Coming in December 2017
RUSSIAN EGOISM GOES TO AMERICA? A CASE FOR A CONNECTION BETWEEN AYN RAND AND THE SHESTIDESIATNIKI, pp. 1-27
This article argues that the egoism of nihilists Nikolai Chernyshevskii and Dmitrii Pisarev was a significant influence on the thought of Ayn Rand. Chernyshevskii and Pisarev are usually cast as influences on Russian socialists. Rand was an unapologetic proponent of capitalism. But these differences in economic philosophy should be seen as secondary to the egoism that was primary for all three thinkers. The claim that Chernyshevskii and Pisarev may have influenced Rand is one that provides a new way to think about the historical significance of nihilism.
JUST WHO IS JOHN GALT, ANYWAY? A CARNIVALESQUE APPROACH TO ATLAS SHRUGGED, pp. 28-40
Based on a paper delivered at a conference devoted to carnivalesque studies, this article focuses attention on Rand’s masterwork, . By utilizing the carnivalesque techniques of Menippean satire and the “dialogic” interplay of narrative voices, with trickster-heroes as the agents of social change, the author argues that Rand ruthlessly deconstructs the logic of command economies and models a society turned, as Bakhtin would say, “topsy turvy” in favor of pure free enterprise. In doing so, she also contests the political boundaries of a stereotypically left-wing genre whose scholars are also typically Marxian.
THE BENEFICIARY STATEMENT AND BEYOND, pp. 41-53
The beneficiary statement refers to a passage in the Introduction of . It concerns who the beneficiary of an action should be and any breach between actor and beneficiary. This article critiques said passage and shows how rational self-interest extends beyond the actor’s self-interest more narrowly conceived. It critiques the Trader Principle and shows further how trade extends rational self-interest beyond the actor’s self-interest more narrowly conceived. It shows how the virtue of independence does not imply that all dependence is a vice. Dependence in collaborative action even extends to the virtue of productiveness.
ULTIMATE VALUE: SELF-CONTRADICTORY, pp. 54-67
Ever since Ayn Rand’s groundbreaking analysis of life and value, and her formulation of the Objectivist ethics, controversy has been generated over the relation between the “choice to live” and the status of life as the “ultimate value.” The author argues that the concept “Value” should be modified to denote “that which [an organism] acts to gain and/or keep” that serves as the means to a further end. Deeper analysis shows that the term “ultimate value” is self-contradictory and has been detrimental to the study of the foundations of the Objectivist ethical theory.
SIX YEARS OUTSIDE THE ARCHIVES: THE CHRONICLE OF A MISADVENTURE, IN THREE ACTS, pp. 68-83
In a 2014 article, the author noted that he had made contact with the Ayn Rand Archives regarding recordings and transcripts of Ayn Rand’s question and answer sessions. Here he tells the full story, which began well before that article was published, and ended just recently. The Ayn Rand Archives has finally achieved truth in labeling.
DEBUNKING NEOSOCIALISM, pp. 84-103
In this article, the author reviews in detail Christopher Snowdon’s recent monograph . In the book, Snowdon sets about to debunk a number of distortions of—and outright myths about—free market economics. The distortions include strawmen such as the claim that free market economics assumes all people are motivated solely by selfish greed. The myths include views such as the Easterlin Paradox. The author suggests a number of ways Snowdon’s analysis could have been improved.
DEBUNKING ECOFUNDAMENTALISM, pp. 103-9
Rögnvaldur Hannesson, an international authority on natural resource management, has written a well-argued book [ ] against ecofundamentalism, which, for him, puts nature before man. He cogently discusses the problems of applying notions of sustainability and biodiversity to the human condition and suggests that in the foreseeable future fossil fuels should still be utilized as energy sources. Hannesson regards models of global warming as scientific but as too uncertain for mankind to radically alter its ways of life. But he does not distinguish clearly between reasonable environmentalists and the real ecofundamentalists who disguise conflicts between themselves and others as conflicts between man and nature.
AFTER THE AVANT-GARDES, pp. 109-15
The author reviews , edited by Elizabeth Millán, and agrees with many of its contributors that avant-garde art and totalitarianism are based on the same worldview. The author views this collection as a brilliant critique of the avant-garde, which might provide a way to transcend its deeply dehumanizing effects.
