The philosophy of [conventional] knowledge has been stated as too complex today for understanding in universal terms. It is said to be impossible for one individual to be a leader in all branches of learning. The various branches of knowledge in the sciences for example have become too numerous, too complex that a philosopher can no longer know logic without becoming a logician, or understand physics without becoming a physicist.

On this basis of complexity, philosophy breaks down and so branches out into various categories for specialized study. Philosophy then merely provides a “framework” for these branches of learning. We then have philosophy of biology, philosophy of mathematics, philosophy of law, etc.

Now, the problem with this view of complexity are many, however, can you see the root problem with this modern approach to knowledge? This is certainly a form of complexity worship but digging deeper, what is the nature of this complexity barrier?

Observe what is happening on this view. Knowledge is said to be divided, categorized, divided as many times as fits the situation. Knowledge then is thus, “stand alone” — unrelated to other knowledge, unrelated in principle.

But what does this mean?

It means this approach to knowledge is now lacking in general abstractions, abstractions which see and unite the various/divided areas of knowledge. This is a break down of philosophy itself. Knowledge today, as great as new discoveries may be, no longer has a fundamental basis or final attachment in reality. They are floating abstractions.

Philosopher’s today are ignoring what philosophy used to be: a fundamental integrating science. It is true knowledge can become very detailed, very complex, but this is no reason the premises or axioms of specialized knowledge no longer exist. Nor is this reason to believe axioms of knowledge cannot be also axioms to a branch of philosophy. All knowledge rests on deeper knowledge until it reaches the perceptual level, i.e., reality – no matter how complex or new the find.

I do not believe Leibniz (1716) was the last universal scholar. Objectivism today, is universal in the specific term conventional philosophy rejects. I believe the reason for the rejection of general abstracts is due to those who have rejected philosophy, yet pose as philosophers. This has been less so historically, but more obvious today.

Reality is knowable, including knowledge of whatever science you are studying – or it cannot be a science. If there are contradictions between science and conventional thinking, this can be corrected with integrity to reality and an absolute adherence to reason. However, you will need to clear away the rubble of failing ideas by integrating your own premises. For this you will need to understand Ayn Rand’s discoveries in philosophy.

– Ted Harlson. October 10, 2015.

About Ted Harlson

Born in lower Central B.C., I grew up in the lakes and mountains of the Okanagan. I've traveled in many Canadian cities, settling in Toronto mid 1980's where I married my lovely wife, Rose. Thanks to Ayn Rand's books and ideas, we have a happy and productive life, both with careers we enjoy! Life is a joy!