“There can be no knowledge without emotion...until we have felt the force of the knowledge it is not ours” (adapted from Arnold Bennett). Discuss this vision of the relationship between knowledge and emotion.
16 January 2009
Word Count: 1, 596
Knowledge and emotion have always had deeply rooted connections between each other in my perspective. When one attaches emotions to a knowledge claim, one believes in this claim more strongly, once the fundamentals of knowledge claims are understood. To understand the relation between knowledge and emotion is to further one’s own understanding of the importance of both knowledge and emotion in our lives.
In attempts to further explain myself, I feel it most suitable to start somewhere in the middle, and work simultaneously backwards and forwards until the ends of the loops connect in a more sensible fashion. To backtrack, it is necessary to look at what exactly knowledge is in order to understand its relation to emotions. Knowledge, as a Plutonic definition, is justified true belief, and quite simply summarizes the three qualities that a claim must have in order for it to be “knowledge.” First, a claim must be justified, meaning either one of two things. The first way a claim can be justified is by physically testing it, meaning that one must try it, and it must happen in the same manner more than once. The second way of justifying a claim is by mere understanding, and recognizing that it makes sense in our world, based on similar proven claims. Knowledge claims must also have truth, meaning that the event must occur over and over again with constant results, in order to instil faith that if it were to be repeated again, the same results would be obtained. The final component of a knowledge claim is belief, which means that people must believe it to be true. These three things are what combine to make facts that we know, to become recognized and accepted as general knowledge within society.
To backtrack further still, the definition of emotion is equally as crucial to discovering the relationship between these two words. Emotion is essentially a mental attitude which is a response to a feeling, meaning it is a physical reaction. Emotion is thus a key component in faith, and ties in closely with the concept of belief in knowledge.
Now, to begin moving forwards, it is necessary to find the link between the two. Upon first reading, the idea of knowledge and emotion being closely linked seems very straight-forward. Both emotion and knowledge have no purpose in our world without communication, for if we could not communicate, our species would not be able to survive. Communication, or our social intelligence, is broken into two fields, which include interpersonal and intrapersonal intelligence. Interpersonal intelligence is our ability to understand others, what motivates others, and how they “work” in a sense, and how to work cooperatively with them. This knowledge is heavily dependent upon emotions, as non-verbal communication (the dominant form of communication), relies on “reading” other people, and understanding how their body language and subtle cues account to what they truly mean. We then rely upon our intrapersonal intelligence, which involves the ability to monitor one’s own and other’s emotions, discriminate amongst them, and use this information to guide one’s own thinking (Mayer and Salovey 1993). From this explanation, it can be observed that between these two fields of social knowledge, emotion and emotional intelligence is the key to understanding.
Personal experiences affect my perception, thus leading to my feelings and my emotional responses to them. Experience is the foundation of knowledge, as to have justified true belief, one must realize that there is nothing that seems more “true” to oneself than things we have experienced. Our emotions create such strong connections in our minds that tie us to events, and by doing so, our reality, and the...
Cited: Lewis, C.S. A Grief Observed. NY: HarperOne, 2001.
Mayer, John and Salovey, Peter. Emotional Intelligence. NH: Cambridge University Press, 1993.
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