The Full Wiki

Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology: Wikis


Note: Many of our articles have direct quotes from sources you can cite, within the Wikipedia article! This article doesn't yet, but we're working on it! See more info or our list of citable articles.


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology  
Rand - ITOE.jpg
Cover of the 1990 second edition
Author Ayn Rand
Country United States
Language English
Subject(s) Epistemology
Publisher New American Library (first edition)
Meridian (second edition)
Publication date 1979 (first edition)
1990 (second edition)
Media type Print
Pages 164 (first edition)
314 (second edition)
ISBN ISBN 0-451-61751-7 (first edition)
ISBN 0-452-01030-6 (second edition)
OCLC Number 20353709

Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology, published in 1979, is Ayn Rand's essentialised summation of the Objectivist theory of concepts and solution to the problem of universals. The book deals with the mental processes of conceptualization, the nature of definitions, distinguishing legitimate concepts from "anti-concepts," the hierarchical nature of knowledge, and what constitutes valid axiomatic knowledge. The book also includes an essay by Leonard Peikoff in which he argues against Immanuel Kant's theory of analytic propositions and synthetic propositions. These works were originally serialized in The Objectivist from 1966 to 1967, then published in a paperback by The Objectivist in 1967.

The second edition of Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology contains a transcript of Ayn Rand's "Question-and-Answer" session with various professors of philosophy, mathematics, and physics about her epistemology that followed a lecture series she gave on epistemology between 1969 and 1971.

Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology is the most technical of Ayn Rand's books, and for many is the most difficult.



The issue of concepts (known as "the problem of universals") is philosophy's central issue. Since man's knowledge is gained and held in conceptual form, the validity of man's knowledge depends upon the validity of concepts. But concepts are abstractions or universals, and everything that man perceives is particular, concrete. What is the relationship between abstractions and concretes? To what precisely do concepts refer in reality? Do they refer to something real, something that exists - or are they merely inventions of man's mind, arbitrary constructs or loose approximations that cannot claim to represent knowledge?[1]

Table of contents

Foreword to the First Edition
1. Cognition and Measurement
2. Concept-Formation
3. Abstraction from Abstractions
4. Concepts of Consciousness
5. Definitions
6. Axiomatic Concepts
7. The Cognitive Role of Concepts
8. Consciousness and Identity
The Analytic-Synthetic Dichotomy by Leonard Peikoff


Foreword to the Second Edition by Leonard Peikoff
Preface by Harry Binswanger
Appendix Table of Contents
Opening Remarks by Ayn Rand (opening remarks for the Epistemological Workshops)
Abstraction as Measurement-Omission
Concepts as Mental Existents
Implicit Concepts
The Role of Words
Measurement, Unit and Mathematics
Abstraction from Abstractions
Concepts of Consciousness
Axiomatic Concepts
Entities and Their Makeup
Philosophy of Science
Concluding Historical Postscript

Axiomatic concepts

Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology describes axiomatic concepts as, "...the identification of a primary fact of reality, which cannot be analyzed, i.e., reduced to other facts or broken into component parts."

The three axiomatic concepts identified in Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology are "existence", "identity" and "consciousness".

Foreign Language Translations

  • German
  • French
  • Italian
  • Spanish
  • Danish
  • Hindi
  • Chinese
  • Japanese
  • Korean
  • Welsh

Further reading


  1. ^ Rand, Ayn (1990). Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology, Expanded 2nd Edition. ISBN 0-452-01030-6.  

External links


Got something to say? Make a comment.
Your name
Your email address