Volume 20, No. 1 – July 2020 (Issue #39)
TABLE OF CONTENTS
INTRODUCTION, pp. 1-3
This introduction to the twentieth anniversary volume of The Journal of Ayn Rand Studies celebrates the creating and sustaining of a forum in which writers coming from virtually every discipline, representing a diverse range of critical perspectives, have advanced the scholarly study of Ayn Rand and her times.
WHAT AYN NEVER TOLD US, pp. 4-73
Understanding Objectivism was Leonard Peikoff’s first major teaching endeavor following Ayn Rand’s death in 1982. Like Nathaniel Branden’s 1971 book The Disowned Self — written after his break with Rand — the lectures addressed complaints reported by students of the philosophy, subject matter Rand may not have approved. Peikoff faults the common mistake of looking at Objectivism through the lens of traditional philosophy. He clarifies the distinct nature of objective methodology and shows how traditional philosophy is hostage to the pernicious mind-body dichotomy. Despite Peikoff’s gracious display of empathy, the promise of a more benign nascent Objectivist vanguard was short-lived.
HOW BAD SCHOLARSHIP DESTROYS LITERARY AND ECONOMIC ANALYSIS, pp. 74-79
This book review of How Bad Writing Destroyed the World: Ayn Rand and the Literary Origins of the Financial Crisis by Adam Weiner finds that the author’s indictment of Rand and the alleged effects that her ideas had on generating the 2008 financial crisis exhibits no knowledge of the relevant scientific or historical literature on economic policy.
PROMETHEAN COMMERCE AND AYN’S ALLOY, pp. 80-94
In Perspectives on Ayn Rand’s Contributions to Economic and Business Thought, edited by Edward W. Younkins, sixteen essays on Ayn Rand’s contribution to economic and business thought question, explore, and extend what makes her writings such a prominent inspiration to businessmen and free-market economists. Most of the contributors agree it is principally her use of a Romanticist literary style, which restored the nineteenth century’s idealization of inventors, engineers, and entrepreneurs. Some also believe that she brought philosophic depth to the analysis of business by adding wealth creation to the traditional Aristotelian morality of self-realization. A few credit her invocation of a nonexploitative egoism to oust the image of businessmen as servants of shareholders and customers.
MISGUIDED ARGUMENTS, pp. 95-100
In their book, Equal Is Unfair, Watkins and Brook argue that equality of income and wealth is not needed in order to engage in the creative work required for human flourishing. One can live a successful life even though others have more resources and opportunities. It is contended here that this argument is convincing, but contrary to Watkins and Brook, it does not suffice to rule out all justifications for redistribution.
AYN RAND: SELFISH WOMAN, pp. 101-4
In Selfish Women, Lisa Downing deals with two women who had to battle the sexist stereotypes of their times: Ayn Rand and Margaret Thatcher. Her focus on Rand and Margaret Thatcher as women of “self-fulness” challenges conventional feminist conceptions that leave little room for the power of individuality. This book makes a significant contribution to such fields as women’s studies, sociology, and political science.
AYN RAND AND POSTHUMANISM, pp. 105-15
If we humans are truly facing a posthuman future, the shape of that future will in no small part be a consequence of the writings of Ayn Rand. This is the fundamental claim of Ben Murnane in Ayn Rand and the Posthuman — a claim that he supports while discussing the benefits and problems of such a likely Randian future. From seasteading to technologically enhanced humans, the future, it seems, belongs to Ayn Rand and the pioneers of technology she has most influenced.
TEXTBOOK OF AMERICANISM 2.0, pp. 116-20
A New Textbook of Americanism includes Ayn Rand’s previously uncompleted question-and-answer Textbook of Americanism, answers to questions she left unanswered written by contemporary Objectivist thinkers, excerpts from Rand’s previously unpublished “Workshop on Ethics and Politics,” and new and previously published essays by Objectivist writers. The book’s most important section is the excerpt from her Workshop in which Rand discusses topics that were seldom or never addressed in her published works.
