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Thread: Emotion and Reason

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    Cricketer Of The Year Maximas's Avatar
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    Emotion and Reason

    I describe myself largely as a libertarian, although like most people my personal perspective is derived from a variety of ideologies, and is very much subject to change if the last 4 years is anything to go by.

    That said, I've come to a realisation recently - I have a sort of 'gut-feel' affinity with elements of what I understand to be social conservatism, for instance I find myself nodding along when opponents of pill testing make the argument that users of drugs simply need to change their habits to solve the issue, I've had similar reactions to issues regarding sin taxes, religious education and others.

    Without wanting to begin an issues-based debate on the stated examples, I do find that I need to suppress my more emotional reaction to certain issues in favour of what I have deemed to be a more reasonable position based on evidence and/or logic. Just wanted to start a discussion on how other people have experienced this themselves and on what issues/ideology people have a visceral reaction that they need to overcome by adopting a stance based more on logic and reason or evidence

    EDIT: Didn't really know what to call the thread

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    Spanish_Vicente sledger's Avatar
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    The Wheel is Forever silentstriker's Avatar
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    It's pretty hard to do, but kudos for trying. I tend to have some libertarian emotions from time to time, but I have to try hard to squash them and think logically.
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    Cricketer Of The Year Ausage's Avatar
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    I'm not really sure what the problem is. Everyone has instinctual, emotional reactions to a range of things before taking more measured, reasonable positions upon reflection. It's part of being human and there's certainly nothing wrong with it. "Suppressing" your emotional reaction isn't the way I'd frame the process either when you're ostensible just working through it. Most issues are multifaceted to a point that a single reaction will almost never encompass the full story (this is why Twitter is a **** show ftr).

    It comes up a lot with libertarianism because it provides no consistent stance on social issues. Fiscally conservative/socially liberal is nothing more than a stupid (and wrong) slogan. It just posits that the state is neither a good moral nor practical instrument for affecting change. You can believe that while being conservative, liberal or anything in between. There's nothing wrong with thinking the drug user was responsible for their own death, while believing that the cops have no place forcibly intervening in their freely made choices and that it shouldn't be paid for with stolen money.
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    Cricketer Of The Year Ausage's Avatar
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    Fwiw the issue I have the most trouble reconciling in this way is social media deplatforming.

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    I can't believe I ate the whole thing NZTailender's Avatar
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    Just remember everything is an emotional decision one way or another and be skeptical of people who pride themselves on making decisions 'not using emotion' because that really is twisted logic.
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    Global Moderator Spark's Avatar
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    If "logic" were all that were required to make difficult decisions about how the world and people around you should be treated, then we would leave anything remotely important to a computer. Everything thinks this is a terrible idea for a reason.
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    Request Your Custom Title Now! Burgey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sledger View Post
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    I can't believe I ate the whole thing NZTailender's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Spark View Post
    If "logic" were all that were required to make difficult decisions about how the world and people around you should be treated, then we would leave anything remotely important to a computer. Everything thinks this is a terrible idea for a reason.
    Why even go to the expense of a computer. Get a dart board, some post its, and a blindfold.

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    Cricketer Of The Year Ausage's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NZTailender View Post
    Just remember everything is an emotional decision one way or another and be skeptical of people who pride themselves on making decisions 'not using emotion' because that really is twisted logic.
    While this is all true, I don't think that's what people (generally) mean when they refer to reason. "Reasoning" through a problem generally means doing your best to think through a problem more comprehensively, while "responding emotionally" means forsaking that and going with your gut. That doesn't mean that the former process is devoid of emotion, or there's no "logic" behind the instinct you've submitted to in the latter. Doesn't even mean that one approach is right and the other is wrong.

    I agree the different processes have acquired a ton of baggage that's largely unhelpful though.

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    Cricketer Of The Year Maximas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ausage View Post
    I'm not really sure what the problem is. Everyone has instinctual, emotional reactions to a range of things before taking more measured, reasonable positions upon reflection. It's part of being human and there's certainly nothing wrong with it.
    Everyone does? I honestly find this hard to believe, but I did think this was a fairly universal concept, I had just noticed it recently in myself for the first time, didn't mean to frame it as a negative thing either.

