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 startlingly original solution to the problem that brought about the collapse of modern philosophy: the problem of universals. This brilliantly argued, superbly written work, together with an essay by philosophy professor Leonard Peikoff, is vital reading for all those who seek to discover that human beings can and should live by the guidance of reason.
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I like Ayn Rands fiction, but must admit, I did not expect her to be much of a philosopher. But I was positively surprised. First of all, it is actually a real introduction to (her theory of) epistemology, written without to much "look-at-me-I-am-doing-philosophy".. I do not agree with her conceptual realism, that concepts exists completely independent of humans. It smacks of Platonisms, which neither she or I believe in. But towards the end in the chapter called 'The cognitive role of concepts', I feel her theory comes together, and she really has something to contribute: an anti-metaphysical philosophy that is far from relativism. It also supports her political antagonism of communist social engineering, by believing fully in basic condition of being human. This may not be material for 'The 20 greatest philosophers', but her - somewhat 'simple' - common sensical philosophy is an interesting contribution to a theory of the human situation.more
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