Since the definition of a concept is formulated in terms of other concepts, it enables man, not only to identify and retain a concept, but also to establish the relationships, the hierarchy, the integration of all his concepts and thus the integration of his knowledge. Definitions preserve, not the chronological order in which a given man may have learned concepts, but the logical order of their hierarchical interdependence. [IOTE, 40]
Rand's belief the integration of knowledge into a vast inter-related hierarchy of concepts has led her most orthodox disciple, Leonard Peikoff, into an almost quasi-Hegelian view of knowledge. As Chris Sciabarra explains:
Leonard Peikoff received his doctorate in philosophy at New York University in 1964 under the direction of Sydney Hook. Peikoff's dissertation was titled "The Status of the Law of Contradiction in Classic Logical Ontologism." His mentor criticized him as "monist" and a "Hegelian," but this did not deter Peikoff from his Objectivist predilections. Yet like a genuine Hegelian, Peikoff argues that no philosophical problems can be resolved in a vacuum, since all issues are interconnected. Admitting to a tendency toward rationalism, Peikoff never tires of quoting "The True is the Whole." He repeats this credo in his books, articles, and courses, warning of the danger of "one-sided distortions." [Ayn Rand: The Russian Radical, 121]
The conviction that knowledge consists in a kind of integrated, logical whole implies a specific metaphysical perspective. If knowledge exists as an integrated whole, than the world itself must be some sort of holistic, integrated phenomenon. Hence, we find Objectivists contending that reality is "logical." Peikoff himself, during his brief incursion as a talk show host, once insisted that reality was not, as some maintained, inordinately complex. For any great complexity would soon enough destroy the Objectivist ideal of knowledge as an integrated whole. As would, for example, the reality of surds. For the Objectivist view of knowledge to work, reality must be relatively simple, interconnected, intelligible, logical, and orderly. Mystifying complexities, unintelligibility, the absurd, the incalculable must be ruled out of court altogether.
The problem with this view is that it does not accord with the facts. The world doesn't have the pristine, simple homogenuity that Objectivism tacitly requires. To be sure, the opposite isn't true either: the world is not a pluralist chaos either. Again, we find Objectivism confronting us with false alternatives. The world contains both order and chaos, both intelligibility and unintelligibility, both the calculable and the incalculable. The world is intelligible enough for us to survive in it; but not so intelligible that we can fathom all its depths.
The Objectivist view of an orderly, logical, intelligible world is not consistent with a realist metaphysics or with evolutionary psychology. To declare that the world is thoroughly logical and intelligible is to suggest that the world was devised or created for the benefit of the human mind, which is hardly a view plausible to a thoroughly consistent and chastened realism. On the atheistic premises propounded by Objectivists, the mind must be a product of evolution. Under such a view, it is unlikely to assume that reality was tailor-made to fit the mind. And as a matter of fact, we don't find it to be. On the quantum level, reality baffles the mind. Nor has anyone discovered any coherent logic that enjoys empire over fact. Logic is a method of thought, not a law of matter.
The Objectivist view is only plausible on idealist premises. This perhaps accounts for Peikoff's Hegelian tendencies, and for Rand's sympathy for Brand Blandshard's book Reason and Analysis, which was reviewed positively in The Objectivist Newsletter.