Volume 1, No. 1 – Fall 1999 (Issue #1)
The first issue of The Journal of Ayn Rand Studies appeared in Fall 1999. Though our design has changed, we preserve the image of that first issue:
TABLE OF CONTENTS
THE RAND TRANSCRIPT, pp. 1-26
Sciabarra discusses the major historical significance of his discovery and investigation of Ayn Rand’s transcript from the University of St. Petersburg. The document provides evidence of Rand’s study with some of the finest Russian scholars of the period, and helps to resolve certain paradoxes concerning Rand’s relationship to the philosopher, N. O. Lossky. It also contributes to our understanding of those methods and ideas that may have influenced Rand’s intellectual development. [See the preface to this article: “Investigative Report: In Search of the Rand Transcript,” published in Liberty magazine.]
OUTSIDES AND INSIDES: REIMAGINING AMERICAN CAPITALISM, pp. 27-57
Cox argues that American capitalism has found remarkably few exponents among modern American writers. Capitalists themselves have often been remarkably ineffective in expounding its principles. The most vigorous advocacy of capitalism has tended to come from people who stood at a distance from America’s literary and social mainstream. Among them was Ayn Rand, who by writing from the “outside” succeeded in finding new imaginative constructions of the “inside” of American life. This essay examines the play of perspectives “inside” and “outside” in The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged, and the ironies and parodies that result from the literary relationships of those perspectives.
MUSIC AND PERCEPTUAL COGNITION, pp. 59-86
Bissell challenges Ayn Rand’s interpretation of the nature of musical perception. Abandoning her earlier Jamesian view of sensation and perception for the flawed Helmholtzian model, Rand overlooked the musical-literary analogy and its usefulness in understanding and evaluating musical experience. Using Rand’s analysis of esthetic identification and findings of psychophysiological research, Bissell aims to correct this error and to make a stronger case for the underlying unity of the arts.
RAND, ANARCHY, AND TAXES, pp. 87-105
Sechrest offers an economic analysis of the Objectivist case for minarchy with emphasis on how such a limited government would be funded. Ayn Rand’s original proposal that citizens’ contributions to the public treasury must be voluntary avoids the problem of redistributing income or wealth, but it is likely to prove infeasible due to the problems of declining contributions, rising costs, and inefficiency. Murray Franck’s alternative suggestion that compulsory taxation is necessary and moral avoids the free-rider problem, but it faces the problems of inefficiency and the redistributive phenomenon known as the non-neutrality of taxes. Neither approach presents a convincing rebuttal to the case for anarchy.
AYN RAND AND THE COGNITIVE REVOLUTION IN PSYCHOLOGY, pp. 107-34
Campbell explains how Ayn Rand’s epistemology drew on ideas and findings from the Cognitive Revolution, the change in American psychology during the 1950s that re-established mental processes as an object of study and overthrew behaviorism. Particularly noticeable is Rand’s reliance on George Miller’s conclusions regarding limited cognitive capacity, and her broad agreement with Noam Chomsky’s devastating critique of B. F. Skinner’s behaviorism. Both Rand’s points of contact–and differences–with the Cognitive Revolution are discussed. Once the impact of the Cognitive Revolution on Rand is recognized, her insistence that philosophy owes nothing to psychology becomes harder to defend.
LIBERTY AND NATURE: THE MISSING LINK, pp. 135-66
Johnson examines the link between Ayn Rand’s ethics, which can be broadly characterized as Aristotelian, and her political philosophy, which can be broadly characterized as classical liberalism of the Lockean, natural rights variety. He maintains that Rand’s argument for classical liberalism on the basis of the objectivity of values fails because she has a reductionistic and excessively intellectualistic conception of human nature. In addition to discussing Rand’s arguments, he surveys the Rand-influenced work of Douglas B. Rasmussen and Douglas J. Den Uyl, as well as Tibor R. Machan and Tara Smith.
