Education & Schooling
December Wed 12, 2012
One of the problems of education today lies in schools that believe they are educating, when actually most of them are merely instructing. The two things are in fact very different. Integral reason is what is lacking today in education, not a rational algorithm, or a flash of genius, but emotive reason. In fact, if emotions are not understood in their true nature and are not educated, they go crazy, and what remains is an impaired rationality. This is the issue addressed by Manuela Cervi in her book La ragione del cuore. Antropologia delle emozioni (The reasons of the heart. Anthropology of emotions). IlSussidiario.net spoke with the author.In your work, you study, and rehabilitate emotive reason. Could you explain how “emotion” and “reason” can go together? I do not rehabilitate emotive reason. I introduce it. Historically, outside of rationalistic areas that influence a certain path of science in the modern era and that inspire positivism and idealism, in the West there has always been an awareness of a large, strong, energetic, vital reason, a tool for man to enter into reality, to know it and love it. However, this awareness has been channeled into more or less underground paths that have often hidden it. Then, on the psychological side since the 60's, and the philosophical side since the 80's, a handful of scholars were able to demonstrate the intrinsic cognitive capacity of emotion, and in particular, its capacity to assess. I have shown how and why this assessment capacity is an essential part of our thinking. I do not think that, up until today the construct of emotive reason has ever been introduced. What is an emotion? Emotion, every mood, passion or consolidated attitude, is the way that all of us continually use to assess reality, evaluating how much it may grant us life. You wrote: “instincts already are a part of human emotional dynamics, and not even they are subject to the strict determinism (stimulus-response) of the organic level alone. (...) The error is to interpret the human instinct as biological when it is, instead, at the biological level of an anthropological structure, which goes far beyond biology”. Can you explain this? For example, the instinct of self-preservation pushes me to live, the same as animals, but if I cannot find an adequate reason to live, I can kill myself, whereas animals do not. Instinct pushes me to eat, as is the case for animals, but I can decide to fast if I have an adequate reason to do so, while animals cannot. In humans, the organic level is inserted into a complex structure, which requires an I, that is, a freedom, a reason, a conscience. That would be the anthropological level?
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