Emotions And Logical Thought

It was once thought that emotions were the preserve of the higher beings, insects and other animals acting more like complex automata.

Then I thought that emotions were a simple and fast level of processing used primarily by animals. A first evolution of thought, this chemical processing forms a simple guide to actions, instincts, with only humans having the ability to analyse these feelings with reason and decide whether to act upon them or not.

A third option is that both forms of thought, emotional and logical, evolved at once and both offer different viewpoints. This came from the observance of a slightly autistic friend trying to break down emotional arguments into logical rules. This always leads to infinity, an infinite number of rules.

The legal system is an example of a system where logical rules are designed to mimic emotional processing. The guilt or innocence of an offender is obvious to the feelings of someone who knows the facts (an accidental death, not guilty; a deliberate death, guilty) but trying to express these in logical reproducible terms is not easy and creates more and more complexity, more rules intended to remove the feeling from a system, with the idea of removing bias, when this very effect creates more rules and less clarity. The feelings of a judge and jury are, ultimately, the resolution, and the more these are suppressed by laws, the more laws, time, complexity, confusion there will be and less 'justice' - that ultimate expression of moral feeling.

The battle between feelings and logical rules made me think of a quantum analogue, that each form of processing was alternative, neither exclusive, and dependant on the other. Some arguments are simply much more efficient and faster to process with emotional thought than logical thought. Perhaps though, the emotional arguments are all social, and therefore inherently tied to empathy, and thus if no creature had emotional processing, such as a society of robots, then all arguments could be emotionless but efficient.

Mark Sheeky, 21 July 2014