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Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology

4.01  ·  Rating details ·  1,753 ratings  ·  71 reviews
Today man's mind is under attack by all the leading schools of philosophy. We are told that we cannot trust our senses, that logic is arbitrary, that concepts have no basis in reality. Ayn Rand opposes that torrent of nihilism, and she provides the alternative in this eloquent presentation of the essential nature--and power--of man's conceptual faculty. She offers a startl ...more
Paperback, Expanded Second Edition, 320 pages
Published April 26th 1990 by NAL (first published 1979)
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Haider Al-Mosawi
Nov 30, 2010 rated it it was amazing
An excellent book for any human being with a brain and would like to know how to use it.

Many philosophy books raise more questions than they answer and lead to more confusion than clarity. This is a very practical book because it establishes an essential foundation for all our thinking and how we relate to the world. Ayn Rand explains how we know the world is objective, why the senses are reliable, the importance of reason, and other issues related to epistemology (the science of knowledge).

May 12, 2014 rated it it was amazing
One of the most exciting things I have read in a long time. Understanding how concepts are formed is SO EXCITING!!! Every English major should read this. I can now explain why the verb "to be" is such a horrible verb--when you use sentences with that verb you are almost always going to be using so many abstractions that the sentence can be very easily misinterpreted. What she says correlates with the science I have read on kids brain development which I enjoyed. Fascinates me that philosophers k ...more
Mark Milne
Oct 01, 2012 rated it did not like it
You can find my full review on my website, but in a nutshell, Rand was not well-schooled in philosophy and this book shows that very clearly. She has NO following among professional philosophers because of that. She has a HUGE following among readers of her novels, and when those readers find this book on OE they give it gushing reviews. And OE is probably the first book on a philosophical subject they have ever read. The main faults with OE: 1) Rand just makes claims, she does not present argum ...more
Lisa (Harmonybites)
Sep 14, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Anyone Interested in Philosophy
I know many sneer at the idea of Ayn Rand as a philosopher. (Just look at reviews below.) I believe mainly because they're so radically opposed to her views and so consider her a threat to their values. And many find it easy to be derogatory because she won fame as a writer of fiction and didn't have the academic credentials of those who usually call themselves philosophers. And sorry to say, it probably didn't help back then--may even hurt her now--that she was a woman poaching on very male ter ...more
Nov 16, 2009 rated it it was amazing
This book by novelist and philosopher Ayn Rand, (author of "Atlas Shrugged" and "The Fountainhead") establishes the foundation of the philosophy of Objectivism, putting forth a clear statement of the branch of epistemology, and specifically, of concept formation. Rand connects every concept, no matter the complexity of the abstraction, to objective reality, proving that all concepts are in fact measurable and objective, including complex emotions such as love.

This is a very technical book that
Patrick Peterson
Apr 24, 2009 rated it liked it
This book is very basic - but was very difficult, for me at least. I found myself not able to make every logical jump Rand thought proper. A little weird, since I agree with so much of what Rand says. I don't think I ever actually finished the book, since I could not agree with some pretty fundamental jumps she made.

I've read Atlas, Fountainhead, We the Living, Anthem, Night of Jan. 16, Capitalism: the Unknown Ideal (my favorite of hers), Virtue of Selfishness, and several other books of her ess
Aug 07, 2011 rated it did not like it
The terms and arguments are completely unclear. If this is an attempt at rigorous philosophy, it falls embarrassingly short. As one who actually agrees with Ayn Rand in broad terms, I am consistently disappointed by the quality of the arguments she marshaled for her beliefs.
Jun 11, 2007 rated it really liked it
Shelves: philosophy
Ayn Rand is such an incredibly lucid thinker and writer. And her style has got to be the most male of any writer I know.
Part XI of a multi-part review series.

Sophomoric beyond belief, suffering from her normal defects, as described elsewhere in this series.

Opines in the forward that “the issue of concepts (known as the ‘the problem of universals’) is philosophy’s central issue” (1). Uh no, twice. This is of course not the ‘central’ issue in philosophy, though it is something considered in certain older ontological discussions. And the equation of ‘concepts’ with ‘universals’ is just, uh, wrong.

She is in her norma
Dec 22, 2018 rated it did not like it
Shelves: philosophy
Alternative title: Introduction to strong and circular claims
Nixon Sucuc
May 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The ideas in this book saved me, from the misticism that dominated all my thinking in my short lifetime, when I was 17. At that time, I only adopted a couple of broad convictions from the ideas in it: the conviction that my reasoning mind should be the supreme authority of my life and the promise of a descriptive and normative science to guide me in my use of my mind. The first conviction gave me the courage to take charge of my own learning and thus that of my own life as well. The second is a ...more
Randy Vollrath
Sep 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Very helpful for clarifying thinking. This book has the important discussion about concepts--how we form them (and continue to expand concepts as we learn more about them), what role they play in our thinking, and discusses how concepts are on a hierarchy (ie: Furniture is a concept, and beneath that concept would be the concept of "table" and "chair"). Many other important concepts like measurement in regards to differentiating one concept from another; measurement omission in regards to distin ...more
Curtis Rhodes
Jun 12, 2018 rated it did not like it
Shelves: my-office
What an angry, bitter, sarcastic, sophomoric screed.

