login about faq

And what is the correct definition of truth by objectivism? Are mental images truth bearers on or only meanings which refer to the referents or things in the world?

asked Sep 12 '12 at 17:26

kevindurant's gravatar image


edited Sep 12 '12 at 18:08

Greg%20Perkins's gravatar image

Greg Perkins ♦♦

Here's some official material on truth: http://aynrandlexicon.com/lexicon/truth.html

To go further, I'd need you to define "mental images", and further clarify what you are talking about.

answered Nov 08 '12 at 13:45

John%20Paquette's gravatar image

John Paquette ♦

The expression "truth-bearer" also needs clarification. It may be referring to someone or something that allows man to gain knowledge of something, like Moses coming down from the volcanic mountain and presenting man with the Ten Commandments engraved in stone tablets for all eternity. If this is the basic idea, it raises two questions:

  • Knolwedge of what? Knowledge of a "higher reality," perhaps a "spiritual reality," or knowledge of this-worldly secular reality? Objectivism recognizes only secular reality.

  • What allows man to gain knowledge? Divine revelation? Or sense-perception and conceptual generalization from what man observes?

"Truth bearer" sounds like the kind of expression that would be associated with an 'M' mode of integration (referring to "misintegration" in the DIM system of modes of integration), whereas Objectivism is an 'I' philosophy (referring to "inegration" in the DIM system).

Update: Two Clarifications

The comments offer some useful perspective on the meaning of "truth-bearers," But Objectivism doesn't really have "truth-bearers" in the Platonic (supernatural) or even Aristotelian (secular-intrinsic) senses. As the Lexicon excerpts explain, "truth" in Objectivism is the result of both an objective reality and a process of cognition, i.e., both existence and consciousness. Truth is that which exists as identified by man, and identification is a process of consciousness.

Another comment mentions the philosophical status of the DIM Hypothesis. Dr. Peikoff refers to it as a "hypothesis," which he believes to be correct but nevertheless open to independent evaluation by others:

Despite my debt to Ayn Rand, I must make clear that she is not responsible for any of the ideas in this book other than those she herself stated. I never discussed the DIM Hypothesis with her, and in fact I developed my approach to cultural analysis many years after she died. Although I base it on her ideas, as I have said, I do not claim that her ideas necessarily imply my hypothesis. In theory, it is possible that Objectivism is true, but that I have misapplied it in my interpretation of history. I do not believe that I have done so, but I do not want Ayn Rand's name or philosophy to pay the penalty for whatever errors I may have made. It is a grave injustice to saddle any creator, after her death, with the theories of her followers, however well-meaning and intelligent they may be.... So I pose the question to the reader: Is this a pioneering epic [80 to 85% chance], a recycling of the obvious [10 to 15% chance], or the maunderings of a mind that has lost it [5% chance]? I know my own answer.

(Quoted from the Preface, pp. xv-xvi. Percentage probability estimates taken from an elided paragraph.)

answered Nov 11 '12 at 10:28

Ideas%20for%20Life's gravatar image

Ideas for Life ♦

edited Nov 13 '12 at 00:18

I assume this is a reference to the identity/correspondence theories of truth: See http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/truth-identity/ and http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/truth-correspondence/ and http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/truth/#TruBea

"Correspondence theories of truth have been given for beliefs, thoughts, ideas, judgments, statements, assertions, utterances, sentences, and propositions. It has become customary to talk of truthbearers whenever one wants to stay neutral between these choices."

That said, I don't have the expertise to comment further.

(Nov 11 '12 at 14:06) anthony anthony's gravatar image

I think it should be indicated that the DIM system and its terminology are not part of Objectivism. They may be correct and informative, but DIM is a development of Leonard Peikoff, who certainly had Ayn Rand's endorsement, but not the power to extend the content of Objectivism as such.

(Nov 11 '12 at 20:34) John Paquette ♦ John%20Paquette's gravatar image

There is a very relevant quote by Ayn Rand on the subject of truth in the Ayn Rand Lexicon (the link that John Paquette provided ) that is worth posting here:

"Truth is the product of the recognition (i.e., identification) of the facts of reality. Man identifies and integrates the facts of reality by means of concepts. He retains concepts in his mind by means of definitions. He organizes concepts into propositions—and the truth or falsehood of his propositions rests, not only on their relation to the facts he asserts, but also on the truth or falsehood of the definitions of the concepts he uses to assert them, which rests on the truth or falsehood of his designations of essential characteristics."

So concepts, propositions, definitions, etc. would all be "truth-bearers" if I understood correctly what that term means from reading the Stanford philosophy pages.

To answer your other questions, all of these mental entities refer to the world directly, not to an indirect reference which refers to the world. A statement, concept, idea, utterance, proposition, definition, etc. is true if it correctly identifies the facts of reality, it is false if it does not. Objectivism rejects Kant's idea that we can only speak intelligibly of a "phenomenal world" which is distinct from the actual world.

answered Nov 14 '12 at 23:48

Francisco's gravatar image

Francisco ♦


That's a great and profound AR quote, especially the final clause. It's all about essential characteristics. If you get those wrong, you can become terribly confused.

E.g. "While Americanism does indeed draw upon existing ideas that go way back in history, it does so in the way that Isaac Newton or Albert Einstein did in physics — by introducing a radical new integration that jettisons long-established errors and resolves ancient contradictions." (http://www.newclarion.com/2009/06/one-liberty-indivisible/)

Intellectual advancement is primarily about discovering essential characteristics.

(Nov 15 '12 at 07:33) John Paquette ♦ John%20Paquette's gravatar image

Ancient contradictions exist for a lack of knowledge of essential characteristics.

(Nov 15 '12 at 07:33) John Paquette ♦ John%20Paquette's gravatar image

Follow this question

By Email:

Once you sign in you will be able to subscribe for any updates here



Answers and Comments

Share This Page:



Asked: Sep 12 '12 at 17:26

Seen: 1,844 times

Last updated: Nov 15 '12 at 07:33