Rand vs Science 1.6

Rand’s philosophy misrepresents Positivism.

The Positivist process of falsification evaluates statements by trying to identify and observe contrary evidence. (http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/popper/ )

Rand’s philosophy rejects falsification, Pg 159 and 160, calling it a “way of invalidating all of human knowledge”, describing falsification as “For instance, the proposition ‘Cats give birth only to kittens’ is empirically falsifiable because one can invent experiences that would refute it, such as the spectacle of tiny elephants emerging from a cat’s womb.” and “evade the facts of experience and arbitrarily to invent a set of impossible circumstances that contradict these facts.”

Rand’s argument relies on misrepresentation and emotionalism. It is not necessary to invent specific comical tiny elephants. A Positivist would say the proposition “Cats give birth only to kittens” is false if we see something else happen. Nothing gets invented.

Rand, herself, uses this same process on Pg. 77, where Rand identifies the contrary of any concept as being all other concepts, using as an example: “the contrary of the concept “table” – a non-table – is every other kind of existent”. If someone tells us there is a table, we know the statement is false if we see something else. Nothing gets invented.

Since Positivism does not require the invention of a set of impossibilities, Rand misrepresents Positivism.

Ayn Rand, An Introduction to Objective Epistemology, Signet Edition, New American Library. Also Ch. 2, the Analytic/Synthetic Dichotomy by Leonard Piekoff.

http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/popper/ is the source for my paraphrasing of the practice of falsification.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *