learning with professionals - Higgins Counterterrorism Research ...


learning with professionals - Higgins Counterterrorism Research ...

5. Review the documentation of assumptions and doubts expressed during the verification

and authentication processes for evidence of unconscious and emotional

bias patterns.

What is Objectivity?


Objectivity pertains to how our judgment correlates to the external world, as it actually

exists, regardless of our desires. Written in the context of intelligence doctrine, Objectivity

requires us to evaluate all judgments for the deliberate distortions and manipulations

due to self-interest.

To understand Objectivity, we must define “external world.” The external world is

existence apart from one’s self. Unfortunately, Existence, a metaphysical axiom, completely

resists objective definition. With the exception of concepts referring to sensations

and metaphysical axioms, every concept can be objectively defined and communicated in

terms of other concepts. 93 The exceptions, sensations and metaphysical axioms, require

ostensive definitions:

To define the meaning of the color “blue,” for instance, one must point to some blue

objects to signify, in effect: “I mean this.” . . . To define “existence,” one would have to

sweep one’s arms around and say: I mean this.” 94

The Principle of Objectivity requires us to be the honest broker and messenger of that

which exists and may occur.

Get your facts first, and then you can distort them as much as you please.

Pitfalls that Limit Objectivity


—Mark Twain

Both Accuracy and Objectivity are influenced and shaped by biases. Many people use

the term Objectivity to mean freedom from bias. 95 This is incorrect; no judgments can

ever be truly unbiased. Biases are inescapable, but their influence may be recognized and

managed. 96 I will establish a clear line between the two principles by declaring that biases

which limit accuracy are unconscious and the biases which limit objectivity are conscious

and deliberate. Unconscious biases lead to misperceived data — a limiting factor of

Accuracy, while conscious biases lead to the deliberate manipulation of data to support a

pre-determined outcome — the limiting factor of Objectivity.

93 Ayn Rand, Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology (New York: Mentor, 1979), 52-53.

94 Rand, 53.

95 Barzun and Graff, 174.

96 Jack Davis, “Combating Mindset,” Studies in Intelligence, 35, no. 4 (Winter 1991): 13-18.

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