Link To An Ayn Rand Paper By George Walsh: The Objectivist Attack On Kant

Full paper here.

It’s one thing to question the influence of a thinker’s effect on intellectual history (Kant poisoned everything after him with his idealism and mysticism,  and his “leaving room for faith” as Rand claims), it’s another to dispute his metaphysics.  Ayn Rand rejects Kant’s a-priori category of knowledge upon which he built much of his metaphysical system.  The author of the paper discusses (and summarizes) Rand’s similarities and differences with Kant.

“(1) They both accept the existence of a world whose major constituents they call entities or objects and regard as ordered in a system of space, time and causality and perceived by men generally. This world Kant calls “empirical reality” and Rand calls simply “reality.” In contrast to this world are some illusions and delusions whether individual or collective. These can be detected and corrected by the application of ordinary rules and processes. (But Rand interprets Kant as saying that the whole of what he calls “empirical reality” is itself a “collective delusion,” which is universal in scope.)

(2) They both agree that the proper use of man’s perceptual and conceptual faculties, in other words, his reason, in dealing with this world, results in knowledge.

(3) They both agree that man, by accepting this world as metaphysically given, i.e., “outside the power of any volition” (Rand), can adjust to it, control it and thrive in it.

(4) They both agree that in dealing epistemologically with the universe as a whole, we cannot treat it as an entity in the sense in which we call a table or a chair an entity, and can deal with it only in terms of the most fundamental concepts.”

You’ll have to go to the link for the differences.  As for me, I just had a conversation with a bright Objectivist and felt the need to respond much better than I did in the conversation.

Here’s Albert Einstein discussing Hume and Kant, among other ideas, in his Remarks On Bertrand Russell’s Theory Of Knowledge:

“The following, however, appears to me to be correct in Kant’s statement of the problem: in thinking we use, with a certain “right,” concepts to which there is no access from the materials of sensory experience, if the situation is viewed from the logical point of view.

As a matter of fact, I am convinced that even much more is to be asserted: the concepts which arise in our thought and in our linguistic expressions are all — when viewed logically — the free creations of thought which cannot inductively be gained from sense experiences.”

An old German rationalist?

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