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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.

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This is Your Mind

Independence Day Special 2005

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Don't Blame Wall Street

Governments and Individual Rights

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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

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Articulating Freedom

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How The Internet Works

Carnegie Museum of Art and Natural History

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Freedom of Speech -- a Sacred Right

Objective Value

Teleological Measurements

Induction

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Cognition

Ayn Rand as a Moral Hero

Moral Integrity

On Dualism

Protest NSA Spying

The Objectivist Trilogy

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Tolerance and DIM

Individual Rights

How We Know

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Date: Wed, 26 Jul 2000 
Inducing my problem with induction of reduction
Thomas M. Miovas, Jr.

 The purpose of
reduction is to keep one's concepts tied to reality. If you are
going to be memorizing his structure, you are going to be too
concerned with "getting it right" according to whether or not
your "structure" matches his. The method of reduction is to move
from the hierarchy of concepts that integrate more concrete concepts, then
move from those more concrete concepts to the concepts they
integrate, and so on, until you get to the perceptually
self-evident. 

This is the way to keep your concepts tied to
reality. If structure, rather than the facts and how they are
integrated, is your primary concern, you won't be able to
validate your concepts.

The most helpful line of thinking for me, regarding method and
induction, is to continue asking myself: What are the facts and
what is my mind doing with them? Am I integrating the facts
according to similarities into wider and wider concepts or am I
using concepts in such a way that they are never connected to
the facts? When I am reducing, I ask: What facts (or prior
concepts) does this concept depend on?

 Reduction does *not*
take one from higher principles to more fundamental principles
-- it takes one from abstractions to the concretes they are
formed from, including the abstractions that are the root of
abstractions from abstractions, and eventually winds up at the
perceptually given facts. Reducing the hierarchy does not mean
you will wind up at "existence exists" for instance, the most
fundamental principle of Objectivism. It means you will wind up
at something specific you can point to; reducing "existence"
means pointing your finger around at everything -- that's
reducing the concept.

Reduction is certainly not the only way to work facts into one's
concepts -- primarily the facts should be worked in as one is
building any type of knowledge hierarchy, and I certainly think
Dr. Peikoff did this in OPAR Objectivism: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand).

Reduction can be thought of as a
way of double checking one's knowledge and concepts by working
back down to the perceptual level using different examples; but
it can not stand alone or deal with pseudo-concepts that have no
basis in fact.

OPAR, while not as inductive as OTI (Objectivism Through Induction), does not simply relate
Objectivist principles to Objectivist principles (which would be
rationalistic). It builds upon observations and distinctions,
covering all of Objectivism. OTI guides one from the primary
Objectivist concepts to how to much more thoroughly ground these
in observable fact.

If reduction is a double check on one's knowledge hierarchy, I
think it can be said that OTI is a double check on OPAR; for
those who would refer to a book (whether it be OPAR or one of
Miss Rand's works) with the tendency of saying such and such
idea is true because it is written, rather than showing it is
true because the idea corresponds to existence.

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Thomas M. Miovas, Jr.

tmiovas@appliedphilosophyonline.com

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