Find Enlightenment

OPAR, Chapter Four
by Dave Saum

Date: 22 Dec 1992
Forum: Moderated Discussion of Objectivist Philosophy
Copyright: Dave Saum


Although Chapter 4 covers a number of related issues, I will focus this essay on the central idea of objectivity. Section 2 below is my summary of Leonard Peikoff's development of the concept, and Section 3 is my analysis of Peikoff's development. I make liberal use of quotes in order to present Peikoff's ideas accurately. My analysis considers whether Peikoff's analysis of objectivity is consistent with Ayn Rand's work, and whether it is true (consistent with reality).

In addition to reading OPAR, I found it very helpful to listen to Peikoff's 1987 taped lectures "Objectivism: The State of the Art" #3 and #4 which I will refer to as OSA (the tapes are available from Second Renaissance Books). In these lectures Peikoff discusses the material in OPAR Chapter 4, answers questions, and makes many comments that are not in OPAR.


What is the significance of the concept of objectivity?

"If the purpose of epistemology is guidance in the use of concepts, then the foundation and essence of all guidance is objectivity. Everything else in epistemology is the implementation; it tells you how to be objective. But the first law of thought is: be objective." [OSA, tape 3, side A]

2.1 How does Peikoff reach a definition of Objectivity?

He argues that the concept "objectivity" arises from the fact that concepts are formed a certain way. You can not form this concept correctly if you do not have a proper theory of concepts. Rand's revolutionary theory of concepts enables us to form the concept of objectivity properly. Existence alone does not create concepts (intrinsicism), nor does consciousness alone (subjectivism); they are products of a relationship between of existence and consciousness (objectivism). Objectivism holds that concepts would not exist without man's volitional consciousness (eliminating intrinsicism), but they must adhere to the facts of reality (eliminating subjectivism). Concepts are a human perspective on reality. There is a metaphysical basis for concepts since the instances in reality do possess similar characteristics in some respect. Summarizing:

"Concepts are integrations of data, formed by a volitional human process, in accordance with a human method."

"Therefore the first description of objective is: reality as processed by a volitional human consciousness. Anything that has that status is objective. Both of these elements are utterly essential. It has to be facts that we are focussed on, but it is our processing that does it."

"This term that began with the concept forming process immediately leads us to an overall theory of knowledge as such. Knowledge is much broader than concept formation. Most of us will never form a new concept as long as we live. We have probably got only a dozen new concepts in the last dozen years. Most of what we do involves using concepts to acquire knowledge. But what I am saying now is that once we form this concept of objective to apply to concept formation, that immediately leads us to conclusions about all cognition, all knowledge, whether or not it involves forming new concepts." [OSA, tape 3, side A]

"Thus we reach Ayn Rand's view of objectivity, which is a derivative of her theory of concepts. Here in my own words, is her definition. To be "objective" in one's conceptual activities is volitionally to adhere to reality by following certain rules of method, a method based on facts and appropriate to man's form of cognition." [OPAR, 117.]

2.2 What is the "method" of objectivity?

"The answer in a word is: logic. Logic is a volitional consciousness's method of conforming to reality. It is the method of reason." [OPAR, 118.]

2.3 What is the Objectivist conception of logic?

"Logic is the art of noncontradictory identification." [Rand quoted on OPAR, 118.]

"It is important to note that the process must be grounded in observed fact. To derive a conclusion from arbitrary premises, which represent subjective whims, is not a process of logic." [OPAR, 119.]

2.4 How does objectivity deal with the "contextual" nature of concepts?

"In other words, concepts are formed in a context--by relating concretes to a field of contrasting entities. This body of relationships, which constitutes the context of the concept, is what determines its meaning."

"Human knowledge on every level is relational. It is an organization of elements, each relevant to and bearing on the others. Knowledge is not a juxtaposition of independent items; it is a unity." [OPAR, 122.]

"Knowledge, therefore which seeks to grasp reality must also be total; it elements must be interconnected to form a unified whole reflecting the whole which is the universe."

"hence the essential rule of contextual cognition: always hold the context. Or to put it negatively: context must never be dropped." [OPAR, 123]

As an example of dropping context, Peikoff points to Nevil Chamberlain's argument in favor of appeasing Hitler.

2.5 How can you use "integration" to determine the full context of knowledge is in agreement with a new idea?

"How is man to know whether he is contradicting himself at a given time?...There is only one alternative: a man must work to integrate a new idea. Since a conceptual consciousness is an integrating mechanism, it demands the integration of all its contents."

