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

4.3 out of 5 stars 96 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."

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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: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (96 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #894,138 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Tony White on September 10, 2012
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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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.

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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Long time Objectivist Leonard Peikoff does something very interesting in this book: He takes Objectivism to the next level. By this I mean he assumes an Objectivist context (Objectivism being the philosophy of Ayn Rand as detail in novels such as The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged, as well as non-fiction works such as The Virtue of Selfishness, Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal, and the The Romantic Manifesto) and after selectively reviewing crucial parts of Western philosophy induces a new method of cultural analysis. This method ultimately allows him not only to understand cultural products such as science, literature, politics, and education throughout history in terms of the modes he defines but also apparently predict an overall culture's direction.

Peikoff is a very unpretentious, careful and clear writer. You will not find in this book any assertions -- he is not asking you to take anything on faith. Instead there is clear exposition along with a consistent understanding of both the theory's and the writer's limitations. The essence of his idea are the three attitudes to integration: An Aristotelian, reality-based approach that integrates the facts in a given field into higher level conceptual products is Integration or "I". The Platonic approach denies the facts or concretes in favor of ideals (supernatural or secular) but either way not of this world, and is termed Misintegration or "M". Finally, the Kantian approach which denies all ideal or conceptual knowledge, termed Disintegration or "D". Thus the three modes form the acronym DIM.

Peikoff's takes the reader through the essentials of his hypothesis which he derives from the epistemology of the three major philosophers.
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