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Unity in Epistemology

1. Knowledge as a Unity
A detailed analysis and concretization of the principles that everything in the universe is interrelated, and that every item of knowledge is connected to every other. Why these principles are the antidote to rationalism. Students are given a simple item of knowledge — i.e., “The plane from Los Angeles will be two hours late” — and are led to see connections between this statement and all of human cognition.

2. How To Unite History and Philosophy
Does philosophy make science, including history, possible — or is it vice versa? What, if any, is the role of historical fact in validating the principles of epistemology? of ethics? of politics? Do we learn that reason is man’s basic means of survival by studying the nature of man or the history of men? Why did Ayn Rand say that she could not have formulated her ethics prior to the Industrial Revolution?

3. Definitions
The principle of two definitions: why a certain category of philosophic term requires not one, but two definitions. How to answer such questions as: Does James Taggart pursue any values? Since Christianity preaches sacrifice, does it really offer a code of morality?

4. Is Morality Difficult or Easy To Practice
Virtue, fundamentally, as the choice to focus. Since knowledge must be a unity, does focus entail continuous mental work and/or struggle in order to perform the requisite integrations? If one is fully in focus, are his mental processes necessarily objective? Can a man ever act against his moral beliefs and yet still be fully in focus (e.g., the case of Rearden)?


All of Leonard Peikoff’s lectures may be ordered from the Ayn Rand Bookstore via their website, or by calling them at 1-800-729-6149 (U.S. or Canada), or 1-949-222-6557 (International).