"One step at a time, man must relate any new item to his previous ideas....Judging on the basis of available evidence, he must either amend his former views or reject the new claim." [OPAR, 125.]

2.6 How does the "hierarchical" structure of knowledge lead to the need for "reduction"?

"The epistemological responsibility imposed on man by the fact that knowledge is contextual is the need of integration. The responsibility imposed by the fact that knowledge is hierarchical is: the need for reduction." [OPAR, 132.]

"Reduction is the process of identifying in logical sequence the intermediate steps that relate a cognitive item to perceptual data." [OPAR, 133.]

Peikoff give an example of reducing the concept "friend". He proceeds as follows: take the definition of friend and identify the constituent concepts (esteem, knowledge, man, etc.). Then analyze each of these concepts until you ultimately comes to first level concepts like "table".

"The method consists of asking repeatedly: what does one have to know in order to reach and understand a given step?"

"What earlier concepts does this presuppose?" [OPAR, 134.]

2.7 What is the relation between definition and reduction?

"In regard to higher level concepts, reduction completes the job of definition...Reduction is what takes a person from the initial definition through the definitions of the next lower level and then of the next, until he reaches a direct perception of reality." [OPAR, 136.]

2.8 What does Peikoff consider as Rand's major contribution to the concept of Objectivity?

"She is the first philosopher to identify the differences separating an intrinsicist, a subjectivist, and an objectivist approach to epistemology."

"She is the first to base a definition of "objectivity" on a proper theory of concepts."

"She the first thinker to identify explicitly the fact that logic, including the recognition of context and hierarchy, is the method of achieving objectivity. This is the knowledge that is necessary to convert objectivity from an elusive idea to a normal actuality." [OPAR,150.]

2.9 In summary, what does it mean to be have objective knowledge?

Summarizing and condensing Peikoff, you can claim your knowledge is objective if:

a. your concept formation is based on the objectivist theory of concepts (2.1 above),

b. your basic method of thought is logic (2.2 above),

c. your method of logic includes grounding all premises in fact (2.3 above),

d. your concepts are formed within a context of the whole of your knowledge (2.4 above),

e. you have integrated your knowledge to prevent contradictions in context (2.5 above), and

f. you have reduced all your higher level concepts to perceptual data because of the hierarchical structure of reality (2.6 above).

2.10 How do you actually go about integrating your knowledge so that you can claim objectivity?

This question was asked by students at Peikoff's 1987 lectures and he gave the following suggestion for the "concepts in a hat" game:

"If you want an place to start, I would say integrate your philosophical knowledge first, within the limits of the possible. Philosophy is the framework that is going to enable you to judge and interpret all the rest. So it is not a bad exercise, since in philosophy everything is relevant to everything else, to take two philosophic ideas at random. I would recommend this as a parlor game.

Take 25 Objectivist principles or theories, ranging from metaphysics to esthetics. Drop then is an hat, shuffle them all up, and take any two at random, and see if you can find what the connection, or order of dependence or relationship is.

That is one the things that I did when I was first learning Objectivism and I first used to come up with a complete blank wall. Now I don't mean to encourage rationalism. You have to actually look at reality in the process.

For instance I remember on of the very first things like this that I was given was 'validity of the senses' and 'private roads'. What's the connection? ... In my twenties that really stopped me cold.

Finally I was led to this. Private roads, how do you defend this? Well, they are an expression of the fact that the purpose of government is only the protection of individual rights, not any part of economic life such as transportation. Well, how do you defend individual rights? Well after some argument you get to 'man is a rational being who survives by the exercise of his mind, so he has to be left free'.

Well, how do you know his mind is valid, what does that depend on? Well you couldn't trust his mind if you couldn't trust your senses because the mind is the conceptualization of sensory data. Now there are a lot more links, but even at that point, even on that level, you see that there is a connection between private roads and the validity of the senses.

