Journal of Ayn Rand Studies 10 (1):85-170 (2008)

The doctrine of the arbitrary assertion is a key part of Objectivist epistemology as elaborated by Leonard Peikoff. For Peikoff, assertions unsupported by evidence are neither true nor false; they have no context or place in the hierarchy of conceptual knowledge; they are meaningless and paralyze rational cognition; their production is proof of irrationality. A thorough examination of the doctrine reveals worrisomely unclear standards of evidence and a jumble of contradictory claims about which assertions are arbitrary, when they are arbitrary, and what ought to be done about them when they are. A wholesale rejection of the doctrine is recommended.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.5325/jaynrandstud.10.1.0085
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 70,337
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

The Structure of Scientific Revolutions.Thomas S. Kuhn - 1962 - University of Chicago Press.
Language, Truth, and Logic.Alfred Jules Ayer - 1936 - London, England: Dover Publications.

View all 40 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

What's in Your File Folder?Roger E. Bissell - 2014 - Journal of Ayn Rand Studies 14 (2):171-274.
What Do We Need to Know?Robert L. Campbell - 2018 - Journal of Ayn Rand Studies 18 (1):118-163.
Beneath The DIM Hypothesis.Roger E. Bissell - 2013 - Journal of Ayn Rand Studies 13 (2):160-204.

View all 8 citations / Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Assertions Only?Ben Bronner - 2013 - Thought: A Journal of Philosophy 2 (1):44-52.
The Doctrine Of Arbitrary Undetached Parts.Peter van Inwagen - 1981 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 62 (2):123-137.
Bayle and the Case for Actual Parts.Thomas Anand Holden - 2004 - Journal of the History of Philosophy 42 (2):145-164.
The Status of the Knowledge Account of Assertion.Frank Hindriks - 2007 - Linguistics and Philosophy 30 (3):393-406.
Toner on Judgment and Eternalism.Alexander R. Pruss - 2008 - Faith and Philosophy 25 (3):317-321.
Assertion, Knowledge, and Action.Ishani Maitra & Brian Weatherson - 2010 - Philosophical Studies 149 (1):99-118.
Explaining Dubious Assertions.Martin Montminy - 2013 - Philosophical Studies 165 (3):825-830.


Added to PP index

Total views
53 ( #214,302 of 2,508,046 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
1 ( #416,715 of 2,508,046 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes