The Instigator
Pro (for)
7 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
0 Points

Emotion is the basis of all decisions

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Post Voting Period
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Voting Style: Open Point System: Select Winner
Started: 7/20/2015 Category: Science
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 940 times Debate No: 77884
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (1)
Votes (1)




No semantics or trolling, we use the common sense definitions and work out the kinks during the debate. The response time will be 24 hours! 8000 characters in each response. Also, this will be a select a winner system, vote comments not needed...

My goal will be to state that any decision a human being makes is based on emotions alone. This isn't to say there are no rational decisions...


A big thank so PRO for starting this debate - it is truly a fascinating topic to debate and read. I will try to keep it as simple as possible, so I do apologies beforehand If I would go too technical and detailed.

Let us begin then.

To clarify, I want to make sure that me and PRO are on the same side here in terms of definition of emotion.

{1. A mental state that arises spontaneously rather than through conscious effort and is often accompanied by physiological changes; a feeling: the emotions of joy, sorrow, and anger.
2. Such mental states or the qualities that are associated with them, especially in contrast to reason: a decision based on emotion rather than logic.} (

I hope this defines emotions well enough.

However, there are still some issues.

Animals do experience emotions as well. A dog would start barking when experiencing anger, or wiggle its tail when experiencing excitement. It is a different questions whether they are aware of those emotions. However, it was proven by the famous Mirror Test, conducted in 1972, that animals are not fully self-aware, at least to a human extent.

What that would mean is that animals cannot make decisions. They would follow they basic instincts without any hesitation. And those instincts come from emotions. (getting angry, getting excited, getting sad).

So, personally I would completely agree to PRO if this the topic of this debate concerned every life being apart form homo sapiens.


Human Beings are primarily different to every single other animal because of its self-awareness. Because of this paranormal phenomenon our emotions spectre is much wider and more contrasted, than those of animals. We can mostly understand what we willl, and hence can understand what making decisions based on those emotions would lead to.

Now, I am not sure the point that PRO is making. If the title was debating whether 'For every single decision human being experience an emotion', that would be hard to debate.

But human beings are so often forced to make decisions that have nothing to do with emotions on a daily basis.

If we take a simple idea of Utilitarianism, created by John Mill and Jeremy Benthem, we see, that sometimes a person would sacrfice a life of a dear one, in order to save sakes of the many. That decision would go against emotions.

Therefore, to sum up, I am saying that what makes us different to animals, is that we can segregate emotional decision from rational decisions, and the choose the one that we consider necessary.
Debate Round No. 1


For the purposes of this debate I would like to leave the definition of emotion undefined, I think it goes much better to just think of them as you normally would and not 'fancy it up' or complicate it too much.....

I am here to reveal something fundemental about how the brain works, I will show you exactly why emotion is the key to all decisions. Many people think that they are mostly reasonable, that at the end of the day they relly on reason to make their decisions, but this is simply not true.

I'll state it as simply as I can. Humans operate very primitively in how we think. Our ultimate goal is to reach satiation for a given desire. Under this model, lets not chase the origin of where the desire came from, lets just have it be a given that your brain crealted the desire. Once this desire is in place there has to be a method to achieve satiation, but what method and what proccess will bring the person their satisfaction? Here is where logic and reason come it. The way I see it, logic and reason are simply the tools we have been given in order to achieve satiation, we use them as a path finder. If a person had no desire that they wanted to fulfill, then logic and reason would serve no purpose. Thus the brain can be compared to a police dog. First you give it the smell it needs to find like drugs or clothing of a missing person (this represents the desire), so what does the dog do? The dog tracks down where that smell can be located (where satiation for that desire can be found)....This proccess happens on a huge scale in the brain, instead of just one need to fulfilll we have many and we prioritize our desires and are even smart enough to sacrifice one desire for the achievement of a greater one.

Intellect is good at giving us results, it tells us what we can do and the results of doing it, but it can never tell us what we should do, let that resonate because that is the key here, if you really think about that, the answer is right in that statement. Logic can never tell us what we should do, its void of emotion, it doesn't do anything unless the human heart, the emotions give it something to aim for and direct towards. Thus all decisions, a decision being an action which an individual thinks that they should do, must come from emotional directives.

And there is reasearch to back these claims up as well...

"decision-making isn’t logical, it’s emotional, according to the latest findings in the point of decision, emotions are very important for choosing. In fact even with what we believe are logical decisions, the very point of choice is arguably always based on emotion."[1]

Furthermore, people who lose the parts of their brain controlling emotion almost completely lose the ability to make decisions, supporting these findings.

"neuroscientist Antonio Damasio made a groundbreaking discovery. He studied people with damage in the part of the brain where emotions are generated. He found that they seemed normal, except that they were not able to feel emotions. But they all had something peculiar in common: they couldn’t make decisions. They could describe what they should be doing in logical terms, yet they found it very difficult to make even simple decisions, such as what to eat. Many decisions have pros and cons on both sides—shall I have the chicken or the turkey? With no rational way to decide, these test subjects were unable to arrive at a decision."[1]

These results can only act to affirm that decisions are always based in emotion and just reason, again this is because emotion is the prerequisite to the use of reason, intellect and logic, in the first place.

