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The Foundations of Knowledge: The Primacy of Existence

The Foundations of Knowledge: The Primacy of Existence

David Kelley Ph.D

2 Mins
June 25, 1985

A cardinal principle of Objectivist metaphysics is the primacy of existence which asserts that there is one objective world, which exists independently of consciousness. This fact is irreducible and does not have to be proved because existence is the fundamental self-evident truth that lies at the foundation of all knowledge.

The primacy of existence is a corollary of 3 basic axioms of Objectivist metaphysics and epistemology: the axiom of existence, the axiom of identity, and the axiom of consciousness. Objectivism holds that each of these axioms is implicit in any act of knowledge, thus, the primacy of existence is a fact contained within the truths of these philosophical axioms.

Citing John Galt's speech in Atlas Shrugged and the title essay in For the New Intellectual. Dr. Kelley explains why many philosophers have denied the primacy of existence and embraced the primacy of consciousness in what he terms the " diaphanous model ." And he points out the essential fallacies in this model of awareness

This audio program is Lecture 1 in the series "The Foundations of Knowledge." The series is in the process of being republished in digital form here.

The Foundations of Knowledge


David Kelley


David Kelley

David Kelley is the founder of The Atlas Society. A professional philosopher, teacher, and best-selling author, he has been a leading proponent of Objectivism for more than 25 years.