A discussion of Ayn Rand’s literary and cultural impact.
This symposium is the first of two commemorating the centenary of Ayn Rand's birth.
THE ILLUSTRATED RAND, pp. 1-20
This article surveys the exponential increase in Rand references in scholarly and popular sources to illustrate her cultural ascendancy as an iconic figure. Special attention is paid to Rand's impact on popular literature, television, cartoons, and illustrated media, including comics. Rand's own involvement in illustrated presentations of her ideas is explored, as is her influence on such comic artists as Steve Ditko, Frank Miller, and others. Nathaniel Branden's insights on the role of comics in projecting heroic values are also addressed.
PASSING THE TORCH, pp. 21-65
Holzer revisits her personal and professional relationship with literary mentor, Ayn Rand, as she reassesses the impact Rand had on her fiction- writing career. Demonstrating how Rand had a profound influence both on what she has written and how she has written it, Holzer gives concrete reality to her early experiences with Rand, turning provocative anecdotes and private conversations into a multifaceted series of revelations: part memoir, part fiction writer's guide, part tribute.
COMPLETING RAND'S LITERARY THEORY, pp. 67-89
Ayn Rand's literary theory is capable of significant development and extension. Particularly worthy of study are relationships between literary principles and literary practices, such as the creation of implicit or explicit patterns of meaning, the use of common experience and common sense, the provision of cognitive and emotional transformation, the application of control devices to guide readers' understanding, and the assessment of literature in respect to standards of truth and taste.
AYN RAND'S INFLUENCE ON AMERICAN POPULAR FICTION, pp. 91-144
Though an examination of its history lends credence to C. S. Lewis' s view that the concept "popular fiction" points more to a distinction among types of readers than among types of stories, it might still be argued both that Ayn Rand's own fiction shares many of the characteristics associated with "popular fiction" and that she has exercised a substantial influence on a surprisingly diverse group of American writers of "popular fiction," ranging from former acolytes like Kay Nolte Smith and Erika Holzer to Gene Roddenberry, Ira Levin, Terry Goodkind, and other contemporary purveyors of science fiction and crime fiction.
INTEGRATING MIND AND BODY, pp. 145-52
Objectivism holds that there is no mind-body dichotomy. Unfortunately, many fitness enthusiasts fail to adopt a rational fitness program. This article highlights champion bodybuilder Mike Mentzer's application of Objectivist principles to integrating mind and body. In his books, is clear and incontrovertible. Since Mentzer became an outspoken advocate of Rand's philosophy in the early 1990s, publishing books and numerous articles in several bodybuilding magazines, his impact in the health fitness world has been immeasurable.
THE POETICS OF ADMIRATION: AYN RAND AND THE ART OF HEROIC FICTION, pp. 153-83
Minsaas explores the role admiration plays in Rand's literary theory. Seeing admiration as the emotional core of what Rand refers to as a moral sense of life, she first discusses the nature of admiration, focusing on the interrelation between its moral and aesthetic aspects. She then examines its specific significance in Rand's heroic poetics, both in the structure of and in the response to heroic fiction. Finally, she points out certain problems pertaining to Rand's rather partisan preference for heroic art, especially the danger of didacticism and Rand's tendency to dismiss the value of other genres, such as tragedy.
THE RUSSIAN CULTURAL CONNECTION: ALEXANDER ETKIND ON AYN RAND, pp. 185-93
A 2001 book by Russian scholar Alexander Etkind, ( ), examines cross-cultural influences between Russia and America. One chapter is a study of two refugees from totalitarian regimes who became prominent in American intellectual life: Ayn Rand and Hannah Arendt. One of the first analyses of Rand's work to appear in Russian literary criticism, it briefly examines Rand's principal novels and a summary of her philosophy with a special focus on the influence of her Soviet background on her thought.
THE RUSSIAN SUBTEXT OF ATLAS SHRUGGED AND THE FOUNTAINHEAD, pp. 195-225
Ayn Rand projected her experiences in Russia onto an American canvas. The collapse of the economy described in actually happened in Russia between 1916 and 1921. The economic and political policies of the government in the novel resemble those of the Bolsheviks in the first decade of their rule. The protagonists of reject Russian values and ideals, especially the mystique of suffering and self-sacrifice. The subtext of is the intellectual and cultural milieu of the 1920s, the paradigmatic role of architecture, and the spiritual collectivism of prominent Christian opponents of "materialistic" Bolshevism.
REPLY TO KIRSTI MINSAAS: TOWARD AN AMERICAN RENAISSANCE, pp. 227-36
York responds to Kirsti Minsaas's Fall 2003 review of her book, , and offers some thoughts on art, Romanticism and heroism. She also calls for a contemporary American Paideia based on the ancient Greek model in order to establish a foundation from which to chart a true renaissance for the United States, which, she claims, will be led by philosophy and the fine arts.
