Aristotle’s Method of Scientific Investigation by Gregory Salmieri

This lesson explains Aristotle’s method of scientific investigation, focusing on Aristotle’s logical works—especially the Posterior Analytics. Salmieri discusses Aristotle’s view of the kinds of questions we seek to answer when we investigate; for example, the nature of definitions and their relationship to scientific demonstrations, and the formation of new concepts.

This course includes a handout:

Lesson 3 of 3 in “Aristotle’s Theory of Knowledge”

Copyright © 1985 – 2024 The Ayn Rand Institute (ARI). Reproduction of content and images in whole or in part is prohibited. All rights reserved.

Aristotle’s Theory of Universals by Gregory Salmieri

In this lesson, Salmieri explains Aristotle’s theory of universals and how that theory makes possible scientific understanding (epistēmē) of this world based on sense-perception. The lesson explains that universal knowledge, for Aristotle, is a power to know particulars as falling under kinds. Salmieri concludes with a discussion of a famous chapter of the Posterior Analytics, in which Aristotle uses a battlefield metaphor to explain how we grasp universals.

This course includes a handout:

Lesson 2 of 3 in “Aristotle’s Theory of Knowledge”

Copyright © 1985 – 2024 The Ayn Rand Institute (ARI). Reproduction of content and images in whole or in part is prohibited. All rights reserved.

Aristotle on the Different Types of Knowledge by Gregory Salmieri

In this lesson, Salmieri discusses Aristotle’s view of the types and degrees of knowledge. In particular, he explains what is distinctive about the type of knowledge that Aristotle calls epistēmē (scientific understanding) and relates it to Objectivism’s view of the importance of thinking in principle. He also introduces Aristotle’s concept of technē (art, craft or skill) and explains why Aristotle regards both technē and epistēmē as superior to mere experience.

This course includes a handout:

Lesson 1 of 3 in “Aristotle’s Theory of Knowledge”

Copyright © 1985 – 2024 The Ayn Rand Institute (ARI). Reproduction of content and images in whole or in part is prohibited. All rights reserved.

Saving Math from Plato by Harry Binswanger

Mathematics is the headquarters of Platonism—the reification of abstractions and the primacy of concepts over percepts. Even Euclid defined “line” as “breadthless length,” something not of this world, and the moderns define “one” in terms of nonbeing (the null set). In this lecture, drawing on a few incisive statements by Ayn Rand, Dr. Binswanger gives perceptually based definitions of key mathematical concepts, such as quantity, measurement, one, number, point, line, infinite, and mathematics itself.

Delivered at OCON 2023 in Miami, Florida on July 3, 2023.

Being Objective About the News by Ben Bayer

In the 2016 election, there was widespread concern about “fake news” and media bias. This talk explores the guidance Objectivist epistemology offers for being an objective consumer of the news. How do the requirements of integration and reduction help guide one’s acceptance of the reports of others? How do we avoid uncritical reliance on the media without becoming skeptics of journalism as such? How do we avoid bias without abandoning concern for our values?

This talk is by Ben Bayer, fellow at the Ayn Rand Institute and former teacher of philosophy at Loyola University New Orleans. His research focuses primarily on questions about the foundations of knowledge and the freedom of the will. This talk was delivered on Monday, June 12, 2017, at Objectivist Summer Conference 2017 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Literature and the Quest for Meaning by Lisa VanDamme

One essential condition of fulfillment and happiness is the philosophic conviction that your life belongs to you. But it is only a condition. A truly fulfilled and happy life requires a sense of meaning. How to achieve that meaning is a question for which we have few tried-and-true, culturally established answers. Thankfully, one resource we do have for answering that question, or even knowing how to go about considering it, is great art. This talk explores how classic literature can contribute to the vital quest for meaning.

Recorded live in Cleveland on June 26, 2019

Should I Go by Reason or by Faith? by Ben Bayer

Human beings desperately need guidance in life, but where should we seek this guidance? Should we seek it in what we can observe with our own five senses and what we can logically infer from that data? Or should we seek it from some higher authority, just because we feel what it tells us is true? This week on Philosophy for Living on Earth, ARI’s Ben Bayer explores another one of life’s big questions: Should I go by reason or by faith?

What Is Killing Western Civilization? with Douglas Murray, Claire Fox and Yaron Brook

Cultural observers have often noted that Europe — and, more broadly, Western civilization — despite historically unprecedented success, is in danger of losing itself. But what exactly is being lost, and why? And what can be done about it?

In a recent panel discussion entitled “What Is Killing Western Civilization?,” Yaron Brook (chairman of the board of the Ayn Rand Institute) and Douglas Murray (author of The Strange Death of Europe: Immigration, Identity, Islam) met at the Institution of Mechanical Engineers lecture theatre in central London to discuss the future of Western civilization in the context of its own identity crisis and the growing trend of immigration to the West from those outside it — and, in some cases, hostile to it. The panel, moderated by Claire Fox (director and founder of Academy of Ideas), addressed such questions as:

  • What is Western civilization?
  • What is the nature of the crisis that the West faces?
  • How should one think about immigration in today’s world?