That much lets you know from now on that as soon as someone attacks the senses, it is hopeless to preach capitalism to them. ... If you just do that, trying not to be too rationalistic about it, but step by step as a game, it is a very good exercise in integration that will teach you to not be astonished at the connections between one thing and another." [OSA, tape 6]

2.11 Do Peikoff's ideas on hierarchy come directly from discussions with Rand?

I believe that Peikoff makes some relevant comments in an interview in recent interview by Kathy Kroeger in the Ayn Rand Institute Newsletter:

"Q: Did you views on philosophical hierarchy change during the writing of OPAR? A: It's not that they changed as much as I didn't have firm views on hierarchy in regard to a great many ideas until the last ten years or so. In order to reach such views I had to have the goal of presenting the system as a whole"

"I began {after 1980} to have a great interest in seminars and classes designed to figure out the proper, logical order of the system's development." [ARI NL, March 1992]

Note that these views appear to have been largely formed since Rand's death, and they were NOT based on discussions with her. See the quotes under hierarchy in Binswanger's "Lexicon" for Rand's views on the role of hierarchy. The interview continues with Peikoff saying:

"I always liked figuring out the proper order, the logical sequence, I think that is the ultimate source of my decision to present Objectivism in hierarchical terms. That was the real fascination and challenge of OPAR for me: Where does one start, what comes next, and so on to the last period. Logical structure was my primary interest in teaching as such, even before I knew anything about philosophy." [ARI NL, October 1992]


I find Peikoff's concept of objectivity very complex and therefore difficult to hold in my mind and apply consistently. In addition, I find his directions for its full application to be quite laborious and intellectually daunting. Of course this may be a confession of my own intellectual weakness rather than a criticism of the ideas. But I am led to seek a simpler conception of objectivity that would be easier to grasp and apply consistently. Isn't simplicity (i.e. the crow epistemology) a major object of proper concept formation? Of course any criticism of Peikoff's views or an alternative theory must be consistent with Rand's views and reality.

3.1 What about the conventional meaning of the concept of objectivity?

I find any discussions of philosophical objectivity confusing unless we initially distinguish the conventional concept of objectivity from the technical philosophic concept. The conventional dictionary definition has two primary meanings:

a. being independent of the mind (as in "objective reality"), and

b. without bias or prejudice.

Peikoff briefly considers metaphysical use "a" in OSA, and he suggests that this use is OK, and that it will not be confused with Rand's epistemological use, but I am not aware that he ever mentions use "b". I agree with his comments on use "a".But conventional use "b" is epistemological on only a very basic level, since it refers a basic precondition of valid thought: a lack of bias or prejudice. This is this certainly a legitimate concept that is widely used. In fact, if you told someone outside of this email list that you were discussing objectivity, they would naturally assume that you were discussing the effects of "bias and prejudice" on knowledge, rather than theories of concept formation and their consequences for knowledge. These concepts are so different that we must distinguish between the two epistemological uses; I will use the terms "conventional objectivity" and "philosophical objectivity". If we don't make this distinction then it will difficult for us to communicate with non Objectivists, and this would seem to violate a fundamental rule of concept formation (intelligibility). This problem arises because of the name Objectivism that Rand gave her philosophy. If Rand had called her philosophy "Randism" then we would be discussing whether knowledge is "Randian", and objectivity would have its conventional meaning. By not making this distinction clear, Peikoff implies (incorrectly, I believe) that the two epistemological uses of objectivity should be included with one concept.

3.2 Does Peikoff's concept of objectivity violate Rand's epistemological razor?

I find Peikoff's development of "objectivity" so complex that it is difficult for me to grasp. It has been made so wide that the basis (theory of concepts) is in danger of being overlooked due to the emphasis on logic, context, integration and reduction. Peikoff may have violated the corollary to Rand's epistemological razor:

"concepts are not to be integrated in disregard for necessity" [IOE, 96.].

To illustrate the corollary, Rand says that if we found a rational spider on Mars, it could not be considered a man even though it was a "rational animal". I would be too different in other ways to constructively integrate into the concept "man". A separate concept would be needed, and the definition of man would have to be modified. In the same way, I think that integrating logic, integration and reduction into a primary focus of the concept of "objective", even though they are related, confuses the proper focus of objectivity: the Objectivist theory of concepts.

In Peikoff's definition:

"To be "objective" in one's conceptual activities is volitionally to adhere to reality by following certain rules of method, a method based on facts and appropriate to man's form of cognition." [OPAR, 117.]

the theory of concept formation has become secondary to the rules of method (logic) which incorporates integration and reduction. On this basis I suggest the following definition:

To be "objective" in one's conceptual activities is volitionally to adhere to reality by regarding the object of knowledge as the world itself, as it appears to a knower with our faculties, employing the method required by our nature: observation, concepts and logic.

