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Posted by Damian ( on June 16, 2003 at 12:16:31:

In Reply to: Re: ON STOIC PHILOSOPHY posted by CHARLIE ( on June 16, 2003 at 11:56:17:

I do not disagree with what you are saying about reason being more productive than survival within the realm of survival needs. I also do not disagree with how you used my quote "reason carries out the wishes of teh heart" to demonstrate how reason brings the emotions in line so as to maxmize personal survival. But it is not implicit in my quote, with the relationship I have outlined between reason and emotion, that reason is more important than emotion. And it only follows from the first statement on this post that reason is more important than emotion insofar as it contributes to the survival function. Nowhere is it demonstrated that, overall, reason is more important than emotion.

Both reason and emotion are parts of who I am. Neither of them function as the whole of me, and no single or set of thoughts or emotions sums up who I am because it is only the smallest fraction of that. If you took my thoughts away from me, I would no longer be me. If you took my emotions away from me, I would no longer be me. So, insofar as identity function is concerned, emotion and reason are equally important.

Now, for the specific relationship between emotion and reason. You have demonstrated that reason is more productive than emotion for survival. But that is all you have demonstrated. Emotion is not less important than reason for happiness. In fact, without emotions, happiness is an impossibility. Happiness is not less important than survival. Without the prospect of happiness, survival would have no point, purpose, or meaning. Survival is a need at the lowest end of the ladder. Happiness is found at the to of the ladder. Both are needs.

Any desire must somehow be categorized as an emotion. Philosophers of mind distinguish between "qualia" - the subjective character of experience - and "propositional attitudes" - mental statements and beliefs. It's too much to get into here, but no one thinks they are the same, and the moment you become aware of the propositional attitude "Water would quench my thirst right now" you experience the quale of "desire for water" or "thirst". If we didn't have qualia, we would be walking computers. Computers have propositional attitudes. They don't - I think you'll agree with me on this - have qualia. Considering this, happiness must be conceived of in terms of emotions and guided by valid and true propositional attitudes. But both are necessary for happiness, because we are humans, because we are who we are.

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