Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology

From Objectivism Wiki
Revision as of 00:48, 4 September 2010 by Sir Andrew (Talk | contribs) (More Info)

(diff) ← Older revision | Latest revision (diff) | Newer revision → (diff)
Jump to: navigation, search

Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology (1990) is the expanded, 2nd edition edited by Harry Binswanger and Leonard Peikoff which was published after Ayn Rand's death.

The first edition (1979), edited by Ayn Rand, was a collection of her articles and one essay by Leonard Peikoff in which he argues against Immanuel Kant's theory of analytic propositions and synthetic propositions. The first edition was edited by Ayn Rand. Both editions contain Leonard Peikoff's essay.

Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology is the most technical of Ayn Rand's books.

The articles, published in 1967, were Ayn Rand's summary of the theory of concepts, and her solution to the problem of universals. The book deals with the mental processes of abstraction, the nature of valid definitions, distinguishing concepts from "anticoncepts," the hierarchical nature of knowledge, and what constitutes valid axiomatic knowledge.

This 2nd edition is expanded, and has in the appendix a transcription made from over 20 hours of Epistemology Workshops given by Ayn Rand from 1969 to 1971. About a dozen of the participants were professionals in the field of philosphy along with a few professionals from physics and mathematics. It is in the form of question-answer.


The issue of concepts (known as "the problem of universals") is philosophy's central issue. Since man's knowledge is gained and held in conceptual form, the validity of man's knowledge depends upon the validity of concepts. But concepts are abstractions or universals, and everything that man perceives is particular, concrete. What is the relationship between abstractions and concretes? To what precisely do concepts refer in reality? Do they refer to something real, something that exist - or are they merely inventions of man's mind, arbitrary constructs or loose approximations that cannoto claim to represent knowledge?

That quote is from Ayn Rand's introduction to the first edition, which is also contained in the second edition.

Table of Contents

Forward to the First Edition
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
The Analytic-Synthetic Dichotomy by Leonard Peikoff


Foreward to the Second Edition by Leonard Peikoff
Preface by Harry Binswanger
Appendix Table of Contents
Opening Remarks by Ayn Rand (opening remarks for the Epistemological Workshops)
Abstraction as Measurement-Omission
Concepts as Mental Existents
Implicit Concepts
The Role of Words
Measurement, Unit and Mathematics
Abstraction from Abstractions
Concepts of Consciousness
Axiomatic Concepts
Entities and Their Makeup
Philosophy of Science
Concluding Historical Postscript

314 page.

See also

External Links