    Quote Originally Posted by NZTailender View Post
    Just remember everything is an emotional decision one way or another and be skeptical of people who pride themselves on making decisions 'not using emotion' because that really is twisted logic.
    Quote Originally Posted by Spark View Post
    If "logic" were all that were required to make difficult decisions about how the world and people around you should be treated, then we would leave anything remotely important to a computer. Everything thinks this is a terrible idea for a reason.
    Yeah agreed, just interesting for me that from time to time my emotional response differs quite markedly from where my perspective generally sits, and I have to make a choice between what I feel is right on a visceral level and where my principles lead me

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    Global Moderator Spark's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ausage View Post
    While this is all true, I don't think that's what people (generally) mean when they refer to reason. "Reasoning" through a problem generally means doing your best to think through a problem more comprehensively, while "responding emotionally" means forsaking that and going with your gut. That doesn't mean that the former process is devoid of emotion, or there's no "logic" behind the instinct you've submitted to in the latter. Doesn't even mean that one approach is right and the other is wrong.

    I agree the different processes have acquired a ton of baggage that's largely unhelpful though.
    I think what he means is that people who often extol "logic" at the expense of "emotion" mean the sort of cheap one-line "gotcha" pieces of logic ("you're a vegetarian? So were the Nazis, so that makes you a Nazi" or literally anyone who cites dictionary definitions as a checkmate) that have no real depth and can easily be torn apart on careful, considered analysis, and often use that to ridicule people who have more instinctive "this is wrong" reactions to something which may be more complex underneath. So it's not the use of "logic" so much as the smug supercillious attitude which pretends that the use of such "logic" makes one superior.

    Quote Originally Posted by Maximas View Post
    Everyone does? I honestly find this hard to believe, but I did think this was a fairly universal concept, I had just noticed it recently in myself for the first time, didn't mean to frame it as a negative thing either.





    Yeah agreed, just interesting for me that from time to time my emotional response differs quite markedly from where my perspective generally sits, and I have to make a choice between what I feel is right on a visceral level and where my principles lead me
    And that's fine so long as you think carefully about where both responses are coming from and don't automatically assume either to be naturally correct. You need principles that inform a world-view, but following principles that you've come up with yourself all the way down the rabbit hole is the road to barbarism.
    Last edited by Spark; 12-05-2019 at 09:44 PM.

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    Cricketer Of The Year Ausage's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Spark View Post
    I think what he means is that people who often extol "logic" at the expense of "emotion" mean the sort of cheap one-line "gotcha" pieces of logic ("you're a vegetarian? So were the Nazis, so that makes you a Nazi" or literally anyone who cites dictionary definitions as a checkmate) that have no real depth and can easily be torn apart on careful, considered analysis, and often use that to ridicule people who have more instinctive "this is wrong" reactions to something which may be more complex underneath. So it's not the use of "logic" so much as the smug supercillious attitude which pretends that the use of such "logic" makes one superior.
    People can get to poor/disingenuous cases from a bunch of different directions though. "That's just how I feel" or "I'm speaking MY truth" can be used as rhetorical devices to avoid or deflect a more considered analysis of a position. It's just trading against the difficulty people have in confronting complex emotional states instead of the smug logician trading against the authority of an objective truth.

    Not suggesting NZT was condoning that ofc.

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    Global Moderator Spark's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ausage View Post
    People can get to poor/disingenuous cases from a bunch of different directions though. "That's just how I feel" or "I'm speaking MY truth" can be used as rhetorical devices to avoid or deflect a more considered analysis of a position. It's just trading against the difficulty people have in confronting complex emotional states instead of the smug logician trading against the authority of an objective truth.

    Not suggesting NZT was condoning that ofc.
    True but that's a different phenomenon - that's people just avoiding the discussion, rather than being complete dickheads.

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    Spanish_Vicente sledger's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Spark View Post
    True but that's a different phenomenon - that's people just avoiding the discussion, rather than being complete dickheads.
    Generally yes, though it definitely is occasionally used as a refuge for scoundrels.

    In any event, invocation of that sort of justification is invariably a sign of a position that has been arrived at without a great deal of critical thinking.

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