Jump to content
Objectivism Online Forum

Unconsious Mind

Rate this topic


Mashimaro
 Share

Recommended Posts

How does Objectivism deal with the idea of the unconsious mind? If all of your thoughts are not cognitive how is it possible to be absolutely objective? Also, how does objectivism compensate for Rand's own biases? Or is Rand left unquestioned?

1. The idea of the unconcious found in Freud is completly rejected by Objectivism. The idea found in Cognitive Psychology is dealt with in they same manner they deal with it - ie. A man is capable of knowing the contents of his mind he just has to choose not to evade them.

2. Miss Rand had no essential biases. Find one, prove one and I might change my mind. Also, if you beleive Miss Rand was full of holes why are you here in the first place?

3. Objectivism = Ayn Rand. Period. If you are in disagreement with her then you are not an Objectivist. So again, what are you doing here?

Edited by StarBuck
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm here to learn.

That was an honest curiousity to me...the Ayn Rand bit.

I prefer the unconsious mind according to Jung, as Freud seems to think everything is about sex in some way.

To answer your question more fully, I'm here because I'd like to know the Objectivist response to many of those 'holes'. So I'll probably be posting in questions alot. I'm not out to attack Objectivism or Rand, I simply wish to understand how Objectivists think. Your answer is "objectively", I'm sure. However, my outlook is not objective, but independent (which is a contradiction to you, I'm aware).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

How does Objectivism deal with the idea of the unconsious mind? If all of your thoughts are not cognitive how is it possible to be absolutely objective? Also, how does objectivism compensate for Rand's own biases? Or is Rand left unquestioned?

The thing is, Objectivism is entirely rational. You don't have to take Ayn Rand's word for it at any point - you can understand and see that it is true. The philosophy stands on it's own, Ayn Rand's genius was in figuring it out the first time.

mrocktor

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The term 'unconscious mind' is very vague, since it has been used in many different ways by many different people. Perhaps you should start by explaining what you think an 'unconscious mind' is, and then others can tell you whether Ayn Rand said anything relevant about it.

On a sidenote, talk about 'uncognitive thoughts' seems strange, simply because I dont think most people would be prepared to call something a thought if it was non-cognitive. But anyway, theres no reason to postulate some queer inaccesible nether region of the mind in order to explain this sort of thing. What we call unconscious processes are almost certainly just events happening in the brain - we dont need to subdivide the mind in order to incorporate them into theory (although talking about an unconscious mind may be a useful metaphor in some situations)

Edited by Hal
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Mashimaro,

Welcome to the forum.

To understand your question about the "unconscious mind", one has to understand what you mean by that phrase. Presumably, we're aware of the unconscious in some way: either when it manifests itself in action or some other such way. Could you explain what you mean.

Mind you, I'm not asking for an interpretation, but for an observation. What real-world examples are you referring to?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

How does Objectivism deal with the idea of the unconsious mind? If all of your thoughts are not cognitive how is it possible to be absolutely objective?
Regarding the first question, the problem is that the expression isn't used to refer to what it literally says. A person can be unconscious (get a friend to whack you on the head with a two-by-four if you're skeptical), but a mind can't be. A person has a mind. So it doesn't mean anything to say that a mind is unconscious. We would then ask "what do you want to say?". I would guess you are asking about either lack of focus or fragmentary integration of knowledge. We deal with it by saying "Get focused, integrate your knowledge". I'd particularly suggest looking at Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology for discussion of introspection (see ch. 4, 8). As for the second question, there are no non-cognitive thoughts (I don't know what that would even mean).
Link to comment
Share on other sites

(@ Some of the earlier posts here)

I'm just curious, and uncertain. However I believe that Objectivism had been "thought up", or however you'd like to put it, by minds earlier than Ayn Rand (obviously im not trying to discredit her). I've heard that Objectivism dates back as early as Aristotle. I apologise for posting off topic, however it was just a curiousity of mine. (correct me if im wrong please)

Also as DavidOdden and SoftwareNerd pointed out, non-cognitive thoughts do not exist. To help you understand why. The base word of cognitive is cognition. The meaning of this word is : The psychological result of perception and learning and reasoning. At the same time the meaning of thought is (in one sense) :

The content of cognition.

Hence the prior replies. If a thought is non-cognitive, it would not even be a thought, but something (to me) undefined.

Edited by apalazov
Link to comment
Share on other sites

The integrated philosophy known as Objectivism is the creation of Ayn Rand. It is hers and hers alone. Of course, the philosophy itself is built upon and incorporates concepts (such as reason, logic, etc...) and fundamental principles that existed long before Ms. Rand began her work.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've heard that Objectivism dates back as early as Aristotle.
There are similarities, but similarities are not the same as identity. One difference is that, as I understand it, Aristotle held that abstract properties exist within concrete objects, as "metaphysical essences". There are other ethical differences, for example Aristotle held the odd anti-capitalist idea that charging money for people to use your money is evil. It would be fair to say that the philosopher whose ideas were most like Rand's would be Aristotle.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thank you both, Gags, and DavidOdden for clearing up my idea with Aristotle and Ayn Rand and their correlations. To be honest, my previous source was unreliable, and perhaps I should have discredited it earlier, but I just needed to double check about this.

