Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Educating Our Emotions

Rosemary Flanigan
June 10, 2009

A recent column by David Brooks caught our attention. It’s entitled “The Empathy Issue” and discusses the role of emotion in judicial decisions. A friend suggested we substitute “judge” with “ethics committee person” and see how it reads.

The role of emotion’s interplay with reason has long fascinated philosophers and others. Even the substance or matter of ethics—our moral judgments—are strongly influenced by emotion. And the advice at the end is of paramount importance: it is not that we rely on emotion but how we educate our sentiments/emotions” within the bounds of manners and morals, tradition and practice.”

Right now I am having a hard time corralling my own emotions over the issue raised in the new Cambridge Quarterly, viz., adolescent decision-making. (I thought back in 1995 when Bill Bartholome shepherded the issue through Pediatrics that we sought adolescents’ assent along with their parents’ consent—a practice re-affirmed in 2006, that we had reached closure.)

Meanwhile, let’s think of educating our sentiments/emotions.

Link: The Empathy Issue, New York Times, May 29, 2009

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