Emotions are relevant to morality.


“As David Hume already observed in An Enquiry Concerning the Principles of Morals, our moral actions and our moral thinking is, in practice, closely connected to, and even dependent on, our emotions, or sentiments as Hume called them. This finding has since been confirmed – for example by the work of neuroscientist Antonio Damasio (see for instance his book Descartes’ Error) – and we now know that we generally do not act empathetically toward other beings and have deep moral concerns for them if our emotions are not involved. It turns out that pure reason is not enough, which is not to say that it is not important – intellectual thought surely can guide us toward greater moral wisdom. But when it comes to our actions, we can have the best of ethical ideas in our minds, yet if our emotions are not involved, we will not act upon our noble ideals. For instance, the problem with psychopaths is basically that the most relevant emotions for ethical conduct are not connected well with their decisions and actions – in fact, many psychopaths are even completely unable to feel empathy in the first place. Psychopaths can still have a fine-tuned sense of ethics in spite of their emotional shortcomings, in the sense that they can know what rules that apply in society, and also know which rules and actions that are likely to bring about the most happiness for other beings, but unfortunately for psychopaths, and for the rest of us, a finely tuned system of ethical thought is not enough to make us act ethically, and psychopaths will therefore still tend to hurt other people in their daily actions, even when they have the best of ethical ideas in their minds. This is because, when it comes to what drives our decisions and actions, emotions are often the key players, while ideas easily become reduced to little more than spectators who try to affect the game slightly in one direction or another – spectators who can often easily be ignored by the great superstars of our decisions that our emotions often are. When it comes to our actions, ideas such as “it is wrong to hurt other people” simply do not have the same power as the feeling of empathy that makes the same message felt directly and with overwhelming power. Without any empathy for another being, it is very hard to act in a truly caring way for that being; with empathy, it is hard not to.” – Magnus Vinding (Why “Happy Meat” Is Always Wrong)

The above quote seems to match what I had already suspected. Emotions ARE the force behind much of our actions. I think that in the quest for being “rational”, humans have too often forgotten that without emotion, there is no motivation to be rational.

Advertisements

Author: chandlerklebs

I have unusual thoughts on almost every subject. I am as Pro-Life as I can possibly be. I am strongly opposed to violence of any type. That includes rape, war, and (obviously) abortion. Everything I think, speak, and write must be filtered by the effect it could have on the lives of others. If I am in any way promoting violence accidentally, please let me know.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s