Volume 10, No. 1 – Fall 2008 (Issue #19)
Symposium: Tenth Anniversary Celebration, Part I
The first of two issues celebrating the tenth anniversary year of The Journal of Ayn Rand Studies.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Preface: Our Tenth Anniversary Year – Chris Matthew Sciabarra, p. 1
MIND, INTROSPECTION, AND “THE OBJECTIVE”, pp. 3-84
In this sequel to his essay “Ayn Rand and ‘The Objective'” (JARS, Fall 2007), the author warns against “the seduction of ‘the basic'” and uses ideas by Efron, Peikoff, and Aristotle to argue that introspection and mental data (including mind) are objective and that causal efficacy of mind and mind-body interaction only make sense if mind is conceived of not as an attribute, but as an entity (viz., the conscious human brain). None of this, however, implies Epiphenomenalism or that consciousness is irrelevant to human history.
THE PEIKOVIAN DOCTRINE OF THE ARBITRARY ASSERTION, pp. 85-170
The doctrine of the arbitrary assertion is a key part of Objectivist epistemology as elaborated by Leonard Peikoff. For Peikoff, assertions unsupported by evidence are neither true nor false; they have no context or place in the hierarchy of conceptual knowledge; they are meaningless and paralyze rational cognition; their production is proof of irrationality. A thorough examination of the doctrine reveals worrisomely unclear standards of evidence and a jumble of contradictory claims about which assertions are arbitrary, when they are arbitrary, and what ought to be done about them when they are. A wholesale rejection of the doctrine is recommended.
ECONOMIC DECISION-MAKING AND ETHICAL CHOICE, pp. 171-91
Some economists, notably Gary Becker, claim that economic analysis is applicable to any decision, ethical or otherwise. Ethical principles within Objectivist Ethics are based on long-range success — life being the measure of success. This paper examines these different approaches to decision-making. Decision theory and Rand’s Benevolent Universe Premise form the basis for the analysis.
RE-READING ATLAS SHRUGGED, pp. 193-205
Ayn Rand’s “Atlas Shrugged”: A Philosophical and Literary Companion, a new book edited by Edward W. Younkins, provides a reminder of how much Rand’s great novel has to say on a broad range of subjects and of what a joy the book has been for so many to read. This review summarizes and comments on the book’s essays.
PLATO, ARISTOTLE, RAND, AND SEXUALITY, pp. 207-17
This essay offers a critical review of Robert Mayhew’s translation of Plato: Laws 10, Chris Matthew Sciabarra’s monograph, Ayn Rand, Homosexuality, and Human Liberation, and Roderick T. Long’s monograph, Reason and Value: Aristotle versus Rand. Seddon finds especially questionable Long’s treatment of Plato.
REPLY TO FRED SEDDON: INTERPRETING PLATO’S DIALOGUES: ARISTOTLE VERSUS SEDDON, pp. 219-29
In reply to Seddon’s charge that Long’s analysis in Reason and Value rests on a mistaken reading of Plato, Long both defends his interpretation of Plato and argues that nothing in Reason and Value depends on Plato interpretation in any case.
REJOINDER TO RODERICK T. LONG: LONG ON INTERPRETATION, pp. 231-33
In this essay, Seddon provides a brief rejoinder to Long’s reply to his review of the monograph Reason and Value: Aristotle versus Rand. Despite his criticisms, Seddon maintains that reading Long’s monograph will pay rewards for all those interested in the history of philosophy as it impacts Ayn Rand’s thought.
REPLY TO PETER E. VEDDER, “SELF-DIRECTEDNESS AND THE HUMAN GOOD” (FALL 2007): DEFENDING NORMS OF LIBERTY, pp. 235-38
DOUGLAS J. DEN UYL AND DOUGLAS B. RASMUSSEN
This essay is a response to Peter E. Vedder’s Fall 2007 review of the authors’ book, Norms of Liberty: A Perfectionist Basis for Non-Perfectionist Politics. Vedder argues that the authors 1) have a Kantian notion of self-directedness, and 2) are inconsistent in the application of their philosophical anthropology to their view of political liberty. In denying both claims, the authors assert that Vedder both fails to define certain terms and holds them to positions they do not accept.
REJOINDER TO DOUGLAS J. DEN UYL AND DOUGLAS B. RASMUSSEN: DIFFICULTIES IN NORMS OF LIBERTY, pp. 239-42
This rejoinder is a reply to the authors’ criticisms of Vedder’s original review of Norms of Liberty that seeks to clarify why the difficulties present in their attempt to establish the modern right to liberty on the foundation of Greek nobility and Aristotelian eudaemonism are insuperable.
Roger E. Bissell is a professional musician and a writer on psychology and philosophy. His work has appeared in a number of other publications, including Reason Papers, Objectivity, Journal of Consciousness Studies, Vera Lex, and ART Ideas. Roger’s trombone playing is featured on jazz CDs released in December 2003 and July 2006.
