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The publisher of The Vision of Ayn Rand: The Basic Principles of Objectivism, Cobden Press (a division of the Moorfield Storey Institute), published in 2009 ; has just announced that a "Study Guide for the book, including a corrected Index will be available by the end of January, 2014. See their announcement at www.fr33minds.com.

Due to a pagination error during the original printing, the page numbers in that Index were mismatched. The corrected Index included in the Study Guide.

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I applaud this new publication by Jim Peron and Cobden Press. (And I continue to ruefully acknowledge the hideous job I did in the first version of the index--and to hope that the revised version I made, and which is included in the Study Guide, will help readers to get even more value from these wonderful lectures by Nathaniel.

BTW, Jerry and I have been trying to persuade Jim to have Vision formatted for Kindle and marketed through Amazon, but so far to no avail. If more people were to request this from Jim, perhaps he would relent. It's worth a try...

REB

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I'm guess-timating that the 86-page Study Guide to Nathaniel's book contains about 26-32 pages of index (depending on Jim's formatting of my corrected version) plus about 55-60 pages of study guide and front material plus introduction. For $9.95 + S&H, it sounds like a pretty good deal.

REB

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I'm glad that the lectures are now, finally in print.

I attended one session of the taped Nathaniel Branden Basic Principles of Objectivism around 1967-68. Branden's voice was resonant, dramatic, easy to listen to. Still, I wondered at the time and wonder today, why didn't Branden publish the lectures in book form as soon as he had written them in the late 1950's? Taped lectures could never reach more than a small part of the population, whereas a book could potentially reach anyone who could read.

Furthermore, philosophy is a subject that especially requires contemplation and review. Seeing the chain of an argument in print allows one not only to learn it better but to evaluate it more thoroughly.

Perhaps distributing the message through approved representatives who were in a position to regulate whatever discussion followed, gave Rand and Branden a tighter grip on their growing movement. It also, unfortunately, may have contributed to the perception of the movement as a cult.

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Francisco, I agree with all of your comments, and I like many people entertained the same questions you have posed--not only for Nathaniel's lectures, but also (over a period of 40 years or so) the lectures of Leonard Peikoff and others. I am greatly cheered that four of Leonard's lecture courses have been released in book form, along with Nathaniel's Basic Principles lectures. The longstanding oral/aural tradition of Objectivist lecture courses is finally unraveling.

I think I recall seeing a notice in The Objectivist, just before the Split in 1968, that Nathaniel's book The Psychology of Self-Esteem was near publication. The Split and the following mutterings about lawsuits nearly derailed it, but it did come out in spite of the unpleasantness and turmoil. I wonder if a book on Basic Principles was being considered for publication *soon after* release of the self-esteem book...so as to establish Nathaniel's primary credibility as a psychology theorist/therapist.

I think another reason the Basic Principles was *so long* delayed was that, for many years, Nathaniel was having second thoughts about certain aspects of Objectivism, at least as interpreted and applied by the other principals in the Movement, and he wanted to dissociate himself with what he considered the irrational and unhealthy aspects of what the Rand Loyalists were doing. He says as much in the Epilog of his 2009 book.

The real impetus to putting out the Basic Principles book was a threefold correcting/preserving of the historical record, which (like so many facts) the ARI partisans had tried to flush down the memory hole. (1) The lectures themselves were approved by Rand, (2) The Objectivist Movement was begun by the Brandens, in their kitchen, as Barbara related in her Foreword, (3) Nathaniel was a major developer of theory about self-esteem.

ARI writers have studiously ignored all three of these facts in their lectures and books. (Tara Smith is an, though not the only, egregious example of this kind of rewriting of history, attributing authority on Objectivist self-esteem theory to Leonard Peikoff, of all people.) For all the good ARI has done, and continues to do, this is a serious blot on their reputation and image and shows a serious lack of integrity and objectivity on their parts.

REB

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William Bradford made the same point in his Liberty review of Judgment Day almost twenty-five years ago. Reading lets us, for example, stop and think, go back and reread, or spell an argument out in writing to expose its strengths and weaknesses - none of which can we do when listening to a lecture. Such activities are just what you want to avoid if your primary interest is building a following.