THE MAGNIFICENT PROGRESS ACHIEVED BY CAPITALISM: IS THE EVIDENCE INCONTROVERTIBLE?, pp. 251-69
Van Den Berg argues that Rand's claim that evidence of capitalism's success is "incontrovertible" cannot be confirmed using familiar annual GDP per capita figures. This article argues that annual GDP per capita cannot logically represent individual welfare because it measures an annual income flow while individuals judge their welfare by their lifetime income. Data are available to measure an economy's capacity to enhance individual lifetime welfare. Not only does this measure come closer to Rand's focus on the individual, it also suggests that the past 200 years of capitalist development have raised individual welfare even more than the familiar, but misleading, annual GDP measures show.
UNIVERSALS AND MEASUREMENT, pp. 271-304
Boydstun argues that Rand's measurement-omission analysis of concepts implies a distinctive magnitude structure for metaphysics. This is structure beyond logical structure, constraint on possibility beyond logical constraint. Yet, it is structure ranging as widely as logical structure through all the sciences and common experience. Boydstun uncovers this distinctive magnitude structure, characterizing it by its automorphisms, by its location among the mathematical categories, and by the types of measurement it affords. He uncovers a structure to universals implicit in Rand's theory that is additional to recurrence structure.
ART AS MICROCOSM, pp. 305-63
Bissell offers a new interpretation and clarification of Rand's definition of art, maintaining that an artwork, like language, functions as a "tool of cognition," and that it does so more specifically as a special kind of microcosm which presents an imaginary world. In particular, he argues that architecture and music are aesthetic microcosms and tools of cognition that re-create reality and embody fundamental abstractions and, thus, contrary to assertions by certain Objectivist writers, are forms of art consistent with Rand's definition and concept.
AYN RAND IN THE SCHOLARLY LITERATURE IV: AYN RAND IN ENGLAND, pp. 365-400
Dykes reports that Ayn Rand has never had anything approaching the same success in England that she has had in the United States. Nevertheless, her work has established a definite niche in most of the main media of communication, and in recent years has begun to receive more attention. This article traces Rand's impact in the British Isles since 1937, and suggests some reasons why she did not repeat her American triumphs "across the pond."
AN ECONOMIST READS PHILOSOPHY, pp. 401-8
Thomas reviews economist Leland Yeager's . Yeager presents an argument for a utilitarianism that in its commitment to a reality-oriented, practical, principled ethics of human happiness resembles Rand's Objectivism. The book incorporates a wide and varied literature, including virtually everything written on Objectivism. In sum, it is like an Old Right reconstruction of utilitarianism in response to Randian critiques. The principal shortcoming of the book is its lack of precision, novelty, and clarity in addressing philosophical problems. This results in sloppy reasoning that renders its conclusions unconvincing.
CAPITALISM AND VIRTUE, pp. 409-20
Wilkinson reviews the philosophical aspects of Dinesh D'Souza's . D'Souza's general support of free-markets and technological innovation is noted, but he is criticized for his misreading of Ayn Rand, and for failing to provide an adequate moral defense of capitalism. Additionally, Wilkinson finds D'Souza philosophically confused in discussions of the significance of the scientific image of human nature, genetic manipulation, and cloning.
A DIRECT REALIST'S CHALLENGE TO SKEPTICISM, pp. 421-40
Armstrong reviews Michael Huemer's and finds in it strong support for the perceptual theory of direct realism. However, Huemer incorrectly assumes perceptual experiences can contain conceptual - and thus causal - information. Regardless, Huemer's theory of "phenomenal conservatism" serves to justify our perceptual judgments and refute skepticism in a way compatible with the preliminary work of Objectivist philosophers, such as David Kelley and Leonard Peikoff.
REPLY TO MICHAEL HUEMER'S "IS BENEVOLENT EGOISM COHERENT?" (SPRING 2002): ON EGOISM AND PREDATORY BEHAVIOR, pp. 441-56
Young argues against Michael Huemer's contention that egoism demands sacrificing others. The centrality of mutual trust in achieving vital socially-produced goods requires that egoism strictly limit, in degree and scope, any allowable predation. The need for genuine and meaningful social recognition and affirmation rules out achieving mutual trust while secretly being a predator. Egoism may not support a strong Randian principle of never sacrificing others for the benefit of oneself but it plausibly supports a principle of never achieving particular benefits for oneself by imposing on others costs that undermine mutual trust.