Some of this wording was taken from David Kelley's "Truth and Toleration", pages 2 and 61. Note that my changes to Peikoff's definition are primarily in emphasis and focus. But that is precisely my point.

3.3 Did Ayn Rand use the term objectivity in the wide sense that Peikoff does?

Binswanger's "Lexicon" provides some example of Rand's statements that are similar to Peikoff's. For instance:

Under objectivity:

"Epistemologically, it [objectivity] is the recognition of the fact that a perceiver's (man's) consciousness must acquire knowledge of reality by certain means (reason) in accordance with certain rules (logic)." [Rand, "Who is the Final Authority in Ethics", TON]

under Logic:

"The fundamental concept of method,the one on which all others depend, is logic." [IOE, 46.]

and under Hierarchy:

"Since the definition of a concept is formulated in terms of other concepts, it enables man, not only to identify and retain a concept, but to establish the relationships, the hierarchy, the integration of all his concepts and thus the integration of his knowledge." [IOE, 52.]

Therefore it seems that Peikoff took the general form of his derivation of objectivity from Rand. But Rand (according to Peikoff) never explicitly defined objectivity, and Peikoff seems to have added a considerable amount of his own interpretation to his development in OPAR including his description of reduction and his ideas on achieving integration. Perhaps the question to ask is what method Rand actually used in her own thinking? To the extent it can be determined from her written works? It is interesting that Rand's recommended method for analyzing concepts (Rand's Question) is _not_ included in OPAR:

"When in doubt about the meaning of a concept, the best method of clarification is to look for its referents; i.e. to ask oneself: What fact or facts of reality give rise to this concept? What distinguishes it from all other concepts?" [IOE, 67.]

3.4 Is Rand's Question the same as Peikoff's Reduction?

Although both procedures attempt to link concepts with the facts of reality, they are quite different. The answer to Rand's Question (e.g., Rand's analysis of "justice" [IOE, 67.]) explains the meaning of the concept, and this answer is therefor the source of the definition. Peikoff's reduction starts with the definition and "reduces" the constituent concepts back to first level concepts. Since Peikoff accepts the definition as given, his reduction does not explain its ultimate source as Rand does. It does not appear that Rand could have reached her insights on the nature of ethics, art, rights, etc. if she had used Peikoff's reduction instead of Rand's Question.

Where is there evidence in Rand's writings that she practiced objectivity as defined by Peikoff? When she was developing her insights about various branches of knowledge did she rely on logic, context, integration and reduction as Peikoff describes them? For instance, when she was analyzing ethics, did she ask: what are the concepts that the concept of ethics depends, and how are these concepts interrelated? Or did she ask: why does man need ethics, and what are the facts that give rise to the concept? When she analyzed art, did she ask: what are the concepts on which the concept of art depends, and how are they interrelated? Or did she ask: why does man need art, and what are the facts that give rise to the concept?

3.5 Does Chamberlain's appeasement of Hitler represent context dropping and lack of objectivity?

Although my knowledge of this historical episode is sketchy, I believe that Peikoff does not consider the relevant facts that constitute the actual context of this episode. What options did Chamberlain have when facing Hitler over Czechoslovakia in Munich? He did not have the military power to stop Hitler, and Hitler knew it. Any threat of war was hollow. That was the result of a long-term failure to rearm that had complex historical, economic and political roots. When Chamberlain made his appeasement speech to the British people, he could have said that his policies against rearming had proved wrong in hindsight, and that the opposing party led by Churchill had been right all along. Of course that confession world have brought down his government and destroyed his life's work in politics in the twilight of his life. Instead, I am not surprised that in this context he chose the best of a poor selection of options (a slight chance, as he probably knew) and told the British that Hitler would be satisfied by Czechoslovakia. Churchill and Hitler had him in a box.

This episode does not appear to represent a lack of "philosophic objectivity" rooted in an incorrect theory of concepts; rather it appears to be an example of lack of "conventional objectivity" or bias. As a politician, Chamberlain had a multiple conflicting allegiances: to his constituents (the British people), to his party, and to his career. It is naive to assume that a major political speech is not subject to this bias. Unfortunately, I do not think there is much that epistemology can offer to solve this type of problem. Peikoff's use of this example worries me because it seems to be an overextension of the use of philosophy to analyze the world around us without examining the actual facts and the participant's thoughts about them.