If Rand and Branden hadn't split in 1968, NBI would have gone on doing what it was doing. Thus I doubt that a book version was in the works.

ARI has somewhat taken back what Tara Smith said. She credited Peikoff with the observation that self-esteem is the reputation you acquire with yourself. Onkar Ghate, in an ARS / APA paper, attributed it correctly, identifying Branden as a "junior associate" of Rand's.

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NBI going on doing what it was doing, if no Split...

Except...it *was* the policy of NBI to aim at book publication. Not only Rand's essays and speeches, in books like The Virtue of Selfishness and Capitalism the Unknown Ideal, but also Nathaniel's lectures and essays on self-esteem. (And thus, presumably, his lectures on Basic Principles and Barbara's lectures on Efficient Thinking...just later on, perhaps at some point in the 1970s.)

In the very last issue of The Objectivist prior to the Split -- the March 1968 issue -- "Objectivist Calendar" stated:

"Self-Esteem and Romantic Love" by Nathaniel Branden (originally published in three parts in the December 1967-February 1968 issues of The Objectivist), has been reprinted in pamphlet form. Price: 75 cents. (N.Y. State residents add sales tax.) This essay is a chapter from a forthcoming book by Mr. Branden, The Psychology of Self-Esteem, to be published by New American Library in 1969.

"The Psychology of Emotions" by Nathaniel Branden (originally published as three separate essays in the May, June and August/September 1966 issues of The Objectivist) has been reprinted in pamphlet form. Price: 75 cents. (N.Y. State residents add sales tax.) This essay is a chapter from Mr. Branden's forthcoming book, as above.

This material was all "road-tested" in NBI lectures that Nathaniel gave prior to writing the essays, so it is definitely a case of NBI products moving to publication.

After the Split and the dissolution of NBI, the velocity of the process from journal/speech appearance to book publication *greatly* slowed down, at least for anything not written by Rand herself. (Her The Romantic Manifesto and The Anti-Industrial Revolution came out pretty promptly.)

Case in point: Leonard Peikoff's book comparing Nazi Germany and contemporary America...I believe Leonard started airing this material as lectures around 1967 or 1968, hoping to publish it as a book prior to the 1968 election. (The student/"radical" unrest was particularly troubling and threatening at that point.) However, as we know, The Ominous Parallels did not see the light of day until 1981, largely due to Rand's editorial intervention into Peikoff's writing process. By then, Ronald Reagan was President, and we were about as far from a Nazi/fascist takeover as we were going to be at any time from 1967 to the present. Bad timing. (An updated 2nd edition, with an essay or two about "flash mobs" and Occupy Wall Street might still be timely.)

Converting those lectures to a book took about 14 years. Converting Leonard's 1976 lectures on The Philosophy of Objectivism to OPAR took 15 years. See the trend?

Many of his lecture series are still available only in audio format, but...in the past 4 years or so, *four* of his lecture series have seen print. His 1980 Objective Communication and his 1983 Understanding Objectivism were published in 2013 and 2012, respectively, his 2002 Induction in Physics and Philosophy was published (as rewritten by David Harriman) as The Logical Leap in 2010, and his 2004 The DIM Hypothesis in 2012.

The lecture-->book intervals were 33, 29, 8, and 8 years, respectively. (It must be remembered that all but the DIM book were brought to publication by Peikoff's surrogates and for the most part, he detached himself from whatever errors there might be in the books.)

There are a lot of shoulda/woulda/coulda's in there, but the common denominator seems to be that the Split torpedoed a lot of early publication that might have happened (such as Barbara's lectures on Efficient Thinking) and almost torpedoed Nathaniel's book on self-esteem. In addition, Rand's heavy editorial hand, even from beyond the grave, severely slowed Leonard's publication process, until he started doing his own, post-Randian (i.e., post-1981) work.

(Even then, publication of Peikoff's path-breaking work toward a kinder-gentler, more discerning judgment/less judgmentalness in Understanding Objectivism was derailed for about 30 years by the hornets' nest stirred up by Barbara's and Nathaniel's memoirs in the mid-to-late-1980s. IMO, assuming that Leonard could have carried out an 8-10 year lecture-->book process, the unfortunate timing of all this hoo-hah set back hopes for a reconciliation within and reunification of the Objectivist Movement by at least 20 years.)

