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Why isn't there more writing on the base of O'ism?

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I am currently re-reading Objectivism: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand, and I am fully realizing that Objectivist metaphysics really establish a good foundation for everything that follows.

In the majority of philosophical disputes that I've had with others concerning ethics, politics, and aesthetics, the fundamental disagreement has almost always come from differing views of metaphysics and epistemology.

I believe that Objectivist metaphysics and epistemology firmly establish the correctness of their ethics, politics, and aesthetics, and I believe go a LONG way to refute the philosphical errors of the past.

Ayn Rand, as a great a writer as she was, primarly focused on writing about ethics and politics, not devoting nearly enough time to metaphysics and epistemology.

I am wondering, considering the crucial importance of metaphysics and epistemology to an integrated system of philosophy, why hasn't there been more written on them? There is Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology and OPAR, but I think more writing in these areas, ESPECIALLY in metaphysics, would go a long way to establish more serious study of Objectivism amongst academic philosophers (the ones not engaged in a process of evasion at least).

I know that Peikoff is working on a detailed book on epistemology, specifically, on integration, but I am not aware of any Objectivist writers (actual Objectivists, not the TOC garbage and other variants) who have written a more detalied account of Objectivist metaphysics or who are planning to do so.

Does anyone have information on any such books that currently exist or are in the process of being written or planned? Or, does anyone have good reasons as to why more writing detailing Objectivist metaphysics and epistemology haven't been done?

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Guest Tom Rexton

Lack of professional Objectivist intellectuals, perhaps?

I don't remember exactly where Ayn Rand said it, but (I'll find the book later) she once wrote that all there is to metaphysics are the axiomatic concepts of existence, identity, causality, consciousness and free-will. The rest is epistemology.

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Of course, the axiomatic concepts of existence, identity, causality, consciousness and free-will do require a treatise to elucidate the Objectivist position on them and to differentiate it from the predominant views of contemporary philosophies on the said concepts.

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Tom, exactly. So why hasn't such a treatise been written or is being planned to be written?

I think that if one is truly interested in the spread of Objectivism, one must be SURE that the absolutely critical base of the philosophy, metaphysics, is perfectly explained and masterfully written.

Has that been achieved yet? Or does Objectivism need a more extensive examination and demonstration of metaphysics? I tend to think that Objectivism could clarify many metaphysical principles and provide a much more robust defense against some of the dominant principles of metaphysics in modern philosophy.

But, perhaps it's just an inadequate knowledge of Objectivist metaphysics on my part.

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There are probably many treatise on Objectivist metaphysics. I think the problem is that none of them has yet been published. It's very difficult to get a book that will hardly sell to the public published. Not that many people read philosophic treatises, you know. ;)

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Objectivist Academic Center professor Onkar Ghate wanted to write his dissertation on the primacy of existence versus the primacy of consciousness as represented by certain people in the history of philosophy, but the people in charge weren't thrilled with the idea, and I think he had to switch topics. I forgot what he switched to, but I remember that he didn't like it.

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I don't know if this will get you as excited as it does me, but I'm planning on doing work in metaphysics.

As for AR articles devoted to metaphysics, there is, of course, large parts of Galt's speech, and also the invaluable "The Metaphysical Versus the Manmade" reprinted in PWNI. I refer to this last a lot.

Although this isn't much compared to her writings in other areas, she does constantly invoke metaphysics in said other writings. Every time she talks about cheating reality being cheating identity, or cheating the fact of consciousness, etc., she's integrating wide epistemological, ethical and political abstractions with basic axioms. I always look out for these sentences and paragraphs--it is usually very productive to analyze and "mine" them.

But yeah, there's a lot of exciting stuff waiting to be done in metaphysics. Isn't it great?

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Guest Tom Rexton

Metaphysics is simple compared to the greater challange of epistemology--of which a fully comprehensive treatise would probably take several volumes. Perhaps that is why there hasn't been any such treatise yet.

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I think that if one is truly interested in the spread of Objectivism, one must be SURE that the absolutely critical base of the philosophy, metaphysics, is perfectly explained and masterfully written.

While I agree that metaphysics is an important part of the philosophy, I have to disagree with the claim that it is the base (or at least the whole base) of the philosophy (although that is the generally accepted taxonomy of the branches of philosophy).

Epistemology is at the base. It is both a factual and normative branch that explains what knowledge is, and how it can be arrived at. Without that at the foundation of a philosophy, any claims to metaphysical knowledge are merely floating abstractions, and to deduce anything from them without a proper understanding of their epistemological justification and status would be pure rationalism, untied to reality. Many philosophers (e.g., Nietzsche) have attempted this sort of thing, starting with a set of metaphysical views at the base and coming up with a philosophy based on that. But metaphysics depends, for purposes of philosophy, on epistemology, not the other way around. (Of course, this is not to adopt a primacy of consciousness view. One might argue that metaphysics is primary because it merely names axioms of existence and such, but the concept of an axiom is epistemological.)

That said, certainly more elaboration can and should be given of Objectivist metaphysics, and I think it's awesome that some of you want to do so.

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