REPLY TO ROGER E. BISSELL: THINKING VOLITION, pp. 116-18
The author agrees with much of Roger E. Bissell’s critique of the Objectivist idea of volition (in his July 2015 essay, “Where There’s a Will, There’s a ‘Why’: A Critique of the Objectivist Theory of Volition”), especially as expressed by Leonard Peikoff. On the other hand, the author believes Bissell’s reform of the Objectivist conception is at best minimal and it lacks attention to thinking as an integral part of volition.
REJOINDER TO MERLIN JETTON: CONDITIONS OF VOLITION, pp. 119-27
The author shows that Peikoff hasn’t deviated from official Objectivism on volition, that he advocates the same view Rand endorsed in 1976. He challenges Objectivism’s claim that the choice to focus is the ultimate ground of other choices, instead arguing that the choice to focus rests on one’s preference to be oriented toward reality, and that this preference precedes every deliberate decision to focus. The author insists that the cause of choices between alternatives is not a free-floating choice to focus, but the strongest preference at the time of each choice, that part of oneself (value) that determines one’s action.
REPLY TO MARSHA FAMILARO ENRIGHT: REMEMBERING THE “SELF” IN “SELF-ISH-NESS” pp.128-46
This article is a reply to Marsha Enright’s essay “The Problem with Selfishness.” Enright argues that “selfishness” is not the correct designation for living according to the Objectivist ethics. This article defends Rand’s use of “selfishness,” on three grounds. First, the self is central to Rand’s ethics, because a person must value his self before he can value anything or anyone. Second, immoral people are selfless, because organisms that function at the perceptual level of awareness do not have a self. Third, Rand has identified the exact meaning of “selfishness,” whether or not her definition accords with dictionary definitions.
REJOINDER TO ROBERT WHITE: THE PROBLEM WITH “SELFISHNESS” IS STILL PROBLEMATIC, pp. 147-51
In this article, the author responds to “Remembering the ‘Self’ in ‘Self-ish-ness,’” Robert White’s critique of her own article, “The Problem with Selfishness,” which appeared in the July 2014 issue of .
Roger Bissell is a professional musician and a writer on philosophy and psychology, specializing in aesthetics, logic and epistemology, and personality type theory. A research associate with the Molinari Institute, his work has appeared in a number of other publications, including , , , , , and . His mock transcription of a lecture by the fictional composer Richard Halley was published in Edward W. Younkins’s 2007 compilation, , and he supervised the transcription of Nathaniel Branden’s lectures for the 2009 publication of and of Barbara Branden’s lecture course, “Principles of Efficient Thinking,” published in 2017. His first book, How the Martians Discovered Algebra: Explorations in Induction and the Philosophy of Mathematics, is available from Amazon Kindle. He also frequently performs on recording sessions and jazz engagements, and his CDs feature his trombone playing, singing, musical arrangements, and original compositions.
Robert L. Campbell is a professor of psychology at Clemson University, where he has taught since 1991. He has been associated with since Volume 1, Issue 1, in 1999. The present article is a follow-up to three articles in this journal: “The Rewriting of Ayn Rand’s Spoken Answers” (2011), his review of Rand biographies by Jennifer Burns and Anne Heller (2013), and his rejoinder to replies by Burns, Heller, and Mimi Reisel Gladstein (2014).
Troy Camplin has a Ph.D. in the humanities and is the lead consultant at Camplin Creative Consulting. He has published several papers in and book chapters on spontaneous order theory, short stories, and poetry. He is also the author of the book (2009) and (2016), a novella.
Charles Duncan, professor, Department of English, Clark Atlanta University, 223 James P. Brawley Drive SW, Atlanta, GA 30314, A.B. Yale, 1960, Ph.D. Emory, 1966, is a core faculty member of the interdisciplinary humanities Ph.D. program at Clark Atlanta University. For many years, he edited the university’s scholarly publications, and throughout the 1990s directed a series of NEH grants to promote the infusion of nonwestern literary texts into college and high school literature curricula. His eclectic research interests for the past several years have been shaped by the emerging school of biocultural criticism commonly known as Literary Darwinism, culminating in over a dozen conference papers and articles in , and . As a long-standing fan of Ayn Rand’s novels, he has eagerly awaited an opportunity to incorporate this Novum Organum into an analysis of her work, and the article here, notwithstanding its central thrust, serves that purpose in its concluding portions. Its central thrust, moreover, may also be construed as a defense of Ayn Rand’s philosophy from the charges of Social Darwinism, which doctrinaire liberal critics have so often leveled against it.
