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Reason, Emotions, and Moral Judgments, Essay Example

Pages: 2

Words: 545

Essay

Moral judgments are influenced by many aspects of life; social norms, ethics, reason, and emotions. The below review will cover two of the – often contradicting – influences of human moral decisions: reason and emotion.

Most theories of moral judgment are based on rationalist models, assuming that the main influence of decisions is moral reasoning, and emotions do not play a significant role in human behavior. Rationalist models, however, do not exclude emotions in a way that they include “Affect” as one of the steps in the process of making moral judgments. Moral affects can be emotional, such as sympathy. Indeed, moral decisions are determined by one’s attitude towards the society, the people involved, the case, and learned behavioral patterns as well. All people live in the context of society, therefore, their decisions are influenced by different groups of people, beliefs, messages, art pieces, lectures, and role models.

The author of the current review argues that moral decision making cannot be simplified. When people face a new dilemma, emotions are put into work immediately. Unless a person suffers from apathy, they would sympathize with one person more than the other. This would certainly influence their moral judgment. Previous experiences, then are assessed by the rational reasoning system of the human mind, in order to justify one or another judgment. It is evident that one might feel stronger for a person if they are in the same situation. As an example: victims of child abuse would be emotionally influenced in their moral judgment when deciding whether or not to support making the names of child molesters public. People who have never been in contact with similar cases, and have only heard rational reasons regarding the issue would rely on their reasoning skills more.

Similarly, it is possible to predict that individuals who have animals would be more likely to reject animal testing of cosmetics and selling furs of exotic species than those who never had pets. However, cancer patients who have been waiting for a new drug to come out would first emotionally decide that testing drugs on animals was in the interest of the many, then justify their moral judgment by lining up facts to support their beliefs and decisions.

Finally, as it has already been mentioned, social context influences moral judgments significantly. In a way, peer pressure and group mechanisms can influence one’s decision whether or not to support a case. Authority figures within the society can influence people’s behavior and norms. Social norms and socialization patterns influence people’s judgment. What they learn as a child about the “done thing” will determine their attitude.

Overall, it is evident that it is impossible to make simply rational moral decisions. Morality is influenced by culture, society, and customs, tolerance levels, priorities vary from one country to another. Previous experiences and pre-existing knowledge also influence human behavior, as well as moral judgment. Finally, people consider the consequences of their decisions and attitudes: one might ask: would I like others to do this to me or not? If the answer is no, the individual is likely to say no to accepting the decision. While moral judgment is both rational and emotional, the process that leads to making a decision on whether or not to agree with a moral statement is different for every

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