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  1. This essay of mine was first published in V5N2 of The Journal of Ayn Rand Studies – 2004. Universals and Measurement I. Orientation Rand spoke of universals as abstractions that are concepts (1966, 1, 13). Quine spoke in the same vein of "conceptual integration—the integrating of particulars into a universal" (1961, 70). Those uses of universal engage one standard meaning of the term. Another standard meaning is the potential collection to which a concept refers. This is the collection of class members consisting of all the instances falling under the concept[1]. In the present
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  2. II. Analysis (cont.) Affordance of Ordinal Measures Recall again Rand's characterization of measurement: identification of "a quantitative relationship established by means of a standard that serves as a unit" (1966, 7). The phrase "a standard that serves as a unit" suggests that Rand's conception of measurement for her measurement-omission analysis of concepts was ratio-scale or interval-scale measurement. These two types possess interval units that can serve as interval standards. They possess interval units that can be meaningfully summed to make measurements. The quantitative rel
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  3. II. Analysis Rand gave three definitions of concept. I shall tie them all together in the next section, but for the present section, we need this one alone: Concepts are mental integrations of "two or more units possessing the same distinguishing characteristic(s), with their particular measurements omitted" (Rand 1966, 13)[6]. The units spoken of in this definition are items appropriately construed as units by the conceiving mind. They are items construed as units in two senses, as substitution units and as measure values (Rand 1969, 184, 186–88). As substitution units, the items in
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