The Instigator
Skylark_Funderberg
Pro (for)
Tied
0 Points
The Contender
MasturDbtor
Con (against)
Tied
0 Points

Is intellect more important than emotion?

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 10/28/2012 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 5,717 times Debate No: 26673
Debate Rounds (4)
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Skylark_Funderberg

Pro

This would be my first debate. I'm not familiar with any formal rules, if you had any you would prefer. I don't mind if sources are given, though I would appreciate any that you would use... I don't suppose the topic would require much research though...

I had noticed your post on the opinions section and I found it an interesting topic, I also posted my own stand on the subject, if you wanted to read it. I hope you will accept and what not!
MasturDbtor

Con

Thank you. Debate accepted.
Debate Round No. 1
Skylark_Funderberg

Pro

What is reality? The bounds and confines of the laws of the universe, constants create function, without law is chaos" The laws of physics don"t have to make sense; we create sense out of those laws. Life itself is impossibility without those particular laws pulling atoms together to form the correct molecules. The definition of intellect is the faculty of reasoning and understanding. Life is formed out of the reasoning of physics and the understanding of reality.

Without the laws of physics there is nothing for intellect to understand, therefore there is no intellect. Without intellect to understand physics is there reality? If nothing understands that something is happening for a reason, isn't it just happening because it can?

This is shown in life terms for example, the most basic instinct is self-preservation. The ape does not jump off the cliff because at the speed he will reach by the time he hits ground would break his bones and disrupt his organs leading to death. How does this translate into the apes mind? Fear, the most basic emotion, keeps the ape from jumping off the cliff. Emotion, like all other things in the universe, is logical reaction, always a cause and always an effect. Intellect is the understanding of logic in the universe. Emotion is within those confines, intellect is broad while emotion is a mere fraction of its understanding.

Even in humans, how is emotion conveyed? Movements of the eyes? Tones of the voice? If two people were talking and the second person is speaking in a low murmur and eyes stare at the ground, you would say that person is upset, right? How do you know? The first person then asks if the second is upset. How did he know? If emotion is as illogical as it is known to be, couldn't it be anything? No rules, no constants... The only way he would have known was because of the way second was acting. It fit consistently with his knowledge of human emotion. Logic is the science of constants. Even emotion is logical and logic is only understood through intellect. Therefor you need intellect first to have emotion. Intellect is at the base of all emotion.
MasturDbtor

Con

While the way emotion is expressed between people may show logical consistency, and the emotions we feel in response to things may be influenced by evolution this doesn't change the fact that without emotion you have no means of establishing what questions to answer with your intellect in the first place.

For example, you may say that it's a good idea to start investing early based on your intellect. You have concluded that because it will lead to you having more wealth in the future you should do it.

But if you did not have positive emotions associated with wealth whether in the form of the money or objects or in imagining yourself enjoying them then you would have no motivation to want the wealth in the first place, so using your intellect to figure out how to become wealthier would then be pointless.

In fact some people live lives as aesthetics and really don't care about money or even shun it. Since for these people pleasure would not be gotten from wealth or less would than the pleasure they get from feeling that they are living their lives the right way then intellectually it would not make sense for them to make decisions with the goal of "securing a lot of wealth".

That is why emotion is more important than intellect, because emotion is necessary to define what one's goals are in the first place. Intellect is used to figure out the means to the goals. Even when intellect is used to decide upon a goal then it must be the case that the goal has a goal which is based on emotion or has a goal that has another goal which is based on emotion. For example, you may use your intellect to pick wealth-generation as a goal, but that goal is a means to your enjoyment of said wealth, which is based on the emotion, joy which you are expecting to get as a result.
Debate Round No. 2
Skylark_Funderberg

Pro

Rebuttal

I understand where you"re coming from, but emotion has never been a necessity to motivating a goal. Take life forms that feel no emotion and live on the most basic of instincts, single celled organisms are basic life, they use basic instincts. As I've stated before, the instinct of self-preservation and procreation are the most basic.
These creatures do not procreate because they feel love for one another; they do it because it"s necessary for the continuation of the species. They do what they must to survive.

