Concept-formation according to Rand. A personal adaptation (and two extra phases)
In her «Introduction to Objectivist epistemology» (1990) Ayn Rand shows us how concepts are formed. She identifies three stages: the sensorial, the perceptual and the conceptual stage. Sensations are stimuli impinging on the senses that cannot be retained by man’s memory, nor can be experienced in pure isolation. They are always experienced together with other sensations in the automatically integrated whole that she calls percepts. This automatic integration is performed by our subconsciousness. The last step is a conscious, volitional integration of these percepts by our focused conscious-ness, yielding concepts.
Her description of the process (p. 6) makes notice of the first stage as being aware of objects, to which she ascribes the concept «entity», followed by the «closely allied» stage in which a child detects «specific, particular things» to which she ascribes the con-cept «identity». She then goes on by ascribing the concept «unit» to the third stage, in which objects with similar traits are grouped, and abstracted by their essential, distinguishing characteristic.