous denial see that the passions can be rationally assessed at all was based on his interpretation of them as nonrepresentational. But contemporary evaluative accounts interpret emotions, in effect, as representing evaluative propositions: Belief-based Views The evaluative implications of emotion have been characterized thus far without commitment to a particular contender for capturing their essential nature.

This is the philosopher's usual first question, and it was set up as the focus of contemporary debate on emotion by James However, as Rorty and others have noted cf. Griffithsemotions do not form a natural class. A later approach de SousaGreenspan begins with questions of rationality, treating cases of rational emotional response as paradigmatic.

Emotions in lower animals or infants along with some elements of our own experience that derive from them unchanged can be understood from this standpoint as deficient instances of full-blown emotions functioning normally in adult human life.If you need a custom term paper on Philosophy Essays: Dualism, you can hire a professional writer here to write you a high quality authentic essay.

While free essays can be traced by Turnitin it is more rational to subscribe to their view. Rationalists have responded to the second part of the empiricist attack on the Innate Concept thesis—the empricists’ claim that the thesis is without basis, as all our ideas can be explained as derived from experience—by focusing on difficulties in the empiricists’ attempts to give such an explanation.

Can Feelings Have An Rational Basis Philosophy Essay Emotions are part of our everyday life, every moment of our life we are feeling an emotion, whether its happiness, sadness, fear, anger, surprise, or.

The essay can be disturbing and offensive to some readers as it may become graphic. However, Swift writes with an air of authority, as he triggers an emotional aspect of the readers when he mentions the “melancholly” [sic] sight of women and children being beggars in Ireland.

Actually, emotional debates excite people’s emotions so that they can act out of their feelings without basing the arguments on any factual basis. Nevertheless, emotional appeals in debates mostly prompt violence unlike rational debates which gives people a chance to make critical and measurable decisions.

So with what was mentioned previously we can conclude that our feelings do have a rational basis because they help reason through things that go on during our everyday lives.

Reason and emotion although are usually thought of as opposite things they are more on a continuum of some sort.

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