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I am new to philosphy and have done some research. I don't know why but i decided one day that philosphy seemed interesting and the most appealing to me is objectivism and rationalism. I lean torwards objectivism since it deals a bit with man's sense of rationality. but anyway. anyone who can help me understand the two better and anyone else with questions, feel free to post here.

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i decided one day that philosphy seemed interesting and the most appealing to me is objectivism and rationalism.
I think that the central difference lies in the importance of reason in man's existence (common to both) and the notion that man can have knowledge purely from mental processing of nothing (rationalism). Now the question is, since you didn't include empiricism in your list of favorites, why not?
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I think that the central difference lies in the importance of reason in man's existence (common to both) and the notion that man can have knowledge purely from mental processing of nothing (rationalism). Now the question is, since you didn't include empiricism in your list of favorites, why not?

because i havent looked into it at all yet. like i said, im new to philosphy. its all very interesting.

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because i havent looked into it at all yet. like i said, im new to philosphy. its all very interesting.

Well, Empiricism, as the name suggest is the view that the only knowledge we can have is of directly observable empirical evidence - that all knowledge is derived directly from everything outside our mind. This is not to say knowledge is formed from sensory data: it means that knowledge literally comes spewing out of concrete particulars, completely bypassing the need for concepts or any engagement of man's mind.

Rationalism is the view that all knowledge - now I'm not sure if you're familiar with Plato - comes from a Platonic world of ideas, or something similar. To put it briefly, it means that there is something either inside man's mind which somehow just produces knowledge, or beyond man's mind from which all knowledge is transmuted into his head. This one sort of allows the existence of concepts, but only as abstract, audio-visual clues to reality, implanted in man's mind either from birth or by a supernatural force.

As Rand puts it: "those who joined the [mystics] by abandoning reality", the Empiricists, "and those who clung to reality, by abandoning their mind," the Rationalists.

I think the reason David asked is because you said you were interested in Objectivism and Rationalism. I think he was wondering why you were interested in Rationalism, which deals with knowledge existing in man's mind; and Objectivism, which deals with man's mind actively storing sensory data into his mind as concepts; but what is strange is why you said nothing about Empiricism, about sensory data. Objectivist Epistemology is a synthesis, in a way, between Empiricism and Rationalism, so it's just a bit odd you didn't mention it.

Were you aware of what Empiricism was? It's just, if you're interested in Philosophy and especially Objectivism (and it's crazy old uncle, Rationalism), then I should imagine that understanding the whole Empiricist vs Rationalist debate (known as the 'analytic-synthetic dichotomy', since it deals with the things we analyse with our senses vs the things we 'synthetically', that is, in the belief of the Rationalists, arbitrarily know with our minds) should be interesting to you.

I love helping people new to Philosophy, so if you have questions, go ahead. I'll do my best, but there are also people here (the Elders!) who will be able to answer a slight bit more in-depth than me, since they've been acquainted with Philosophy and specifically, Objectivism, for longer than me.

P.S. One little nagging thing - try to be a bit more careful with your grammar and spelling. Legibility is appreciated here. :(

Edited by Tenure
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I would suggest looking into John Locke's empiricism, as well as reading up on Objectivism. For example, (Bishop) Berkeley concluded (not incorrectly) that Locke's empiricism could lead to atheism (w00t) and he didn't like that :o so he decided that things only exist by virtue of being perceived :( . Hume decided that we don't actually know anything. My minimal knowledge of Locke's epistemology is that it wasn't flamingly wrong, and his principle that all knowledge and ideas arise from experience is brilliantly right.

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As Rand puts it: "those who joined the [mystics] by abandoning reality", the Empiricists, "and those who clung to reality, by abandoning their mind," the Rationalists.

The other way around, actually. And I think that you confuse Empiricism, which is very broad category that covers various philosophies, including Objectivism, with very vulgar form of Sensualism, like the one of Democretes.

My minimal knowledge of Locke's epistemology is that it wasn't flamingly wrong

He picked up primary vs. secondary qualities dichotomy from Democretes, and that, IMO, drove him further away from reason as means of cognition. It's really sad :)

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Being new, I would recommend the book Philosophy: Who Needs It by Ayn Rand as your first read as it shows that philosophy is applicable to our everyday lives (most classes and such make it seem so detached) and just why it's so important to study it.

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