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The Dim Hypothesis: Why the Lights of the West Are Going Out

4.35  ·  Rating details ·  231 Ratings  ·  35 Reviews
With his groundbreaking and controversial DIM hypothesis, Dr. Leonard Peikoff casts a penetrating new light on the process of human thought, and thereby on Western culture and history.
In this far-reaching study, Peikoff identifies the three methods people use to integrate concrete data into a whole, as when connecting diverse experiments by a scientific theory, or separat
ebook, 400 pages
Published September 1st 2012 by New American Library
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Tal Boldo
Sep 25, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Philosophy lovers, thinkers who want to understand the world around them.
"Those who forget the past are doomed to repeat it." --George Santayana.

But remembering without understanding is useless. What the DIM hypothesis granted me is a key to understanding the link between ideas and their consequent actions, with which I can unlock the lessons of history.

The DIM hypothesis lays down three modes of human thought (from which two additional, mixed modes are derived). These then act as a truth serum for all ideas, past, present and future, in every human endeavor. How? De
Michael Mangold
Sep 18, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An advanced philosophical presentation of Leonard Peikoff’s theory for cultural analysis. The theory holds that there are three primary modes of cognitive integration (Disintegration, Integration, and Misintegration—DIM), closely associated with the Big Three philosophers (Kant, Aristotle, Plato). For a shorthand representation of these three, it is useful to summarize that one either opposes integration (Disintegration), does it properly (Integration) or does it improperly (Misintegration). An ...more
Sep 21, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In the DIM Hypothesis: Why the Lights of the West Are Going Out, Dr. Leonard Peikoff puts forth his theory of how cultural change occurs, and, by illuminating the cause(s) of such change throughout the history of Western civilization, he finishes by giving a grave portrait of this country's future. Peikoff presents his case first by pointing out how the role of ideas, particularly the method of forming and using ideas, affects one's actions and, therefore, the actions of society--the actions of ...more
Dec 07, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In The DIM Hypothesis, Leonard Peikoff claims a culture’s predominant method of integrating crucial cultural information in the areas of science, ethics, religion, esthetics, etc., ultimately determines its history. The integration he has in mind is in terms of answers to the two fundamental questions behind metaphysics and epistemology:

1)Metaphysics: Is the universe ruled by laws or is it an unpredictable flux?
2)Epistemology: Is the universe knowable, i.e., can it be made sense of through senso
Roslyn Ross
The conclusion: we are headed for another dark ages--ruled by the church again!

This book was interesting and it did not need to convince me that we are headed for collapse BUT, even with all his over-proofing, I remain unconvinced that it will really be the church that rules the masses.

I gave it three stars because 1) it was a pleasure to read someone working hard to be rational BUT Peikoff seems to have to work really really really hard to use his mind, which made his book a little laborious t
Jan 16, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I sat down this morning to give this book one more good college try. I just can't keep going, though I wanted to make it through a book that so many people I know are raving about, at least to be able to justify my dislike of it. But a little more than a quarter of the way through, I have realized that there are so many books to read and that DIM is not a good use of my time.

I tried to take the book seriously as a work of scholarship; I read with pen in hand and took copious notes. However, the
Dec 15, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Next to Atlas Shrugged, the greatest book ever written that will not be understood by its readers until they live through it, and not even then. To be saved for future historians, assuming there are any left at some point when it will matter.
Alexander Temerev
Peikoff certainly does present a compelling hypothesis, but he lacks brilliant style of Ayn Rand. This book might be a little hard to read, and requires some previous understanding of philosophy. And I don't agree with certainty with Mr. Peikoff's final prediction.

But I still enjoyed the book.
Jack Gardner
Finished parts 1 & 2. Finding it a very useful and informative approach to essentializing and categorizing literature, physics, education, and politics of historical periods. Relating their progressions and digressions in terms of integration of subject matter and the consequences thereof also shows interrelations among these areas of thought. Good stuff.

I could quibble about some of the presentation, but this is too useful and important not to be 5 stars. Well done by and large.
Josiah Redding
Interesting ideas, it is just dense and written way too long.
Jul 28, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Objectivism is an interesting subject, and Dr. Peikoff's method of addressing Integration as a means of promoting it seemed equally interesting. For the most part, this holds true throughout the book, but it couldn't completely overwhelm the author's aggressively apologetic tone or the occasional blaring misinterpretations.

