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Emotions, moral values

Kirti Patel
Thursday, January 31, 2013

Where are love and emotions these days?

What has happened to moral values, respect and love for each other?

Why is everyone so involved in themselves that they cannot see how behind we are in terms of love, emotions and care for each other. No doubt the world is moving forward in a very fast and rapid way but does it mean people will slowly forget their caring side and move forward without any pride?

Almost every single day, we read about child abuse, rape cases, theft and many other unethical incidents taking place in our society.

I wonder if a time will come when we will stop hearing or reading about such horrible acts and only read about good things.

Not so, with the type of attitude we have these days among some of our very own people.

Love, emotions and moral values seem to be dying everywhere today, and one has to step forward to bring these values back. One might think running away from emotions in certain areas won't affect them in any possible way but that's not always the case — or is it?

The role of emotions in the moral domain is controversial. Two central features of emotions are particularly problematic for the integration of emotions into the moral domain — the non— deliberate nature of emotions, and the partial nature of emotions.

The non—deliberate nature has been claimed to contradict the possibility of moral responsibility, and the partial nature of emotions has been perceived to be incompatible with the impartial nature of morality.

Although admitting the presence of these features, I claim that emotions are very important in morality. I argue that we have some responsibility over our emotions and that emotions have both instrumental and intrinsic moral value.

The major problem concerning the relationship between emotions and moral responsibility concerns the allegedly necessary presence of a broad perspective involving intellectual deliberations in moral behavior for which we are responsible, The problem may be formulated as follows:

1 . Responsibility entails free choice; if we are forced to behave in a certain manner, we are not responsible for this behavior.

2. Free choice entails an intellectual deliberation in which alternatives are considered and the best one is chosen. Without such consideration, we cannot clearly understand the possible alternatives and are not responsible for preferring one of them.

3. Since intellectual deliberations are absent from emotions, we cannot be responsible for our emotions.

Before facing this difficulty, it should be clear that we do impute responsibility to persons for their emotions. We praise and criticise people for their emotions. We speak of appropriate reasons for being afraid, or inappropriate grounds for hating someone. We often advise others to desist from some emotions like when we say: "You have no reason to be angry."

We may also urge them to adopt emotions with the injunction: "Love your neighbor—but not your neighbor's wife." The problem we face then, is not whether we impute responsibility to persons for their emotions, but how such imputation is possible and what kind of responsibility is imputed.

Remarks such as "I couldn't help it, I was madly in love with" or "Ignore his action, he was overcome with anger," indicate that we often do not attribute full responsibility to agents having certain emotions or acting out of emotions.

The major flaw of the argument denying our responsibility over our emotions is that it presupposes a too simplistic picture of responsibility and emotions.

However, emotions are obviously more complex than fleeting feelings.

The presence of intentional components such as cognition, evaluation, and motivation enable us to impute responsibility for emotions and consequently to criticise or praise them.

Indeed, emotions may be criticised or praised with regard to their three intentional components: the cognition of the situation may be flawed, false, or partial; the evaluation of the situation may be flawed or inappropriate, as when based on unfounded, vague, or immoral grounds; and the motivational components of desires and conduct may be self-defeating, socially destructive, only of short-term value, or excessive.

The whole emotional attitude may also be regarded as appropriate or inappropriate in the given circumstances. Thus, we may criticise ourselves for grieving too much or too little.

Emotions may also be experienced as unsuitable with regard to their timing.

It is disputable whether all emotions, in particular, love and grief, can be criticised in light of the above considerations, but it is clear that we do criticise or applaud people for having certain emotions.

Typically, we cannot immediately induce ourselves or others to assume a certain emotion. We do not invoke emotions by a deliberate, purposive decision. We cannot experience, or stop experiencing an emotion by simply deciding to do so.

This, however, does not imply that there are no voluntary elements in experiencing emotions, or that we are incapable of regulating our emotions.

Any regulation is, however, indirect. It can be done by changing ourselves or our environment. We can cultivate or habituate emotions by attaching more or less value to certain things.

For example, attaching much importance to the boss' opinion may bring with it vulnerability to fear and disappointment.

Since emotions express our profound values, cultivating values may also be the cultivation of emotions. We can also create or avoid the circumstances generating emotions.

We may indirectly, but intentionally, make ourselves angry, sad, or envious by imagining that the circumstances typical of such emotions are indeed present.

How we feel is less a matter of choice at the moment than a product of choice over time in which we habituate certain dispositions.

Moral values are equally important as it means the behavior one chooses between the good and the bad and it reflects one's actions. When one decides to adopt the bad and negative side of life, it means moral values have faded away.

Yet, it may be lost under certain influence, but not impossible to look for it and bring it back in one.

But as the saying goes, we can take the horse to the river but cannot make it drink unless effort from itself. I guess therefore, it's very important that a workshop be conducted at various educational places, at the same time at certain work fields, to ensure that in order to move further in terms of carrier, one does not forget what love and emotions are all about, and once they're understood, moral values will come along in terms of bonus.

We don't want to see in future, everyone succeeding without any pride.

Where love and understanding is merged with a little bit of emotion and moral values, how can one go wrong.

Sources: wikipedia

* Kirti Patel writes frequently to The Letters To the Editor section. This is her personal opinion and not that of this newspaper.

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