I challenge Rand’s view that we are born blank. I have been told I “offer no studies.” Actually I have lots of studies, different perspective, and examples from everyday life refuting blank slate theory if you browse the site and read my book, Towards Liberalism: A Challenge to Objectivist Ethics. Start with Thoughts Superior to Objectivism at my Blog for other book recommendations. My own child development work refutes blank slate theory big time. I’ve been told my book Misbehavior is Growth: An Observant Parent’s Guide to Three Year Olds, on child development, gives one of the best arguments against blank slate theory out there. I focused on what Ayn Rand said in the refutation below, as I was always accused of “not understanding Objectivism.” And because I can’t put such an enormous scientific topic all in one place.
So, tell me, where are Ayn Rand’s or Objectivist studies proving blank slate theory? Where are the case studies proving Objectivist views on psychology–and it does act as a psychology. Rand was a fiction writer. Not a psychologist, though she tried to be with her incredibly failed Objectivist Psychotherapy. (Never heard of it? Exactly.) She has no studies and no psychotherapy success. Saying we can and must program our emotions through a proper “standard of value” is an enormous thing to say about how the mind and emotions work. But it’s taken as plain, simple fact by Objectivists–you have to disprove it to them.
And, no the “burden of proof” is not on me. Rand makes a huge claim about human nature itself: that emotions must be programmed to do what we want. That’s huge. YOU prove it. I was told that in the absence of hard evidence, it’s the default position due to “Occam’s Razor.” Oh. Ok. Just a bunch of “logical” arguments work now–for a topic as enormous as human nature itself? You know, the Greeks did that and it resulted in a view that the universe was made up of spheres and other thoughts on motion without actual evidence that people couldn’t shake for centuries because of “science.” You are giving an argument with all but a puff of air. And where is our reason-bound, reality-bound philosopher extraordinaire to give us the good advice to study human nature itself, intently, with objectivity?
No, the burden of proof is on YOU with YOUR own research for YOUR own thinking. I can point you in a few directions, but the topic of emotions, happiness, and the subconscious are huge. It could fill up volumes of books. Any serious thinker would give it due diligence. I expect YOU to do the research FOR YOUR OWN THINKING.
The answers to this issue have enormous implication. Rand takes this view of human nature and exports it to art, morality, politics, education, parenting, and more.
You know Objectivism collapses like a house of cards when tabula rasa is challenged, right?