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.