Robert L. Campbell is a Professor of Psychology at Clemson University, Brackett Hall 410A, Clemson SC 29634-1355 USA. His most recent publications are “An Interactivist-Hermeneutic Metatheory for Positive Psychology” (with John Chambers Christopher, in Theory & Psychology) and “When the train left the station, with two lights on behind: The Eddie Willers story” in Ayn Rand’s “Atlas Shrugged”: A Philosophical and Literary Companion (edited by Edward W. Younkins and published by Ashgate). His chapter on “Constructive Process: Abstraction, Generalization, and Dialectics” is forthcoming in The Cambridge Companion to Piaget (edited by Ulrich Muller, Leslie Smith, and Jeremy Carpendale).
Douglas J. Den Uyl is the Vice President of Education, Liberty Fund, Inc., 8335 Allison Pointe Trail, Suite 300, Indianapolis, Indiana 46250-1687. He is formerly Professor of Philosophy and Department Chair at Bellarmine University. He has published books and articles in ethics and political theory as well as in the area of the history of philosophy. He co-edited, with Douglas B. Rasmussen, The Philosophic Thought of Ayn Rand, and recently published “The Fountainhead”: An American Novel. He is coauthor, with Douglas B. Rasmussen, of Norms of Liberty: A Perfectionist Basis for Non-Perfectionist Politics, and author of God, Man, and Well-Being (Peter Lang, 2008).
J. H. Huebert is an Adjunct Professor of Law at Ohio Northern University College of Law, an adjunct faculty member of the Ludwig von Mises Institute, and a practicing attorney. He received his juris doctor from the University of Chicago Law School and his B.A. in economics from Grove City College. His articles have appeared in numerous scholarly, professional, and popular publications.
Roderick T. Long is an Associate Professor, Department of Philosophy, 6080 Haley Center, Auburn University, Auburn, Alabama 36849, A.B. Harvard 1985, Ph.D. Cornell 1992. He is the author of Reason and Value: Aristotle versus Rand (The Objectivist Center, 2000) and Wittgenstein, Austrian Economics, and the Logic of Action: Praxeological Investigations (Routledge, forthcoming 2009), as well as co-editor (with Tibor R. Machan) of Anarchism/Minarchism: Is a Government Part of a Free Country? (Ashgate, 2008). He runs a fledgling think tank, the Molinari Institute; blogs at Austro-Athenian Empire; and is active in the Alliance of the Libertarian Left. He is also a co-editor of The Journal of Ayn Rand Studies.
Douglas B. Rasmussen is a Professor of Philosophy, Department of Philosophy, St. John’s University, 8000 Utopia Parkway, Jamaica, New York 11439. He is coauthor (with Douglas J. Den Uyl) of Norms of Liberty: A Perfectionist Basis for Non-Perfectionist Politics (Pennsylvania State University Press, 2005).
Fred Seddon currently holds adjunct professorships at three universities in South Western Pennsylvania. He has been president of the West Virginia Philosophical Society since 1988 and is an associate member of the Center for the Philosophy of Science at the University of Pittsburgh. He is an international scholar and the author of over 140 books, articles, book reviews and speeches, including such works as Ayn Rand, Objectivists and the History of Philosophy, An Introduction to the Philosophical Works of F. S. C. Northrop, and Aristotle and Lukasiewicz on the Principle of Contradiction.
Kathleen Touchstone is an Assistant Professor of Economics, Sorrell College of Business, Troy University Montgomery, Montgomery, Alabama 36103, and author of Then Athena Said: Unilateral Transfers and the Transformation of Objectivist Ethics, published by University Press of America, 2006.
Peter E. Vedder is an independent scholar of seventeenth-century philosophy currently working on the problem of the infinite in Descartes’s Third Meditation.
Volume 10, No. 2 – Spring 2009 (Issue #20)
2009 – A Symposium on Friedrich Nietzsche and Ayn Rand
The Tenth Anniversary Year of the founding of The Journal of Ayn Rand Studies concludes with a symposium that engages the thought of Friedrich Nietzsche and Ayn Rand.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Preface: Our Tenth Anniversary Year Concludes – Chris Matthew Sciabarra, p. 247
EGOISM IN NIETZSCHE AND RAND, pp. 249-91
Philosophers Friedrich Nietzsche and Ayn Rand are often identified as strong critics of altruism and arch advocates of egoism. In this essay, Stephen Hicks argues that Nietzsche and Rand have much in common in their critiques of altruism but almost nothing in common in their views on egoism.
EGOISM IN NIETZSCHE AND RAND: A SOMEWHAT DIFFERENT APPROACH, pp. 293-312
If we examine Rand’s relation to Nietzsche in terms of the number of issues on which the late Rand agreed with him, the connection between them looks extremely weak. On the other hand, if we look at the relation in terms of Rand’s philosophical development, the connection is much more profound. Nietzsche is where Rand began as a thinker, and though she traveled far from this source, her thinking always bore important traces of her beginnings.