To answer my opponent's questions specifically I am not saying that all decisions are impulsive like an animal's might, nor an I saying that all decisions we make are decisions that would never make us unhappy, surely people suffer for the greater good however the point is that all decisions are made to serve an emotional desire and there is not a single decision a living being makes that is purely rational, or logical or reasonable or intellectual. Ultimately, emtion is the foundation of those decisions, as I have argued.

I hope this helps, this is my argument.





blackprtzl forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 2




I apologies for forfeiting the previous round due to number of person reasons.

I just want to put it out there, that defining emotions as "just think of them as you normally would" is very unreliable for this debate. Each person subjectively defines emotions, and it simply will make no sense to let that definition hang. But it PRO insists on it, that let it be.

It may be just be, but the following sentence makes no sense to me: "Many people think that they are mostly reasonable, that at the end of the day they relly on reason to make their decisions,"

If many people think that emotions are mostly reasonable, why would they at the end of the day rely on reason to make their decisions?

I do really struggle to understand how PRO is analysing whether human"s decisions are made under emotions, if PRO himself refuses to analyse where the desire to make those decisions comes from.

If I understand correctly, PRO states that reason and emotion are the tools to achieve the desire that brain creates. However, PRO fails to segregate 2 types of desires - physical desire and mental desire. First of all, physical desire. Here brain does not create a desire - he simply is a messenger. For Example, when the body runs low on iron it would send an impulse to the brain to make sure that the body consumes more apples. Here, no emotion, as such is included, apart from that feeling of hunger and strive to eat an apple.

Second of all, mental desire. A desire to become a chef. This is where emotion take a big role. For example, If I enjoy cooking, watching cuisine TV shows, and I want to become a chef - that is my emotional excitement. Therefore here, yes, the brain does work out what is the best way to become a chef (attend a cooking school, extra cuisine lessons, read a cook book). Therefore, I agree to PRO that brain is somewhat a path finder. However, PRO did not recognise that there are also physical desires, for which we do not need emotions to make decisions.

Once again I shall somewhat agree and disagree with PRO. It is true that intellect will not give us a gut feeling of what is right or wrong. But that does not mean that we cannot work out what is right or wrong using intellect only.

Let me give you an example. There is a disease, very rare, called Alexithemia, where a person does not experience an y emotions or has a big trouble trying to differentiate and express them. According to PRO, if emotions are the key to act morally, then all people with that disease should be cold killers, thief, robber and etc. However, that is not the case. Because when one lives in a community where killing, stealing, bullying, violence is wrong by law, one can reasonably work it out that doing that stuff hurts people and therefore it is wrong to do so. That has been purely deduced on reason.

I am going to go ahead and use PRO"s research against him:

"the very point of choice is arguably always based on emotion"

The key word here is ARGUABLY. No further need to comment.

I agree that if you try, you can deduce the trace of desires to an eventual initial emotions that caused it. But there are multiple example of where emotions have no part to play. A doctor, who sees a patient failing will make an instantaneous decision by the book, where no emotions would take place. So would a pilot whose plain requires and emergency landing. So would a firefighter, who would rush into a building on fire, because he is required by the job to save whoever is inside.

I thank PRO for this debate and arguments once again.
Debate Round No. 3


TinyBudha forfeited this round.


blackprtzl forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
1 comment has been posted on this debate.
Posted by Midnight1131 3 years ago
Not once in the entire debate did Pro say that emotions are the key to acting morally, they simply said emotions are the basis of decisions. Infact the word moral isn't used by Pro once in the debate. To conclude, due to Pro's arguments being backed up by sources, and one of them [damaged emotion controlling area of the brain] being essentially dropped, and Con's arguments being mainly speculations, I give the win to Pro.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Midnight1131 3 years ago
Who won the debate:Vote Checkmark-
Reasons for voting decision: Pro shows how the decisions of a person are based on their emotional directives, which tells them what they should do. Police-dog analogy fits pretty well into this. People who lose parts of their brain controlling emotion is a standing point, it's backed up by scientists, a source which Pro provided. Con drops this argument, after stating that the point of choice is "arguably" based on emotion, text from Pro's source. This little wording is useless to Con's cause, as the source and the research still works in favor of Pro, and evidence of Pro's claim is still there. Con's argument of physical desire fits right into Pro's conclusion that decisions are based on emotions. because emotionally people wouldn't want to die, they'd be leaving behind everything they loved in life. Con also concedes that mental desire is dictated by emotion. Con's Alexithemia argument isn't relevant to the debate. As they say "According to PRO, if emotions are the key to act morally."[RFD CONTINUED IN COMMENTS