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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: Wed, 28 Jan 1998
Questions about Epistemology
Thomas M. Miovas, Jr.

>Miss Rand defines similarity on pg. 13 of ITOE (2nd edition) as
"the 
>relationship between two or more existents which possess the
*same* 
>characteristic(s), but in different measure or degree" (my
emphasis). 
>
>My question is: is there any circularity involved in this argument?

This is not a circularity because "same" is referring to the
conceptual common denominator (CCD) -- i.e. the wider context --
in which the individual characteristics are being considered. In
your own example of differentiating colors, the characteristic
of *having color* is the same for each item considered, but the
colors are not the same. The colors can be considered similar
only in the context of relating them to other items that have
color, as opposed to, say, weight or length.

Epistemology basically comes down to identifying man's ability
to selectively focus on aspects of existence or entities. To
differentiate blue from red, one has to selectively focus on the
fact that this thing and that thing have color, as opposed to
the other characteristics the item has. This is called
abstracting. Once the abstracting is accomplished, one can then
focus one's attention more by realizing the colors are not the
same in a different respect. The characteristic of color has the
*same* relationship to the entity that possesses it for each of
the items observed, even though the colors themselves *are not
the same* in relation to each other. However, since one has
selectively focused on *one* characteristic of the items (the
CCD), the unity of the observation can be retained by forming a
concept for the colors that are *similar* as compared to the
other colors observed.


I think this is also an answer to your other question about
equilateral and equiangular triangles. "Equilateral" selectively
focuses on the lengths of the sides, whereas "equiangular"
selectively focuses on the angles -- even though each concept
has the same referent (the triangle as a whole).

Matt Sissel Fine Art

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Thomas M. Miovas, Jr.

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