I'm about to finish my PhD-thesis and I would like to include a quote by Ayn Rand on the first page of the preface. I think I read or perhaps heard her say it on some interview, but now I can't seem to find it or attribute it to her. The quote is:
"Existence, as such, does not need to be exaplained. It needs to be studied."
or something along those lines. Is anyone here familiar with the quote? Was it by Rand? How was it really worded and where can I find it again?
"One can study what exists and how consciousness functions; but one cannot analyze (or “prove”) existence as such, or consciousness as such. These are irreducible primaries. (An attempt to “prove” them is self-contradictory: it is an attempt to “prove” existence by means of nonexistence, and consciousness by means of unconsciousness.)"
Can't say that I recognize it, but I think she'd agree with it. You might try asking the Ayn Rand Institute.
In her Objectivist Newsletter review of Randall's Aristotle, she quoted Randall approvingly as saying (as nearly as I can remember) that "for Aristotle, existence is not a problem to be explained away but a fact to be construed."
Rand was on a radio program in March of 1969. A question was asked of her: "How can you account for the universe without God?" Her answer was (italics added):
What do you mean by "account for the universe"? If you mean "explain what the universe consists of," that's the job of the special sciences, not philosophy. But if you mean "explain the existence of the universe," my reply is: the universe does not need an explanation. "Universe" means "everything that exists"; but "everything that exists" requires no explanation. Existence exists, and only existence exists. Existence, as such, does not require an explanation; it requires study. We need to know what exists, and the nature of what exists. But the attempt to explain the "source" of existence--of the universe--involves a contradiction. Where do you stand, intellectually, if you attempt to explain existence? You, the observer, are part of existence.
You can find this question and answer on page 150 of the 2005 New American Library book entitled: "Ayn Rand Answers: The Best of Her Q & A"; edited by Robert Mayhew. Here are links to the book:
Ed Thompson, thank you! That is the quote I'm looking for (obviously). I was beginning to suspect it was from that book but must have missed it when I went over it in search of the quote.
Peter Reidy, will have a closer look at that debate link later, at first glance it looked very interesting indeed. My dissertation is in the field of Continuum Mechanics / Material Physics so my academic work is not connected to Rand or Objectivism.
I'm glad I found RoR. Hopefully I'll have time to hang out here some more when my thesis is finished. Once again, thank you all for the quick and accurate responses.