Theory of Knowledge: Emotion and Reason

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Kaylin Keith
Emotion Essay
12/6/12

Are reason and emotion equally necessary in justifying moral decisions?

In order for an individual to make a decision a process of reason must take place. While emotion is not quite needed, it involuntarily plays a part, sometimes without the individual even realizing it. This is where bias decisions can take place, which in some cases can be a problem. However, emotion can play an important role in decision making when it comes to ones personal needs or moral beliefs. In order to understand how and how much each part plays a role in justifying a moral decision we must first understand the difference between reason and emotion and how they can intertwine during decision making. Reason plays a role when emotion is regarded as an unreliable source to gain knowledge. A majority of an individual’s reasoning is done unconsciously. For example, a person can reason if something is safe or not by simply looking at their surroundings. Many experiments have proven that the unconscious brain is able to gather data much faster than the conscious brain. It filters out information to use in the cognitive decision making process and therefore results in the reasoning of the decision maker. Emotion is a less tangible and measurable than the other senses. This is because every individual is affected in a different way by their emotions. Bias decision-making can occur when an individual has a strong emotional connection to one side of a situation. Reason can be completely overlooked when this happens and their emotion takes over. For example, if an individual was accused of murdering the child of Mr. and Mrs. Brown (names chosen at random) and was on trial, the parents of the victim would see the story differently than the jury. This is because the parents strong emotions of losing their child take over their logical reasoning, while the jury has no relation to the child or the family and therefore their emotions do not play a role...
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