THE PSYCHO-EPISTEMOLOGY OF FREEDOM, pp. 121-24
In Independent Judgment and Introspection: Fundamental Requirements of the Free Society, Jerry Kirkpatrick maintains that a free society can exist only when a sufficient number of people have healthy psycho-epistemologies. He identifies fundamental aspects in our culture that work against this end. Building on the work of Objectivist psychologist Edith Packer, he presents a process for improving one’s psycho-epistemology. Kirkpatrick also traces the history of child-rearing practices and relates the process of change to the work of many other psychologists including Horney, Freud, Ellis, and Rogers.
POSTHUMOUS PUBLICATIONS, pp. 125-36
Posthumous publication of Ayn Rand’s novella Ideal and her play The Unconquered provides an opportunity to assess her early work. The Unconquered is an unfortunate theatrical dramatization of her novel We the Living. Ideal, which was written first as a novella and then as a play, is the inadequate presentation of a provocative idea. Editorial packaging of The Unconquered is extensive and informative; of Ideal, slight and confused. Especially regrettable is the theory of genres presented in place of editorial commentary on Ideal.
WHO JOHN GALT IS, pp. 137-45
The author compares two very different guides to Atlas Shrugged. The first, by Curry and Trifiletti, is a more straightforward though thoughtful examination, in sequence, of the novel’s thirty chapters, while the second, by Tracinski, is a collection of mostly freestanding, insightful, and inspirational essays. Special focus is given to the treatment in each book of the length and literary merit of Galt’s speech.
THE ILLUSTRATED RAND: THREE RECENT GRAPHIC NOVELS, pp. 146-50
The author reviews two adaptations of Anthem as a graphic novel and a third book, The Age of Selfishness, that combines a biography of Rand with an account of the financial crisis of the early twenty-first century and her putative responsibility for it. The graphic novels are both enjoyable versions of Rand’s thought-provoking science-fiction novella, to different degrees; the nonfiction book is filled with distortions, polemic, and caricature.
FILE FOLDER FOLLIES, pp. 151-58
The reviewer looks at Roger E. Bissell’s latest work, What’s in Your File Folder? Essays on the Nature and Logic of Propositions. He considers a range of topics including propositions, syllogisms, the meaning of existence, the nature of entities and characteristics, axioms, causality, and logic, among others.
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. 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).
PETER J. BOETTKE
Peter J. Boettke is University Professor of Economics and Philosophy at George Mason University, as well as the Director of the F. A. Hayek Program for the Advanced Study in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics, and BB&T Professor for the Study of Capitalism at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University.
Troy 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).
Stephen Cox is Distinguished Professor of Literature and Director of the Humanities Program at the University of California, San Diego. Since 1987 he has served as Editor and since 2005 as Editor-in-Chief of Liberty magazine. He is a founding editor of JARS. His work has engaged several fields: cultural history (The Titanic Story, 1999; The Big House: Image and Reality of the American Prison, 2009); economics and literature (Literature and the Economics of Liberty, coedited with Paul Cantor, 2009); religious texts and history (The New Testament and Literature: A Guide to Literary Patterns, 2006; Changing and Remaining: A History of All Saints’ Church San Diego, 2011; American Christianity: The Continuing Revolution, 2014); and the history of radical individualism (The Stranger Within Thee: Concepts of the Self in Late-Eighteenth-Century Literature, 1980; Love and Logic: The Evolution of Blake’s Thought, 1992; and The Woman and the Dynamo: Isabel Paterson and the Idea of America, 2004). His other work on Paterson, Rand’s influential mentor, includes the jubilee edition of Paterson’s The God of the Machine (1993), an extensively annotated edition of her shorter writings, Culture and Liberty (2015), and the introduction to a new edition of her novel The Golden Vanity (2017). He has repeatedly been recognized for excellence in teaching by the students and faculty of UC San Diego.