If Bradford is right, it would seem that the goal or aim of ARI is no longer (if it ever was) to build a following (aka "cult"), since they have been actively pushing for publication of Leonard's lectures and even excommunicated a Board member who dared to criticize Dave Harriman's book collaboration on Leonard's induction lectures. Why undermine the following/cult by moving the material from (relatively) uncriticizable aural material to easily critiqued print material? Indeed, why did Rand allow publication of her seminal essays on ethics, politics, and epistemology, if keeping a tight-knit in-group of the "faithful" were her and NBI's purpose? Or promoting Nathaniel's book on self-esteem?

Whatever Onkar Ghate said in an Ayn Rand Society lecture does *next to nothing* to undo the harm done by Tara Smith's tacit consignment (in her 2007 Cambridge University Press book Ayn Rand's Normative Ethics) of Nathaniel's pioneering self-esteem work to the historical dustbin. Whoever outside of the Objectivist Movement reads Smith's book and absorbs the notion that Leonard is the fountainhead of self-esteem theory is not likely to run across Ghate's correction of the historical record. In any case, it is not ARI "taking back" what Smith said, since ARI does not control what the Ayn Rand Society does. I am taken aback that we should consider that any significant taking back.

REB

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Peter and Roger,

It always seemed to me that one reason for staying with taped lectures for so long and keeping them out of transcription and publication for so long was because Rand and her circle were not confident that all of what they were presenting in the lectures was securely correct. They knew, what David Kelley has also observed about putting your thoughts to press, that, as Bill Bradford noted, the ideas and arguments can then be much more meticulously examined.

I doubt there was any substantial philosophizing in human thought until the advent of writing. I have to write things up to see all my contradictions and absences of argument.

By the late ’60’s more and more of Branden’s lectures had found their way to press in the The Objectivist and its predecessor. Parts of the philosophy were continuing to be developed and settled by Rand and her circle through that decade and the next, not yet ready for publication, notwithstanding any piping to the effect that the lectures were definitive statements. Although Rand endorsed Peikoff’s lecture series The Philosophy of Objectivism in 1976 (even as both she and he made some corrections to it along the way), she recognized by her statements about the course that it was yet to be made into a book, that that is different and of great importance, and that this would have to be done by Dr. Peikoff in the future if it were to be ever done at all in a way she might have any way of estimating was likely correct.

I have found the Branden lectures transcribed in Vision, aided by the corrected Index, to be valuable for part of the historical development of various ideas of Objectivism over its first generation and for citation justice to this individual then captain on Rand’s team for perfection and dissemination of her philosophy. This like of justice is not about some personal feeling I have for N. Branden. I never knew him personally. I never had any serious animosity toward him or toward Rand’s later captain L. Peikoff, and I have always hoped for them success in happiness and in creation.

I was pleased when Branden’s Psychology of Self-Esteem appeared, for then I saw he had not been destroyed, which personal demise had plainly been publicly aimed for by Rand at the split. A few years after Rand’s death, I wrote Peikoff a letter encouraging him in the making of his book that would become Objectivism: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand. (He sent back a thank you note, I have both somewhere, but just now, I cannot locate them. —Found them. 1987. Whoa! My letter is so personal and candid!)

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Case in point: Leonard Peikoff's book comparing Nazi Germany and contemporary America...I believe Leonard started airing this material as lectures around 1967 or 1968, hoping to publish it as a book prior to the 1968 election. (The student/"radical" unrest was particularly troubling and threatening at that point.) However, as we know, The Ominous Parallels did not see the light of day until 1981, largely due to Rand's editorial intervention into Peikoff's writing process.

In fact, large excerpts of the book appeared in the February-May 1969, October-November 1969 and April-May 1970 issues of The Objectivist. I have the fading copies in the back of a file drawer.

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Peter and Roger,

It always seemed to me that one reason for staying with taped lectures for so long and keeping them out of transcription and publication for so long was because Rand and her circle were not confident that all of what they were presenting in the lectures was securely correct. They knew, what David Kelley has also observed about putting your thoughts to press, that, as Bill Bradford noted, the ideas and arguments can then be much more meticulously examined.

