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The DIM Hypothesis: Why the Lights of the West Are Going Out Hardcover – September 4, 2012

4.4 out of 5 stars 94 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Leonard Peikoff is universally recognized as the pre-eminent Rand scholar writing today. He worked closely with Ayn Rand for 30 years and was designated by her as her intellectual heir and heir to her estate. He has taught philosophy at Hunter College, Long Island University, and New York University, and hosted the national radio talk show "Philosophy: Who Needs It."

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: NAL (September 4, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0451234812
  • ISBN-13: 978-0451234810
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.4 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (94 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #600,281 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
A former criminal trying to reform goes into a store. As he is waiting to make his purchase a thought floods his mind: "When a customer asks for cigarettes in the middle of ringing up a sale, the cashier completely turns his back on a wide open cash drawer for five to ten seconds at a time." Despite the desire to reform, this former criminals subconscious programming automatically keeps throwing now-unwanted criminal thoughts to his conscious mind, because his moral character is still unreformed.

The theme of The DIM Hypothesis is that just as men have a moral character, so they also have a conceptual character, a learned, automatized approach to using the instrument of their mind. You could also think of conceptual character as "cognitive personality" or "style of thinking".

For example, a man may hear Ayn Rand's principle that "Man's basic means of survival is reason" and his mind will automatically begin to range over such concretes as a doctor learning to perform life-saving surgery, or the invention of agriculture, or the internet, or electric power lines heating a home in the dead of winter, or a computer controlled robotic factory, or internal combustion engines, or the fact that education - the systematic training of the rational faculty - is crucial to human life. His mind will automatically go to real, concrete examples to be integrated under the principle that "Man's basic means of survival is reason." This automatized approach to thought is Integration, the I in DIM.

Another man hearing the exact same principle will have a completely different approach.
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Format: Hardcover
As I write this, Islamic riots are killing people around the world. Our government's response is, to say the least, lackluster. The policy of extending our hand has failed. A question arises: What led to this failure? Nor is this the first time unanswered questions have assaulted the west with brutal reality.

Eons ago the ancient Greeks attempted to provide many answers to the problems of their era: What are the causes of wars; what is the best way to live; what is the best way to form a society? The Greeks were trying, in their words, to bring order to chaos, to understand a world in which everything seems disconnected and disorderly. In their attempt they created literature, democracy, science, historical analysis, and more. With few exceptions, this rigorous attempt to bring order to our world has ceased.

One such exception is Dr. Leonard Peikoff's new book "The Dim Hypothesis: Why the Lights of the West are going out."

He brings order to the most paradoxical and seemingly unconnected concretes spanning the millennia. Is there, for instance, any relationship "between Roman schools and Louix XIV, medieval teleology and the theory of everything [in science], Gertrude Stein and John Rawls, Stoic physics and Stalinist literature, Demosthenes and [Victor] Hugo, Virgil and Einstein, FDR and quantum mechanics"? Each of these examples is what Dr. Peikoff calls a cultural product, whether they are a work of literature (e.g., Victor Hugo's Les Miserables), a scientific school of thought (e.g., quantum mechanics), an education system (e.g., Roman schools), or a political system (e.g., the Greek Polis). In this new work, DIM, we are given a new theory in which to order the world of our past, our present, and project into the future.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Ayn Rand's longest-tenured and most deeply devoted student, Leonard Peikoff breaks into entirely untrodden ground in this, his life's masterwork. There is an ease in his introductory walk-through the philosophy of Objectivism's theory of concepts and their relationship to human survival and thriving that is distinctive in the literature of this most distinct (and newly controversial) philosophy. That groundwork is extended through unexpected connections and insights in a contrapuntal fashion throughout. Dr. Peikoff sounds telling warnings against the Scyllae and Charybdii of the modern and post-modern fallacies of thought: misintegration, and disintegration.

An intriguing theory and one that will not only be debated, but may - and should - prompt a new way of looking at history and the influence of ideas in historical development.

This reader was reminded of the words of Dionysius of Helicarnassus: "History is philosophy, teaching by examples."

For those who mistake Objectivism for arrogance, the striking modesties of the author's Introduction - they were almost too much - will provide food for thought, if not reconsideration.

18 Comments 93 of 115 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Let me tell you that I cannot put this book down. It is very interesting, thought provoking, and very very very well written. There is a fantastic summary chart of his analysis at the end of the book that makes things a lot easier and clearer. The writing is very clear and simple, this is really helpful because the content by its nature is very heavy -- it takes time and effort ... but it is worth it! This book, I believe, presupposes familiarity with Objectivism and philosophy in general..... however .... if you are new to the field, I don't want to discourage you to read it, you may just have to spend more time looking for additional discussions and materials (worth it!). Dr. Peikoff mentioned that this book is to him what Atlas Shrugged was to Ayn Rand: I COULD NOT AGREE MORE. Dr. Peikoff asks the reader a question: "Is this a pioneering epic, a recycling of the obvious, or the maunderings of a mind that has lost it? " My answer to that question is: A pioneering epic for sure! and this is an understatement. I am very pleased to see his final work and I must say it was worth the many years of waiting.

In other words: GET YOUR COPY NOW AND START READING! reward yourself with a well written rational work in this sea of irrationality, it is refreshing and it may just save us!

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