Rand vs Science 1.2

Objectivism and Logical Positivism are different in some ways, but are the same in the ways below. Modern scientific method, also called Positivism or neoPositivism or Popper Positivism, is the mirror opposite of Rand’s epistemology.

Objectivism and Logical Positivism are equivalent in that the premises must be referable to observed reality:

  • Atlas Society http://www.atlassociety.org/logical-positivism-vs-objectivism: “the meaning of a statement is the existential facts identified by the statement.”
  • Compared to Logical Positivism (Wikipedia 3.2 Observation/theory gap): “Early, most logical positivists proposed that all knowledge is based on logical inference from simple ‘protocol sentences’ grounded in observable facts…”
  • On the other hand: Positivism can utilize imaginary constructs w/o basis in observable reality as premises1.

In Objectivism and Logical Positivism, concepts reached through logical processes are not necessarily found in reality:

  • Atlas Society http://www.atlassociety.org/logical-positivism-vs-objectivism: “Not all statements need to be themselves empirically verifiable: human knowledge is a hierarchy based on the immediately given, but by a process of abstraction we can generalize to discover new relationships. Statements are comprised of concepts—and some, but certainly not all, concepts have direct perceptual referents.”
  • Compared to Logical Positivism Wikipedia 3.2 Observation/theory gap:  “Further, theoretical terms no longer need to acquire meaning by explicit definition from observational terms: the connection may be indirect, through a system of implicit definitions…”
  • On the other hand, Positivism requires testing of the conclusions against observable reality2.

Therefore: While Rand disparages Logical Positivism, her own epistemology shares equivalent flaws and the modern scientific method of Positivism contradicts Rand’s epistemology.

1Hawking universe in a nutshell pg. 59

2Ibid. pg. 31