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Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology by Ayn Rand

This book is a bit different from the others I put in the library to share with you in that I DO NOT recommend you read this book. That’s not because I object to the contents but rather because I believe it is poorly written and does not adequately convey its meaning to the reader. Ayn Rand was a very good author that told good stories but I think she was a lousy philosopher.

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The book is described this way, “Today man’s mind is under attack by all the leading schools of philosophy. We are told that we cannot trust our senses, that logic is arbitrary, that concepts have no basis in reality. Ayn Rand opposes that torrent of nihilism, and she provides the alternative in this eloquent presentation of the essential nature–and power–of man’s conceptual faculty. She offers a startlingly original solution to the problem that brought about the collapse of modern philosophy: the problem of universals. ” That I do agree with. Man’s ability to think and not be arbitrary is vital to man’s survival. That I agree with much (not all) of Rand’s Objectivism does not mean that I think she did a good job explaining it to people.

I can only guess that she was trying to sound like a philosopher and make the subject as academic as possible to be taken seriously and set it apart from her fictional works. In fiction Rand has the ability to create the idea simply. Not so in this book. It is meant to be an introduction but I don’t think it gives the reader a proper foundation for her ideas. I think you are actually much better off reading her fiction as a foundation.

However, I found this interview on the Rubin Report that I feel does a much better job than Rand’s book in explaining the foundation of Objectivism. I recommend you watch it rather than read the book. But, if you are a glutton for punishment by all means read Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology by Ayn Rand. I read it (as I have all the books I share) and didn’t enjoy it. I did learn a thing or two. It’s not devoid of good points and memorable passages. I just think you can find those same ideas stated more plainly elsewhere.

If you do read it let me know what you think of it as a book and what you think of the subject matter as a philosophy.

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