Marsha Familaro Enright, B.A. Biology, Northwestern University, M.A. Psychology, The New School for Social Research, is an education entrepreneur, writer, and psychotherapist. Her major project is the implementation of a new and innovative higher education program through the Reason, Individualism, Freedom Institute. of which she is president, curriculum developer, and chief implementer through the Great Connections Seminar in Chicago and Buenos Aires. She has written for , , , , . Her articles are available at The Fountainhead Institute. She is the editor of (Open Court, 2013). Among her many other educational and social projects and organizations: The New Intellectual Forum (founded by her in 1987), Council Oak Montessori School, ages 3-15 (founded by her in 1990), and Camp Indecon (Curriculum Developer and Lead Instructor from 1999 to 2007). Her interests are wide-ranging but always take a biopsychological bent.
Hannes H. Gissurarson, a professor of political theory at the University of Iceland, is the author of more than fifteen books in Icelandic, English, and Swedish. His 1985 doctoral dissertation at Oxford University was on F. A. Hayek’s political theory, and he received the first prize in the 1984 Mont Pelerin Society Claude R. Lambe essay competition on Hayek’s , He was the R. G. Collingwood Scholar at Pembroke College in 1984–85. A member of the Mont Pelerin Society since 1984, he was on its Board of Directors from 1998 to 2004, organizing a regional meeting in Iceland in 2005. He has been a visiting professor or scholar at Stanford University, UCLA, George Mason University, and universities in Italy and Japan. He was also a member of the Overseeing Board of Iceland’s Central Bank from 2001 to 2009. He is the academic research director of an Icelandic think tank, RNH (Rannsoknarsetur um nyskopun og hagvoxt), where he has overseen and edited the publication in Icelandic translations of Ayn Rand’s three major novels, , , and . His most recent books include a history of the Icelandic communist movement (2011) and a treatise on taxation and income distribution (2009). At present he is working on a report on the foreign factors in the 2008 Icelandic bank collapse.
GARY JAMES JASON
Robert Hartford earned a Ph.D. in physics from the University of Pennsylvania in 1971. His interests include the foundations of ethics and the application of epistemology and ethics to promote a culture of self-responsibility and political freedom. He has presented talks at Objectivist conferences on the nature of value, proof of egoism, absolute political freedom, and social justice. His previous publications in , include “Objectivity and the Proof of Egoism” (Spring 2007) and “A Political Standard for Absolute Political Freedom” (July 2011).
Gary James Jason is a senior editor for and a lecturer in philosophy at California State University, Fullerton. He has bachelor’s degrees in physics and philosophy from UCLA, a master’s degree and Ph.D. in philosophy from the University of Illinois, and a master’s degree in computer science from Kansas State University. His academic articles have appeared in ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; and elsewhere. Most of these pieces can be read or downloaded from Academia.edu; Researchgate.net; and Philpapers.org. His social and political pieces have appeared in a number of magazines and newspapers, including ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; and . His academic books are (Peter Lang); (Cengage/Wadsworth); (Wadsworth); and (Peter Lang). His trade books are (CreateSpace); and
Merlin Jetton is an independent scholar. He graduated from the University of Illinois as a math major. He escaped academia in order to apply and expand his math skills in the real world of business. He is a fellow of the Society of Actuaries and a Chartered Financial Analyst. He retired after a twenty-eight-year career as an actuary and financial engineer, having specialized in asset-liability management the last fifteen years or so. He has been interested in Objectivism for decades. He was a member of the Chicago School of Objectivism, also known as the New Intellectual Forum. He was a presenter there several times and is the author of several articles in the journal and four earlier ones in this periodical. He now lives in Ohio.
Aaron Weinacht is associate professor of history at the University of Montana Western, in Dillon, Montana. His research interests include Russian intellectual history and philosophy of history.
Robert White is assistant professor of philosophy and Dean of Faculty at the American University in Bulgaria, where he teaches business ethics. His Ph.D. on Ayn Rand’s ethics was completed at the University of Auckland, New Zealand. His work has been published in , , and . He has a chapter on Rand’s ethics in , published as part of the Open Court Popular Culture and Philosophy Series. His first book, , will be published by Lexington Books in 2019.