3.6 How would Rand have reduced the concept "friend"?

I imagine that Rand might have proceeded as follows:

What are the facts that give rise to the concept "friend"? Since man's survival is not guaranteed, and it requires thoughtful action, it is useful to distinguish persons who are a threat (enemies) from those who are not a threat. This is the most basic "friend versus foe" distinction. Since most non enemies are unlikely to offer any assistance, it useful to distinguish a narrower category of "persons who can or would offer support in some way", and to eliminate from consideration persons who are paid to provide support (the concepts of customer, servant, employee, etc. are formed to separate these persons). But why would other people offer support without any financial reward? By introspection we can identify at least two non financial reasons: emotional attachment (affection), and shared purposes or interests that are strong enough to actually cause one person to offer some support to another (esteem). Now, do we need a word to describe persons united by affection or esteem? Yes. That word is "friend".

At this point we have just considered the basic facts of reality involved with friendship without attempting any deeper explanation as to what processes underlie them. For instance, what produces emotions like affection? To explain this we would need a psychological theory of emotion. Of course Objectivism has distinctive views on emotion, but I think that we should be able to reach a general understanding of "friend" without this theory. We certainly do not want to claim that "friend" is incomprehensible without the Objectivist theory of emotions, since the vast majority of humanity uses it without any trouble.

3.7 How does Peikoff's reduction of "friend" differ from Rand's?

Peikoff's method of reduction is quite different since he starts with a definition of friend (persons united by esteem or affection) and analyzes the constituent concepts (value, purpose, choice, etc.). He keeps asking the question "what does one have to know in order to understand a given step" and he ends up with a logical chain that he summarizes as follows:

"MEN have to CHOOSE among PURPOSES by means of their VALUES, which fact generates certain kinds of mutual estimates and emotions, including ESTEEM and AFFECTION, which make possible a certain kind of human relationship, FRIENDSHIP." [OPAR, 138., italics in caps]

I generally agree with this quote since I agree with the Objectivist theory of emotions, but I see a problem of focus here that could lead to problems. Where Rand is looking out at reality in her method of reduction, Peikoff is generally looking inward at conceptual relationships. It is very easy for Peikoff's reasoning to turn rationalistic. This problem of focus is demonstrated in Peikoff's example of how to use his reduction:

.."if a man tells you: "I disagree with your ideas, I object to your actions, I disapprove of your associates, but we're still friends, because I'm criticizing you for your own good and I like you just the same"

"you would immediately reply: "If you reject everything important about me, how can you like me? for what attributes? What meaning does 'friendship' have once it is detached from the concept of 'values'?" Again, if you know the reduction, you can easily spot the error." [OPAR, 136.]

But this does not appear to be in agreement with reality, except in the case where the man is just mouthing platitudes. What about the important aspects of friendship like personality and sense of life that could make the man's statement perfectly correct and understandable? For instance: what did Roark and Dominique see in Wynand, despite his despicable actions and associates? This example suggests that it is important focus outwardly on the facts of reality, and avoid an inward- looking, rationalistic approach to reduction that focuses on the interconnection between concepts.

David Kelley has some interesting comments on Peikoff's reduction of "friend" [IOS Journal, Spring 1992]. For instance, Kelley notes that the hierarchy of concepts that Peikoff goes though in his reduction:

 Concepts for perceptual concretes
 ("table", "bed", "man", etc.)

does not follow a progression of starting with higher level concepts and moving (downward in diagram above) to concepts that are closer to the perceptual level. In fact, Peikoff's reduction seems to be moving in the opposite direction until his very last step. Unfortunately, Peikoff leaves out the this critical last step with the comment:

"The final steps backward, which I will not rehearse, do bring us eventually us to first level concepts"... [OPAR, 135.]

This means we do not have one complete example of Peikoff's reduction to examine in detail. Note that Rand's example of reduction (justice) is presented unambiguously in full.

3.8 Is Peikoff's emphasis on integration consistent with Rand's work, and with the progress of other branches of knowledge?

According to Peikoff's development of objectivity, to determine if new inductive conclusions are valid, they must be integrated with all of your previous knowledge. He recommends the "concepts in a hat" game as an exercise for achieving this integration. Is this view of integration consistent with Rand's work and with other fields of knowledge?

Rand certainly agreed that integration is an essential factor:

"Integration is a cardinal function of man's consciousness on all the levels of cognitive development.