Roger Donway received his AB in philosophy from Brown University, where he met and learned with the Objectivist philosopher David Kelley. For ten years, he was managing editor of Orbis, an academic quarterly of international affairs published by the Foreign Policy Research Institute in Philadelphia. For eight years, he was managing editor of Navigator, the monthly magazine published by The Objectivist Center, and he thereafter contributed monthly to its successor, The New Individualist. In 2012, he wrote Rich-Hunt: The Backdated Options Frenzy and the Ordeal of Greg Reyes. Since 2005, he has worked as a researcher and editor for Robert Bradley Jr.’s tetralogy on the ideological background and corporate history that led to Enron’s rise and fall. He also writes frequently for the publications of the Baker Street Irregulars, and yearly for the Dutchess County Historical Society. He lives in Bloomington, Indiana, with his wife, Alisan.
Mimi Reisel Gladstein is Professor of English and Theatre Arts, University of Texas at El Paso, where she has chaired the English and Philosophy departments twice, was the first Director of Women’s Studies, Associate Dean of Liberal Arts, and Chair of Theatre, Dance, and Film. She has written three books on Ayn Rand and co-edited one, Feminist Interpretations of Ayn Rand. A co-edited volume on the Chicano artist and writer José Antonio Burciaga won an American Book Award, a Southwest Book Award, and a Latino Book Award. Her work in Steinbeck studies has been recognized with the Burkhart Award for Research and the Pruis Award for teaching. In 2011, she was inducted into the El Paso Commission for Women Hall of Fame and the El Paso County Historical Society Hall of Honor.
David Gordon is a senior fellow at the Ludwig von Mises Institute. He was educated at UCLA, where he earned his Ph.D. in history. He is the author of Resurrecting Marx: The Analytical Marxists on Exploitation, Freedom, and Justice, The Philosophical Origins of Austrian Economics, An Introduction to Economic Reasoning, and Critics of Marxism. He is also editor of The Mises Review and The Journal of Libertarian Studies.
Dennis C. Hardin is an Objectivist writer and psychotherapist. From 1987 to 1990, he was the co-leader of a popular Los Angeles discussion group, the Forum for the New Intellectual. In 2002, he created and presented his own self-help seminar, “The Ethics of Personal Achievement.” He has contributed several previous articles to The Journal of Ayn Rand Studies and is also the author of The Living Image, a novel about the sanctity of human happiness. He and his wife currently live just outside of New Orleans, Louisiana.
Neil Parille is an attorney in Connecticut. He has a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from Clark University.
Chris Matthew Sciabarra received his Ph.D., with distinction, in political theory, philosophy, and methodology from New York University. He was a Visiting Scholar in the NYU Department of Politics from 1989 to 2009. 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.
Fred Seddon currently holds an adjunct professorship at Pennsylvania State
University, Altoona. He was president of the West Virginia Philosophical
Society from 1988 to 2010 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 150 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.
Steven H. Shmurak, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist who was in practice as a psychotherapist for more than thirty years. He holds degrees in mathematics from Swarthmore College and Harvard University, and a doctorate in psychology from Indiana University. In addition to his long-term interest in Objectivism, he is well-versed in the Affect-Script Theory of emotion developed by psychologist Silvan Tomkins. He is also an avid student of the somatic work of Thomas Hanna (Clinical Somatic Education) and believes that it reveals and optimizes a fundamental property of consciousness that is central to having high self-esteem.
Aeon J. Skoble is Professor of Philosophy at Bridgewater State University. He is the author of Deleting the State: An Argument about Government (2008) and The Essential Nozick (2020), the editor of Reading Rasmussen and Den Uyl: Critical Essays on Norms of Liberty (2008), and co-editor of Political Philosophy: Essential Selections (1999) and Reality, Reason, and Rights (2011). In addition, he has frequently lectured and written for the Institute for Humane Studies, the Cato Institute, and the Foundation for Economic Education, and he is a Senior Fellow at the Fraser Institute. His main research includes theories of rights, the nature and justification of authority, and virtue ethics. In addition, he writes widely on the intersection of philosophy and popular culture, among other things co-editing the best-selling The Simpsons and Philosophy (2000) and three other books on film and television.