Logic And Truth Essay, Research Paper
Logic is the study of necessary truths and of systematic methods for clearly expressing and rigourously demonstrating such truths.
THERE can be no doubt that all our knowledge begins with experience. For how should our faculty of knowledge be awakened into action did not objects affecting our senses partly of themselves produce representations, partly arouse the activity of our understanding to compare these representations, and, by combining or separating them, work up the raw material of the sensible impressions into that knowledge of objects which is entitled experience? In the order of time, therefore, we have no knowledge antecedent to experience, and with experience all our knowledge begins. But though all our knowledge begins with experience, it does not follow that it all arises out of experience.
My new way of viewing an argument is frequently called informal logic, suggesting a contrast with formal logic (the dominant type of logic in western intellectual tradition). But it could also be called communicative logic, or pragmatic logic perhaps, in that it is expressly directed to judging particular aspects of how an argument was used for some communicative purpose, well or badly, in a given case.
Using Aristotle’s system of causal explanation, the 16th-century British philosopher John Rainolds defined emotion as follows: the efficient cause of emotions is God, who implanted them; the material cause is good and evil human things; the formal cause is a commotion of the soul, impelled by the sight of things; and the final cause is seeking good and fleeing evil. The American philosopher L.D. Green’s commentary on Rainolds’ thesis indicates that Rainolds was not faithful to Aristotle’s own discussions of emotion.
One thing that Aristotle did advocate was moderation of emotions, allowing them to have an effect only at the right time and in the right manner. Rainolds noted that the Aristotelian thinker Cicero saw emotions as beneficial–fear making humans careful, compassion and sadness leading to mercy, and anger whetting courage. These thoughts about emotion are similar to those of some modern theorists.
For Rainolds, the emotions are the active, energizing aspects of human nature. Although the intellect exercises control over emotions, intellect can have no impact without emotion. Rainolds was specifically concerned with the effects of emotion on rhetoric, but he saw rhetoric as a principal means of influencing human behaviour and affairs. He believed that
the passions [emotions] must be excited, not for the harm they do but for the good, not so they twist the straight but that they straighten the crooked; so they ward off vice, iniquity, and disgrace; so that they defend virtue, justice, and probity.
Benedict de Spinoza in the 17th century described emotions in much the same way as Rainolds did, but he discussed them in relation to action rather than to language. He saw emotions as bodily changes that result in the amplification or attenuation of action and as processes that can facilitate or impede action. For Spinoza, emotion also included the ideas, or mental representations, of the bodily changes in emotion.
Blaise Pascal and David reversed Rainolds’ position by assuming the primacy of emotion in human behaviour. Hume said that reason is the slave of the passions (emotions), and Pascal observed in Pens es that “the heart has reasons that reason does not know.” Although Hume believed that passions (emotions) rule reason or intellect, he thought the dominant passion should be moral sentiment. Some contemporary psychologists trace morality to empathy and empathy to discrete emotions including sadness, sorrow, compassion, and guilt.
Since Rainolds lectured on emotions at Oxford, philosophers have considered many questions related to emotions: Are they active or passive? Can they be explained by neurophysiological processes and reduced to material phenomena? Are they rational or nonrational? Are they voluntary or involuntary? Characterizing or categorizing emotions according to these dichotomies has resulted in yet other classifications or distinctions.
Ultimately, emotion concepts resist definition by way of dichotomous distinctions. Emotions are generally active and tend to generate action and cognition, but extreme fear may cause behavioral freezing and mental rigidity. Emotion can be explained on one level in terms of neurochemical processes and on another level in terms of phenomenology. Emotions are rational in the sense that they serve adaptive functions and make sense in terms of the individual’s perception of the situation. They are nonrational in the sense that they can exist in the brain at the neurochemical level and in consciousness as unlabeled feelings that may be independent of cognitive-rational processes. Emotions are voluntary in that their expression in older children and adults is subject to considerable modification and control via cognition and action, and willful regulation of expression may result in regulation of emotion experience. Emotions are involuntary in that an effective stimulus elicits them automatically, without deliberation and conscious choice. Nowhere is this more evident than in infants and young children, who have little capacity to modulate or inhibit emotion by means of cognitive processes.
Feelings and emotions help determine human behavior. They govern whether we are repulsed by or attracted to something, and how we respond. They motivate us to work toward future goals and allow us to place value on everything that happens to us. They also have a direct effect on human health.
Developments in brain-imaging technology and research on monkeys have made it possible for scientists to empirically study the biological basis of emotions — what occurs in the brain and throughout the body when when a person experiences emotions such as fear, joy and sadness.
Davidson’s work focuses on individual differences in emotional response, what causes them and what might be done for people who are predisposed to debilitating emotional reactions.
“People differ dramatically in how they respond to life’s slings and arrows,” Davidson said. Some people are unflappable in the face of significant stress while others break down quite easily in negative situations, he said.
“These are profound differences among people that color every aspect of their lives, accounting for whether their marriages and careers are successful, whether they achieve their goals and why some individuals die earlier than others, all things being equal,” Davidson said.
Davidson and others at UW-Madison are trying to elucidate how positive states of mind influence the body.
One project involves studying a group of Wisconsinites in their late 50s who have remained healthy despite major personal problems throughout their lives.
“We want to know what accounts for their resilience, what can we learn about their brain activity and how is their emotional resilience related to their physical health,” Davidson said.
Other UW-Madison researchers studying the science of emotion include Ann Kelley, Ruth Benca, Chris Coe, Craig Berridge, Seth Pollack, Carol Ryff and Hill Goldsmith.
Wisconsin State Journal Jennifer A. Galloway Wisconsin State Journal; 04-14-1998
Democritus (460 BC)
Happiness (positive emotion) is characterized by a state of mental and physical equilibrium. Thoughts (cognitions) are the result of a distributed interaction of some localized corporeal components.
· Rationality: in the chest
· Control of behavior: in the head
· Resentment: in the heart
· Appetite: in the Liver
“the perfection of our nature and capability of happiness must be estimated by the degree of reason, virtue, and knowledge that distinguish the individual . . . and that from the exercise of reason, knowledge and virtue naturally flow” (Wollstonecraft 1989, 5: 81). A Vindication of the Rights of Woman, Mary Wollstonecraft
reason, virtue, and knowledge, and exactly how are the struggle with passion and the exercise of reason supposed to produce knowledge and virtue
Reason, Calne assures, may still be regarded as a psychological “faculty” in traditional style, so long as we recognize that it’s “a biological product” and understand that we’re “motivated by instinctive urges and emotions linked to cultural forces — reason is their servant and not their master.” Calne argues that modem neurology gives reason no role in setting our goals: It deals with “how” issues, thus explaining why ours is not to reason “why.” It is “simply and solely a tool” fashioned by evolution, a capability that “cannot assign or control the purposes to which it is put,” something we use “to get what we want, not to choose what we want.”
“Reason,” the authors state, is still viewed as “the defining characteristic of human beings.” It includes “not only our capacity for logical inference, but also our ability to conduct inquiry, to solve problems, to evaluate, to criticize, to deliberate about how we should act, and to reach an understanding of ourselves, other people, and the world.”
None other than Steven Rose, a leading neuroscientist, reminds us in From Brains to Consciousness?: Essays on the New Sciences of the Mind (1998)that “being able to map mental processes into physiological, anatomical and biochemical mechanisms” may be able to tell us “how the brain/mind works,” but it “will not be able to tell us what the mind is doing and why. These questions will have to be answered at a higher level of analysis, and using a different language, than that offered by the best of neuroscientific technology.”
The separation of reason from motivation is fundamental to — even constitutive of –human cognition.
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