[....]

By the late 60s more and more of Brandens lectures had found their way to press in the The Objectivist and its predecessor. Parts of the philosophy were continuing to be developed and settled by Rand and her circle through that decade and the next, not yet ready for publication, notwithstanding any piping to the effect that the lectures were definitive statements. [....]

According to "To Whom It May Concern," at the time of the split between Rand and the Brandens, one of Nathaniel Branden's projects-in-the-works was revising the "Basic Principles of Objectivism" course. As an example of "defaults on his responsibilities," Rand cites:

TWIMC, pp. 1-2

Mr Branden's [...] failure to rewrite the "Basic Principles of Objectivism" course for his own organization, Nathaniel Branden Institute. In regard to this last: he had discussed with me, well over a year ago, the fact that his "Basic" course needed reorganizing, rewriting and updating, inasmuch as a major part of its material had been published in this magazine, a view with which I strongly agreed [...].

At least one lecture, Number 2, titled "What Is Reason?," was somewhat updated, since in that lecture Branden references Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology:

The Vision of Ayn Rand, pg. 40

The full Objectivist statement of the nature of concept-formation is to be found in Miss Rand's monograph entitled Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology, which originally appeared, in a number of installments, in The Objectivist, and which was subsequently published by The Objectivist in booklet form. In my very brief discussion of the subject which is to follow, I will borrow very heavily from Miss R and's formulations in this monograph.

The ITOE series of articles concluded, with the eighth installment, in the February 1967 The Objectivist. The monograph was first announced for sale in the May 1967 issue of the magazine.

I don't know what other obvious updates there might be in the Vision book. I've only cursorily looked through most of it.

However, one NON-update which I noticed puzzles me. That's the use of the original definition of "reason" ("the faculty that perceives, identifies, and integrates the material provided by man's senses") on pg. 1.

Roger, was there any discussion of adding a footnote or a prefatory note mentioning that the early definition (used in Galt's Speech and in "Faith and Force [...]") was changed by dropping "perceives" by the time of Rand's talk "The Objectivist Ethics" (February 9, 1961)?

Ellen

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Ellen, we discussed the possibility of adding footnotes or annotations to the text, and this was firmly declined. It was decided that the text of the lectures, as a historical document, needed to be published as is--i.e., as it was at the time of the marketing of the audio lp's by Academic Associates in 1969. Some of the suggested notes were more substantive (like the definition of terms like "reason"), while others were more in the nature of disclaimers (such as, we know it's not appropriate to speak of adult males as "men" and adult females as "girls", and other anachronisms, such as comparing the brain to a Univac).

Nathaniel has discussed the altered "reason" definition on numerous occasions, including in print, and the story of its surreptitious change following overblown turmoil from Rand could have been included in his Epilogue, but it did not occur to any of us to press for this. An oversight on our parts...

I think that the inclusion of material from and citation of ITOE was probably the most important "update," although Rand had some intriguing ideas about "social" and "philosophical" objectivity, which would have fit in the chapter on economics. (Just to name one other possible "update.")

REB

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Roger,

Thanks for your reply.

I'm glad to know that the use of the earlier definition of "reason" in the first chapter didn't escape notice. :smile:

I understand the decision to publish the lectures, "as a historical document," as they were "at the time of the marketing of the audio lp's by Academic Associates in 1969." But I wish a brief prefatory note to the effect that this policy was deliberately decided upon had been included.

That reservation aside, I'm glad the lectures were published in book form, and I'm grateful for your work especially and that of the others involved in convincing Nathaniel to publish and in performing the work-intensive task of transcribing.

Best regards,

Ellen

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Greetings,

In discussion comments on Amazon's web pages about a review by Theodore Keer of The Vision of Ayn Rand, Laissez Faire Books wrote, "A corrected index will be printed in booklet format as well as in pdf format for users."

I wrote: "I have The Vision of Ayn Rand book. Where might I locate the corrected index PDF?"

Someone else wrote: "I suggest you post this question at objectivistliving.com, various associates or acquaintances of the publisher might be reachable there."

I'd rather get a free PDF to correct the errors in the book for which I've already paid, rather than buy the Study Guide. An chance of that? I will welcome any help, with this.

Thank you.

