Volume 19, No. 1 – July 2019 (Issue #37)
TABLE OF CONTENTS
FOUNDATIONAL FRAMES: DESCARTES AND RAND, pp. 1-37
This article closely compares the opposing foundations of theoretical philosophy in Rene Descartes and Ayn Rand. The developmental course of Rand’s foundations, with their continual opposition to Descartes, is tracked. Arguments particularly against Descartes are assembled in this article, and the bountiful contemporary scholarship on Descartes is engaged.
AYN RAND’S CREDIT PROBLEM, pp. 38-46
In this article, the author diagnoses the cause of Rand’s problematic position on intellectual property. He argues that Rand treats credit as a very thick concept. Rand sees crediting a person with inventing something as granting that person a right to the money embodied in the invention, its sale, and the profits related to licensing reproduction. The author shows that this thick notion of credit leads Rand to make several questionable claims in her arguments for intellectual property rights.
AYN RAND AND THE LOST AXIOM OF ARISTOTLE: A PHILOSOPHICAL MYSTERY — SOLVED?, pp. 47-82
The author explains how Rand was absolutely correct in saying that Aristotle “stated the formula” of the Law of Identity. He corrects long-standing faulty Thomist criticisms on this issue and gives due credit to thinkers such as Antonius Andreas, Leibniz, and William Hamilton. The author further contends that the gradual shift in Objectivist usage of the Law of Identity (from “a thing is itself” to “a thing is what it is”) tacitly ratifies these erroneous criticisms and has actually contributed to the failure of Objectivist thinkers to develop Rand’s concept theory into a valid model of propositions and syllogisms.
THE RETURN OF THE ARBITRARY: PEIKOFF’S TRINITY, BINSWANGER’S INFERNO, UNWANTED POSSIBILITIES — AND A PARROT FOR PRESIDENT, pp. 83-134
Leonard Peikoff brought into Objectivist epistemology the doctrine that what is asserted arbitrarily (without adequate evidence) cannot be true or false. In 2008 the author gave a detailed critique of the doctrine; it has not received a published response. But there have been restatements by Harry Binswanger, Ben Bayer, and Gregory Salmieri. Their re-presentations do not refute any old arguments; their new arguments make the doctrine worse. The doctrine is being used to justify ignoring known possibilities, and to “prove” that the current president of the United States has a parrot’s mind in a human body. Its public retraction is overdue.
Roger E. Bissell is an independent scholar living in Antioch, Tennessee. A research associate with the Molinari Institute, he has edited no fewer than ten books and is the author of more than three dozen scholarly essays in philosophy and psychology, as well as four books, including How the Martians Discovered Algebra: Explorations in Induction and the Philosophy of Mathematics and What’s in Your File Folder? The Nature and Logic of Propositions (forthcoming, 2019). A lifelong professional musician, he has an M.A. in music performance and literature (University of Iowa) and a B.S. in music theory and composition (Iowa State University). He has written extensively on aesthetics and logic and dialectical method and applies this unusual background in an essay on the Great American Songbook, published in The Dialectics of Liberty: Exploring the Context of Human Freedom, a volume that he co-edited with Chris Matthew Sciabarra and Edward W. Younkins (Lexington Books, 2019).
Stephen Boydstun earned a degree in Physics, with a minor in Philosophy, from the University of Oklahoma. He took graduate courses in those areas at the University of Chicago. He earned a degree in Mechanical Engineering from the Illinois Institute of Technology and worked in nuclear electrical power generation. He founded and edited the journal Objectivity (1990-98), a journal of metaphysics, epistemology, and theory of value, informed by modern science. He is presently writing a book spanning those areas, setting out a philosophy akin to, against, and beyond that of Ayn Rand. He contributed “Universals and Measurement” to The Journal of Ayn Rand Studies (2004).
