The analysis of the reason-emotion dynamics intersects several disciplinary fields, such as psychology, medicine, informatics, linguistics, neuroscience, with a specific relevance for Education Sciences, as it offers interesting perspectives over its influence on the learning process.
Such issues are rooted in philosophical reflections by Plato, Aristotle and later by Descartes, Vico and Kant. These dualistic perspectives will be definitively abandoned in favour of a globalist vision of the mind-body relationship, during the first half of the XX century, particularly thanks to Dewey (1933) who, inspired by Darwin’s theories, was the first to support this unity by recognizing an intersection among physical, mental and environmental processes. Over the last decades, an imperatively anti-dualistic analysis has been developing in the field of neurosciences and cognitive linguistics: on the one hand, cognitivism, considering the mind in its function of symbolic manipulation; on the other hand, connectionism, studying neural networks. Furthermore, recent scientific research has allowed mapping in a detailed - albeit admittedly incomplete manner - the complex activity of the brain and highlighting analogies between elementary connections and complex interactions. The systemic perspective is hence considering “mind and body”, “reason and emotion” as two interconnected and essential aspects of human complexity.
In this regard, Damasio’s research shows how participation of the organism to conscious experience returns to the consciousness itself those biological requirements which are essential to legitimate it as an object of scientific study. Knowledge is generated by socio-experiential relationships that play a crucial role within knowledge representation. The mind takes therefore an active role in shaping the representation of the world: understanding does not just consist in a mere reproduction of the external world in our mind; instead, it is a continuous process of creative reconstruction of our perceptive dynamics. Emotion, creativity and rationality are essential elements of the human being, which activate and develop due to personal inclination as well as socio-cultural aspects. Both genetic and social components are decisive in cognitive dynamics, as they represent innate potentials that need to be recognized, understood and exploited.