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Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology: Expanded Second Edition

av Ayn Rand

MedlemmarRecensionerPopularitetGenomsnittligt betygOmnämnanden
6921033,611 (3.78)6
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.… (mer)
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12/9/21
  laplantelibrary | Dec 9, 2021 |
12/9/21
  laplantelibrary | Dec 9, 2021 |
12/9/21
  laplantelibrary | Dec 9, 2021 |
Despite the title, the book deals as much with metaphysics as epistemology. Its centre is Ayn Rand's attempt to provide a solution to the traditional Problem of Universals. However, the theory touted as startlingly original turns out to be just a version of traditional conceptualism. Rand tries to make out that her theory is original by mischaracterizing all other versions of conceptualism as more subjectivistic than most of them are.

Unlike Rand's ethics, her theoretical philosophy is not clearly absurd or abhorrent (though it shares all the well-known problems of conceptualism), but there is nothing original or very profound about it. It is presented vigorously but very dogmatically, not recognizing any chance of error. ( )
  Mika_Oksanen | Nov 16, 2020 |
I know many sneer at the idea of Ayn Rand as a philosopher. (Just look at reviews below.) I believe mainly because they're so radically opposed to her views and so consider her a threat to their values. And many find it easy to be derogatory because she won fame as a writer of fiction and didn't have the academic credentials of those who usually call themselves philosophers. And sorry to say, it probably didn't help back then--may even hurt her now--that she was a woman poaching on very male territory. All I can tell you is that the much-lauded Anarchy, State and Utopia by Robert Nozick, which won a National Book Award in philosophy and religion, basically takes Ayn Rand's political arguments and presents them in academic language and is by someone with those academic credentials--and it's awarded respect.

But if any aspect of her philosophy has some grudging acknowledgement from philosophers, and is truly original, it's probably her epistemology. Epistemology is that branch of philosophy that deals with knowledge--its nature, what can we know, how do we know it. Once, when Ayn Rand was asked to define her philosophy while standing on one foot, she replied: "Metaphysics: Objective Reality; Epistemology: Reason; Ethics: Self-Interest, Politics: Capitalism." Well, I might take issue with "capitalism" as the name of a political, rather than economic concept, but otherwise that's summarizes her beliefs well. But then a lot of philosophers might define themselves similarly. What makes a philosophical system are the details and the arguments. In the case of epistemology this book actually has a pretty narrow focus--though a crucial one. The original edition was not much longer than 100 pages--a very slim mass paperback. Peikoff has added to it material from taped lectures. Basically, this focuses on the nature of concepts and especially concept formation and how that feeds into consciousness and identity.

These are difficult concepts--within any philosophy. Just try reading Locke or Kant on the subject. In this Rand's lack of an academic background and her strengths as a popularizer of philosophy is a blessing: because the arguments she presents are lucid and clear. You can find the main criticisms of the arguments on the Wiki--that it doesn't take cognitive psychology into account and that "conflates the perceptual process by which judgments are formed with the way in which they are to be justified." I haven't read the counterarguments in their entirely in a way I can judge their validity. But personally, and I know this is not in itself an argument for her epistemology--but I know how relieved I felt to find a thinker defending the validity of the senses and reason after I had been filled with philosophers in school that would deny their reality. So yes, I find this book amazing, powerful and valuable. ( )
  LisaMaria_C | Sep 14, 2013 |
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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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