Do certain philosophies merely refelct the nueral development of the philosopher ?

Say, for example, Ayn Rand. I’ve watched her interview on Youtube, and she just looks like someone with a low degree of empathy who constructs a philosophy around herself.

Many psychologists now say they are discovering the parts of the brain that create empathy, and that not everybody is fully developed in this area, and that there are a broad range of empathic abilities just as there is with many other human traits.

Does a philosopher such as Ayn Rand only resonate with other people at the same level of development ?

This may be one of those things which is true in a very broad, general, and low-level way, but which shouldn’t be taken too far.

“Language governs cognition” is another. Yeah, our language channels our thinking – a little. But if there were no word for “war,” people would still fight.

So, yeah, some philosophies will appeal to simplistic thinkers, and some will appeal to sophisticated thinkers. There probably is a non-zero correlation. But it’s probably a weak correlation.

Some people believe that all mental phenomena are a product of the activity of neurons in the brain. If that’s correct, then it would seem to follow logically that all philosophies are a product of the philosopher’s neurons.

Interestingly, if it’s correct that all mental phenomena are a product of the activity of neurons, then anyone who believes the statement “all mental phenomena are merely a product of neurons” does so merely because of the arrangement of his or her neurons.

[rearranges ITR’s neurons with icepick-lobotomy]

I’m sorry, could you repeat that?

The question “do people whose beliefs radically differ from mine have an emotional or cognitive disorder” itself is not indicative of a great deal of empathy.

It is much more likely that Ayn Rands philosophy is based on the Bolsheviks confiscating all the wealth of her family when she was a child. Leading to the division of society into the makers (ie her family) and the takers (ie the communists). Her perceived lack of empathy comes from a complete rejection of the communal good that is the primary building block of communism.

If she had been raised by Bolsheviks I imagine that her philosophy would have been entirely different.

How would one determine which philosophies are “mere reflections of the neural development of the philosopher” and which are not? It seems to me that a philosophy should be accepted or rejected on its merits, not on some unverifiable dubious armchair neurological diagnosis.

But not for that reason irrelevant or meaningless.

Or almost exactly the same, but with the identities of the persons filling the “makers” and “takers” roles reversed.

In other words it was personal. And Lenin’s brother was killed by the Tsar’s authorities, and so it goes.

Still, being disenfranchised by the bolsheviks doesn’t explain her admiration for psychos.

I’ve been wondering about that bit for a while. Where does that leave us ?

You leave out the role of communication. You and I can talk, and thus some of the activities of my neurons are the result of activities of your neurons.

(“I’m in your head, dude.”)

Also, many of the activities of my neurons are the results of actions in the outside world. Such as when I stub my toe on the leg of a chair. So, many of my brain’s activities relate to reality itself. Again, we can communicate – “Watch out for that chair-leg! It’s a killer!” and reinforce our construct of a consensus reality.

No one here would be as solipsistic as to suggest that our minds can process only our own neuronal activity.

But surely it is an axiom that anyone who believes something that is not popular on the SDMB must be either mentally ill or deliberately evil?

We can also learn to change the way our neurons respond by changing the way we approach things or conciously changing the way we respond to things. The different results we get will trigger new paths that we will determine as more or less favorable.

Bolsheviks are Organization Men, and the resultant Organization sometimes acts like a psychotic or a psychopath. The other kind of psycho, who acts alone for his own reasons and obeys no laws or rules or norms or groupthink, must have seemed to Rand the most diametric opposite conceivable.

Or my neurons make it appear that there is a you with neurons affecting my neurons. Perhaps there is only one self which splits itself up into what appear to be separate selves in order to keep itself company… and the world is one great big masturbation fantasy.

Although if that’s the case then Ayn Rand must be the S&M part.

Which prompts the question, to me, what is the difference between the actions of a psychopath, and the similar actions of apparently normal people in certain circumstances ?

Because the normal and the psychopathic do seem to converge in their behaviour sometimes.

That is simply because psychopaths do the same things most people do most of the time. Except for one or two little anomalies in their neuroprogramming or whatever, they are made like other people.