This is probably a fairly common one, but a good subject of debate.
I'm squishy and I whine a lot, so once I got a good punch in the face when a man told me something like this:
"No decision made by emotion is a good one."

Which I dispelled completely at first glance, but unfortunately I gave it a second thought. It seems that even with moral issues, you absolutely have to address logic. And often, logic does win. Is there a situation you can think of where the "emotional" decision wins over a more logical approach? Or do we say that logic and emotion are more separated than they are?

Which option do you find yourself catering to?  Stereotypically, Atheists are very cold, after all.








Tags: emotion, logic, morality

Views: 263

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

Much as I love the character of Spock on Star Trek, Vulcans got it wrong, and you can see Vulcans wrestling with that on the show. Logic is not the opposite of emotion. Logic (reason) is the opposite of faith. Reason and emotion go together. Without emotion, we wouldn't care enough to reason about something. Without emotion to direct our research, we'd never find anything out. What is the scientist's "A-ha!" but an emotional reward for discovery and invention? Creativity is driven by emotion. Curiosity is a crucial emotion.

It may be true that no decision made purely on emotion is a good one, but no decision made without emotions such as empathy, caution, curiosity, playfulness, etc, is a good one, either. Decisions made with negative emotions such as fear, hate, distrust, and so on, tend to be terrible. But without emotions to motivate the decision-making process in the first place, to guide it, and to endorse it, it's just not possible to decide.

A better guide would be, "No decision made without reason is a good one." Though I'd say there are exceptions where the decision is between equally good choices, and you can basically flip a coin and still be happy with the outcome. But then it's not really a choice.
Even Spock in his more mature years (Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country) recognized the impotence of logic as the sole guiding light of judgment:

Logic is the beginning of wisdom, Valeris, not the end.
Evolution - protecting your spawn and your tribe is driven primarily by emotional adrenaline. Though logic may play a significant part in that, it is emotion that drives protection of your own to levels of fanaticism.
Do you follow your head or follow your heart? Often this is not the real problem, the real problem is being able to dispassionately assess what it is that your heart is telling you, and what it is that your head is telling you. All too often people find a way of 'twisting' logic to justify a particular line of action, when really they're just doing what their heart tells them to but want to make it look more logical. Let's take George W Bush's war on Iraq as a good example of this, say.
I'd say follow your heart sometimes, follow your head sometimes. Just try to be clear and honest about why you are making decisions and taking actions and don't lie about it. If it's an emotional reaction, that's fine with me. If it's logical, that's fine too. We all have decisions to make, and we have both emotions and logic to help us make them.
"No decision made by emotion is a good one."

Yet so few decisions are made without some emotion. We call people who lack empathy and conscience 'sociopaths'. Some become serial killers, most do not.

I have never seen any evidence that human beings as a species are capable of consistently rational thought or behaviour. Our genius is our ability to rationalise any behaviour [often after the event] and our refined ability to weasel out of personal responsibility.

The question of emotion vs intellect also goes to the question of free will.My position is based on psychological and genetic determination. I argue our actions are rarely if ever the result of free will.


---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

TANGENT.

Q Why do some men name their penis?

A:They don't like the idea of their decisions being made by a stranger.
and our refined ability to weasel out of personal responsibility.

"Weaseling out of things is what makes us human - except of course for weasels" ....Homer Simpson

Mine is named "Herb"
Recent neuroscience is pointing to the idea that all of our "rational thinking" comes after the emotive impulse to do something. If this is established scientifically, the free will question has a new dimension.
I am a Martial Artist. In fact, I spent my entire youth training in Ninjutsu (not the public money hungry version). My teacher used to often tell me, "never make an important decision when you are angry." He first said this when I was infuriated and ready to dismantle someone. Basing decisions upon emotion responses reckless and can lead to a lot of damage done. Things you can never take back. It doesn't mean you have to be a robot, void of emotion. In fact, emotion is good.

Emotion and logic must coexist for us to be human. A computer can understand logic. An animal knows emotion. We have the emotions to tell us something is or isn't right, and the logic to reason the difference.
Actually, emotions and our ability to control them are what is evolving, not the other way around. There was a great episode of NOVA about this, and how we really seem to be developing more connections with our emotional regions of the brain that we then have have an ability to effect and control rather than be controlled by.

To think otherwise really is to fall victim to poetic and romanticized thinking.
of course we make decisions based on emotions rather than rationality. I'm sure I never asked anyone out based entirely on rationality. I guess arranged marriages follow more of a rational approach, though.
When it comes to making decisions I think most people are driven by a preponderance of emotional reactions. That's why the human race is such a mess. Most humans spend most of their lives making choices based on emotional with rather less logic than they should. Emotion is what drives the human race and I'd say it's what drives the sexual urge. If logic eliminated emotion all together sex would become almost obsolete. Having children is an illogical decision for the vast majority of people. Getting married, calling the physics hotline, reading star signs or going to a homeopath are all driven by emotion. Believing in religion is a reaction based on emotional insecurity. Logically there is no reason for an individual or group to believe some 14 billion god thing that made everything is listening to them and making decisions for them but the vast majority of the 6 billion humans do. The fact that emotion outweighs logic in the human race is probably due to religious childhood indoctrination and the global success of organised religionism.

Everyday people who read books, see ads and TV programs about healthy eating and the environment go to burger joints driving cars that are bigger, faster and heavier than they need based on emotional needs. The human race is stupefied by the dominance of emotion over logic. When people vote in a democracy emotion has more say in their decisions than logic. They say Kennedy owed much of his success over Nixon in the presidential election because he looked better on TV.

At the moment all over the western world lots of atheists particularly are involved in illogical wish thinking based on emotional musings about the end of religion.

Not believing in a god thing does not mean that rational by default drives the way the human mind views everything.
FXR, I know it was just a typo, but I find the idea of a physics hotline oddly appealing.

RSS

Support Atheist Nexus

Donate Today

Donate

 

Help Nexus When You Buy From Amazon

Amazon

MJ

Latest Activity

© 2014   Atheist Nexus. All rights reserved. Admin: Richard Haynes.

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service