REJOINDER TO MICHAEL YOUNG: EGOISM AND PRUDENT PREDATION, pp. 457-68
Huemer responds to Michael Young's argument that an ethical egoist should not embrace prudent predation because accepting a principle of prudent predation has serious negative consequences over and above the consequences of individual predatory acts. In addition, he addresses the advantages Young claims for an agent-relative conception of value over an agent-neutral one. He finds that the agent-relative conception does not clearly have any of the advantages Young names, and that some paradigmatic uses of the concept of value are agent-neutral.
OBJECTIVISM: ON STAGE AND SELF DESTRUCTIVE, pp. 469-78
Michalson reviews Sky Gilbert's play, . She reads Gilbert's play as an exploration of the tragic effects of Objectivism on individuals who wholeheartedly embrace Rand's philosophy before finding that they cannot live up to all of its demands. She focuses on the character of Marcel Pin, a closeted gay man who destroys his very self in a startling attempt to conform his life to Objectivist ideals.
REPLY TO KAREN MICHALSON: RAND AS GURU: WILL IT NEVER END?, pp. 479-83
Gilbert responds to Karen Michalson's review of his play, . Gilbert finds her unwillingness to deal with the main plot (which deals with Rand's personal life) to be a sign of lingering idolatry. A discussion of Rand's reputation as guru and---the function of the guru in society follows.
REJOINDER TO SKY GILBERT: RAND AS WHAT?, pp. 485-89
Michalson responds to Sky Gilbert's response to her review of .
Stephen Cox is a Professor of Literature and Director of the Humanities Program at the University of California, San Diego, 9500 Gilman Drive, La Jolla, California 92093-0306. He is the author, most recently, of (Transaction Publishers).
Erika Holzer, Juris Doctor, New York University Law School, was (with her husband) Ayn Rand's lawyer in the mid- to late-60s. and her husband co-produced and she co-scripted (with Duncan Scott) the 1941 Italian movie , based on Rand's . A fulltime novelist/essayist, Holzer's fiction includes (Putnam), human-rights espionage, and (St. Martin's Press), vigilante "justice"---also a Paramount Pictures feature film (director: John Schlesinger; starring Kiefer Sutherland and Sally Field). Non-fiction books, co-authored with her husband, include: (McFarland) and (Xlibris).
Kirsti Minsaas, University of Oslo, Department of British and American Studies, P. O. Box 1003 Blindern, 0315 Oslo, Norway, is a senior lecturer in English literature at the University of Oslo. Her dissertation topic was on the role of Aristotelian catharsis in Shakespearean tragedy, and she is currently working on a project on the "exemplary hero" in English literature from 1590 to 1820. She has also lectured extensively on Ayn Rand's fiction, both in Europe and in the United States.
Jeff Riggenbach is the author of (Prometheus, 1998). He has been a practicing critic of imaginative literature since 1972, publishing widely in newspapers and magazines, including , , , , , , and . From 1996 to 2000, he taught courses in philosophy, music appreciation, popular culture, and writing at the Academy of Art College in San Francisco.
CHRIS MATTHEW SCIABARRA
Bernice Glatzer Rosenthal is a Professor of History, Fordham University, Bronx, New York 10458. She received her Ph.D. in History at the University of California at Berkeley in 1970. She teaches Russian/Soviet History and Intellectual History of Europe, and has published widely on Russian intellectual and cultural history from the late nineteenth century to the present. She has edited anthologies such as (Princeton University Press) and (Cambridge University Press), and is the author of (Pennsylvania State University Press).
Chris Matthew Sciabarra received his Ph.D., with distinction, in political theory, philosophy, and methodology from New York University. He is the author of the “Dialectics and Liberty Trilogy,” which includes Marx, Hayek, and Utopia (State University of New York Press, 1995), Ayn Rand: The Russian Radical (Pennsylvania State University Press, 1995), and Total Freedom: Toward a Dialectical Libertarianism (Pennsylvania State University Press, 2000). He is also coeditor, with Mimi Reisel Gladstein, of Feminist Interpretations of Ayn Rand (Pennsylvania State University Press, 1999), and a founding coeditor of (1999–present). He has written over a dozen encyclopedia entries dealing with Objectivism and libertarianism, given over 50 interviews published in such periodicals as , , , , and , and published over 150 essays, which have appeared in publications as diverse as , , , , , , , , and .
Matthew Stoloff holds a B.A. in philosophy from the University of Cincinnati, a Masters in Labor Relations and Human Resources from the School of Labor and Industrial Relations at Michigan State University, and a Masters in Criminal Justice from the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, City University of New York. His current research interests include labor law, corporate campaigns, and corporate crimes. He authors an online guide to Rand scholarship.
