The Relationship between Reason and PassionAristotle and Hume are two prominent philosophers who have given insight about reason and passion in relation to how the two affect practical reasoning. The two however have conflicting ideals about both reason and passion. This essay is going to look at their approaches – that is how each affects our understanding of passion and reason. In the end, this essay, will give a verdict about whom between Aristotle and Hume can be believed more in his approach to these two subjects. Hume (1739) suggests that reason by itself is not adequate to formulate ideas or knowledge.
Rather, knowledge is because of experience, whose source is the sensory perceptions. More so, he says that passion is original and contains a non-representative quality, which makes it a copy of an existing or modified identity. Hume (1739) further indicates that reason is the realization of truth or lies. To this effect, he claims that things that do not represent some truth or falsehood can never be the subjects of our reasoning. To this effect, it is clear that that Hume was totally convinced that reasoning is derived from custom only and not the result of the cognitive nature (Rasmussen, 2005).
Aristotle on the other hand believed that critical thinking, which falls under reason, is critical to the development of a person and the society at large (Brand, 2009). To this effect, Aristotle reckoned that human beings use logic, interpretation, analysis, criticism and evaluation in their every day life. Aristotle however agrees that curiosity, which he defines as an innate condition necessary for learning is something that comes naturally.
This is unlike reason, which Aristotle notes that is acquired last, but usually practised first (Brand, 2009). Hume (1759) notes that curiosity is the same thing as passion. To him, curiosity is such a unique feeling that cannot be classified. He connotes that in the absence of curiosity, human beings would be unable to pass and share information. Hume discusses curiosity in the context of passion, which has intimate connections with desire, volition and aversion. These three feelings motivate people to act and think. Hume’s analysis of curiosity and passion provides us with a glimpse of the basic human drive, which prompts people to think and open up in readiness to receive knowledge.
According to Tiles (1990), Hume sees reason and passion as two very distinct and diverse subjects. Accordingly, he argues that the human mind identifies passion or finds a passion. As such, Hume was of the opinion that the human mind can have multiple passions, which then pulls the person to act in different directions. Reason on the other hand alerts mixed feelings about actions.
For example, one may be passionate about ice-cream and chocolate eating. Reason on the other hand is accountable for the person thinking about the taste, the satisfaction and the consequence of eating ice-cream and chocolate. Based on one’s reason, he or she then reaches out to take a bite, or holds back in restraint. From this illustration, Hume’s (1759) argument that passion and reason do not conflict seem right. He states that only passions conflict, but rarely do reason and passion conflict. This means that the passion to remain healthy could conflict with the person’s passion of eating the chocolate or ice cream hence resulting in him refraining from eating the two items.