I picked up this book on a late-night whim. I'm not a particularly big fan of Ayn Rand, and I tend to agree with most popular assertions that her work is the perfect subject
Dec 06, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"The worse the coming future, the more it should motivate its opponents." That phrase I read a lot of times before getting the book and it never meant anything to me nor seemed interesting one bit--by the time I finished the book, that changed drastically. I never really knew much about this book, but it always remained in my mind because of its author. I'm a bit familiar with his work. One of his books takes the task of explaining the whole Objectivist system--a book I have read many times. So, ...more
Nov 28, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
A Fun book, do not take it too seriously though. Peikoff made it very clear from the start that he believes this book to be groundbreaking. It is not.

How can you put a book down when the author claims to see the future? You can't. So I got stuck reading a book which I now regret wasting the time. Peikoff does not claim to see or know the future but he claims to know WHEN it is going to happen. So according to Peikoff we are now entering a different phase in history which will bring about great c
D. B.
Jan 04, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
In a telling section in The DIM Hypothesis, Peikoff essentially dismisses the Renaissance, because it doesn't conform to the oversimplified tenets of his theory. This is a major flaw in the overall presentation of his theory and predictions, because essentially what he's arguing is that the world--specifically the U.S.--needs a dramatic change in its philosophical underpinnings. He attributes the Enlightenement to the rediscovery and spread of Aristotle, which he also believes was a driving forc ...more
Cassandra Troy
Dec 20, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: objectivism
Great insights and another view on Western civilization and culture. Identification of thought on the DIM scale: Disintegration, Integration and Misintegration. Mixed forms: Worldly Supernaturalism (Stoics) and Secular Mysticism (rationalism, Platonists Spinoza and Descartes).
Addresses denial and evasion of induction in (post)modern thought. The result is evastating egalitarian nihilism (disintegration). It rejects: universals, generalizations, concepts, abstractions, fundamentals, standards, pr
Stephen Bourque
Sep 07, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Apart from Ayn Rand’s body of work itself, this is the single most remarkable feat of integration (i.e. of methodical, hierarchical conceptualization from innumerable particulars) I have ever encountered. It will take me years to fully digest it, but my estimate after my first careful reading is that Dr. Peikoff’s hypothesis is exactly--profoundly--correct.

Having just read the final chapters in one big gulp, I am astonished to find that my mental state is one of agitation and reeling, exhibiting
This book was excellent. I highly recommend it.

The objective of "DIM Hypothesis" was to show the different time of field, and how the three system was devising from the past, the aftermath, and the prediction of the America's future. On the first part, Peikoff discussed epistemology, and clarified what integration's intent. Why, it's very important in our process of thought.

[Integration Ayn Rand said, was the key to understanding human, knowledge as such, all of it, in any field, era, or stage
Michael Brown
Dec 09, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone interested in Rand and/or in new takes on history
Summary: Breaking new ground.

Ayn Rand's longest-tenured and most deeply devoted student, Leonard Peikoff breaks into entirely untrodden ground in this, his life's masterwork. There is an ease in his introductory walk-through the philosophy of Objectivism's theory of concepts and their relationship to human survival and thriving that is distinctive in the literature of this most distinct (and newly controversial) philosophy. That groundwork is extended through unexpected connections and insights
Sep 10, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The book presents an application of Objectivism to the philosophy of culture and history, as it pertains to the history of the West. I found it absolutely fascinating, breathtaking in its scope, and much clearer than any other technical philosophical work I have read.

