|Rodney, I beg your pardon for my misattribution. I’m not sure that I follow your point one, but in (2) you say: “…the objects may have any of a range of different lengths. That is the universal aspect of length that is mind-independent …which is recognized (as an objective fact) in the mental separation. It does not imply that length as such exists as some sort of entity in itself. Length is expressed only in the being of some physical thing.”|
To my mind, the above expresses Aristotelian universals, or moderate realism. As I understand it, moderate realism is the view that universals have real existence in objects, but cannot be separated from those objects, so it’s true that length “as such” does not exists an entity in itself; it exists as an attribute “in the being of some physical thing.” For a moderate realist, specific lengths also count as universals, since it’s claimed they can be repeated in numerous objects.
Rodney: “As a general point, I do not think it is fruitful to try to grasp AR’s theory by juggling past theories, which may be full of confusion and error …Simply observe reality first-hand…How did I first grasp the concept of length, and does it imply there is some metaphysical “essence of length”?”
Rand placed her theory of concepts within the context of the problem of universals, so it’s probably useful to investigate the actual problem and the previous solutions she was trying to correct.
I can’t remember how I first grasped the concept of length, but I would agree with Rand that abstract ‘length’ is derived from the consideration of the specific lengths of individual objects, and that the term ‘length’ refers to a quality of similarity or resemblance in this attribute between individual objects. In that case, while there is no universal quality in the object that is shared with like objects, the general term can be grounded in real-world objects, although not with the sort of precision implied by measurement omission.