The Meanings of Reason and Emotion

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When studying the meanings of reason and emotion it is often that reason is defined as being synonymous with logic, and emotion with spontaneity. Common associations relate logic with conscious thought and contemplation, and emotion with impulse and reflex. Emotions can undermine reasoning when they “run away with us” (Bastien 66), clouding our judgments and causing us to make bad choices. However, emotion can also enhance reasoning by giving useful guidance whenever the environment fails to provide all the information needed for thoughtful analysis.
There is that “unfortunate and unwarranted implication” (Artz) that emotion has no place in reasoning and most of us have been taught that good decisions are the product of dispassionate and objective thought. Emotions can be considered impediments to rational deliberation, as they can be powerful experiences that usually do not last long and sometimes make us do things we later regret. Today, we are angry with a coworker and want to yell at them. Tomorrow, we reflect and wish we had acted more rationally, regardless of how compelling our argument seemed to be. When you lose your temper in the middle of an argument and start to fling ad homonym remarks at your opponent, it might just cause most rational people to not consider you as having advanced your position at all. Most would say that you lost the argument when you lost your temper. Another obvious example of emotional contamination in rationality can be found in advertising where emotional appeals are often used to cloud the reasoning of consumers. As our impressionistic culture continues to strive for the “newest” and “biggest” enrichments of society, it is easy to be bewitched by the advertisements that readily allure any te...

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...he world but could not relate to anything emotionally. This confirms that if we cannot place value on any alternative, then there is no actual difference between our choices, which flaws the entire concept of decision-making. Thus, it is not possible to make rational judgments without emotion.
To conclude, the widely held belief that the effective application of reason requires dispassionate thought is valid in some circumstances where our emotions sweep us up and make us act quickly without any premeditation, causing us to later regret our decisions. However, emotion does not always have to be considered a contaminant that carries the biases and excesses of human desire. Emotion is a necessary component of reasoning as it offers the necessary guidance and direction when the environment fails to provide all the information needed for a clear and thoughtful judgment.
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