How We Know

Epistemology on an Objectivist Foundation

By Harry Binswanger

Book Review by Alex Bleier

How We Know: Epistemology on an Objectivist Foundation, by Harry Binswanger, is an outstanding contribution to our understanding of how we acquire and validate knowledge. As the subtitle indicates, the book is both an in-depth presentation of Ayn Rand's "Objectivist" theory of knowledge and Binswanger's own answers to issues that Rand did not write on.

Today’s cultural and academic environments foster an antipathy towards reason. Our universities turn out theorists, journalists, and commentators who scorn objectivity and seek to enforce "political correctness." This makes it extra important for us to check our premises and work to objectively separate truth from falsehood.  Paraphrasing a popular aphorism, “if you don’t stand for something (the truth), you’re liable to fall for anything.” How We Know identifies and explains the methods needed to do this critical thinking.

Binswanger has a very clear writing style that makes it easy for the reader to grasp and understand the Objectivist approach to cognition. The book avoids philosophical jargon, keeps technical concepts to a minimum, and gives clear and stark examples for every point. How We Know is addressed to any intelligent reader and requires virtually no prior knowledge of the history of philosophy or Objectivism. But it's also a real treat for those having a more advanced knowledge of the subject. Particularly interesting are Binswanger's original ideas on: the nature and function of the proposition, the rules of proper definition, the answer to Russell's paradox, and the introspective evidence for free will.

I definitely recommend reading “How We Know” before tackling Ayn Rand’s Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology.

    How We Know is a philosophical treasure, a seminal work that breaks new ground and brings us closer to a fully comprehensive understanding of how we know.

The new Kindle version makes How We Know easily accessible to the digital generation of readers, young, and