However, I am not yet sure of the truth of the hypothesis (which is about "modes of integration" in cultural products, i.e., misintegration, integration, disintegration, and two "hybrid" modes) nor about the degree of certainty wit
Sep 17, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Fascinating.Philosophy as the basis for culture; Looks at cultural history through the lens of "modal analysis": dividing the method of epistemological/Metaphysical integration into three main types: Integration (as exemplified in the philosophy of Aristotle:I) Misintegration (Plato:M), and Disintegration (Kant:D), and whereby a given era's cultural products (Literature,Physics,Education, and Politics) can thus be contextualized.
Traces ways in which movement from one mode to another can occur ("
Paul McAtee
This book is so important, I think it is Peikoff's master-work. He attempts to put all of Objectivism and Greek Philosophy into a Macro-historical model which seems to work while you're reading it. In real life there is a point where it actually seems to become limiting, but if you can get your coffee/chess/philosophy buddy to read it you'll have endless hours of discussion material and a new model for viewing just about everything that has ever happened in western civilization. You start to see ...more
Shivendra Singh
Mar 14, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Akin to Bhavishya Puraan. But it doesn't predicts future mystically, or because the author felt like it; it does so on the basis of strict induction from historical and contemporary facts. In order to paint the picture of the future, the author studies both past and present - the former to gauge the inertia involved, the latter to determine the momentum. It's range? Not only the problems and future of the west, but that of any country on earth. It's application? To maintain the right mode of thi ...more
Boaz Simovici
Sep 10, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I might revise my assessment after another reading and give a full review. For now I'll note that there are important new ideas (and moments of genius) in this book, but I don't believe his theory does the work he thinks it does. Indeed, given the scale of what he wants to explain, the gaps in his discussion of some historical eras/developments are astonishing and (for me) inexplicable.

Still, this book is endlessly interesting (if occasionally very difficult to follow) if you're familiar with A
Jeffrey Falk
Jun 21, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a systematic, erudite overview of Western civilization and thought, past and present, with a heterodox prognostication for the not-so-distant future. The philosophical detective work penetrates to the root of cultures and their individual products (treatises, literary works, scientific theories, pedagogical methods, and political systems) with a perspicacious eye toward the underlying epistemology of each. The author's prognosis of modern culture and his conclusion concerning its likely ...more
Sep 12, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is about a novel (to the best of my knowledge) and very broad-based analysis of the basic reasons for the rise and fall of civilizations. The ultimate focus, naturally, is on the fate of our current western and US civilization. The prospects, according to the author, are grim, but not as grim as I had presupposed they would be. The premise and conclusions are well thought out, and their scope is breathtaking. I recommend this book, but it would probably help readers to have a basic und ...more
Jeff Yoak
I think it is time to admit that I'm abandoning this. I was making very slow, occasional progress and I do think the info is quite valuable, but I have little time for paper books and this one just didn't have me coming back for more.

I lost this book (probably somewhere in my house) surrounding a vacation almost a month ago and haven't been tempted to look at it. Perhaps I'll pick it up again some day when things are set up better for reading physical books.
Roberto Guzman
Apr 11, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: objectivism
This book is a monumental achievement that has taken Leonard Peikoff over 10 years to research and write. It is an Objectivist analysis of the history of western philosophy that seeks to explain each major epoch of human history in terms of its approach to concepts and ideas. I am not sure I agree with Peikoff's conclusion, but his DIM categories (DIM is an acronym that describes the three major modes of processing concepts) demonstrate the best (and worst) that philosophy has to offer.
Oct 06, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
So far this book is an absolutely amazing analysis on the essentials of the three main philosophical roots in the West (Platonism, Aristotelian and Kantian) and how they are manifested during the West's major historical periods. Within each period, Dr. Peikoff looks at the philosophical influence on art (via literature), science, education and politics showing how ideas influence and shape every aspect of a culture. I am quite enjoying this.
Matthew Squire
Sep 17, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book keeps the same premise of Ominous Parallels but offers a more clear cut argument for those that might not agree with Peikoff's historical interpretation of the causes of national socialism, or prosperous states.
Greg Hadaller
Jun 21, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
A book in four parts. I enjoyed the first two so much they carried me through the third, which I found less interesting. The fourth I found insightful, to say the least, but still not as engrossing as the first two parts. Highly recommended as a philosophy, political, and history book.
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Leonard S. Peikoff (born October 15, 1933) is a Canadian-American philosopher. He is an author, a leading advocate of Objectivism and the founder of the Ayn Rand Institute. A former professor of philosophy, he was designated by the novelist Ayn Rand as heir to her estate. For several years, he hosted a radio talk show.
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“The worse the coming future, the more it should motivate its opponents.” 9 likes
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