Thanks all for your help, and I hope we all answered your question about "The unconsious mind", and also "Non-cognitive thoughts".

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If you don't know what the concept of the 'unconsious mind' is you should read up on some Freud or Jung.

I tried twice to write long detailed responses to this explaining the nature of dreams and involentary twitches, but both times my computer miraculously decided that it wasn't written to its satisfaction <_<

So I decided you should read about it yourself, as there is very valid research in the field of psychology that Objectivism seems to ignore.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If you don't know what the concept of the 'unconsious mind' is you should read up on some Freud or Jung.
It usually doesn't work that way, because people require motivation to read stuff. Usually, a stranger's promise that they will find knowledge is not good enough. Often, people come here and ask a question, and someone will point to a book by Ayn Rand, because she describes her philosophy better than others do. I doubt that works (though I've done it myself).

So, if this conversation is to go anywhere, I suggest you at least indicate the meaning of unconscious to some extent. Don't make it long and detailed. Not the detailed proof, just the meaning. If your connection is causing the posts to "disappear", create the post in a separate file first.

Meanwhile here is a link to the Wiki entry on unconscious.

Mashimaro, in your conception, is the unconscious synonymous with the sub-conscious?

Edited by softwareNerd
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 months later...
How does Objectivism deal with the idea of the unconsious mind? If all of your thoughts are not cognitive how is it possible to be absolutely objective? Also, how does objectivism compensate for Rand's own biases? Or is Rand left unquestioned?

What? The unconscious mind is what gives you feelings. I harly think rand is someone who says its bad to follow what you feel, or your gut instinct, as long as you mix it with thought to understand why it is you have that feeling.

Feelings are just precognitive thought patterns felt instead of understood.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...
1. The idea of the unconcious found in Freud is completly rejected by Objectivism. The idea found in Cognitive Psychology is dealt with in they same manner they deal with it - ie. A man is capable of knowing the contents of his mind he just has to choose not to evade them.

2. Miss Rand had no essential biases. Find one, prove one and I might change my mind. Also, if you beleive Miss Rand was full of holes why are you here in the first place?

3. Objectivism = Ayn Rand. Period. If you are in disagreement with her then you are not an Objectivist. So again, what are you doing here?

This board is becoming quite the dogmatic enclave...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

So I decided you should read about it yourself, as there is very valid research in the field of psychology that Objectivism seems to ignore.

Ayn Rand reffers quite frequently to subconscious processes. Also, Miss Rand did not reject all of Frued's findings on the nature of cognative processes as such-- mainly she rejected his attempts to explain these philosophically.

Here's an excerpt from an interesting passage on Frued that AR wrote to her friend John Hospers, a philosopher.

Freud did not discover any actual causes of human behavior (if by "causes" we mean basic motives, not psychological mechanics); the epistemological methods by which he allegedly "proved" his theory were so fantastic, so crudely irrational that they have been denounced in print repeatedly by philosophers and scientists.

That Freud observed and/or discovered many facts about the operation or the mechanics of a human consciousness, such as repression or conversion or other neurotic devices which a human consciousness has the capacity to employ, is a different issue; these are not causes, but functional potentialities. If I were the first scientist who discovered some of the things that man can do with his vocal chords, this would be valuable, but it would not entitle me to declare what songs all men would sing at a certain time nor why they would want to sing them. And if I made such a declaration, its validity would have to be judged by the proofs I offered, not by my achievements in the science of the physiology of vocal chords. If Freud discovered that men have the capacity to practice repression, this does not entitle him to declare that what they repress is the desire to sleep with their mothers or fathers.

When I put "subconscious" into the search engine on the Objectivism Research CD-ROM, I get hits from almost every published work of hers. So she certainly doesn't "ignore" the issue. Here's a line from a letter to Isabel Paterson, a political writer and friend of AR's. I think in addition the other excerpts I offer here, this will serve to show how she used the term slightly differently in various contexts.

Furthermore, I question the meaning of the term "subconscious ideas." No one has given a clear definition or explanation of just what is the mental process whereby one holds an idea subconsciously. As near as I can understand the term, I think it means a state of mental fudging.