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Ellen's quote from Rand in #10 seems to say that the plan ca. 1968 was to rewrite the Basic Principles course, not to put it into print.

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Hi David,

If you send me your email address over the personal message system at this site, I can send you a copy of the corrected Index. I obtained it from Roger Bissell a couple of years ago, and I have found it very useful.

Stephen

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This is sort of an update or continuation of the discussion about Rand's definition(s) of "reason." Perhaps I should have made it a fresh post somewhere else, since it's not about Nathaniel per se, but here goes anyway...

I've been re-reading Scott Ryan's 2003 self-published book Objectivism and The Corruption of Rationality: A Critique of the Objectivist Epistemology, and I found some rather perplexing sloppiness, in someone who most of the time comes across as having a mind like a steel trap.

He spent a total of three pages, in two different places in the book, trying to portray Rand as flip-flopping about her definition of "reason," and he gets badly out of whack the time sequence of the items presented.

First, of course, there is Rand's original 1957 definition, out of the mouth of John Galt: "Reason is the faculty that perceives, identifies, and integrates the material provided by his [man's] senses."

Then Ryan points out that "as of sometime in the 1960s she drops 'perceives' from her definition," shortening it to "Reason is the faculty that identifies and integrates the material provided by man's senses." That precise date, as Ellen notes, was February 9, 1961, when Rand spoke at a symposium on ethics at the University of Wisconsin, delivering "The Objectivist Ethics," which became chapter 1 of The Virtue of Selfishness several years later.

But then, in a grotesque NON-gotcha moment, Ryan claims that Rand "slips" the word "perceives" back into the definition in a (supposedly) later essay, "Faith and Force: The Destroyers of the Modern World," which was reprinted in Rand's posthumous (1982) book Philosophy: Who Needs It?

The only trouble is, "Faith and Force..." was originally delivered in university talks in February, April, and May of 1960, about a year before the unacknowledged alteration was made in 1961. So...close, but no cigar on that one...

As an "intellectual archaeology" aside: this gives us a way to precisely date when it was that the NBI lecture or Rand lecture attendee posed the challenge to Rand's definition of "reason" during a question period following the lecture. It has to have been sometime earlier than February 9, 1961 - and probably not earlier than February 17, 1960. As Branden related the situation, he had to work on Rand a bit to get her to see the questioner's point (how can you perceive sense data?), but eventually she came around and incorporated the change, without official acknowledgement, into her lecture of 2/9/61.

It's also interesting to see that Ryan accuses Branden, too, of slipping back (though much later) into the original, longer definition. He cites Branden's 1983 book Honoring the Self: Personal Integrity and the Heroic Potentials of Human Nature, quoting him as saying: "Rationality is our unreserved commitment to perceive reality to the best of our ability..." (cited by Ryan as being on p. 212, but actually p. 215), and he characterizes this as: "For Branden, too, reason is again the 'faculty which perceives'" (77).

Except...Branden clearly means "perceive" in the broader sense of "be aware of," "consciously grasp," etc. Ryan had to strain himself to find a comment to distort, when nearly 200 pages earlier, Branden gives his definition: "Reason is the faculty and process by which human beings integrate data given or present in consciousness" (25).

(My two-cents'-worth: I think this definition is superior to even the 1961 revision. Reason involves three processes: perceiving the external world, conceptualizing the data provided by the senses, and using logic to make a non-contradictory identification of it. Logic is the tool or method of reason, and it is helpful and clarifying to not have it be part of the definition of "reason.")

This has all been quite interesting - but my main take-away from this little bit of investigation is that Mr. Ryan would not be among in my top 1,000 choices for an attorney to represent me in a court case. (He was working toward a professional law degree at the time of his book's publication in 2003.)

REB

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This has all been quite interesting - but my main take-away from this little bit of investigation is that Mr. Ryan would not be among in my top 1,000 choices for an attorney to represent me in a court case. (He was working toward a professional law degree at the time of his book's publication in 2003.)

REB

Unless you were guilty.

