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Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology

by Ayn Rand

Study Papers from the Enlightenment website

Moderated Discussion of Objectivist Philosophy (MDOP)

Chapter 1 – Cognition and Measurement

1992 – David Ross

1994 – Paul Spunzar

Chapter 2 – Concept-Formation

1992 – Jimmy (Jimbo) Wales

1995 – Will Wilkinson

Chapter 3 – Abstractions from Abstractions

1992 – Eduardo Chaves

1995 – JMS

1996 – Log of online chat discussion on #geekspeak IRC channel (Not part of MDOP)

Chapter 4 – Concepts of Consciousness

1992 – Jimmy (Jimbo) Wales

1995 – Diana Mertz Brickell (Hsieh)

Chapter 5 – Definitions

1992 – Svein Olav G. Nyberg

1995 – Bryan Register

Chapter 6 – Axiomatic Concepts

1992 – James Leithead

1995 – Thomas Ryan Stone

Chapter 7 – The Cognitive Role of Concepts

1992 – Raymie Stata

1995 – Andrew Breese

Chapter 8 - Consciousness and Identity

1992 – Carolyn Ray

Analytic-Synthetic Dichotomy

1992 – David Ross

Note: The links to the MDOP essays are on the Enlightenment site, however thanks are given to Richard Lawrence of the Objectivism Reference Center for having organized them for easy reference on his site, including the link to the Log of the Chapter 3 IRC chat session.

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  • 7 months later...

~ I found David Ross' discussion on the A-S 'dichotomy' quite interesting. However, it wasn't until reading it that a new thought occurred to me re the dichotomy's advocates' view of definitions of a concept as specifying 'its meaning in its entirety.'

~ Ross points out the bottom line prob re the diff of meanings between advocates and disagreers as pertaining to their very contrary views of the nature of logic and definitions; however, I think that worth adding is their view of 'meaning' also.

~ Consider the advocates' above 'meaning' of a concept's definition: there is never an argument about the 'referents' of any meaning of a def. other than it being no more than another set-of-dictionary-symbols. It's as if 'meaning' was considered as merely a synonomous 'math' equation looked at in terms of marks on each side of an "=" sign; 'referent', in 'analytic' terms, (contrary to 'synthetic') seems to have no 'meaning' to any items in 'reality', ergo, neither does 'analytic-meaning.' The latter's meaning is practically meaningless...outside of imagination.



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Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology

by Ayn Rand

Study Papers from the Enlightenment website

Moderated Discussion of Objectivist Philosophy (MDOP)

I'd like to post direct links to a few other Enlightenment essays that are quite relevant to some recent discussions here in OL.


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  • 6 months later...

Although the following link does not have anything to do with the Enlightenment website, it is a study guide for ITOE and anyone reading this thread is probably interested in studying ITOE. So it is convenient to keep things in one place.

There is a very interesting list of questions, chapter-by-chapter to help with study.

A Study Guide to Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology by K.W. Didion

From an initial skim, it seems to be ARI oriented. I think that is a good thing because it deals with what Rand actually wrote and not any interpretation of it. If anyone wishes to critique or disagree with ITOE, the best place to start is by thoroughly understanding it. I have no doubt that anyone working their way through all those questions will fully understand the book. I intend to do precisely that myself.


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To toot my own horn here a bit, I believe that the essay mentioned in my signature significantly builds on Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology in these ways:

1. I offer an alternative explanation to that of Ronald Pisaturo and Glenn Marcus, which as far as I know is the only currently recognized Objectivist theory on the topic, of how number concepts arise in the human mind.

2. I account for the fact that mathematical development occurs mostly parallel to the rest of conceptual growth, by pointing up a new connection between the two realms.

3. I tie “imaginary” and “complex” (two-dimensional) numbers to reality in a different way than Pisaturo and Marcus.

4. I show how I used this understanding to independently stumble upon “hypercomplex” (multidimensional) numbers, which I had never heard of but which are part of higher mathematics. This shows not only the correctness of my thinking, but also the power of philosophy to inform and direct the special sciences. It’s a good answer to the views of “Dragonfly” (“Calopterix splendens”), Daniel Barnes, “Next Level,” and others, who believe that philosophical thought must continually look and bow to what they call “science” regardless of the topic.

Normally I would dive into the message boards with my views, but I put in a lot of deep thought about mathematics to arrive at them, and decided not give away these ideas for free!

Edited by ashleyparkerangel
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