EmotionVs. Reason: Justifying a Moral Decision Essay Sample

Whenever a individual makes an action or a determination. one has to cognize if it is right or non. and if it is morally right. A determination is considered moral through a series of understanding done by a group of people we called the society. The action and deeds done in a society are put into considerations as to which they are accepted and subsequently turn into norms. The society besides agrees on what is incorrect and right. and to what is moral or immoral. therefore. the formation of regulations and ordinances. With the facet of morality. criterions are being set up to step and analyze whether an action or a determination is moral or non.

With these facts laid out. we come now to the inquiry on what are the factors that justify such action or a determination and whether these factors plenty to turn out that the actions are so morally right. There are two chief points that this paper will concentrate on. viz. . ground and emotion. Thus the inquiry now is- “Does ground and emotion play an equal function in warranting a moral decision’ ?

Using the Theory of Knowledge as the model in this paper. we shall analyse the peculiar inquiry and come up with a certain decision. This paper will besides be utilizing Jostein Gaarder’s book “Sophie’s World” as a secondary beginning of statements. The ground for taking the book as such is that the book already compiles most of the outstanding minds of the yesteryear. and it was able to capture and explicate the theories in the simplest manner possible.

So. allow us foremost discuss the “Theory of Knowledge. ” or others called it Epistemology. which is by and large a subdivision of doctrine that surveies the nature and range of cognition and belief. Epistemology is:

based on the Grecian words “episteme” ( cognition or scientific discipline ) and “logos” ( account/explanation ) . …Much of the argument in this field has focused on analysing the nature of cognition and how it relates to similar impressions such as truth. belief. and justification. It besides deals with the agencies of production of cognition. every bit good as incredulity about different cognition claims. In other words. epistemology chiefly addresses the undermentioned inquiries: “What is knowledge? ” . “How is knowledge acquired? ” . and “What do people cognize? ”( hypertext transfer protocol: //www. replies. com/topic/epistemology? cat=health ) .

Epistemology is fundamentally concerned with the procedure of cognizing and warranting it if it is true. There are four ways of knowing ( WoK ) : emotion. ground. centripetal perceptual experience. and linguistic communication ; and these four WoK will be used to analyse the inquiry we have posted earlier. Let us look closely to these Ways of Knowing:


Emotion is a biological rousing produced in response to a stimulation.

An emotion is a “complex reaction form. affecting experiential. behavioural. and physiological elements. by which the person attempts to cover with a personally important affair of event. It arises without witting attempt and is either positive or negative in its valency” ( hypertext transfer protocol: //en. wikipedia. org/wiki/Emotion ) .

There is no cosmopolitan definition for emotion because it is really complex. most of the times it is subjective and can easy be influenced upon. Worlds are of course emotional existences. we are easy affected by the things in our environment. and we show our responses and reactions through emotions. When we are happy. we smile and laugh ; when we are sad. we frown and call ; and when we are scared. we chill and shriek. But sometimes. when we are excessively much happy. we besides cry. merely demoing how complex are emotions are ; and the cryings of joy is merely one illustration of its complexness.

Sense Percept

“Perception by or based on stimulation of the senses” ( hypertext transfer protocol: //www. replies. com/topic/sense-perception )

Sense perceptual experience chiefly uses the five senses in order to get in a certain thought or a certain collusion. There are five senses as we all know the sense of sight. hearing. touch. odor. and gustatory sensation. All of these senses work in a manner that it transmit marks and thoughts to the encephalon of a individual. These senses besides are of import in finding what is true or non physically.


In doctrine.groundis the ability to organize and run upon constructs in abstraction. in conformity with reason and logic—terms with which ground portions heritage… The construct of ground is connected to the construct of linguistic communication. as reflected in the significances of the Greek word “logos” . later to be translated by Latin “ratio” and so Gallic “raison” . from which the English word derived. As ground. reason. and logic are all associated with the ability of the human head to foretell effects as based upon presumed causes. the word “reason” besides denotes a land or footing for a peculiar statement. and hence is used synonymously with the word “cause”( hypertext transfer protocol: //www. replies. com/topic/reason? cat=health )

Reason is our ability to apologize things and to warrant them if they are right or incorrect. It was said that ground is of course unconditioned. but it is besides shaped by the environment and particularly by instruction and acquisition.


Languages are non merely sets of symbols. They besides frequently conform to a unsmooth grammar. or system of regulations. used to pull strings the symbols. While a set of symbols may be used for look or communicating. it is crude and comparatively deadpan. because there are no clear or regular relationships between the symbols. Because a linguistic communication besides frequently has a grammar. it can pull strings its symbols to show clear and regular relationships between them( hypertext transfer protocol: //www. replies. com/topic/language? cat=health ) .