--Brant

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Thanks, Roger, for the remarks on Mr. Scott's book. I have recently obtained this book myself, as I have the impression that it is one of the two most significant book-length critiques so far of the Objectivist philosophy itself (the other being Dr. Touchstone's Then Athena Said). I have long taken Rand's shift in definition of reason---dropping perceives from "the faculty that perceives, identifies and integrates the material provided by his senses"---to have been in order to forestall a possible confusion between her use of the general concept perceives and its more restrictive and primary use meaning sensory perception. Is that the right gloss on the history you line up? The general sense is spoken of by Aristotle when he says: "Thinking and understanding are regarded as akin to a form of perceiving; for in the one as in the other the soul discriminates and is cognizant of something which is" (De An. 427a20-22). In Atlas Rand writes with that sense in not only her definition of reason, but in her "something exists which one perceives" and in her "'things as they are' are things as perceived by your mind."

Do you agree with the broadening in Branden's '80's definition of reason that does not restrict data to sensory evidence, rather, allows also extrasensory external data? (Be that as it may, his definition by then seems so broad to me that it has lost all the Randian slant towards and primacy of the external, at least on the face of it.) He was asked about the inclusion of extrasensory external data within what he takes for data of reason, if I recall the question correctly, at the 2005 Summer Seminar of David Kelley, and he reported Yes, by his own experience he had come to think there were such data.

“Reason is the faculty and process by which human beings integrate data given or present in consciousness, in accordance with the law of noncontradiction” (HS 18).

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I have long taken Rand's shift in definition of reason---dropping perceives from "the faculty that perceives, identifies and integrates the material provided by his senses"---to have been in order to forestall a possible confusion between her use of the general concept perceives and its more restrictive and primary use meaning sensory perception. Is that the right gloss on the history you line up?

My one and only (to date) question to the Peikoff podcast was on this topic. I specifically asked "what prompted the change". This was in 2011. I got the following written reply:

Leonard Peikoff writes:

Thank you for sending a question, and an appropriate one, to my podcast.

Unfortunately, I am being inundated by questions at present, and on the show can deal only with a fraction of them. I do not, however, want to leave questioners such as yourself without any guidance. So Tore Boeckmann, a longtime student and teacher of Objectivism, has kindly agreed to help out. Because of the abundance of questions, Mr. Boeckmann can of course give only a brief indication of the Objectivist answer. But he and I hope that this will be of value to you in your future thinking.

Let me say that I do not myself see any of Mr. Boeckmann’s answers, which are entirely his own, but that I have great confidence in his knowledge and intellectual ability.

Leonard Peikoff

Re your question below:

The first formulation could be taken to imply representationalism, since it suggests that what man *perceives* is not directly the world itself but "the material provided by man's senses." The second formulation is more accurate.

Tore Boeckmann

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[Apologies for the non-standard format below. My reply-quote function has not been working for years, and I finally figured out just now, as a work-around, that I could highlight and drag the text from the post window to the reply window.]

In post 19 of this threat, Ninth Doctor quoted Stephen Boydstun who, on 25 Jan 2015 - 09:13 AM, said:snapback.png

I have long taken Rand's shift in definition of reason---dropping perceives from "the faculty that perceives, identifies and integrates the material provided by his senses"---to have been in order to forestall a possible confusion between her use of the general concept perceives and its more restrictive and primary use meaning sensory perception. Is that the right gloss on the history you line up?

My one and only (to date) question to the Peikoff podcast was on this topic. I specifically asked "what prompted the change". This was in 2011. I got the following written reply:

[...]

Re your question below:

The first formulation could be taken to imply representationalism, since it suggests that what man *perceives* is not directly the world itself but "the material provided by man's senses." The second formulation is more accurate.

Tore Boeckmann

Amazing - 50 years after the actual switch in definitions! Yes, Boeckmann gives the correct reason for the change - at least, the reason given by Nathaniel Branden when he talked about it in his 1996 talk "Objectivism Past and Future."

A student had challenged the 1957 Galt definition, saying that it implied that we perceive our sense data, which is indeed representationalism, whereas Objectivism maintains that we perceive reality (by means of sense data).

Following up on Stephen's comments/questions in post 18:

No, the change was not made over any concern about possible confusion between the general meaning of "perceive" (to be aware of) and the more specific meaning related to sensory perception. Both usages have continued for decades, and attention to context should be sufficient to keep people from conflating them (though some have managed to, anyway, including the aforementioned Mr. Ryan).