Fascinated by Plato's cave wall discovery of abstractions she declares that only "man" is capable of reason.

I suspect squirrels can discern 'this is a tree', 'this is not a tree'.

[stupid]sic... are those who desire to escape from the absolutism of existence, of facts, of reality, and above all identity." The essence of her argument that reality is reality. Your subjective perception is only correct if it perceives the one single correct defi
Rudy M
Dec 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Great for building your epistemological architecture
Feb 16, 2021 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: cognition
This is 'philosophy' in the general, popular sense of a collection of beliefs and opinions about issues of greater meaning and purpose--how the mind and knowledge operate, in this case. If the book piqued your interest regarding how cognition works, what knowledge and knowing are, what rationality is, and so on, that's exciting. Please branch out from OE to neuroscience, analytic philosophy, and the practices and methods of critical thinking. Rand raises some important questions but doesn't mana ...more
Yeovani J
Nov 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Make no mistake. This short but dense book is worth reading and re-reading as many times as necessary until you download and install this new operating system in your mind. Suppose you want to understand how the process of how knowledge works read this book. Your output (ideas, communication, work, projects, products, services) can improve substantially and exponentially. If you have survived public school's torture, do your mind a favor and give it the vital nutrition it needs to uninstall the ...more
Mika Oksanen
Despite the title, the book deals as much with metaphysics as epistemology. Its centre is Ayn Rand's attempt to provide a solution to the traditional Problem of Universals. However, the theory touted as startlingly original turns out to be just a version of traditional conceptualism. Rand tries to make out that her theory is original by mischaracterizing all other versions of conceptualism as more subjectivistic than most of them are.

Unlike Rand's ethics, her theoretical philosophy is not clear
Bharat Mehta
Oct 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is Ayn Rand's most amazing book. People use to say the Bible or Quran is great book that guides human life, but it is not true. These are religious books, it has nothing to do with man's mind or man's life. They are mystical books. But--An Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology- is a truely philosophical book, guides the human mind as to how to guide our thought process.

Philosophy is a type of love affair between mind and matter. As how the mind knows about the world around and within. I
Aidan Manning
Apr 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Probably one of the most important book to read for understanding Objectivism, but also the most technical, requiring multiple slow reads. In terms of recommendations it's a bit of a tossup; if you are new to Objectivism I can't recommend it yet. But you cannot have a full, proper understanding of the philosophy without it, so if you have read her other nonfiction I recommend you give it a shot.

Second edition is a must; it has a ton of supplementary material that really help you understand the c
Kevin Yee
Dec 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
I read this after a Computer Science class that emphasized the importance of concept-formation and using consciously building the structure of one's own knowledge. I found it very intellectually stimulating, especially her her perspective on language, how the cognition happens before we communicate. ...more
Jack Burton
Jan 01, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Rands work requires deeper thought, an ability to examine your motives and possibly accept that you and others have every right to be an individual in every sense of the term. To live your life as YOU CHOOSE, not in service to some faceless cause manipulated by unseen others.... This is what she meant by being "selfish". ...more
Jeffrey Falk
Mar 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This fascinating work includes a compelling answer to the "problem of universals" and is a nature-oriented breath of fresh air in a cultural miasma of woozy, deliberately confusing philosophic parlor games and false dichotomies. ...more
Nov 17, 2016 rated it liked it
Just don't think this is as well-written as Rand's other works. Seems to ramble on in most spots without Rand's usual sharp precision in making her points. Not my favorite Rand book for sure! ...more
Les Dossey
Feb 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: top-reads
This is a tougher book to read but well worth the effort.
Tom Nowak
Jul 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Great reference material.
Mar 24, 2020 added it
Got this for a philosophy class where we needed to pick someone for a paper/presentation, and we couldnt have repeats

I don't even really remember this tbh
Lucas Martinez
Apr 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Pure philosophy, the raw materials that constitute all other Ayn Rand books.
Satyavrat Wagle
Aug 01, 2020 rated it liked it
Alternative Title : OOP for Metaphysics.
Biordio Prawirohardjo
Dec 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Ayn rand gives us an intro of objectivism in a short and understandable manner
Jeannie L
Jan 21, 2021 rated it it was ok
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