The psychology of value, the transition of drive to desire and its distribution to worth, the relation of desire to conduct, and the conceptual derivation of feeling are the determinants, however complex and elusive, of whether the object one desires is good or bad or whether the conduct that stems from desire is right or wrong.
There are two ways to achieve adaptive success, one by organic sculpting, in which constraints specify acts out of concepts, the other by compulsion or coercion, which is a more emphatic instance of sculpting in which constraints on the specification are imposed. The distinction of inner and outer is fuzzy. Belief, law and custom infiltrate the mind as personal values, reason depends on presuppositions and shared beliefs, and coercion sharpens the focus of the self-preservation drives.
Unconscious conflicts that arise into consciousness may be acknowledged as competing impulses within the individual that tend to be apprehended as contradictory voices. The conflict is portrayed as between an individual and a parent, or between a person and society, a trend that objectifies values as arguments between individuals or with the community, when the conflict is primarily among competing tendencies that are fully intrapsychic. Indeed, an option that is conscious has already become a kind of fact; one could say it is post-cognitive, past the point where it is active in shaping a decision.
Whether or not reason provides an “emphasis upon novelty” or is a novel emphasis, or whether novelty depends on reason rather than its precursors, there is a progression from value to fact, which, like the transition from concept to object, points to the origin of facts in value. Specifically the conceptual antecedents of facts are evoked as values that actualise in choice.
Whether or not a history is ingredient in an action, it provides a ‘folk’ explanation of its causal ancestry. … A microgenetic analysis seeks an account of the action in terms of its immediate conceptual antecedents. In contrast, a moral theory that is a folk theory of everyday life tends to treat conduct and its causes as “face value,” judging them in relation to character on one side, obligation on the other and choice midway between.
… rational thought and propositions are a terminal derivation of lexical and syntactic objects that objectify unconscious presuppositions, conceptual feelings and personal valuations.
The ‘objective’ laws of interaction among objects are internalised by psychology as operations on mental content that are the antecedents of those objects (acts). These operations then become the psychic laws, or the rules that guide discourse, mitigating or competing with emotion to decide the best course of action. But the laws of rational thought applied to facts are not equivalent to the process through which the facts materialise. Rules, laws, customs, are not in-themselves determinants.
The transition from one phase (of language, perception etc.) to the next is a whole-part or context-item shift. This transition entails the individuation of figural elements within background formations. These elements then serve as a background for an ensuing transform.
The formal rule-based theory of syntax that has governed explanation in psychology is not relevant to the process involved in generating a statement, or any cognition.
Reason can justify a failure to act as well as an action, it can weaken the will, divert the passions, dissapate resolve, and often, sadly, turn the heart from its true course. At the least, the more rational a person is, the better his reasons for an action. … reason can justify almost any action.
Reason is a mark of the linguistic coherence of a fully realised concept. The more rational the realisation, the more is articulates the richness of the underlying concept, even if it does not fully satisfy what the concept is aiming at. … A rational statement, a logical argument, is like a perceptual object, in that its goal is its own actualisation.
The agent’s argument may provoke an action in the listener, but didi it cause the agent to act? It may provide a template over which the action unfolds, but there can be a considerable delay subsequent to the rationale before the action occurs. Indeed, though we assume a causal linkage of argument to action, the argument could as well follow that action as precede it.
Reason may delay an ill considered response and allow a more thoughtful one to arise, but it may also derail a course of action that is necessary and desirable, and it may do this not by persuasion, but by exhausting the potential that would lead the concept into action.
Unlike animism, in which subject and object inhabit a common space, rational thought divides the other from the self and, as reason develops and matures, depletes nature of psychic feeling. … A separation of mind and world is essential for intentional feeling. The aim of a statement or a desire must be distinct from the self to convey purpose and direction.
The subject does not require an agentive relation with the objects specified in the intentional state to be a vector of feeling. Even if it is hidden in the statement, the feeling gives intentionality a direction to the aboutness that is the signal property of intentionality.
A covert metamorphosis occurs in which positive and life-enhancing values are , ideally, reinforced at the expense of maladaptive ones.
The perceived strength of an argument merely points to the poverty or insufficiency of alternative concepts in the speaker or the listener or, alternatively, is mitigated by the affective strength of, or emotional commitment to, a contradictory point of view.
The promotion of unselfish attitudes occurs through a process of value-enhancement, the efficacy of which depends on the existing value distribution. On has to be reasonable for reason to work. Reason comes to fill the interval that hesitation provides [neoteny]. This is also the ground of choice. The absence of choice entails direct action, whether for good or bad.
The specification of unconscious values into conscious particulars, in which the particulars are then evaluated by certain of the values that were assumed to guide their specification, is a shift from the process through which the particulars are realised to their logical relations in the mind and the world. There is no reason why this shift, which ruptures the continuity of non-moral and moral acts, should occur.
The psyche is disposable if concepts are logical solids verifiable across subjects and decomposable to atomic elements.
The truth of art, or that of a subjective theory of moral conduct lies in its aesthetic value, its authenticity, not its proof or validity.
In microgenetic theory, the sculpting of endogenous forms occurs at all phases in the derivation of the mental state. In a sculpting model, an implicit choice at every phase cancels competing options. The final actuality, the act, the thought, the object, individuates through a veto-like process that inhibits alternative routes of development over its entire trajectory. We are just conscious of the final ones, and those final ones usually involve conscious, rational thought. In deliberation or introspection, implicit selection in the process of sculpting at an early segment of cognition becomes explicit as choice.
No matter how detached an impartial, a rational statement is derived from unconscious, symbolic and magical thinking. Reasons are linked to personal beliefs and valuations.
In microgenetic theory, the initial construct is a combined act-object. This construct diverges into the separate but conjoined paths of act- and object-development, with language an offshoot of both branches. The process from unconscious depth to conscious surface is a qualitative sequence that reiterates like a fountain.
As writing is a literary art, speech is a vocal one. Discourse or conversation can aim at beauty of expression in poetry, persuasion in rhetoric or clarity in logic. These are all manifestations of the language art. To say a statement id rational is comparable to saying an artwork is beautiful. The rational has features of art in harmony, balance and proportion. Reason formalises and refines language in the same way that an artwork may formalise a musical or spatial cognition. A rational argument, like a logical or mathematical proof, is a work of beauty that is to be admired, illustrative but not instigative.
A morality is rational when the reason for an action elicit a judgement of equity according to an external standard or ideal of fairness or law. The standard is a kind of social organism, external yet internalised, normatively, in the form of personal valuations, and enforced by their constraints on self-expression in addition to the strictures of law.
Philosophy reifies, even deifies reason, with emotion the beast within, while psychology and neuroscience reinforce this distinction, assigning reason to the neocortex and emotion to the older limbic system. The notion still persists that limbic emotion discharges upward to cortex for subjective feeling, and downward for emotional display.
In moral philosophy, the emotional grounds of a decision are usually conceived as secondary to its rational grounds. … Some form of reason and emotion inheres in all acts of cognition. Rational or irrational choices are made every moment without a bearing on ethics.
Reason does not tell us that one life is worth the same as another, nor that all people should have equal opportunity, nor that a human life is worth more than that of a sub-human primate or dolphin…
Doing ones best and hoping for the worst is subjectively immoral, hoping for the best and not doing what it takes is objectively immoral. One is hypocrisy, the other cowardice.
Every decision in life is a rationalisation of feeling.