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Concepts integrate perceptual knowledge and serve to reduce the enormous amount of it we acquire to a smaller number of perceptual concretes that we can grasp mentally. What purposes other than that do principles that we induce serve, if any? And, if principles integrate perceptually given similar existents, shouldn't they be certain knowledge in the same way concepts are?

asked Jun 21 '13 at 17:46

Burke's gravatar image

Burke ♦

This is exactly what David Harriman argues in The Logical Leap, if I recall correctly from a quick reading of his book. Refer also to the topics of "Principles" and "Propositions" in The Ayn Rand Lexicon. I've always understood principles to be propositions and thus made of concepts strung together according to the grammar of human language. In noting that principles serve essentially the same basic purpose as concepts, one must still remember that principles don't integrate percepts directly, just as higher level concepts don't integrate percepts directly, either. There are one or more intermediate hiearchical levels (lower level concepts) involved between the abstraction and perceptual concretes. "Subsuming" concretes doesn't necessarily mean integrating them directly, like first-level concepts. There is also the issue of the "problem of induction" to consider, as Ayn Rand discusses in ITOE 2nd Ed., late in the Appendix in the "Philosophy of Science" section. During her own lifetime, Ayn Rand wasn't quite ready to claim that her theory of concepts solves the problem of induction, but David Harriman and Leonard Peikoff have advanced their own work considerably farther in that direction.

answered Jun 23 '13 at 17:49

Ideas%20for%20Life's gravatar image

Ideas for Life ♦

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Asked: Jun 21 '13 at 17:46

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Last updated: Jun 23 '13 at 17:49