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Miss Rand's definition of reason

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Miss Rand defined reason as "the faculty that identifies and integrates the material provided by man's senses". It is true that reason does this -- but as a formal definition, doesn't this entirely leave out the facts of which we are aware by introspection?

Edited by organon1973
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“Directly or indirectly, every phenomenon of consciousness is derived from one’s awareness of the external world. Some object . . . is involved in every state of awareness. Extrospection is a process of cognition directed outward—a process of apprehending some existent(s) of the external world. Introspection is a process of cognition directed inward—a process of apprehending one’s own psychological actions in regard to some existent(s) of the external world, such actions as thinking, feeling, reminiscing, etc. It is only in relation to the external world that the various actions of a consciousness can be experienced, grasped, defined, or communicated.” (ITOE, 29)

I think Rand got this right. It is a nice playing out of her fundamental primacy of existence. Our dreaming states contain elements from outer experience, I’d like to add. Also, as part of the “external world,” I’d include one’s own body. I don’t mean to insinuate there is any sense of self concretely entirely separated from body. Only that feeling can be concerning one’s body, and that in one’s identifications of its connections to one’s body (so far as one can), the feeling and body are distinct from the identifying subject. It seems fair enough to call them “external world” in that sense.

Be that treatment of feeling good or poor as it may be, we might add interoception to senses in Rand’s definition of reason: the faculty that identifies and integrates the evidence of the senses and interoception. However, I’d rather: the faculty that identifies and integrates the evidence of the senses and other faculties, such as interoception, involuntarily fixed in evolution and in individual CNS development. Best, I think, to stay with Rand’s formula for the definition, to keep up front the most basic activity of reason, then elaborate on the other reaches of reason, including always their dependencies on the world external the reasoning subject.


Edited by Boydstun
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