Roger E. Bissell is a professional musician and graduate student in psychology at California Coast University. He is also a writer on psychology and philosophy. His work has appeared in a number of publications, including Reason Papers, Objectivity, Journal of Consciousness Studies, Vera Lex, and ART Ideas.
Robert L. Campbell is a Professor, Department of Psychology, Clemson University, Brackett Hall 410A, Clemson South Carolina 29634-1511. He first read Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology in 1973, while studying developmental and cognitive psychology as an undergraduate. He is the co-author (with Mark Bickhard) of Knowing Levels and Developmental Stages (S. Karger).
Stephen Cox is a professor of Literature and Director of the Humanities Program at the University of California, San Diego, 9500 Gilman Drive, La Jolla, CA 92093-0306. He is the author of The Stranger Within Thee (University of Pittsburgh Press), Love and Logic: The Evolution of Blake’s Thought (University of Michigan Press), and The Titanic Story (Open Court).
Gregory R. Johnson is a philosophical consultant in Atlanta. He is the author of a doctoral dissertation (and forthcoming book), Kant’s Encounter with Swedenborg, and of essays on Aristotle, Rousseau, Kant, Heidegger, Gadamer, Leo Strauss, Eric Voegelin, Isaiah Berlin, F.A. Hayek, J.G. Merquior, Jane Austen, Flannery O’Connor, Walker Percy, and Ayn Rand, as well as on topics in moral and political philosophy. He is currently writing a book entitled What Socrates Knew.
Chris Matthew Sciabarra is a Visiting Scholar, Department of Politics, New York University, 726 Broadway, 7th floor, New York, New York 10003. He is the author of Marx, Hayek, and Utopia (State University of New York Press), Ayn Rand: The Russian Radical (Pennsylvania State University Press), and Total Freedom: Toward a Dialectical Libertarianism (Pennsylvania State University Press). He is also coeditor, with Mimi Reisel Gladstein, of Feminist Interpretations of Ayn Rand (Pennsylvania State University Press)
Larry J. Sechrest is an associate Professor of Economics, Sul Ross State University, Alpine, Texas 79832. He is Associate Professor of Economics and Director of the Free Enterprise Institute at Sul Ross State University. His research interests include free banking, business cycles, the history of economic thought, economic history, and the philosophical foundations of economics. He is the author of Free Banking: Theory, History, and a Laissez-Faire Model (Quorum Books).
Volume 1, No. 2 – Spring 2000 (Issue #2)
TABLE OF CONTENTS
THE ROLE OF TRAGEDY IN AYN RAND’S FICTION, pp. 171-209
Minsaas examines the role of tragedy in Rand’s fiction. Rand tended to dismiss tragedy, finding it incompatible with her doctrine that art should serve as a kind of inspirational fuel. But her own fiction often makes use of tragedy in ways that transcend her theory and that reveal its inadequacy as a basis for interpreting her works. A satisfactory comprehension of the meaning and function of the tragic occurrences in Rand’s works, Minsaas argues, requires engagement with such conceptual frameworks as Aristotle’s catharsis theory, Nietzsche’s attack on pity, the Prometheus myth, and the Stoic idea of heroic calm.
THE UNIVERSALITY AND EMPLOYMENT OF CONCEPTS, pp. 211-44
Register explores Rand’s theory of concept-formation and concept-employment. Rand proposes a sophisticated nominalist theory of universals, which accounts both for the objectivity of categories of things and for the universality and abstractness of certain mental states. However, Rand’s theory is found wanting: through an erroneous and confused treatment of the relation between words and concepts, it fails to account for non-linguistic conceptual activity. A revision of Rand’s theory, drawing from Price and from Rand’s notion of concepts of method, seeks to fill the gap.
RAND ON ABORTION: A CRITIQUE, pp. 245-61
GREGORY R. JOHNSON and DAVID RASMUSSEN
The authors argue that Rand’s defense of abortion on demand is inconsistent with her own fundamental metaphysical, epistemological, and moral principles, namely that everything that exists has a determinate identity, that the concept of man refers to all of man’s characteristics, not just his essential characteristics, and that there is no gap between what an organism truly is and what it ought to be.