Thereafter [after concept formation] cognitive development consists in integrating concepts into wider and ever wider concepts"... ["Art and Cognition," RM, pb 57.]

This last statement could be interpreted as a rationalistic process, and perhaps Peikoff interpreted it that way, but that interpretation does not seem consistent with Rand's work. For instance, I am not aware that she recommends the type of exercises or the primary focus on integration of concepts (rather than integrating new information from reality) that Peikoff recommends. Furthermore, I do not see that Rand makes use of the integration of concepts as a major tool in her most creative thinking on ethics, rights, etc. This suggests that neither integration nor logic is a primary tool in creative thought, although they are primary tools in validating or invalidating knowledge. Peikoff's emphasis of logic and hierarchy as primary tools of thought appears to be an inversion of Rand's focus on reality.

I do not think that the integration of concepts is regarded as a significant creative tool in other field of knowledge such as science. For instance, a focus on a perfectly integrated hierarchical understanding of the concepts of mass, energy and momentum is certainly not emphasized in physics education; the emphasis is on understanding how the arise from physical phenomena. Historically, modern science developed out of a reaction to scholastic science that did emphasize the perfectly integrated rationalistic systems that explained everything except the facts of reality.

3.9 How would Rand have reduced "objectivity"?

I imagine she might have proceeded as follows:

What facts of reality give rise to the concept "objective"? The fact that man's method of cognition is conceptual and he must chose (explicitly or implicitly) a theory of the basis of concepts. What choice does man have regarding the basis of concepts? Man can consider the basis of concepts to be arbitrary (subjective), revealed to us (intrinsic), or determined by the nature of man and reality (objective). Why is this concept a significant one for man to form? Since all his knowledge is in conceptual form, all proof and truth rest on the validity of his concepts, and a theory of concepts is at the root of any question of their validity. Now, do we need a term to designate man's volitional choice to regard the object of knowledge as the world itself, as it appears to a knower with our faculties? Yes. That concept is "objectivity".

3.10 Why does Peikoff change the primary focus of "objectivity" from concept formation to logic, context, and integration?

Peikoff appears to believe that the direct application of the Objectivist theory of concept formation is limited since few of us spend much time forming new concepts:

"This term that began with the concept forming process immediately leads us to an overall theory of knowledge as such. Knowledge is much broader than concept formation. Most of us will never form a new concept as long as we live. We have probably got only a dozen new concepts [philosophic?] in the last dozen years. Most of what we do involves using concepts to acquire knowledge. But what I am saying now is that once we form this concept of objective to apply to concept formation, that immediately leads us to conclusions about all cognition, all knowledge, whether or not it involves forming new concepts." [OSA, tape 3, side A]

But what about understanding the source of concepts? That appears to be the primary use of the theory of concepts, rather than the formation of new concepts. If we look at Rand's work, the explanation of the concepts appears to be her primary creative use of her theory of concepts. This is what she uses Rand's Question for. Her reductions provide the most basic explanation of the concept, and they are the basis of the definition; while Peikoff's reductions are said to "complete the definition", and they leave open the question of where definitions come from. Peikoff appears to have shifted the primary focus of objectivity to logic, context and integration because he did not consider the importance of concept formation in providing the fundamental method for the explanation of individual concepts. This is consistent with the omission of Rand's Question from OPAR.


Peikoff's OPAR development of the concept of objectivity seems to have a number of problems:

a. The OPAR development fails to identify the difference between a conventional meaning of the term objectivity (lack of bias) and the distinctly different philosophical meaning that is rooted in the theory of concepts.

b. The OPAR development does not include Rand's Question that led Rand to her most innovative analyses of abstract concepts. Instead Peikoff includes Peikoff's entirely different method reduction that examines the relation between concepts rather than examining the facts that led man to invent and utilize concepts.

c. The OPAR examples of reducing "friend" and context dropping by Chamberlain's appeasement overemphasize analysis of concept relationships at the expense of examining reality.

It appears that Peikoff has started by identifying the roots of objectivity in the Objectivist theory of concepts, but he has ended up expanding it so far that the original meaning is generally lost. My examination of Rand's works suggests that her primary method was the reexamination of abstract concepts in light of her theory of concept formation. The methods of logic, holding context and integration are all underlie the search for truth, and Objectivism has distinctive things to say about each one, but the fundamental method that Rand employed was her view of concept formation, and Peikoff's definition of objectivity inverts the proper order of consideration.

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