Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology
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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