Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology

Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology

Infobox Book
name = Introduction to Objectivist Epistomology
title_orig =
translator =

image_caption = Cover of the 1990 second edition
author = Ayn Rand
illustrator =
cover_artist =
country =
language =
series =
subject = Philosophy
genre = Non-Fiction
publisher = Meridian
release_date = 1979 (1990 second edition)
media_type = Book
pages = 314 (second edition)
isbn = ISBN 0-452-01030-6 (second edition)
preceded_by =
followed_by =

"Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology", published in 1979, was Ayn Rand's attempt to summarize Objectivist epistemology and the Objectivist philosophy's theory of concepts, and to submit 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. In addition to the title essay, the work also includes an essay by Leonard Peikoff in which he argues against Immanuel Kant's theory of analytic propositions and synthetic propositions. These works were originally serialized in "The Objectivist" from 1966 to 1967, then published in a paperback by "The Objectivist" in 1967.

The second edition of "Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology" adds an appendix consisting of Ayn Rand's discussions with various professors in philosophy, mathematics, and physics about her epistemology that followed a lecture series she gave on epistemology between 1969 and 1971. It is in "Question-and-Answer" format."

"Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology" is the most technical of Ayn Rand's books, and for many is the most difficult.


"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 cannot claim to represent knowledge?" [cite book | last = Rand | first = Ayn | title = Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology, Expanded 2nd Edition | year = 1990 | isbn = 0-452-01030-6 ]

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:Summary:The Analytic-Synthetic Dichotomy by Leonard Peikoff


:Foreword 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::Definitions::Axiomatic Concepts::Entities and Their Makeup::Philosophy of Science::Concluding Historical Postscript:Index

Axiomatic concepts

Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology describes axiomatic concepts as, "...the identification of a primary fact of reality, which cannot be analyzed, i.e., reduced to other facts or broken into component parts."

The three axiomatic concepts identified in Introduction to Objectivist epistemology are "existence", "identity" and "consciousness".


External links

* [ ORC page on ITOE]

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