mercoledì 31 agosto 2016

Do Emotions Help or Hinder Moral Actions?

Do Emotions Help or Hinder Moral Actions? | BQO:

'via Blog this'

  • There has been an explosion of scholarly work on how emotions affect the way people reason, and much of that research is relevant to our question. The conclusions researchers draw generally fall into one of two camps: 1) emotions overwhelm and hinder reasoning and, by extension, intentional action; or, 2) emotions facilitate and help reasoning and intentional action.
  • Those who argue that emotions overwhelm reasoning and intentional action can appeal to decades of work suggesting that people who give in to their emotion-based impulses and desires suffer a host of negative outcomes. The classic work in this area was conducted by Walter Mischel in the 1960s and 1970s. He brought children into the laboratory and faced them with a difficult challenge (the particulars varied among experiments): They could eat one marshmallow ...
  • On the other side of the debate, those who maintain that emotions facilitate reasoning and intentional action can appeal to an equally compelling body of scholarship. Research from this camp suggests that emotions are foundational for all of our cognitive and behavioral processes and can result in outcomes consistent with people’s needs and goals. Emotional responses often guide people toward the most beneficial choice even in the absence of any conscious reasoning.
  • What if moral action is the result of deliberative choices made over time? On this view, people can, through deliberative reasoning, change their interpretations of situations and hence also their emotional responses to those situations... Consider someone who values the virtue of temperance — that things should be enjoyed in moderation — and strives to be temperate in daily life. If that person loves chocolate, emotional responses may overwhelm the intention to be temperate, resulting in overindulgence in chocolate at the first available opportunity. But since the person is striving to be temperate, such overindulgence may prompt negative emotional reactions, such as guilt, shame, and regret. ... hese negative reactions provide the perfect occasions for us to develop our emotional responses, to make them better align with our moral attitudes and goals....