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Objectivist Scholar Publishes New Book

I’m pleased to share the news that distinguished Objectivist author Harry Binswanger has published his long-awaited book on the theory of knowledge. This interesting new work, which offers an account of important issues in epistemology based on Ayn Rand’s philosophy, Objectivism, is titled How We Know: Epistemology on an Objectivist Foundation.

Its chapters are:

  1. 1. Foundations
  2. 2. Perception
  3. 3. Concept-Formation
  4. 4. Higher-Level Concepts
  5. 5. Propositions
  6. 6. Logic: Theory
  7. 7. Logic: Practice
  8. 8. Proof and Certainty
  9. 9. Principles
  10. 10. Free Will
  11. 11. Overview

This work contains much original material, presenting Dr. Binswanger’s theories on many topics — e.g., sensationalism, representationalism vs. direct realism, measurement-proximity and measurement-integration, abstraction as interrelation, concepts of characteristics, the nature and cognitive role of propositions, the fallacy of “pure self-reference,” the ad ignorantiam fallacy, the nature of fundamentality, the “primacy of perception,” and the “Prose Principle.”

The book is addressed to the intelligent layman and presupposes no prior knowledge of Objectivism. On the book’s relation to Ayn Rand’s philosophy, Dr. Binswanger says in the acknowledgements:

Finding a good subtitle was an especially difficult task because it needed to convey that I am writing as an Objectivist, but not writing on Objectivism, while also avoiding any suggestion that the book’s content forms part of Objectivism (Objectivism, being specifically Ayn Rand’s philosophy, is limited to what she wrote or endorsed). It was Tore Boeckmann who came up with “Epistemology on an Objectivist Foundation,” a subtitle which is both smoothly professional and as accurate as a short phrase can be. (The longer story is that ideas originated by Ayn Rand supply far more than the foundations of this work, as the many passages quoted from her should make clear.)

Dr. Binswanger is the editor of The Ayn Rand Lexicon and was an associate and friend of Ayn Rand during her final years. He also edited the expanded second edition of Ayn Rand’s Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology, and in 1990 ARI published an edited version of his doctoral dissertation, The Biological Basis of Teleological Concepts. Dr. Binswanger has served on the board of directors of the Ayn Rand Institute since 1986. He is a senior contributor at RealClearMarkets, and he moderates and writes for HBL, an online forum and email list for discussing Objectivist ideas.