Robert L. Campbell is a Professor Emeritus of Psychology at Clemson University. For thirteen years, he was the co-editor of New Ideas in Psychology. He has published articles and chapters on Jean Piaget’s genetic epistemology and is the English translator of Piaget’s Studies in Reflecting Abstraction. He has been affiliated with The Journal of Ayn Rand Studies since its founding and has written extensively on Rand’s epistemology and on the relationship between Objectivism and psychology. His latest publications are a retrospective on the staged debate between Jean Piaget and Noam Chomsky (which took place in 1975) and a chapter on dialectical psychology for The Dialectics of Liberty: Exploring the Context of Human Freedom (Lexington Books, 2019).
Lamont Rodgers is a professor of philosophy at Houston Community College. His research focuses on Robert Nozick, natural rights, and political legitimacy.
Volume 19, No. 2 – December 2019 (Issue #38)
TABLE OF CONTENTS
SYMPOSIUM: ATLAS SHRUGGED: SIXTY-PLUS YEARS LATER
PREFACE, p. 137
On 10 October 1957, Random House published Ayn Rand’s novel Atlas Shrugged. Now, more than sixty years after the publication of Rand’s magnum opus, The Journal of Ayn Rand Studies presents four essays offering dramatically different perspectives on the novel’s meaning, context, and legacy.
THE “STRIKE” REBORN: AYN RAND, REVOLUTIONARY LITERATURE, AND THE POSTWAR AMERICAN NOVEL, pp. 138-69
Too often critics and proponents of Ayn Rand’s work have overlooked her contribution to debates in the twentieth century over the role of the novel in an age of mass politics. Echoing many midcentury literary critics, Rand defended the novel as an essential tool in countering the ideological passions that had led to recent political terrors. But Rand abandoned the notion of the novel as merely a fictional representation of the world as it is and instead blended realism and romance to show the world as it should be, a revolutionary impulse that countered liberal understandings of the novel.
SEXUAL CATHARSIS AS AN EXPERIENCE OF THE POSTFEMINIST IN AYN RAND’S ATLAS SHRUGGED, pp. 170-91
Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged is not just a fully actualized rendition of her Objectivist philosophy, but a symbol of the possibility of postfeminism in a postindustrial world. Rand’s postfeminist signifier, Dagny Taggart, is able to attain this ideal of equality only through the catharsis of the physical relationships with men whom Dagny considers her spiritual equals. The men in Dagny’s life each contribute a new awakening to her about herself as she, at the same time, awakens them.
ATLAS SHRUGGED AS EPIC, pp. 192-242
In literary works as in architecture, form follows function. There are clear differences among novels, epics, lyrics, and plays, and what the author wishes to say determines which genre works best. The Night of January 16th could only be written as a play; The Fountainhead could only be written as a novel; Anthem could only be written as a novella. Using the recent work by Frederick Turner, Epic: Form, Content, and History, the author attempts to demonstrate that Atlas Shrugged is an epic in the tradition of The Iliad, Moby Dick, and Lord of the Rings. (Also see Camplin’s article in We.)
THE REPRESENTATION OF TRAUMA IN AYN RAND’S NOVEL ATLAS SHRUGGED, pp. 243-58
This article interprets Ayn Rand’s last novel, Atlas Shrugged, through the lens of Trauma Studies. The author argues that the novel reflects Rand’s traumatic experiences of the February and October revolutions in Russia and can be viewed as the means by which the author engaged in the process of what Dominick LaCapra has called “working-through.”
THE NON-CONTRADICTION OF DETERMINISM: CONDITIONAL VOLITION AND VANILLA ICE CREAM, pp. 259-75
The author provides another metaphysical argument to bolster his thesis of the logical harmony of determinism and volition. He shows how the typical mainstream and Objectivist doctrine of “libertarian” (could-have-done-otherwise) free will commits the same logical error as the Sophist attacks on the Law of Non-Contradiction — namely, an out-of-context interpretation of, respectively, the Law of Causality and the Law of Identity as being unconditional absolutes, which they are not and cannot be.