RONALD E. MERRILL AND THE DISCOVERY OF AYN RAND’S NIETZSCHEAN PERIOD, pp. 313-28
In scientific and technological journals, it is customary to include in the first special issue on a mature invention or discovery a traditionally informal, first-person memoir of how the invention or discovery came about. Because Ronald E. Merrill died of myeloma in 1998, Reed has written an inevitably second-hand account of his discovery of Nietzsche’s influence on the young Ayn Rand, and of the subsequent intellectual history of this discovery.
NIETZSCHE, RAND, AND THE ETHICS OF THE GREAT TASK, pp. 329-42
This essay traces a trajectory of ethical thought from Epicurus through Friedrich Nietzsche to Ayn Rand. Nietzsche originally celebrated Epicureanism as a form of refined heroism but subsequently repudiated Epicurus for being overly concerned with mere happiness. Out of Nietzsche’s turn away from Epicurus came a focus on the nobility of creative work, which provided a springboard for Rand’s ethics of productivity and achievement.
WILL THE REAL APOLLO PLEASE STAND UP? RAND, NIETZSCHE, AND THE REASON-EMOTION DICHOTOMY, pp. 343-69
The author probes the “Tower of Babel” effect surrounding Western civilization’s long-standing fascination with the Greek god Apollo. He clarifies the reason-emotion dichotomy and shows the Classical-Romantic opposition of Apollo and Dionysus, as adopted by Ayn Rand and (supposedly) Friedrich Nietzsche, to be an inaccurate way to characterize either Apollo (god of reason) or Dionysus (god of emotion). Temperament theorist David Keirsey’s linkage of Apollo with emotion is found similarly wanting, and an argument based on insights of personality type theorist Janet Germane is offered that Apollo instead is most fundamentally the god of intuition.
EMBRACING POWER ROLES NATURALLY: RAND’S NIETZSCHEAN HEROES AND VILLAINS, pp. 371-98
Because of Ayn Rand’s problematic moral labels on her characters, Gail Wynand, not Howard Roark, should be her true Nietzschean hero. Wynand meets the criteria of both the Nietzschean Superman and Rand’s Objectivism. Roark’s false integrity taints his greatness and improperly vulgarizes him as a Nietzschean Superman. Rand problematically wants her heroes to accept the greatness of the bermensch, but reject his natural existence and will to power. Dominique Francon should be her true Nietzschean villain, because, unlike Ellsworth Toohey, she enjoys the painful destruction of herself and others.
Roger E. Bissell is a professional musician and a writer on philosophy and psychology, specializing in aesthetics, logic and epistemology, and personality type theory. His work has appeared in a number of other publications, including Reason Papers, Objectivity, Journal of Consciousness Studies, Vera Lex, and ART Ideas. His mock transcription of a lecture by the fictional composer Richard Halley was published in Edward W. Younkins’s 2007 compilation, Ayn Rand’s “Atlas Shrugged”: A Philosophical and Literary Companion, and he supervised the transcription of Nathaniel Branden’s lectures for the 2009 publication of The Vision of Ayn Rand: The Basic Principles of Objectivism. Musically, Roger has two recently released recordings featuring his trombone playing and a new CD with trombone and vocal solos, including four of Roger’s original compositions, is scheduled to be released in early 2010.
Stephen R. C. Hicks, Department of Philosophy, Rockford College, Rockford, Illinois 61108, is a Professor of Philosophy and Executive Director of the Center for Ethics and Entrepreneurship at Rockford College. He is the author of Explaining Postmodernism: Skepticism and Socialism from Rousseau to Foucault (Scholargy, 2004) and Nietzsche and the Nazis (Ockham’s Razor, 2006).
Lester H. Hunt is a Professor of Philosophy, University of Wisconsin, Madison, 600 North Park Street, Madison, Wisconsin 53706. He is the author of Nietzsche and the Origin of Virtue (Routledge) and Character and Culture (Rowman and Littlefield) as well as articles on aesthetics, ethics, and political philosophy. He is currently at work on a book on Robert Nozick.
Robert Powell is a Doctor of Philosophy with a degree in English from Florida State University. He is Assistant Professor of English at LeMoyne-Owen College in Memphis, Tennessee. His dissertation is entitled Ayn Rand’s Heroes: Between and Beyond Good and Evil.
Adam Reed is a Professor of Information Systems, California State University, Los Angeles, California 90032-8123. He studied electrical engineering, computer science and neurophysiology as an undergraduate and graduate student at MIT. He completed his doctorate in mathematical psychology at the University of Oregon and did postdoctoral research in neural networks at Rockefeller University. Before joining the faculty of Cal State LA, he spent 18 years at Bell Labs, working in artificial intelligence and in software engineering. He is the author of more than 20 research articles, book chapters and patents in electronics, computer science, neurophysiology, mathematical and cognitive psychology, economics, scientific methodology and epistemology, politics, political history and the history of ideas.