What are the causes of emotion? Actions and reactions in reality invoke emotion. You would separate these actions into two categories, good and bad. Good things create "Good" emotions, such as happiness, pleasure, joy and all forms of giddiness. Bad things create "Bad" emotions, anger, hatred, jealousy. But good actions happen naturally, the daisy grows in the meadow, the smell of the forest after a warm summer rain. These have no emotional intention, they happen because that"s how life and the universe works. An eagle defends its chicks, a white blood cell protects the body from infection, yet some spiders eat their infants as soon as they hatch, these are logical reactions, the spider is hungry and it has children to spare, so it feasts, no emotion. On most occasions, what is good is also logical; nothing needs to be felt to want to earn money. It is a logical directive to better you and your offspring. You stop one species from wiping out another not because those animals are all your close friends, it is purely intellectual, extinction of an innocent species has no purpose, they contribute more alive.

This leads to my next point,

Even emotional decisions are based off of logical presumptions of the intellect. A man saves a woman from a blazing inferno that has trapped her in her home; he does this for two reasons:

1.To experience "good" emotions, happiness at saving this woman from her sure demise and pride from contributing to his fellow man by halting fate in its tracks and stopping death.
2.To avoid feeling "bad" emotions, guilt at allowing such an event play in front of him while doing nothing, sorrow at loss of human life.

To sum this up nicely, I will make this analogy; emotion is the sprinkles on top of the cake of intellect and logicality. Without intellect, emotion is meaningless chaos. Without intellect, you could feel nothing.
MasturDbtor

Con

Rebuttal
When I type what is an emotion into Google search the first definition says:
A natural instinctive state of mind deriving from one's circumstances, mood, or relationships with others.

So, the "most basic of instincts" my opponent ascribes to "life forms that feel no emotion" are by definition emotions.
They are the most primative form of emotions, but really the building blocks for more complex forms in the future. Natural selection these emotions would evolve because they motivate the life to get excited at certain stimuli and less excited to conserve energy at other stimuli. This would've lead to more excitement appearing whenever correlated with danger or opportunity. An instinct that says "danger!" is by definition "fear", even though humans can experience "fear" in more and more complex ways, whereas initially "fear" would've been a very simple attack or run away thing, whereas with humans we sometimes choose negotiation, trickery, umber of other responses besides the simple flight-fight pattern.

"You would separate these actions into two categories, good and bad. Good things create "Good" emotions, such as happiness, pleasure, joy and all forms of giddiness. Bad things create "Bad" emotions, anger, hatred, jealousy."

Yes, actions in reality invoke emotions, but if you made sure you connected your specific emotions to why exactly a thing felt good or bad everytime you made a decisions you would never get anything done.

"the spider is hungry and it has children to spare, so it feasts, no emotion"
"It is a logical directive to better you and your offspring."

A spider does not have a sophisticated enough brain to logically reason "I am out of food and will starve to death if I can't find a food resource, therefore I will sacrifice some of my children to eat." It is natural instinct (and therefore emotion) that causes the spider to eat its young. The spider just suddenly feels like eating its kids and it does. It does not know why. The reason why is logical, yes but the spider is not using any logic itself to make the decision. It is true of all emotional responses, there is a logical reason why it's there, the response survived trial and error in the environment over a long period of time. Although sometimes with changing environments emotional responses mismatch.

"Logic" when we think and we redirect our responses to suit our environment is really just redirecting our emotions. We change our minds about how to deal with things to switch to another type of behavior. Indeed, the evaluation process itself is an instinct. It's an instinct that can stop other instincts and have us try novel behavior(based on a set of instincts interacting with the environment that determine exactly what we do to experiment), and put in place other instincts. We can also "learn" which is basically making something instinctual that wasn't before.

