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Why must "Objectivism" = "Ayn Rand"?

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1. Firstly, philosophy is defined as the study of the fundamental nature of reality, of Man, and of Man's relationship to reality (from Philosophy: Who Needs It by Ayn Rand). So it is the only science in human knowledge that deals with the broadest abstractions possible.

In other words, none of the special sciences (be it the physical or the social sciences) deal with the most fundamental truths because they study only specific aspects of reality or of Man. So philosophy is not similar to mathematics (which is a science of method that formulates quantitative tools like Calculus) or physics (which studies the physical nature of the universe and the physical principles that govern it, as for example, the law of gravity).

Given the above, once a fundamental truth is discovered in philosophy, regardless of who discovers it, there is absolutely nothing (emphasis added) that Man can discover by way of new knowledge about anything in reality that will necessitate either a revision or a rejection of that fundamental truth.

Therefore, the contextual nature of knowledge which applies to truths discovered in the special sciences, does not apply at all to the fundamental truths discovered in philosophy.

2. Secondly, philosophy, given the above definition, will always contain only the following five branches:

a. Metaphysics, which studies the fundamental principles that govern reality,

b. Epistemology, which studies the fundamental principles that govern reason, which is Man's only means of gaining knowledge,

c. Ethics, which studies the fundamental principles that govern Man's choices and actions in the pursuit of values,

d. Politics, which studies the fundamental principles that govern a proper social system,

e. Esthetics, which studies the fundamental principles that govern art.

This means that there is absolutely nothing (emphasis added) that Man can discover by way of new knowledge about anything in reality that will necessitate the addition of a new branch to the already existing five branches. If new branches are ever added, they will be under one or more of the five branches.

Furthermore, there is absolutely nothing (emphasis added) that Man can discover by way of new knowledge in a new sub-branch that will necessitate either a revision or a rejection of any fundamental truth discovered in the corresponding main branch. This is because any truth discovered in a sub-branch must necessarily be consistent with the fundamental truths that were already discovered in the corresponding main branch.

3. Thirdly, during her lifetime, Ayn Rand formulated a complete philosophical system and called it Objectivism. This means that Miss Rand discovered fundamental truths in each one of the five branches of philosophy, (which is a common noun) and integrated these truths to formulate her own philosophy to which she gave a specific name, namely, Objectivism (which is, therefore, a proper noun).

Given the above, there is absolutely nothing (emphasis added) that any Objectivist intellectual can discover by way of new knowledge in the science of philosophy and/or psychology that will necessitate either a revision or a rejection of any of the fundamental truths that constitute Ayn Rand's philosophy of Objectivism.

Given all of the above, the word "Objectivism" properly refers to the complete philosophical system formulated by Ayn Rand that contains the fundamental truths that she discovered in each one of the five branches of philosophy. It refers to nothing more and nothing less and is, therefore, closed.

To conclude, when it comes to the fundamental truths that constitute Ayn Rand's philosophy of Objectivism, it is only when one has objectively identified them as true by the independent judgment of one's own mind that one can be in complete agreement with her philosophy. Nothing more is required and nothing less will do.

Ergo, an Objectivist is one who is objective (emphasis added) about Objectivism. Such an individual is neither a cultist nor a dogmatist.

Ramesh Kaimal

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It seems like much of this agrument stems from the dogmas surrounding ARI and TOC. I do not know nearly enough about either group to make a judgment about which is right and which is wrong. But it does appear that there was a disagreement over whether Objectivsm is a closed system or a open system. And this is what generated the split. While I agree that it would have to be a closed system to be correct, I also think that there is more that can be written on the subjects than what Ayn Rand wrote and Lenord Peikoff writes. At the same I am very concerned with individuals who call themselves neo-objectivist or post-objectivsts. They seem to want to take bits and pieces of Objectivsm and make them fit into other contradictary philosophies. I personally like the information provided by both ARI and TOC, I have no need to argue about who is more of an objectivist or who is not, but it is important to point out fallacies in anyones thinking, Regardless of who they are and what their position is.

Tettra

Tettra,

1) I'm not sure what you mean by "dogmas" Could you define please..

2) The argument between ARI and TOC is over more than whether Objectivism is a closed system or not. It is also about the relation between "fact" and "value" and, indeed, which side is legitimately called "Objectivist". Each believes they are right. Since the views contradict each other, they can't both be right. They could both be wrong, in which case it doesn't matter. But otherwise it does matter. I trust you'll keep looking at the issues involved. Nothing should be accepted on faith or because you feel that it's easier to give up and not decide. Keep thinking and questioning until you are convinced one way or the other.

3) Yes it is important to point out fallacies in anyone's thinking. Have you any that you'd like to discuss?

Tom Rowland

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But you know enough about ARI to say it is dogmatic?  Perhaps you might enlighten us with your proof of dogmas coming out of ARI?

Notice I say Dogmas surrounding the two organizations. I never claimed that either are dogmatic, although it does seem that there are individuals in either organization or that support these organizations that are dogmatic zealots of some sort. Dogma isn't necessairly a bad thing I must say, depending on the defintion, however I am refering to a negative notion, in regards to my use of the word in my previous post. Such a dogma is in reference to this silly rivalry and closed-mindedness. You can find examples of this in many of the posts in this thread or others throughout the post. I also have to say that Leonard Peikoff sometimes brushes me the wrong way, but it is his job to protect the integrity of Ayn Rand's Objectivism. It is clear that there are many people who claim to be Ayn Rand Objectivsts that are lying or are confused about what objectivism really is. Many people lift out the parts that they like to hear, while ignoring the important parts. These indviduals are a serious contribution to the strong disliking of objectivism by many non-objectivst. Now, I'm not saying everyone should like the philosophy, but there are many who do not like it because they do not understand it. I have recently been in arguements with people who equate objectivsm to Social darwnism or other distantly similar social philosophies. But this is another topic . I personally don't have time to find out who is the best objectivst, I instead have time to figure out what ideas are least contradictary to my understanding of the philosophy and also the pursuit of a better understanding of it in general. As I said before it is important to call people out when they are wrong, but I have seen good coming out of both ARI and TOC. Maybe I need to read more into them and their members.

Tettra

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Such a dogma is in reference to this silly rivalry and closed-mindedness. ..I personally don't have time to find out who is the best objectivst, I instead have time to figure out what ideas are least contradictary to my understanding of the philosophy and also the pursuit of a better understanding of it in general.

Tettra

Sean,

Your commitment to study more is commendable. One of the things you'll find out about people on this forum as you do is that we are really big on defining the words that we and others use -- like dogma. Another thing we typically do is make sure that we and others back up their statements. When you say that the rivalry is "silly" and "closed-minded" what do you mean and what makes this rivalry fit your definition?

You see, I and a great many others, believe that the issues that divide ARI and TOC are extremely important. Hopefully you'll come to understand from your reading and study and from our answers here why they are so important to us.

Best premises on your quest.

Tom Rowland

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