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A former member
Post #: 9
Students of Ayn Rand’s philosophy should have a basic understanding of the perennial philosophic problems I believe she solved. By gaining an understanding of the problems themselves, we can more fully appreciate the magnitude of her accomplishments while the excitement of these discoveries should provide motivation for further study.

More importantly, those who wish to promote Rand’s philosophy effectively should attain the knowledge and develop the skills required to discuss these problems and their solutions in considerable detail. Without too much difficulty we can state the problems concisely (a rather interesting exercise). Because of the hierarchical nature of philosophy, one should probably start at the metaphysical and epistemological level while recognizing that Rand’s identification of this hierarchy represents a rather significant accomplishment in its own right.

To provide a baseline of one’s own grasp of Objectivism at this fundamental level, reading Descartes’ Meditations I and II (only four pages of text) and offering the full Objectivist answer to them is a fun and challenging exercise. And it’s an important exercise because of the tremendous philosophical implications that flow from these few pages.

I believe those who complete this exercise will have demonstrated to themselves at least three critically important things: First, that you fully understand what the “primacy of existence” means (it may not be as easy as you think). Second, you will gain important historical context and recognize how prevalent Descartes’ ideas remain even today. Finally, you will appreciate how subtle the attacks on the primacy of existence can be and how challenging it is to counter them.

I also think this exercise dovetails quite nicely with those who participate in the OPAR study groups. For those who do not have Descartes’ works on their bookshelf, you can read them here:­

I’m most interested to see whether any of you rise to this challenge and offer some discussion either on this message board or in person during NTOS gatherings.

Happy thinking!

Mitch Whatley
Plano, TX
Post #: 170 interesting exercise, and a neat idea. Thank you for the link.
If I actually get some free time on my day off Monday I will will give a shot.
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