Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology: Expanded Second Edition

Overview


Today man's mind is under attack by all the leading schools of philosophy. We are told that we cannot trust our senses, that logic is arbitrary, that concepts have no basis in reality. Ayn Rand opposes that torrent of nihilism, and she provides the alternative in this eloquent presentation of the essential nature--and power--of man's conceptual faculty. She offers a startlingly original solution to the problem that brought about the collapse of modern philosophy: the problem of universals. This brilliantly ...
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Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology: Expanded Second Edition

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Overview


Today man's mind is under attack by all the leading schools of philosophy. We are told that we cannot trust our senses, that logic is arbitrary, that concepts have no basis in reality. Ayn Rand opposes that torrent of nihilism, and she provides the alternative in this eloquent presentation of the essential nature--and power--of man's conceptual faculty. She offers a startlingly original solution to the problem that brought about the collapse of modern philosophy: the problem of universals. This brilliantly argued, superbly written work, together with an essay by philosophy professor Leonard Peikoff, is vital reading for all those who seek to discover that human beings can and should live by the guidance of reason.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780452010307
  • Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 4/28/1990
  • Edition description: Expanded 2nd Edition
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 320
  • Sales rank: 257,078
  • Product dimensions: 5.62 (w) x 8.19 (h) x 0.88 (d)

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Table of Contents


Edited by Harry Binswanger and Leonard Peikoff
Expanded Second Edition

Foreword to the First Edition by Ayn Rand
1. Cognition and Measurement
2. Concept-Formation
3. Abstraction from Abstractions
4. Concepts of Consciousness
5. Definitions
6. Axiomatic Concepts
7. The Cognitive Role of Concepts
8. Consciousness and Identity
Summary: The Analytic-Synthetic Dichotomy by Leonard Peikoff
Appendix - Excerpts from the Epistemology Workshops:
Foreword to the Second Edition by Leonard Peikoff
Preface by Harry Binswanger
Appendix Contents
Appendix
Index

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Sort by: Showing 1 – 19 of 16 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 27, 2004

    What exactly is thinking?

    Some people tell you to think. Many more will you what to think. In this book, Ayn Rand discusses how to think (epistemology is the study of knowledge/thinking). This is an absolutely imperative question, because unlike the lungs or the heart, the mind does not function automatically. Fortunately, this book does a great job of explaining every aspect of thought from concept formation to the role of language to the need for abstractions. The book also describes three basic axioms (existence, identity, and consciousness) and shows how any attempt to disprove an axiom must in fact rely on that axiom, and thus is self-defeating. <br><br> My biggest question after reading this, was how was this not included in my (and everyone's) schooling? It's one thing for schools not to present Ayn Rand's epistemology, but no school (before college) I am aware of presents ANY epistemology. That more than any other statement shows the poor state of modern academia.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 23, 1999

    Great Book

    This book is precisely what the title states. It is an 'introduction' and as such is the gateway to Rand's theory of knowledge by way of her theory of concepts. Human knowledge is conceptual knowledge and Rand validates the objectivity of concepts by explaining, from the ground up, the method by which they are formed in the mind. The points she makes which seem misguided and arbitrary are cleared up in subsequent re-readings as long as the reader keeps in mind that once she defines a term, she does not deviate from its meaning. For most of us who are generally unsure about specific definitions of terms and rely on our feelings to give meaning to the words we read, discipline is required. For those who start with an axe to grind based on their disagreements with Rand's political philosophy, deliberate mis-interpretations of terms generally abound (as can be seen in many on-line reviews.) One such example is the damning of Rand over her claim to have solved the problem of 'universals'. In this context, this problem refers to the issue of the relationship between concepts and their perceptual referents; the HISTORICAL problem of universals. It is unfortunately too common to find those who are willing to drop this necessary context and argue against the Objectivist claim based on various meanings of the term 'universal', few of which are relevant to the issue at hand. It is amusing to hear disagreements of the Objectivist theory of concepts which are addressed and cleared up in the appendix of this book. The appendix of the second edition of I to OE really is amazing. It is simply transcripts of round table discussions of professors who had read the original text presenting their questions and objections on finer points of epistemology. Rand was, apparently, at her intellectual pinnacle at this point, and any potentially hazy points are clarified beyond question. The criticism that this is not presented in as scholarly a way as an epistemological monograph should be has its merits. The preface clearly states that main work is a reprint of a series of articles in which Rand presented her theory of concept formation. I certainly would have preferred a more scholastic presentation and a deeper exploration of the background of certain ideas, but this was Rand's style. She did not 'write down' to her readers and her writing requires objective truth seekers to do their own research. I have, on multiple occasions, encountered the criticism that a reader was left wondering what Bertrand Russell was attempting to 'perpetrate' in his theory of numbers. After encountering this passage I went to a philosophy text and read a passage describing Russell's theory of numbers as an attempt to create a purely logical language which would allow one to understand numbers without relating them to their perceptual referents. Since Rand demonstrates that concepts are valid within the context of the totality of human consciousness, and that abstractions must be derived primarily from their perceptual referents (numbers, specifically, are covered) which form their fundamental context, the dismissal of Russell stands. For those who are familiar with Rand only from Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead, this is a fascinating opportunity to understand the underlying support of a novelist's reasoning process, rarely made this explicit.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 15, 2002

    Wake up from your somnambulistic stupor

    This book is a great introduction the inner workings of concepts. It teaches you how to understand concretes and abstractions. Ayn Rand breaks down the fundamentals of every type of concept in a way that makes it easy to learn and use her ideas. How can you go through life without an understanding of how concepts are made and used? If you want to become the 'John Galt' of epistemology, the most crucial branch of philosophy, this book is a must read. Otherwise, it is your loss. Keep looking at life the same way you do now, and see how far you go. Also, see if anyone really cares. $

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 28, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Essential Reading!

    Epistemology is the branch of philosophy which discovers how we know what we know...it is the battlefield in which the rational, war with the irrational, where faith verses reason. Ayn Rand created, with this book, the first rational treatise ever on epistemology. If you want to read a book that not only will change your life, but also sweep out the cobwebs of modern societal confusion....then READ THIS BOOK!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 25, 2004

    very objective!

    Ayn her zombie Leonard lay out how the world is objectivly perceived. They do this with little or no explaniation of how they're right and the philosophers of the last 2,000 years are not only wrong, but evil! This book (and the philosophy objectivism) is made to prey on weak minded people with no clue about philosophy or life. Good book for people with a resistance to being brainwashed though.

    0 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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