While we can change behavior with logic and this is a useful skill the most enjoyable state is the sate of "flow" which is being carried away by emotion and not having to think during the task because you have the whole task committed to instinctive memory(versus informative memory where you may be able to describe the task without being able to do it.)
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flow

Even as we change our emotions we are necessarily doing so because of our emotions. If someone is a drug addict and decides to get clean because he doesn't want to die, that's emotional. He emotionally desires to live, and since he realizes he will die if he doesn't quit he kicks the habit. His emotion to live basically takes over the brain and battles against his emotion to take pleasure from the drug.
If he saw no value to living life what so ever there wouldn't be a motivation, unless there was another reason such as keeping his family happy which "saving his life" may just be seen by himself as a "means for", but caring for family would also be an emotion.
Debate Round No. 3
Skylark_Funderberg

Pro

Excuse my ignorance, but I fail to see as to how your last post furthers your argument. If I am at fault, please inform me, though if you could restate your points so that I may reach a better understanding?

I believe you have some ideas I"m missing" much obliged

Now as my first matter of business I would like to get the definition of instinct straight"

My definition: Response to real situation through rational deduction of current circumstance produced by inherited information or simplified, inherited information

My opponent"s definition: "are by definition emotions" "They are the most primitive form of emotions"

Google"s definition: An innate, typically fixed pattern of behavior in animals in response to certain stimuli: "predatory instinct"

Three very different definitions

My opponents has stated "Natural selection these emotions would evolve because they motivate the life to get excited at certain stimuli and less excited to conserve energy at other stimuli"

Evolution" instinct is passed on through generations of species, this we can both agree on. But Inherited Information? " Somewhat useless if based off of emotion. Seems to be the logical approach to "I"m hungry" is "I think I"ll find something to eat".

My opponent states "An instinct that says "danger!" is by definition "fear", even though humans can experience "fear" in more and more complex ways, whereas initially "fear" would've been a very simple attack or run away thing, whereas with humans we sometimes choose negotiation, trickery, umber of other responses besides the simple flight-fight pattern."

I shall now attempt to prove that emotion and instinct are separate. The normal conscious is the command center of all logical function. Decides which tree to climb and when, though when the conscious mind does not have time to determine its course of action through its environment. A predetermined set of "one-size fits all" logical actions is chosen and carried out, this is an instinctive reflex. As my opponent has stated, "An instinct that says "danger!" is by definition "fear" to this, I disagree. Fear plays the role of bringing the conscious up to speed on the situation, fear gives the conscious an excuse to ignore the urge to make a rational decision by saying "I am afraid, so I will run" it gives the conscious an excuse to make the quickest of responses instead of taking the longer approach of "considering options". Now while fear plays a role, the forever master of the mind and body is consciousness, the intellect. Which may I point out, is why the spider eats its children, because the reality of being hungry leads to the decision to eat, while basic logic, instinct drives this decision.

Next point,

Violation of instinct by emotion; Suicide is one example, purely a Human creation formulated from the most "complex" emotions. Suicide is a direct violation of self-preservation, the most important instinct of all. I think we can all agree suicide is not a logical reaction; it"s the terrible price of having such complicated minds. Having emotions constantly tear at you until the voice of logic is ignored. Emotion is our burden to bear for having such great intellect. Sadness, a strong emotion versus self-preservation, proving instinct is separate from emotion. Emotion is a mischievous temptress even while providing its benefits, fact is cold logic may one day save your life.

Last point,

My opponent has stated," If someone is a drug addict and decides to get clean because he doesn't want to die, that's emotional. He emotionally desires to live", doesn"t quite sound right does it? That is because the desire to live is not emotional, it"s instinctive. Self-preservation which I have mentioned before, let"s look at the logic of the situation; the logical action would be to immediately cease taking the drug. Why? Because it is harmful to the body and mind, I will most likely survive longer if I do not take the drug anymore. The emotional decision would be to continue taking it. Why? Because it feels good, it brings about a "gleeful" feeling, an emotion. Which proves my point, time and time again, emotion without restraint is deadly, emotion without restraint is chaos and even destruction to itself, Logic was the beginning, logic is with all creatures even those who feel no emotion. Logic continues even if emotion dies with us. So next time you"re about to make another ridiculous decision based off of frivolous thinking and an emotion, head my warning, emotion is wonderful and gives life depth, but logic is life and nothing of worth is without it and don"t you ever" ever" forget it.
MasturDbtor

Con

MasturDbtor forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
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