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 ?
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.
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.
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.
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.