If it is pretty much inexcusable for plain, everyday people to relegate their convictions to some sort of semiconscious haze, it is completely inexcusable for philosophers. If the Catholic political philosophy contains all the elements which add up to opposing Capitalism because it makes man happy, but they have not consciously admitted to themselves that that is what it adds up to

Edited by Bold Standard
Link to comment
Share on other sites

This board is becoming quite the dogmatic enclave...
You are confusing dogmatism with identification of fact. Nihilist dogma says that all claims to having knowledge are dogma (they aren't sure about that position, though); apart from them, nobody claims that "professing to have knowledge" is the same as "being dogmatic".
Link to comment
Share on other sites

You are confusing dogmatism with identification of fact. Nihilist dogma says that all claims to having knowledge are dogma (they aren't sure about that position, though); apart from them, nobody claims that "professing to have knowledge" is the same as "being dogmatic".
I believe it was clear he was referring to the assertion that Ayn Rand was infallible. This is obviously not possible. Also, if it is a prerequisite that everyone must be Objectivist before they may post on this board, I know of several users already who must be banned immediately. That is not the case, in fact. Just check the first few lines of the Forum Rules.

Just because Rand was especially good at "identifying fact" does not mean that she did not have bias. Check her positions on gender roles and sexuality. Or how about her taste in music? And how about her idea of good art? Maybe her admitted ignorance of the field of psychology?

[Edit:] Btw Bold Standard, I thought your post was very well written and informative. Thanks for the references and thoughts.

Edited by JASKN
Link to comment
Share on other sites

3. Objectivism = Ayn Rand. Period. If you are in disagreement with her then you are not an Objectivist. So again, what are you doing here?

I found this statement to be rather dogmatic(?) too. Objectivism stands on it's own, it does not need Rand to uphold it. You could show someone the philosophy and they would find agreement in it regardless of having heard of Rand or not. Simply because Rand states something, you should never take it for gospel. You must look into the reasoning she used to draw those conclussions. I have found several things she has said to be disagreeable, but it is mostly along the lines of why women wouldn't want to be president and such.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I believe it was clear he was referring to the assertion that Ayn Rand was infallible.
I believe, on the other hand, that it is clear that he was referring especially to the preceding statement "Objectivism = Ayn Rand. Period. If you are in disagreement with her then you are not an Objectivist.". This is a well-established point: it is a fact that Objectivism is the philosophy of Ayn Rand, and not that of, say David Kelley or Nathaniel Brandon, or Murray Rothbard of Bill Clinton. It is also clear that Rand had no essential biases (biases which shape her philosophy). If you would read what Star Buck did in fact write, you would see the further invitation to prove the existence of philosophically-relevant biases, and the indication that proving their existence could be sufficient to cause a change of heart -- such a willingness to base conclusion on fact is anathema to a dogmatist. And finally, the statement that Objectivism rejects the anti-concept of the unconscious is not only correct as a statement about Objectivist psychology (ergo undogmatic) but also correct as a statement about the mind. On all three grounds, the objection of dogmatism is clearly totally unfounded. Your addition of the canard that Objectivism requires a belief that Rand is infallible is a new contribution to the attack on Objectivism, one not actually made by Michelangelo, so I don't think it's necessary to delve into the fallibility issue right now.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

What is a better definition of Objectivism? A is A etc. (the actual ideas) or "Whatever Ayn Rands says." If Ayn Rand made a innocent mistake, could I not try to prove to her the truth (or recognize it was I that made the mistake)? What if we disagree on the interpretation of some poem? We hold the ideals to be Objectivism, we say that Ayn Rand had those ideals. If you say Ayn Rand=Objectivism, I can say Greg=Objectivism. You can't read my mind to tell whether I really am an Objectivist or if it's just a show.

-------------------------------------------------

(the topic just left the horizon) :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

What is a better definition of Objectivism? A is A etc. (the actual ideas) or "Whatever Ayn Rands says." If Ayn Rand made a innocent mistake, could I not try to prove to her the truth (or recognize it was I that made the mistake)? What if we disagree on the interpretation of some poem? We hold the ideals to be Objectivism, we say that Ayn Rand had those ideals. If you say Ayn Rand=Objectivism, I can say Greg=Objectivism. You can't read my mind to tell whether I really am an Objectivist or if it's just a show.

-------------------------------------------------

(the topic just left the horizon) :)

This one really got me thinking today, and now I'm back around to Objectivism(with a cap O )=Ayn Rand. If you came up with a philosophy that drew on Rand's work, you wouldn't call it Objectivism, that was Rand's. You'd call it Orangesiscoolish in the school of objectivism or some such, it'd be yours then. I still find the women president reply disturbing, but if taking in the light of a completely 100% rational society then it would probably be valid, still working on it. However, I think I'm pretty safe in saying that if a woman who held objectivist values and a man who was a bible thumper were running for president, we'd all vote for the woman.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

That reminds me of this joke: Whats 2+2? Whatever Ayn Rand says it is. :thumbsup: She would say four of course.

(of course if she said something other than four, she would be open to rational discourse to find the real answer)

And remember, Ayn Rand never wanted anyone to simply take all she said without thinking about it, and seeing the reasons for it. She wanted an active mind rather than simply an open mind. An elevator rather than a pit.

Edited by orangesiscool
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
 Share

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
×
×
  • Create New...