IS and OUGHT revisited.
|Rajesh Kasturirangan||Aug 30, 2006|
In the last few posts I have talked about the relationship between reason and emotion. What’s interesting is how the discovery of how things are, i.e., the domain of IS and the discovery of how we ought to act, the domain of OUGHT are both seen as properly discovered by reason and reason alone. In this picture, the introduction of emotions
(a) Prevents us from seeing reality clearly and,
(b) Even if see could reality clearly, we might act rashly and commit a wrong under the spell of emotion.
For example, everyday we read in the papers about husbands who murder their wives after having discovered them in bed (or just suspected her of doing so!) with another man. According to modern day jurispudence, as well as lay ethical intuitions in the west, murdering your spouse is not the right response to adultery (though not so in Turkey, how dare you apply to the EU with such primitive ethical stances: shame shame. What would we do without the tremendous wisdom of the western world and its generosity in sharing its insights).
What does this mean? For one, it means that the domains of IS and OUGHT are not that different. Secondly, if I am right, we will not understand the true source of either one of the two domains unless we expand our focus of knowledge to include emotion and other supposedly substandard sources of knowing.