Concepts and Their Role in Knowledge: Reflections on by Allan Gotthelf, James G. Lennox

By Allan Gotthelf, James G. Lennox

The thinker and novelist Ayn Rand (1905–1982) is a cultural phenomenon. Her books have offered greater than twenty-eight million copies, and numerous members communicate of her writings as having considerably inspired their lives. regardless of her attractiveness, Rand’s philosophy of Objectivism has got little critical consciousness from educational philosophers.

Concepts and Their function in Knowledge bargains scholarly research of key parts of Ayn Rand’s considerably new method of epistemology. The 4 essays, by way of individuals in detail accustomed to this zone of her paintings, speak about Rand’s concept of concepts—including its new account of abstraction and essence—and its vital position in her epistemology; how that view results in a particular belief of the justification of information; her realist account of perceptual understanding and its function within the acquisition of data; and eventually, the results of that idea for figuring out the expansion of medical wisdom. the quantity concludes with severe observation at the essays by means of individual philosophers with differing philosophical viewpoints and the author’s responses to these commentaries.

This is the second one publication released in Ayn Rand Society Philosophical stories, which was once built at the side of the Ayn Rand Society to provide a fuller scholarly knowing of this hugely unique and influential philosopher. The Ayn Rand Society, an affiliated team of the yank Philosophical organization, jap department, seeks to foster scholarly learn through philosophers of the philosophical concept and writings of Ayn Rand. 

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She does not do so, I suspect, because she holds that all concepts beyond the simplest ones depend for their formation on a complex, hierarchical body of knowledge, itself connected to a complex hierarchy of concepts. 39 Nonetheless, a closer look at the implications of her theory for the formation of such concepts will bring out the way in which later concepts depend on propositional knowledge expressed in terms of earlier concepts, and not just the earlier concepts themselves. First, note that Rand would certainly hold that concepts such as “electron” are also formed by a CA).

V. ” One aspect of this complex thesis—namely, the role of context in producing objective definitions—is discussed in the next section of this chapter. ” On the implications of these aspects of Rand’s theory of concepts for the discipline of epistemology, see Salmieri’s chapter in this volume. For very brief accounts of the way the hierarchical nature of concepts bears on Rand’s metaethics, see Gotthelf 2000, 22, 79–81, and Salmieri and Gotthelf 2005. Rand first presented her view that the concept of “value” (and thus all ethical concepts) rests hierarchically on the concept of “life” in John Galt’s speech in Atlas 1012–13.

What is needed is a single distinguishing characteristic, or a very small number of them, that can be held as a single mental unit and yet can bring readily to mind all the other characteristics. It is here that Rand introduces her conception of essence. She observes that the distinguishing characteristic(s) of a concept’s referents that readily bring to mind the referents’ other characteristics will be the ones on which those others, or the greatest number of them, depend. The distinguishing characteristic(s) on which the others depend are essential to the concept’s referents: without those characteristics (and the others that depend on them), the referents would no longer be the kind of things they are (ITOE 42).

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