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TOK Essay Logic vs. Emotion

“What to do when your head says go, but your heart says no.” First, the ‘head’ refers to the logical thinking mind, and the ‘heart’ refers to the intrapersonal emotions. This statement questions the reliability of logic/reason versus the reliability of emotions. Logic and emotions are both considered a way of knowing and are used in various knowledge areas. However, how we use and view them is pretty different. Firstly, I wish to discuss these ways of knowing individually, what they are in the sense of knowledge, why we as humans need them and how we apply them.

Then based on knowledge of TOK and personal insight, I wish to compare them and deduce whether one is a more robust way of knowing the other. We are known to be ‘logical beings’ for we consciously and subconsciously use logic and reasoning every day in our lives. We can analyze a limited amount of information and draw valid conclusions from them. We classify some logical cognitive processing into syllogisms. Hypothetical syllogism (If A then B) is an example: If Pete drives a car, he is above 16. He does drive a car; therefore the consequence is guaranteed (he is above 16).

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We use and understand various other syllogisms, such as categorical syllogisms (All A is B). For example, we may say: Asia is on Earth, Singapore is in Asia; therefore, Singapore is on Earth. Our minds can cognitively process these kinds of syllogisms which helps us in all the areas of knowledge. Another aspect of logic is deductive and inductive reasoning. Deductive reasoning is the analysis of an area of knowledge by which its occurrence is certain. This is the subconscious aspect of our logical mind. We ‘know’ and are certain of things such as the sun rising and the appearance of our faces in the morning for those are things that have always existed for individuals and never have been different.

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This leads to the concept of inductive reasoning whereby we are able to draw patterns and foresee possible outcomes though they may not be certain. For example, we may think today is going to rain due to the fact that it has rained every day since four days ago. These cognitive processes allow us to filter things that are important and things that can be ignored. Logic plays an important role in most areas of knowledge save maybe ethics and arts. Logic is imperative, especially for sciences and math that solely rely on logical thinking, reasoning and the ability to draw patterns; all of this is to do with true, justified answers (quite like knowledge: true justified belief).

Emotion is a way of knowing that is rarely associated with the way we attain knowledge, as it is the mood or temperament of our physical selves. One usually sees attaining knowledge through perhaps logic or language. However, emotion is a way of knowing because it allows us to have a connection with what we know and learn. We may not understand the many subliminal aspects of a physical painting or the soothing sounds from music without emotion. Thus we may understand that emotion is a strong aspect of arts. Similarly, it is vital within ethics. Without emotion in ethics, it would be seen as pure utilitarianism with no shred of humanity whatsoever, defeating the idea of ‘ethics.’

Emotion is almost the defining aspect that separates us from other information processors such as computers. It allows us to feel sympathy, joy, anger, fear and all other emotions and that in itself is what makes us humans, as knowers. So now the question must be asked: which of these two ways of knowing is more reliable when in conflict. Firstly, we can begin accepting that there are no issues if both the head and the heart are in mutual agreement (yes or no). This brings in the concepts such as “listen to your heart” and “don’t let your emotions cloud your judgment.”

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These statements are based on truth as sometimes, emotions do know better for a person, especially for making big decisions such as getting married. Similarly, people often should avoid letting their emotions get better; such advice is strongly given to gamblers. Do note that this essay is being written through logical thinking and reasoning and has very little to do with emotion, thankfully. However, this shows the practicality of logic in writing essays, a way of knowing in the sciences.

Therefore I can conclude emotion and logic can be split into different areas of knowledge based on which area is more applicable for the particular situation. Human sciences, language and math, rely almost solely on logical thinking and reasoning. Arts and Ethics lean more towards emotions, though they have a logical foundation that holds their ideology together. The situation is the underlying factor between logic and emotion in decision-making. Therefore it is purely dependent on the situation the individual is in.

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TOK Essay Logic vs. Emotion. (2021, Sep 25). Retrieved June 26, 2022, from