Language is the primary signifier of communicating where we convey and receive symbols and thoughts. it is every bit of import to the other Ways of Knowing for without it. the others will be worthless and frailty versa.


Reason is something you take with logic or reason that can be based on Torahs. norms or civilization. while emotion is merely a behavioural that can be seen as apathy or otherwise. Emotions are frequently than non an impulse that can be right or incorrect depending on fond regards. Emotions are non ever justifiable because it can damage or roll an statement. while ground can even be more justifiable because it is based on what is lawful. norm. fact. and what is morally right.

During 540-480 B. C. there lived a adult male known as Heraclitus that called Sons or ground as God. He was discussed in the book Sophie’s World by Gaarder where the writer described. “Heraclitus believed that there must be a sort of ‘universal reason’ steering everything that happens in nature. This ‘universal reason’ or ‘universal law’ is something common to us all. and something that everybody is guided by. And yet most people live by their single reason…” ( Gaarder. Sophies World. p. 31 ) .

Our emotions are urges of our Black Marias and are sudden reactions to the actions done and to the environment around us. We may reason that emotions are besides valid because:

Yes. that possibly true. but there is excessively much subjectiveness in it to be considered a valid justification. We can see a batch of one’s “own self” when discoursing about emotions.

Furthermore. when emotions rule over our determination. we tend to travel astray because selfishness comes in. We will merely believe of our ain public assistance and our ain progresss. disregarding others who are besides straight and indirectly involved with the affair. Besides. when we emotionally make a certain determination. we frequently forgot what is morally right ; moral in the sense of norms of that certain society we belong to.

As stated at the first portion of this paper. it is the society that dictates what is morally right. for it is the society that decides the norms. the civilization. tradition. and of class. the regulations and ordinances. We must besides set into consideration the geographic location of a certain society. for every society has its ain set of regulation. every society varies.

Take for illustration Amsterdam ( “where everything is legal” ) . in that certain province. we can smoke marijuana whenever we like. But for a conservative state. let’s say South Korea. smoke or merely even possessing marijuana is illegal. One can be jailed for a really long clip if caught utilizing. purchasing or merely having some marihuana. So. if a individual from Amsterdam will see South Korea. he must follow the criterions and civilization of that state. He has to do a morally right determination by non smoking and conveying in marijuana. and besides by non making anything outside of the country’s set of regulations. But how will he cognize the norms of that certain society?

Simple. he merely necessitate to detect. inquiry. and utilize his logic to cognize things. He has to detect how people behave in that state. and if that is non plenty. so he can inquire some inquiries to the people about what is allowed or non. But at the beginning. he should hold already thought and used his logic. that if he is non certain of what he can make. so he should non make anything beyond his senses.

Talking about senses. our centripetal perceptual experience helps a batch in finding what is morally right. Our sense of sight and hearing will be most utile for this affair. because what we see or hear sing the environment we are in must be put into serious consideration. If we don’t see anyone smoking in public topographic points. so we can presume that smoke is prohibited on that country. If people tell us or we have been hearing that imbibing is non allowed in their location. so we know that merely by take a firm standing to imbibe is already incorrect.

When we make important determinations. we normally rely to our ground and logic to weigh things and to warrant the pros and cons. As Aristotle have believed. “that all our ideas and thoughts have come into our consciousness through what we have heard and seen. But we besides have an unconditioned power of reason” ( Gaarder. p. 91 ) . At the terminal of the twenty-four hours it is ground that justifies a moral determination and ne’er emotion.



Gaarder. Jostein. Sophie’s World. Phoenix House. London. 2001

Internet Beginnings

Answers. com. December21. 2007.Epistemology.( hypertext transfer protocol: //www. replies. com/topic/epistemology? cat=health ) .

Answers. com. December21. 2007.Sense Percept.

( hypertext transfer protocol: //www. replies. com/topic/sense-perception )

Answers. com. December21. 2007.Reason

( hypertext transfer protocol: //www. replies. com/topic/reason? cat=health )

Answers. com. December21. 2007.Language

( hypertext transfer protocol: //www. replies. com/topic/language? cat=health ) .

IBToK ( IB ToK ) – IB Theory of Knowledge ( ToK ) Resources. December 20. 2007

( hypertext transfer protocol: //www. anagnosis. gr/index. php? pageID=98 & A ; la=eng )

Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. The Analysis of Knowledge. December 20. 2007

( hypertext transfer protocol: //plato. Stanford. edu/entries/knowledge-analysis/ )

Resources for IB Theory of Knowledge.The Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis.December 20. 2007

( hypertext transfer protocol: //www. aber. Ac. uk/media/Documents/short/whorf. hypertext markup language )

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