Before we go any further, we must look at an issue that is important. it stems from watching the history of Randism. I noticed that the mainstream attacks (in both the legitimate and non legitimate sense) have left something to be dssired. 90% of them either a) misquote her or misrepresent her ideas (usually not deliberately; they just can't get their arms around them all at once). b) not address the whole thing or c) wander off into some flyspeck vs. pepper thing that is so esoteric, arcane and convoluted that one is tempted to say "please run that by me again; this time in English"; and that's if the matter isn't lost in the gobbledygook of jargon and who know what else into such a complex mess that it overloads the mind's process of logic and the mind "goes on strike". The remaining 10% either deny her premises outright, quibble or trail off into things that don't attach to anything knowable. In the year 2000 I got a lead on this while listening to a midnight to dawn radio talk program on WBZ 1030 AM out of Boston. I mentioned Miss Rand's philosophy to the guest who was a Philosohy prof at a school in one of the Carolinas. the payoff was that he said that Ayn Rand was a powerhouse and her philosphy is the likes of which has never been seen. The closest I've gotten to that was from another prof on Larry King in the early 80's (If memory serves me well) who said that Ayn Rand had devised an excellent philosophy for daily living but that "it wasn't very deep or rigorous", which was OK by me since it did the job for which it was intended: Rand described it as "...a philosophy for living on Earth". Well, I have 12 credits in philosophy from Providence college and 20 credits in Western Civ from there, too plus 6 in Religiou Studues; all of which I value as much as my major in Psychology. So I know the territory pretty well, thank you. I agree with the prof from Carolina.

But, Where is all of this going? What has Miss Rand actually done? in the "how" sense? This had me flummoxed and I don't take kindly to being flummoxed so I'd better take this beast on ("umm...Miss Rand...I hate to bother you, my name is Lieutenant Foolumbo..."). The first clue is in the definitions. Those who inherited the reins of the philosophy from her uses as the definition: "OBJECTIVISM: the philosophy of Ayn Rand". This definition, while a true statement. totally missies the mark and is in danger of leading to a cult of personality. It lists no specific characteristics by which to identify it outside its "home base" and is at best the kind of defintion that is called "pointing", "operational" or "ostensive". To one such as I, it is totally unsatisfactory; like telling me that a hammer is "one of the carpenter's tools". It does not give me a sum-and-substance look at anything. Now, I've been a Randite for closer to 40 years than to 30 and I think I can do better. So I set about it. In 1971 I did a synthesis in an attempt to invalidate Objectivism, which I will get to at some other time, and found that the premises that would invalidate it or the logic of denying the definitions she used were either outringgt false or were not as robust as what she used. Revisiting that, I came up with an observation that there were two irreducible primaries

An "irreducible primary" is a concept that cannot be reduced any furhter without leaving the subject at hand. in Medicine, the irreducible primaries are "life" and "health; a properly functioning organism". These are determined by Biology. With all of this in mind, what I came up with was

RANDISM: the philosophy, proposed by Ayn Rand, which holds that existence, the external world, exists apart from and before anyone's data, information, knowledge, judgements, wishes or feelings and the only proper means of knowing anything about this world is the faculty of Reaosn, which integrates the material provided by the senses or instruments, by means of the logical process, into a non-contradictory, systematic, organized whole.
This is quite a mouthful. Most definitions can be done in two to four lines but I can do no better without losing vital parts.

This was a clue to something; namely that I had two irreducible primaries and could not define the thing properly without both of them. In short, I was looking at a composite. This told me that what Rand had done was not a unitary item but a synthesis. Therefore, I needed a new category. "Philosophy" did not cut it. Seeing that it had two irreducible primaries that tracked, in technical terms; "corresponded with", two major "branches" of philolophy (Metaphysics and Epistemology), and the rest just fell into place, I decided that we had a system: an integrated whole and that I ought replace "philosophy" in the definition with "philosophical system". So when we get further on down the line. that will be done.

Now you ask what a philosophical system is. If you go back to PHILOSOPHY you will find a section starting with "METAPHYSYSICS...". These are the main topics or "branches" of philosophy. Well a philosophical system is a synthesis of these branches that begins with the irreducible primary or primaries then takes the non-irreducible primaries aka derived material and ties them together in a framework that joins them in a hierarchical, non-contradictory, organized fashion so that you can go from one to the other, up or down.

That is what Ayn Rand did. Now, if you validate one part of it then the rest follows. Capitalism follows from a system of liberty which follows from egoism which follows from a rational epistemology which follows from a metaphysicis that is reality-based. Without an objective metaphysics, individualism becomes a concept that leads to self-absorbtion and narcissims or is denied outright. Collectivism depends on an irrational epistemology and a subjective metaphysics. I could go on but why bother? You get the bit.

More thoroughly, given objective metaphysicis, rational epistemology and correct logic, egoism, liberty and capitalism follow of nescessity so that if you do not come up with those results and you are honest and competent then you know you did something wrong and that there is a breach or a piece missing, blank or "dead spot" in the wall that is so big you could fly the Death Star through it and is plain to see and fix. If one of the two irreducible primaries is not there then anything may follow, including egoism, liberty and capitalism, or altruism, statism and one of the "command" economies or even a "mixed" system. There is still a breach but it is in the irreducible primary section that are the premises and you have to look at them.

In fact just about every ...ism is a system that includes one or more philosophical components. If they are not explicit (stated outright) then they are implicit (not stated openly). Give me any ...ism and I can figure out the pieces and how they fit together. In the case of Randism. the system is specifically philosophical. Once asked if she could endorse Capitalism and Mysticism. Rand said "If I had to choose between capitlaism without Reason or not at all then the answer would be 'not at all'". Every ...ism has at least two philosophical elements, either implicit or explicit: MATAPHYISICS and EPISTEMOLOGY. Mataphysics because an ...ism works or fails to work based on the way the world works or is presumed to work and epistemology because any ...ism seeks to foster behaviors that are premised on how one is to know things and every ...ism presumes some answer to "What do I know and how do I know it?"

To understnad better, think of philosphy as the class, in this case, the subject matter or area of knowledge, and a philosophical system as an integreated, non-contradictory set of specific answers, rejecting the opposite answers to the same questions that logically hang together. There is only one philosophy but several philosophical systems. Not all philosophical systems are equal. There are ways to test the "goodness"; read things like "usefulness", "coherence", "how they relate to the real world" and other such variables. Ayn Rand described hers as a "philosphy for living on Earth [the real world]" Well, that tells us she was not trying to appeal to the fancy-dan highbrows who get all hepped up over trying to separate the flyspecks from the pepper. Although if you read her notes, you get the true depth of work that went into it and are in for quite a ride and better bring you SCUBA gear because you're going deeper than you think. It's not that she lacked depth, it's that we didn't see the subtext and "backstory" until the notes were published. I've seen them. While I disagree with her idea that "Cosmology ought to be thrown out of Philosophy", since, although her reasons wee true, I don't think they were thorough and Cosmology does serve the purpose of tying the past and present by adding the vital perspective "over time",or, as I put it "Today is yesterday's tommorrow and tommorros's yesterday". The level of work is very intellectually challenging.

But, at any rate, there you have the ideas. Randism, or if you prefer, Objectivism, is not a philosopjy. It is a philosophical system since it has more than one basic premise or irreducible primary.