What's in Your File Folder?

Roger Bissell

Recommended Posts

Folks, I have just published my SECOND philosophy book - this one on the theory of propositions and related topics. You can check it out on Amazon.com here: https://www.amazon.com/Whats-Your-File-Folder-Propositions/dp/1689839163/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=what's+in+your+file+folder&qid=1568325732&s=books&sr=1-1


This book takes a deep dive into Ayn Rand’s theory of knowledge. It explains why her followers failed to develop a model of the proposition fulfilling the promise of her pioneering work on concepts—and it reveals the essence of propositions and the principles by which they operate in our gaining knowledge by identifying the facts of reality.

These revelations are based on a fuller appreciation and application of some of Rand’s most pregnant ideas: the metaphor of concepts as “mental file folders”—the unit-perspective as the key that unlocks the conceptual stage of awareness and welds together its three levels—form and content of cognitive awareness both being objective—and consciousness essentially consisting of differentiation and integration (functionally) and subject and object (structurally). On this basis, the author offers a significant revision to Rand's model of concepts and a new model of propositions, giving considerable attention to axioms and statements about nonexistent subjects and offering a fuller explanation of how syllogisms function in grasping truth.

The author's main contention is that Objectivism's epistemology (and epistemology in general) lacks a viable model of propositional knowledge due to neglect of the "unit-perspective" view of concepts. This pioneering insight of Rand's, he says, not only is an essential building block of her concept theory, but also is the means for providing the clearest X-ray picture of our multilayered conceptual knowledge. Using the unit-perspective to expand Rand's theory of concepts, the author then introduces "duplex" and "triplex" units, which he shows are the components of propositions and syllogisms, which are composed of concepts that integrate single or "simplex" units, as he calls them.

The author also argues that Rand's largely underdeveloped concept of the "dual-aspect objective" is vital for understanding how knowledge is grounded in reality. he explains how consciousness essentially involves an interaction between a conscious subject (i.e., organism) and some of aspect of the world which becomes the object of that subject's awareness, then applies this idea to perception, introspection, concepts, propositions, and syllogisms. The author also defines content of awareness carefully distinguishing it from both object and form of awareness, and applies those distinctions throughout.In addition, the author discusses how truth is both dual-aspect and contextual, and he shows how units, too, have a dual aspect, even on the level of syllogisms. He also shows how differentiation and integration are the conscious processes at work, for better or worse, in both logic and in logical errors, which include the fallacies of "Frozen Abstraction" and "False Alternative," as well as a long-standing Objectivist conflation of falsity and contradiction and a relatively more recent Objectivist error, the fallacy of "genuine awareness."

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

Wow - I just discovered that Amazon's "Look Inside" for my book lets people read 32 pages of main text and 8 pages of front material. That's about 10% of the entire book! Feast your eyes and brains, people (if you can stand to read butchered Kindle format). You get my basic theory about propositions in the free preview. (And a lot more if you buy the book.   )

Link to comment
Share on other sites


"For instance, a singular proposition—such as "Ayn Rand is the author of Atlas Shrugged" —is a mental grasp of a fact about Ayn Rand (the existent referred to by the individual concept "Ayn Rand") by means of asserting the identity of Ayn Rand with the thing referred to by the individual concept "author of Atlas Shrugged." Or, in terms of units, that proposition is the mental grasp of a fact about the existent Ayn Rand (the unit subsumed by the concept "Ayn Rand") by means of asserting the unit-identity of Ayn Rand and the unit subsumed by the concept "author of Atlas Shrugged."

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now