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Are human beings calculative and rational in their behaviour?

June 21, 2020

Blackwell’s defines a moral agent as:

“Any individual who is capable of formulating or following general moral principles and rules, and who has an autonomous will so that he can decide ultimately what acts he should perform and not perform…Accordingly they are responsible for their acts and are the subject of blame or praise”. [1]

[1] https://hackernoon.com/does-maths-make-you-moral-11f3e8584ed2, accessed on May,20,2019

If we further ponder on this; we would discover that human beings have innate ability to compute benefits and returns, thus mathematics guides us to draw abstractions from pretended concepts like hypothetical social agreements. It permits us to reflect on moral problems which are beyond immediate context. Moreover, quantitative skills helps us to understand how moral judgments interplay in reaping benefits in social and economic terms. Hence, I strongly support the proposition that consciously or unconsciously mathematics is incorporated in all human emotions. It can be further observed that an individual can very well gauge and calculate cost and benefit of being in socially accepted behavior, so that he/she can enjoy maximum self benefit. I argue that if, we suppose morality as nothing but a fancy story an individual would abide to this fancy story because he is gaining benefit in abiding this story. The moment his/her benefit in abiding this ‘fancy story’ gets squeezed he or she will probably not follow any morality that’s the fact, which I presuppose.

Coming back to the core discussion the major point of contention here is morality based on social agreement and relationship is mathematical? Well it is yes and no both, for yes I have already mentioned my earlier arguments. I believe that if we agree that, morality based social on contract/agreement is nothing but balanced mathematical equation than it is not very hard to guess that, on calculating better self benefits people ‘do’ adhere to established code of conduct.

But, for no we have to dig deeper into human emotions, which is sometimes beyond calculations. Moreover, calculations are principally fact based, while fancies are creation of heart which we can claim. (Facts and Fancies as concept which where coined by Charles Dickens) Human beings are neither completely rational nor totally irrational in their moralistic approach. Here, I second, Aristotle’s idea of golden mean for virtue, he states that “Virtue just means doing the right thing, at the right time, in the right way in the right amount, toward the right people.” Although, rational side of human beings are factual and calculative but at the same, non-rational side which is abstract and fictional is equally important because there are no concrete calculative elements into it, but it is still relevant. On contrary it is seen that most of us behave irrationally in the situations where rationality is needed the most. Thus, many human behavior experts predict that “Human decision making is, by and large an irrational and an influenced process”. To conclude we can say although human beings tries to calculate maximum benefits in their relations, at the end of the day irrationality of emotions take it over in their final decision making. This irrationality of emotions many times termed at “Humanity or Humane behavior”

Thus, humanity is expected highest level of human behavior, which is irrational, illogical with faulty calculations, however it is still relevant and cannot be discarded.

Author:
Dr. Malay R. Patel, Assistant Dean & Associate Professor of Management, Unitedworld School of Law (UWSL)

Disclaimer: The opinions / views expressed in this article are solely of the author in his / her individual capacity. They do not purport to reflect the opinions and/or views of the College and/or University or its members.

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