(BTW, similar confusion occasionally arises over Rand's more general and more specific usages of "value" - e.g., people rejecting her more general definition, saying that if that which you act to gain and/or keep isn't really good for you, it "isn't really" a value. Peikoff deals with this issue in one of his 1996 lectures on unity in epistemology and ethics, the one entitled "Two Definitions" - not completely satisfactorily, IMO. I think that "value" should be used for the generic meaning and "rational value" for the more specific kind of action-goals that people *should* pursue.)

As for my thoughts on NB's altering the definition of "reason" in a way that appears to include non-sensory or extra-sensory "perceptual" data, (1) I'm not sure that Nathaniel was thinking along those lines as early as 1983 (Honoring the Self), but (2) I do know that he was entertaining such ideas at least as early as 1998. I hosted a online discussion of various philosophy topics, and NB introduced the subject of "anomalous perception," which stirred up a lot of controversy. A couple of years later, during one or two meetings at his home, he discussed the subject with a group of California Objectivists and volunteered his wife Devers to demonstrate some of the phenomena at a future meeting, which never occurred, unfortunately, and in any case (3) I do not support broadening the definition of "reason" that far; I need more evidence than someone's enthusiastic say-so to revise my definitions, especially over something that smacks of mysticism and/or fraudulent pseudo-science.

Back to reason 2.0 - "identifies and integrates." I think that this definition is still defective, even after having gotten rid of the misleading implication of "perceives...the material provided by man's senses," in that it gets the order wrong. We integrate our perceptual and perceptually-based data, then we identify it. Peikoff himself in OPAR confirms this with this helpful formulation: "reason is the faculty that organizes perceptual units in conceptual terms by following the principles of logic" (152). You conceptualize your perceptual data (form concepts) - and then you non-contradictorily identify the facts your concepts are based on (use logic to form propositions and inferences).

REB

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Nicely put, Roger, but we're doing it already and this just identifies it. It does have value, but how does it travel?

--Brant

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.

But Roger (#20), if a dog can make identifications without reason and without logic, why can’t our own cognition below the level of concepts, language, and deduction, also suffice for some amount of identification?

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Stephen in #24 said: "But Roger (#20), if a dog can make identifications without reason and without logic, why can’t our own cognition below the level of concepts, language, and deduction, also suffice for some amount of identification?"

Oh, I agree with you. It really depends on what you mean by "identification."

In the fullest (?) sense, it refers to correctly stating that a thing is (is the same thing as) itself. E.g., "Ayn Rand is the author of Atlas Shrugged." E.g., "My Ford Focus is red." (It is the same thing as one of the members of the class "red object.") (This may seem to violate Rand's epistemological razor of not integrating in disregard of necessity, but I form that class *whenever I need to use it,* especially for a pedagogical or illustrative purpose such as this. I could just as well have said "My Ford Focus is an automobile" - it is the same thing as one of the members of the class "automobile.")

But as Greg Salmieri discussed in his first essay in the 2013 Gotthelf-Lennox compilation, consciousness is identification, and consciousness essentially involves differentiation and integration, on *whatever* level, including perception by humans and animals. This indicates some close connection between identification, on the one hand, and differentiation and integration, on the other.

I suggest that there is a suppressed syllogism, or enthymeme, here. I think the tacit premise is: identification is a combination of differentiation and integration. Let's call this Salmieri's premise. If so, here's how the syllogism in full explicit form looks:

Rand: Consciousness is identification (1966)

Salmieri: Identification is a combination of differentiation and integration (2013)

Therefore, Rand: Consciousness is a combination of differentiation and integration (1966)

This certainly seems to be consistent with Rand's epistemology, but I don't know that she had it in this explicit form when she originated her definition of "reason" in 1957, nor when she revised it in 1960-61. I.e., I don't think she explicitly realized and/or acknowledged that we identify things on the perceptual level. I think she intended the term "identify" in her definition of "reason" to be taken specifically as the last step (non-contradictory application of logic) in arriving at propositional knowledge.

I wouldn't say that dogs "non-contradictorily identify" facts of reality, but it is certainly clear that they "recognize" reality when master comes home. :-)

REB

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