Re: Emotions "vestigial"? was Re: On being Extropian

Ira Brodsky (
Sun, 20 Oct 1996 02:59:29 -0600

Steve Witham wrote:

>Emotion is the logic of values, your internal economics. It's how you
>decide what to do, both outside of yourself (physical action) and inside
>(directing attention, or as AI people say, "directing search"). With logic
>alone you can calculate outcomes from premises, but not prefer one outcome
>to another. Not even have a concept of "interesting" versus "boring"
>theorems. There would be no desire for "mere entertainment" without
>emotions. Once you have preferences and ways to apply them, you're
>starting to simulate the reptilian and mammalian brains all over again.
>Don't be too quick to dismiss their sophistication.
> Logic is, and by rights ought to be, slave to the emotions.
> --Bertrand Russell

You falsely divide the world into "logic" and "emotion." What about knowledge?
Yes, "with logic alone you can [only] calculate outcomes from premises."
Likewise, with emotion alone you can only react.

The real question is: where do we get our premises? You are clearly better
off if your premises come from understanding, not emotion. The same goes
for values.

Poor Bertrand Russell. It is too late for him to disown such a foolish
statement. <g>

Ira Brodsky
Datacomm Research Company
Wilmette, Illinois