INDEX, p. 276
Roger E. Bissell is an independent scholar living in Antioch, Tennessee. A research associate with the Molinari Institute, he has edited no fewer than ten books and is the author of more than three dozen scholarly essays in philosophy and psychology, as well as four books, including How the Martians Discovered Algebra: Explorations in Induction and the Philosophy of Mathematics (2014) and What’s in Your File Folder? The Nature and Logic of Propositions (2019). A lifelong professional musician, he has an M.A. in music performance and literature (University of Iowa) and a B.S. in music theory and composition (Iowa State University). He has written extensively on aesthetics and logic and dialectical method and applies this unusual background in an essay on the Great American Songbook, published in The Dialectics of Liberty: Exploring the Context of Human Freedom, a volume that he co-edited with Chris Matthew Sciabarra and Edward W. Younkins (2019).
Troy Earl Camplin has a Ph.D. in the humanities and is the lead consultant at Camplin Creative Consulting. He has published several academic papers and book chapters on spontaneous order theory, short stories, and poetry. He is also the author of the book Diaphysics (2009) and the novella Hear the Screams of the Butterfly (2016).
Robert Genter is an associate professor of history at Nassau Community College in Garden City, New York. He is the author of Late Modernism: Art, Culture, and Politics in Cold War America (2010).
Anastasiya Vasilievna Grigorovskaya, candidate degree in philology, is an associate professor in the Department of Russian and Foreign Literature at Tyumen State University. She is a member of the Russian Society of American Culture Studies (Moscow) and European Association of American Studies (UK). Her candidate thesis is devoted to modern Russian anti-utopias. She is a coauthor of the monograph The Russian Project of World Correction and Art Creativity of the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries (Moscow, 2014). She is working on the first doctoral thesis about Ayn Rand in Russia. She was a participant of the Third Memorial Conference on Ayn Rand (Adam Smith Center, Saint Petersburg, 2017). Among her nine publications on Rand, in Russian, are “Masonic Code in Ayn Rand’s novel The Fountainhead” (Culture and Civilization, no. 1A : 195-20) and “The First American Novel about Soviet Russia: ‘The Living’ and ‘The Dead’ in Ayn Rand’s novel We the Living” (Political Linguistics, no. 1 : 134-40). Her aim is to revive Ayn Rand’s reputation under today’s conditions of globalization and to promote future investigations of Rand’s Russian origins.
Samantha Ann Opperman has a B.A. in English education from California State University, Long Beach and an M.A. in English literature from California State University, Los Angeles. She has been teaching high school English, theater, and film studies for five years, and college-level English for three years. Her research interests have always focused on modern and postmodern texts that question the perceptions of the Enlightenment. Among the authors she has studied are Ayn Rand and Franz Kafka, as well as feminist and protofeminist authors such as Charlotte Brontë, Mary Wollstonecraft, and Jane Austen.
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; expanded second edition, 2013), and Total Freedom: Toward a Dialectical Libertarianism (Pennsylvania State University Press, 2000). He is coeditor, with Mimi Reisel Gladstein, of Feminist Interpretations of Ayn Rand (Pennsylvania State University Press, 1999), coeditor, with Roger E. Bissell and Edward W. Younkins of The Dialectics of Liberty: Exploring the Context of Human Freedom (Lexington Books, 2019), and a founding coeditor of The Journal of Ayn Rand Studies (1999-present). He has written over a dozen encyclopedia entries dealing with Objectivism and libertarianism, given over 50 interviews published in such periodicals as The Chronicle of Higher Education, The Boston Globe, The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Village Voice, and The Economist, and published over 150 essays, which have appeared in publications as diverse as Critical Review, Reason Papers, Liberty, Reason, The New York Daily News, Film Score Monthly, Jazz Times, Just Jazz Guitar, and Billboard.