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sonia · female · registered for 4 months · last online - yesterday

Just a little answer..

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Rationalism versus emotion:
According to recent behavioural and neuroscience data, cognition and rational decisionmaking
is not exclusively the product of symbol manipulation, but require the support
of emotion. More strongly even, the neuroscientific evidence we now have points to the
necessity of emotion in the process of reasoning and decision making; indeed, when
emotion is absent rationality has been shown to break down.
From the neurological evidence we have so far, we can say with some degree of
confidence that not only are reason and emotion integrally connected, but without
emotion reasoning is impossible and decisions cannot be made. The evocative term
“Kantian monster” (DeSousa, 1990, p. 14, as cited by the Churchlands, 1998, p. 237)
rather aptly captures the rationalist decision maker when appraised in the light of the
neurological evidence. For, ironically, if we were true to Kantian precepts in terms of
making perfectly rational decisions unsullied by emotion we would resemble the serial
killer and psychopath rather more than we would resemble the rational being (Tancredi,
2005 provides some fascinating profiles). In other words, only people whose brains do
not function normally due to damage in the frontal lobes and amygdala are “perfectly
rational” in the Kantian sense. It is probably no accident that Mr Spock, of Star Trek
fame, has been conceptualised as a semi-alien! To make good decisions we depend on the little thing we name as EMOTION.

Latest change: September 15th, 2016 14:04

Excellent post! I couldn't agree more with this. The hell with those who have a rationalist ideology about what society, humanity, the future of human history and the world are all about, based on what they know from programming computers!


Emotion and rationality are not in contrast with each other but instead can be considered independently. One can be very emotional about something and consider the issue either rationally or irrationally. One can be very apathetic about something and likewise consider it either rationally or irrationally.


I can't be very emotional about something and consider it "rationally" - at least not if "rationally" is offered as a description of my overall take on it. I can only have a take on it that perhaps has some rational elements. The etymology tempts us to put "rational" and "irrational" at poles apart, but I wouldn't.


As Antoine de Saint-Exupéry says in The Little Prince - my favourite book of any kind, fiction or non-fiction - "It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye."

(I just went to the Wikipedia pagee Wikipedia page and was surprised to learn that it is one of the best-selling books ever published.)


It's a wonderful book. So simple and at the same time so deep. What is essential is usually refused by the "rational " way. But in The little Prince we can take aknowledge of how things so normal as friendship, love or loyalty can be more rational than all the scientific theories.

Year 2016 (3)

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