Tuesday, January 16, 2007

The Free Man's Library by Henry Hazlitt

Mentions Anthem and The Fountainhead.

Hazlitt notes that some will find Rand's individualism "extreme."

Monday, January 15, 2007

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Objectivist Ethics

In the recent Gotthelf/Salmieri piece that I linked to below, it says as follows:

"Rand’s virtue-focused rational egoism differs from traditional eudaimonism in that Rand regards ethics as an exact science. Rather than deriving her virtues from a vaguely defined human function, she takes 'Man’s Life' – i.e. that which is required for the survival of a rational animal across its lifespan – as her standard of value."

A couple points:

1. What is the difference between Rand's ethics and "traditional eudaimonism"? Why didn't the authors give us a single example of whose ethics is different (I realize that they had limited space, but ARIans love to tell us that Rand is so different without providing even a name of another philosopher to compare).

2. The language concerning the "survival of a rational animal across its lifespan" is unusual. The "lifespan" idea doesn't have any precedence in the Objectivist literature, from what I can tell.

The Passion of James Valliant's Critcism: Link

I have created a link to the draft of my essay on PARC at the upper right.

Friday, January 05, 2007

The Passion of James Valliant's Criticism: Contraditions Galore

The first part of chapter 2 is a lengthy discussion of various alleged contradictions within and between the Brandens’ accounts. Valliant starts with two quotes from Barbara Branden where she describes Rand’s view the value of intelligence. One quote appears to say that Rand didn’t value people unless they had unusual intelligence. The other quote indicates that Rand believed that simple people could understand complex ideas with some help and she greatly valued the simple person who wanted to learn. (PARC, pp. 15-16.) Only taken in the most wooden manner are these quotes contradictory. Here is what Branden says: “where she saw no unusual intelligence—nor the capacity for dedicated productive work its consequences—she saw no value that meant anything to her in personal terms.” (For some reason, Valliant places ellipses in the place of “nor the capacity for dedicated productive work its consequences.”) She then discusses how Rand never said as a significant compliment such things as “he’s generous” or “he’s kind.” (PAR, p. 7.)

In other words, people with average intelligence, who weren’t interested in learning, weren’t of value to Rand. And if Branden meant what Valliant claims she meant, it is hard to imagine her loving description of Rand explaining metaphysics to a student, a gardener, or a housekeeper.

Monday, January 01, 2007

Dictionary of Modern American Philosophers -- Ayn Rand

This is an article from the above reference work about Rand and Objectivism written by Allan Gotthelf and Greg Salmieri.