Emotional Intelligence: the Rapprochement of Reason and Emotion

5749 WordsMay 30, 200523 Pages
The past few decades have seen increasing interest in emotion research. Although much remains to be learned, agreement is beginning to emerge regarding the way emotion should be viewed. Emotions provide a unique source of information for individuals about their environment, which informs and shapes their thoughts, actions, and subsequent feelings, and there is a growing view that emotion information can be used more or less intelligently. A notion central to emotional intelligence theory is that individuals differ in their ability to perceive, understand and use emotional information, and this ability significantly contributes to intellectual and emotional well-being and growth. Emotional intelligence as a concept has prospered, in…show more content…
The stoic philosophers of ancient Greece argued that the idiosyncratic nature of emotion rendered it incapable of contributing to insight and wisdom. Similar views continued to dominate academic thinking into the Renaissance period of 16th and 17th centuries of Europe. Descartes (1595-1650) argued that an emotion is one type of "passion", where the passions are distinguished from "clear cognition", and render judgment "confused and obscure" (1649/1989). Kant (1724-1804) further reinforced the distinction between reason on the one hand, and emotions, moods and desires, which he termed "the inclinations", on the other. He dismissed the inclinations as inessential to reason at best and intrusive and disruptive at worst (1793/1953). Later however, philosophers belonging to the Romantic movement of Europe's late 18th and early 19th century began to argue that logic alone could not deliver the breadth of insights that were possible when empathy and emotion-guided intuition were incorporated into their thinking (Solomon, 2000). This shift in thinking is often attributed to the philosophy of David Hume. Hume (1739/1948) argued that reason was in essence a tool of emotion. In his view, the sole function of reason was to interpret the world in terms of facts in order to form inferences useful in achieving the agendas set by emotion. Empirical evidence as to the functional purpose of emotion was only established
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