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The purpose of conjunctions is verbal economy: they serve to integrate and/or condense the content of certain thoughts.

For instance, the word “and” serves to integrate a number of facts into one thought. If one says: “Smith, Jones and Brown are walking,” the “and” indicates that the observation “are walking” applies to the three individuals named. Is there an object in reality corresponding to the word “and”? No. Is there a fact in reality corresponding to the word “and”? Yes. The fact is that three men are walking—and that the word “and” integrates into one thought a fact which otherwise would have to be expressed by: “Smith is walking. Jones is walking. Brown is walking.”

The word “but” serves to indicate an exception to or a contradiction of the possible implications of a given thought. If one says: “She is beautiful, but dumb,” the “but” serves to condense the following thoughts: “This girl is beautiful. Beauty is a positive attribute, a value. Before you conclude that this girl is valuable, you must consider also her negative attribute: she is dumb.” If one says: “I work every day, but not on Sunday,” the “but” indicates an exception and condenses the following: “I work on Monday. I work on Tuesday. (And so on, four more times.) My activity on Sunday is different: I do not work on Sunday.”

(These examples are for the benefit of those victims of modern philosophy who are taught by Linguistic Analysis that there is no way to derive conjunctions from experience, i.e., from the facts of reality.)

Copyright © 1986 by Harry Binswanger. Introduction copyright © 1986 by Leonard Peikoff. All rights reserved. For information address New American Library.


Excerpts from The Ominous Parallels, by Leonard Peikoff. Copyright © 1982 by Leonard Peikoff. Reprinted with permission of Stein and Day Publishers. Excerpts from The Romantic Manifesto, by Ayn Rand. Copyright © 1971, by The Objectivist. Reprinted with permission of Harper & Row, Publishers, Inc. Excerpts from Atlas Shrugged, copyright © 1957 by Ayn Rand, The Fountainhead, copyright © 1943 by Ayn Rand, and For the New Intellectual, copyright © 1961 by Ayn Rand. Reprinted by permission of the Estate of Ayn Rand. Excerpts from Philosophy: Who Needs It, by Ayn Rand. Copyright © 1982 by Leonard Peikoff, Executor, Estate of Ayn Rand. Reprinted by permission of the Estate of Ayn Rand. Excerpts from “The Philosophy of Objectivism” lecture series. Copyright © 1976 by Leonard Peikoff. Reprinted by permission. Excerpts from Alvin Toffler’s interview with Ayn Rand, which first appeared in Playboy magazine. Copyright © 1964. Reprinted by permission of Alvin Toffler. All rights reserved including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form. Used by arrangement with Plume, a member of Penguin Group (USA), Inc.