They proclaim that there are no entities, that nothing exists but motion, and blank out the fact that motion presupposes the thing which moves, that without the concept of entity, there can be no such concept as “motion.”

Motions are motions of entities; . . . a child is aware of motion perceptually, but cannot conceptualize “motion” until he has formed some concepts of that which moves, i.e., of entities.

Concepts of motion are formed by specifying the distinctive nature of the motion and of the entities performing it, and/or of the medium in which it is performed—and omitting the particular measurements of any given instance of such motion and of the entities involved. For instance, the concept “walking” denotes a certain kind of motion performed by living entities possessing legs, and does not apply to the motion of a snake or of an automobile. The concept “swimming” denotes the motion of any living entity propelling itself through water, and does not apply to the motion of a boat. The concept “flying” denotes the motion of any entity propelling itself through the air, whether a bird or an airplane.

The concept of “location” arises in the context of entities which are at rest relative to each other. A thing’s location is the place where it is situated. But a moving object is not at any one place—it is in motion. One can locate a moving object only in the sense of specifying the location of the larger fixed region through which it is moving during a given period of time. For instance: “Between 4:00 and 4:05 p.m., the car was moving through New York City.” One can narrow down the time period and, correspondingly, the region; but one cannot narrow down the time to nothing in the contradictory attempt to locate the moving car at a single, fixed position. If it is moving, it is not at a fixed position.

The law of identity does not attempt to freeze reality. Change exists; it is a fact of reality. When a thing is changing, that is what it is doing, that is its identity for that period. What is still is still. What is in process is in process. A is A.

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.