April 17, 1948
Mr. Raymond B. Young, Jr.
344 Lansdowne Avenue
Dear Mr. Young:
Thank you for the copy of your book, which you sent me.[*]
I have read it and I find that your philosophical ideas are fundamentally opposed to mine. You seem to be a Platonist, you quote from Plato repeatedly, and on page 34 of your book, you say: “The prophetic genius of Plato affirms itself in all his opinions (his important errors are few and he corrected them later in his life).”
As a matter of fact, Plato is the source, root and spiritual father of Collectivism. Every collectivist philosophy is based on Plato. In Soviet universities, the courses given on Communist ideology begin (quite rightly) with Plato. Have you read Plato’s REPUBLIC? If there is any one thinker who has caused the greatest intellectual harm to mankind, with the most disastrous practical consequences, it is Plato (with Hegel next).
Since you are interested in philosophy, you have probably heard the statement that every philosopher (and every man) is essentially either a Platonist or an Aristotelian. This is one of the truest statements ever made. Plato and Aristotle do represent the basic division of mankind. Aristotle is the father of Individualism and of logic, the first and greatest rationalist. I am an Aristotelian.
I would suggest that you study this question thoroughly, if you have not done so. I can give you a helpful hint of what to look for: the crucial difference between Plato and Aristotle lies in their
April 17, 1948
respective Theories of Knowledge, in their views on the nature of reality. That is the root. Their ethics, politics, etc., are the consequences.
I cannot undertake to discuss philosophical problems in correspondence, and I do not believe that I can be of much intellectual help to you, until you have studied this question by yourself and made your own choice.
*A self-published work titled The Individual: A New Idealism.