Logic and Emotion
Overview
Two constrasting views of the proper relationship between the logical and emotional elements of the human psyche, which may be thought representative of distinct lines of development of western philosophy are dissected with a view to a synthesis.
On the one hand (rational) that emotions, being primitive and bad, should be held in check by the intellect. On the other (romantic) that, though primitive, they are good and should be freely expressed.
These positions are both founded in the same fallacious conception of the relationship between reason and emotion and their respective roles.
The presumed independence of emotion and reason are illusory. Rather than chosing which is right, we should understand how they relate and let them work together.
The Two Positions in Brief
On the one hand (rational) that emotions, being primitive and bad, should be held in check by the intellect. On the other (romantic) that, though primitive, they are good and should be freely expressed.
Hume's Summary
Book II, Part III, Section III of David Hume's "A Treatise of Human Nature" [Hume39] begins:
Nothing is more usual in philosophy, and even in common life, than to talk of the combat of passion and reason, to give the preference to reason, and to assert that men are only so far virtuous as they conform themselves to its dictates.
He makes this observation only as a prelude to demonstrating:
that reason alone can never be a motive to any action of the will
and
that it can never oppose passion in the will.
But Hume's arguments fell on deaf ears and the attitude he describes is alive and well, both in philosophy and common sense.
Romanticism
Pro-tem, the best I can do here is offer Russell's very unsympathetic description [Russell46], speaking of the first romantics he says that they:
"... greatly admired what they called sensibilité, which means a proneness to emotion, and more particularly to the emotion of sympathy. To be thoroughly satisfactory, the emotion must be direct and violent and quite uninformed by thought."
Romanticism seems most substantially to have been a literary phenomenon, but in philosophy its most prominent figure was Rousseau. His most influencial work was "The Social Contract" which was a political tract proclaiming the romantic ideal of individual liberty but describing a political system which became the prototype for totalitarian regimes far removed from these romantic roots.
The Psychology of Reason and Emotion
These positions are both founded in the same fallacious conception of the relationship between reason and emotion and their respective roles.
Caveat
This is of course a kind of folk psychology, and is tenuous. It is in response to implicit premises of a similar (and I believe less credible) in the two positions under discussion.
The Synthesis
The presumed independence of emotion and reason are illusory. Rather than chosing which is right, we should understand how they relate and let them work together.

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