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Writings based on Objectivism, the philosophy of Ayn Rand

Ayn Rand's most popular novels are Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead, which present her philosophy, Objectivism, in vivid characterizations.

  Metaphysics, epistemology, ethics, esthetics, and  politics are the five main branches of philosophy that she identifies. Utilizing her methodology, one can be rational about all aspects of life. These essays present my understanding of Objectivism.

Older Essays

This is Your Mind

Independence Day Special 2005

Copyright Issues Statement

Independence Day Special 2011:

 Jesus or Ayn Rand?

Don't Blame Wall Street

Governments and Individual Rights

Anarcho-Capitalism rebuttal

Doctors and Individual Rights

Internet Freedom VS On-line Piracy

Laws Must be Specific to Preserve Freedom

To Students of Objectivism

Kant as Founder of Modern Art

Thinking in Terms of Principles

The Purpose of Art

On Objectivity -- The Method of Thought

Applications of Philosophy

Happiness by a Proper Standard

Morality and War

Induction and Anarchism

Immigration and Applied Egoism

Independence Day 2012:

  Losing the Battle

On Civil Society

Batman and Justice

Paul Ryan and Objectivism

Philosophy in the Workplace

Articulating Freedom

The Argument for Freedom

Psycho-epistemology

Black Friday Special, The Morality of Profit

Intellectual Property Rights

How The Internet Works

Carnegie Museum of Art and Natural History

The Morality of Copyrights and Patents

Justice

Freedom of Speech -- a Sacred Right

Objective Value

Teleological Measurements

Induction

Causality

Cognition

Ayn Rand as a Moral Hero

Moral Integrity

On Dualism

Protest NSA Spying

The Objectivist Trilogy

The DIM Hypothesis

Tolerance and DIM

Individual Rights

How We Know

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Date: Thu, 27 Nov 2003 
Did Enlightenment philosophers reject Aristotle?
Thomas M. Miovas, Jr.

What the men of the Enlightenment were actually rejecting was
Scholasticism, the study and presentation of Aristotle and other
ancient works as if these were sacred and untouchable texts, not to
be either affirmed or denied by factual evidence--like the way they
studied the Bible.

While Western Civilization owes a debt of gratitude to Thomas
Aquinas for re-introducing Aristotle, the association of Aristotle
and the Catholic Church doctrine made questioning anything written
by Aristotle tantamount to heresy. Note that what they did to
Galileo was not only motivated by his implicit rejection of Holy
Scripture but also his explicit rejection of Aristotle's presentation of
the motion of heavenly bodies. With this as a backdrop, it's no
wonder many new and independent thinkers would want to dispense
with "Aristotle."

Note also that it was three hundred years (!) after Aquinas (mid
1200's) before some men even had the courage or the freedom (or
both) to seriously question the tenants of the Church as these related
to Aristotle. I'm speaking of Galileo, Descartes, Bacon, and a few
others; all who made some headway in the late 1500's.

Given the explicit philosophy of some of these men, you might be
inclined to think they were not really men who fashioned the
Enlightenment, if by that one means an acceptance of reason in all
spiritual or intellectual realms. However, it was first necessary to
break the hold of the Scholastics (i.e. the Catholic Church) on
intellectual matters, and Descartes is certainly one of the men who
aided this accomplishment.

Prior to Descartes, it was held to be improper, if not downright
impossible--not to speak of being against the Laws of God and
Man--to mathematically relate incommensurate units of
measurement. This is because the Scholastics took the Ancient
Greek delight in pure ratios (10 feet / 2 feet = 5) and made it into
an object of worship, not to be questioned or expanded upon. We
now call Descartes' process the Cartesian Coordinate System,
whereby it is possible to mathematically related incommensurate
units. So, the next time you think about how many miles per hour
(m/h) you are traveling down the road of life; remember you are
committing heresy according to the Scholastics, and give a nod of
thanks to Descartes.

The incommensurate would be relating miles and hours, which use
different units of measurement, as in miles per hour(m/h). One can't
actually divide hours into miles, but these can be mathematically
related, as can other incommensurate units of measurements, using
Descartes' method.

To expand the example, one can bring in other incommensurate
units of measurement, such as: How many gallons of gasoline are
used up to travel 10 miles in half an hour at a temperature of 65
degrees with a head-wind that pushes against the windshield and the
car weighs 2,000 lbs? Notice the units of measurement being
mathematically related: gallons (volume), miles (length), hours
(time), temperature (degrees), pressure (pounds per square inch)
[which in and of itself requires relating incommensurate units], and
weight (pounds). Before Descartes, thinking about such a problem
would have been considered the same thing as doing the impossible.
Today, we take it for granted that a solution to the question is
obtainable, thanks, in part, to Descartes.

Descartes' explicit philosophy was primacy of consciousness, and in
that regard he is not part of the Enlightenment; but I think in some
respects he and other independent thinkers of his time picked up the
Aristotelian method of observation and integration and used it to
further scientific advancement, without realizing that is what they
were doing.

Matt Sissel Fine Art

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Proud to be an Objectivist -- one who follows Ayn Rand's philosophy of Objectivism: I've earned it.