Critiques & Responses Part 2

Commentary on Frank S. Robinson’s
“How Old is the Self?”

Marcel Kuijsten
Julian Jaynes Society
September, 2013

Recently a coin collector named Frank S. Robinson wrote an article titled “Julian Jaynes: How Old Is The Self?,” published in the magazine Philosophy Now, that contains a large number of egregious misunderstandings and misconceptions about Julian Jaynes’s theory.

As I think I will show, Mr. Robinson clearly did not do his homework before writing this article. Because the article contains so many errors and misconceptions, tackling each one paragraph by paragraph will be easier than responding in essay form. Rather than fully expanding on each argument with all of the related evidence (which would quickly turn this into a book-length project), I will instead refer readers to the original research.

While some may question whether an article with this many errors is even worth responding to, I feel that it is important to address misconceptions whenever possible. If one person has these misunderstandings, chances are there are others who do as well. Furthermore, biased, one-sided articles may seem persuasive to readers unfamiliar with the subject matter unless a clarification is available. I’ve selected what I felt were the top 15 misconceptions from the article and addressed each one below.

I quote each critique above my response, but for those who want to read the original article in its entirety it is posted here:

You can also read (as well as comment on) Mr. Robinson’s related blog post here:

Critique 1 – Consciousness and The Self

Critique 2 –  The Iliad

Critique 3 – Schizophrenia/Hearing Voices Part 1

Critique 4 – Hypnosis

Critique 5 – Schizophrenia Part 2

Critique 6 – Hallucinations vs. Internal Dialogue Part 1

Critique 7 – Imaginary Companions

Critique 8 – Hallucinations vs. Internal Dialogue Part 2

Critique 9 – Non-Conscious Decision Making

Critique 10 – Pre-Bicameral Mentality and Art

Critique 11 – Bicameral Mentality in Other Cultures

Critique 12 – Transition from Bicameral Mentality to Consciousness

Critique 13 – Consciousness As Biological

Critique 14 – Morality

Critique 15 – Ancient Civilizations

Final Thoughts