Reason

Reason, intuition and language may seem like the most important ways of obtaining knowledge as they play key roles in mankind’s pursuit of knowledge. Though emotion also plays a powerful role in shaping thoughts, and of course, one’s acquisition of knowledge. It can serve as a distraction to the acquisition of knowledge and it can also enhance it at the same time. Emotion is the main driving force for all knowledge around us. The emotion of fear is the main driving force for attaining knowledge, as the fear of the unknown is what creates the incentive humans to want to learn and to discover, and thus, to know more. Without knowing it, or better put as subconsciously, humans use emotion as a way of knowing in every moment of life and it is important to take this opportunity to evaluate this ever so important way of knowing. To fully understand and evaluate emotion, we can start by looking at the terminology used in the title above and their meanings in the context of this title. An important term to define within the title is ‘trust’, to trust our emotions in the pursuit of knowledge means to place a firm belief in the reliability, credibility, and/or ability of emotion when trying to attain knowledge. Next, ’emotion’ refers to one of the eight ways of knowing known as emotion, which humans use to attain knowledge through instinctive feelings distinguished from reasoning or intuition. With this in mind, we can look at a knowledge question that this title presents to us, which reads ‘can emotions hinder or aid humans in their pursuit of knowledge’. To answer this question, we can take a look at this question through the lens of the natural sciences as well as history. Through a deep evaluation of emotion and the human mind with respect to these various areas of knowledge, one can find that emotion has a direct effect on knowledge acquisition. Emotions play important roles in the acquisition of knowledge within different areas of knowledge and only with correct application of positive emotions as well as a pairing with other ways of knowing, can emotion be trusted to greatly aid in the pursuit of knowledge.
Emotion also plays an essential role in the natural sciences. As mentioned above, it may seem like reason and intuition play the most important roles in the acquisition of knowledge in the sciences Though, emotion has the power to make someone feel a certain way so strongly that their ability to attain knowledge and form conclusions is hindered. As in any field of work, when one puts passion and positive emotion into their work, someones productivity and quality of work is bound to increase. Thus giving us a knowledge claim for examining this issue by looking at the natural sciences; humans can trust emotions in their pursuit of knowledge when applying positive emotions into their work. This isn’t to say that negative emotions should never be welcomed into a scientists work, as these can sometimes aid in attain knowledge in their own ways. Emotions like anger or frustration towards failed studies can drive people to improve upon themselves, and without fear, human’s would never be afraid of failure, making them lack dedication and passion in the first place. There is a counterclaim to be made that says humans shouldn’t welcome emotions in the field of the sciences as science should solely be based on reason and scientific conclusions are made using the ‘scientific method’, which revolves around inductive reasoning. This claim is sound and strongly valid as of course, science should be based on facts and logic, though when saying humans should correctly apply their emotions into their work, it’s not to say they should work using feelings and not facts. It is to say we shouldn’t be afraid to implement our emotions to complement and reinforce our logical reasoning and thus, attain more knowledge and improve the quality of our work. We can take a look at a real-life example of where application of passion and positive emotion greatly increased one’s acquisition of knowledge. In a TED talk, Ilona Stengel suggests “that emotions are as important in science as they are in any other part of our lives” and that the feeling of being dedicated to one’s work is crucial for creativity and innovation. She explains this with a personal anecdote, where productivity and results of a project to invent what is now known as green OLED bulbs were lacking in 2014, resulting in her company and superiors advising to scale down and stop working. She explained how their work grew and they gained more knowledge when as the number of scientists working on the project decreased, the dedication of people remaining grew dramatically, increasing the quality of their work and their productivity. From this example, we can see that emotion and logic will not always oppose each other, and when one can find the perfect blend where they complement each other, like Ilona and her team, is when one can trust their emotions in the pursuit of knowledge in the natural sciences. Which thus proves our overarching knowledge claim, where emotion can be trusted to greatly aid in the pursuit of knowledge with use of positive emotions as well as a pairing with other ways of knowing.
To further prove the claim that emotion should be trusted when paired with positive emotions and with other ways of knowing, we must also take a look at where negative emotions can hinder the pursuit of knowledge. We can do this by examining emotion through the lens of the ethics area of knowledge. When one makes conclusions and judgments towards ethical subjects with negative emotions like anger and hatred paired in with their thoughts, it makes them more susceptible to biases, thus making them believing false information presented to them or rejecting credible information. All this hinders the knower in their pursuit of knowledge. This also gives us another knowledge claim; when making ethical judgements and forming conclusions, negative emotions shouldn’t be welcomed in one’s pursuit of knowledge. Emotions play a big role in the ethics area of knowledge, it can be so powerful in that it can affect how perceive the world and as mentioned above, how we choose to accept information presented to us. It can sway us from using logic and reason to make judgements and conclusions and can even change the way we use our language. This has the power to make humans make unjust conclusions of a certain race or religion, make juries vote wrongly in a court of law, and make people say things they shouldn’t, just to name a few examples. Going back to the knowledge claim made above, this is the reason that humans shouldn’t trust negative emotions such as anger and hatred when attaining knowledge in ethics and making ethical conclusions. One can counter this claim by stating that humans aren’t able choose not to feel certain emotions and feelings like anger and hatred will inevitably involved in the process of attaining knowledge. This counterclaim holds validity as well, as humans work in certain ways and feelings cannot be deleted or negated from the mind. Though one can address their feelings and reflect upon them, keeping them in mind when making ethical judgements or conclusions. We can see this by looking at how people form judgements over a certain culture with the prevalent issue of Islamophobia, Where someone feels so strongly about the acts of terrorism in the name of the Islam religion and makes the false conclusion that ‘all terrorists are muslim’. When they are presented valid information that sheds a positive light on the Islam religion or evidence which shows acts of terrorism carried out by someone of another race and/or religion, they immediately shut the information out or refuse to believe the information presented to them because of their anger. Though when someone learns to keep their emotions in mind, control their anger and pair reason and intuition in their decision-making process, they can accurately assess the validity of the information that is presented to them and make just conclusions. As the great philosopher Aristotle had once said “Anyone can be angry – that is easy. But to be angry with the right person to the right degree, at the right time, for the right purpose and in the right way – that is not easy”. This essentially means that emotions can be used as an effective tool in the pursuit of knowledge, but using them effectively requires maturity and intelligence to address negative emotions.
In conclusion, we have learned that emotion can be trusted to aid in the pursuit of knowledge when positive emotions as well as a pairing with other ways of knowing is utilized in this pursuit. With this, we know that that negative emotions should be addressed with maturity and intelligence. As well , when one puts passion and positive emotion into their work their productivity and quality of work will increase. Just like any other way of knowing, emotion has many advantages and disadvantages that are associated with it. Though it is one way of knowing out of many, and it co-exists with the other ways of knowing for a reason. That reason is to be used in conjunction with each other. Emotion has the power to make someone feel a certain way so strongly that their ability to attain knowledge can be hindered, or when trusted at certain times as the ones mentioned above, greatly supported.

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