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Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Ayn Rand's interesting example of rationalists

“Ayn Rand once invented this eloquent example: A rationalist would come out with some argument such as, “Man has only two eyes; therefore, he should be able to see only two things, one with each eye.” The rationalist does not ask why; it sounds neat and symmetrical—two things, two eyes, it all fits. At this point, two schools of philosophy would arise. One would say, “We have to accept the conclusion. Men do see only two things; everything else, they do not actually see—it is all an illusion.” To that, the opposing school would reply, “Men do see countless things, not just two, but that is because of all the hidden eyes that they have.” If you then say to such a rationalist, “Look, it is not true; if you look at reality, you see that men do, in fact, have only two eyes, and they do see many things,” he will find that irrelevant. Reality does not have any status in his thinking. He has decided that his conclusions about eyes is good, and his idea supersedes all facts.” ~ Leonard Peikoff

(Source: “Objective Communication - Writing Speaking and Arguing,” Edited by Barry Wood)

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