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Contextual Knowledge

Peter Schwartz

Presented at: 21CC 1995

Date: May 26, 1995

(from conference program):

Can one hold a "correct" view for the wrong reason? For example, is the devout religionist who believes in the commandment "Thou shalt not kill" a genuine opponent of murder? Knowledge, according to Objectivism, is contextual. This lecture analyzes how this crucial principle implies that the "what" is always determined by the "why". Mr. Schwartz also discusses how the contextual nature of knowledge pertains to the issue of "purism" in Objectivism. That is, he examines the proper method of judging various viewpoints--from Social Darwinism to conservatism, from Libertarianism to "moral tolerationism"--that hold patently false premises, yet reach conclusions alleged to be compatible with Objectivism.


Parts: 1

Handout: none


  • Tape, 1995 (En) - from the Ayn Rand Bookstore
  • e-Store, 2018 (En) - 91 mins