Like MacBeth, Western man made an evil decision, which has become the efficient and final cause of other evil decisions. It occurred in the late fourteenth century, and what the witches said to the protagonist of this drama was that man could realize himself more fully if he would only abandon his belief in the existence of transcendentals. The powers of darkness were working subtly, as always, and they couched this proposition in the seemingly innocent form of an attack upon universals. The defeat of logical realism in the great medieval debate was the crucial event in the history of Western culture; from this flowed those acts which issue now in modern decadence. [2-3]Although Weaver's argument is phrased in platonistic terminology, in practical terms, it is not much different from Rand's:
Most philosophers did not intend to invalidate conceptual knowledge, but its defenders did more to destroy it than did its enemies. They were unable to offer a solution to the ‘problem of universals,’ that is: to define the nature and source of abstractions, to determine the relationship of concepts to perceptual data—and to prove the validity of scientific induction.... The philosophers were unable to refute the witch-doctors claim that their concepts were as arbitrary as his whims and that their scientific knowledge had no greater metaphysical validity than his revelations.The differences in these two arguments is mostly terminological. Weaver seems more focused on the relation between universals and what he calls "transcendentals," by which he means, moral law. Rand, on the other hand, stresses the link between universals and knowledge in general, particularly "scientific" knowledge, which she contrasts with religious revelation. However, when we examine IOTE more closely, we find that Rand shares Weaver's passion for moral universals. The attack on universals, for both Rand and Weaver, is primarily an attack on the moral foundations of Western society.