Alexandra York is an internationally published author of books (one a Book of the Month Club selection), magazine and newspaper articles, book and movie reviews, poetry and essays. Published by Macmillan, McGraw-Hill, Ballentine, Berkley-Jove, and Van Nostrand, she has also written and hosted TV and network radio shows. Her work has appeared in publications as varied as , , , and . She is former editor of , an arts and cultural magazine published by American Renaissance for the Twenty-first Century (ART), a New York-based nonprofit foundation of which she is the founding president.
Cathy Young was born in Moscow, Russia in 1963 and emigrated to the United States in 1980. She graduated from Rutgers University in 1988 with a degree in English. After writing a weekly op-ed column for from 1993 to 2000, she became a weekly columnist for The . She is also a columnist for magazine and a research associate with the Cato Institute.
ROGER E. BISSELL
Ari Armstrong, P.O. Box 745015, Arvada, Colorado 80006, email:email@example.com, graduated from Pepperdine University in 1994 with a B.A. in economics and a minor in philosophy. He edits and he has written articles about politics and culture for , , , , and other publications.
Roger E. Bissell is a professional musician and graduate student at California Coast University. He is a writer on psychology and philosophy. His work has appeared in a number of other publications, including , , , , and . Roger's trombone playing is featured on a jazz CD released in December 2003.
Stephen Biydstun earned his B.S. degrees in physics and engineering, with graduate studies in physics and philosophy, and was founder and editor of the philosophy journal (1990-98).
Nicholas Dykes is a British/Canadian writer currently living in England, is the author of "Debunking Popper: A Critique of Karl Popper's Critical Rationalism," (Fall 1999); (London: Libertarian Alliance, 1998); (London: Libertarian Alliance, 1996); (Hereford UK: Four Nations, 1991); and "The Facts of Reality: Logic and History in Objectivist Debates about Government" (forthcoming, ).
Sky Gilbert is a writer, filmmaker, director, and drag queen extraordinaire---one of North America's most controversial artistic forces. ECW Press published his first collection of poetry, , and his theatre memoir in 2000. His first three novels--- (1998), (1999) and (2001)---were critically acclaimed. His fourth novel, , was published by Cormorant Books in September 2003, and his second book of collected poems was published by ECW in November 2003. By day, Sky is an Assistant Professor in Theatre Studies at Guelph University.
Michael Huemer is an Assistant Professor of Philosophy, Philosophy Department, University of Colorado, Boulder, Colorado 80309-0232. He received his Ph.D. from Rutgers University in 1998. His primary research is in the areas of epistemology and meta-ethics. He is the author of (Rowman & Littlefield, 2001).
Karen Michalson, P.O. Box 332, Southbridge, Massachusetts 01550, is the author of two libertarian-influenced fantasy novels, (Tor 2001) and (Tor 2003). The former was a finalist for the 2002 Prometheus Award and the latter has been nominated for the 2004 Prometheus Award. She holds a Ph.D. in English from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and is currently working on a law degree at Western New England College. When not writing or studying, she plays bass and sings in her progressive rock band, Point Of Ares.
William Thomas is Director of Programs at The Objectivist Center, 11 Raymond Avenue, Poughkeepsie, New York 12603, and earned an M.A. in Economics from the University of Michigan (1991), where he taught the economic history of the United States and China. His essays on topics in literature, politics, ethics, and epistemology have appeared in publications such as and . He is the author of "What is Objectivism?" and other essays on The Objectivist Center's website, and of the audio course . His essay "Ayn Rand, Radical for Capitalism" was recently published in Frost and Sikkenga, eds., (Lanham, MD: Lexington, 2003). He is the editor of the Objectivist Studies series of philosophical monographs, and of (forthcoming).
Hendrik Van Den Berg is an Associate Professor, Department of Economics, University of Nebraska, Lincoln, Nebraska 68588-0489. He received his B.A. and M.A. degrees in economics from the State University of New York at Albany in 1971 and 1973, respectively. He was a Foreign Service Officer with the U.S. Department of State and served at the U.S. Embassy in Managua, Nicaragua and the U.S. Trade Center in São Paulo, Brazil from 1974 to 1979, and he was Planning Manager for Singer do Brasil (Subsidiary of the Singer Company) from 1980 to 1983. He enrolled at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1985; he received M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Economics in 1987 and 1989, with a specialization in International Economics. He has published numerous articles on international trade, international finance, and economic growth. He has written two textbooks, (New York: McGraw-Hill, 2001), and (New York: McGraw-Hill, 2004), and he is currently completing a manuscript on the theoretical relationship between free trade and economic growth.
Will Wilkinson, Department of Philosophy, University of Maryland, College Park, MD 20740, is a Ph.D. student in Philosophy at the University of Maryland. His studies center on the intersection of moral and political philosophy with the social and cognitive sciences.
Michael Young, Department of Philosophy, Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island 02904, is a philosophy graduate student at Brown.