What is so terribly
wrong with Objectivism? To
begin, it's so-called "axiom of existence" which says that existence exists is
That's right: "existence" doesn't exist
anymore than "life" lives. You live, I live, the birds in the trees all
live, but life
doesn't it? for the simple reason that Life is a creation
of the human mind, and exists only in the human mind. An abstraction,
in other words? Not even that. It is, to be precise, what Aristotle
called a topic
(the Greek word having been topos, which
literally means place).
Thus in the sense meant here, a topos
or a topic
is a place in which we humans might put things we wish to
categorize as "living." Therefore, the particular things,
(birds, trees, rabbits, virus, and so on) which we put into
we call "life" are all living, that place itself, in
which we put them, is not. That is to say, again, living
things live, but life
The same can be said about existence.
Living things, and inanimate things now as well, exist. We prove this
by pointing to them, and describing their properties (e.g., John is
tall). But we can do no such thing with existence because existence has no properties. It
has no properties because it has no existence of its own, save as a
topic or topos or place
in human discourse. That is to say, existence
definitely does not exist. What is more, Aristotle never said it
did--- for the simple reason that he was too intelligent to ever
say anything so ridiculous. Why is it ridiculous?
Because if you think about it, you'll realize it's flat out wrong.
That is to say, you exist, I exist, the universe exists--- but existence doesn't exist. This is because as even Rand herself admits elsewhere in her writings, only concretes exist. And existence
is clearly not a concrete, because you cannot ascribe any specific
properties to it. As I've already indicated, it's merely a kind
of floating abstraction--- more precisely, a topos or topic or place) that outside of a specific context, quite literally means nothing.
Thus, since "existence" out of context means nothing, to say out
of any specific context that "existence exists" is to efectively
say that nothing exists--- a most extreme form of a view generally known as nihilism.
Since Rand herself claimed that her
entire philosophy of Objectivism was based on this supposed "axiom"
which we have now proved to be false, it might be argued that we
have refuted Objectivism in its entirety. But we have no
intentions of stopping here. That would be too easy, and not very much
fun. Delving into the details of Ayn Rand's nonsense about capitalism,
ethics, metaphysics, and so forth, however, is great fun. In time, as
we further develop this website, we will do more and more of that.
But wasn't Ayn
Rand the ultimate
champion of freedom and human rights? Anyone who thinks she
should read the biographies written about her. The one Barbara Branden
in particular clearly demonstrates that Rand, in her own personal life,
was basically a tyrant.
But what is so terribly wrong
notion of "rational self interest?" To begin, the notion is inherently
irrational. It claims that in my seeking of my own selfish best
interests, I need to (unselfishly!) allow other to do the same. Hence,
to be "rationally selfish" I need to be unselfish. That, gentle reader,
is nothing more and nothing less than a contradiction.