AYN RAND: A FEMINIST DESPITE HERSELF?, pp. 263-81
Dolling reviews Feminist Interpretations of Ayn Rand, edited by Mimi Reisel Gladstein and Chris Matthew Sciabarra. The anthology attempts to re-read Rand’s work in light of important feminist issues and to locate it in the context of debates current in feminist discourse. Dolling argues that the book — which contains nineteen articles by philosophers, psychologists, literary theorists, and numerous others — is an important step toward bringing fresh attention to Rand’s thought and toward the canon-transformation called for by contemporary scholars.
EGOISM AND BENEVOLENCE, pp. 283-91
Machan argues that David Kelley’s Unrugged Individualism: The Selfish Basis of Benevolence, which makes the case for including the benevolent virtues as a prominent feature of the Objectivist ethics, is too brief but filled with poignant observations and some valuable analysis. Machan discusses altruism, in response to much criticism of Rand’s rendition of the position, and defends ethical egoism against widespread misrepresentations.
A VETERAN RECONNOITERS AYN RAND’S PHILOSOPHY, pp. 293-312
Campbell finds Tibor Machan’s book, Ayn Rand, to be a thoroughgoing introduction to every part of Rand’s system except the esthetics. Machan’s presentation is knowledgeable and sympathetic but entirely non-sectarian; it offers several significant criticisms of Rand’s views. Campbell focuses on Machan’s discussion of Rand’s philosophical axioms, her ethics, and her antipathy to Immanuel Kant. Certain questions that Machan asks prompt Campbell to inquire whether Rand’s avoidance of cosmology in metaphysics is an example to be followed in epistemology (where it would imply an avoidance of psychological questions about the nature, evolution, and development of the human mind).
THE ART OF FICTION, pp. 313-31
Cox examines The Art of Fiction, a book of newly published selections from Ayn Rand’s lectures on fiction-writing that extend and complicate our knowledge of her literary ideas. Her discussion of the fiction-writer’s craft provides interesting and sometimes provocative views on general problems of literary form and method.
A GUIDE TO RAND SCHOLARSHIP – I, pp. 333-44
Stoloff provides a brief review of Mimi Reisel Gladstein’s New Ayn Rand Companion, Revised and Expanded Edition, and inaugurates an ongoing reference guide to scholarship on Ayn Rand and Objectivism.
Robert L. Campbell is a Professor, Department of Psychology, Clemson University, Brackett Hall 410A, Clemson, South Carolina 29634-1511. He first read Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology in 1973, while studying developmental and cognitive psychology as an undergraduate. He is the co-author (with Mark Bickhard) of Knowing Levels and Developmental Stages (S. Karger).
Stephen Cox is a professor of Literature and Director of the Humanities Program at the University of California, San Diego, 9500 Gilman Drive, La Jolla, California 92093-0306. He is the author of The Stranger Within Thee (University of Pittsburgh Press), Love and Logic: The Evolution of Blake’s Thought (University of Michigan Press), The Titanic Story (Open Court), and the biographical introduction to Isabel Paterson’s The God of the Machine (Transaction).
Lisa M. Dolling is an Assistant Professor of Philosophy, St. John’s University, Jamaica, New York 11439. She specializes in hermeneutics and the philosophy of science. She is co-editor (with Arthur Gianelli) of the forthcoming Tests of Time: Readings in the Development of Scientific Theory, and is currently at work on a reader of twentieth century women philosophers. She has written on Edith Stein, Simone Weil, and on the philosophy of physicist Neils Bohr.
Gregory R. Johnson is a philosopher in private practice in Atlanta. In addition to consulting with individuals and institutions, he runs The Invisible College, a private educational organization offering classes on topics in philosophy, psychology, and literature.
Tibor R. Machan is the Distinguished Fellow and Freedom Communications Professor of Business Ethics and Free Enterprise at the Leatherby Center of Chapman University, Argyros School of Business and Economics, Orange, California 92866. He is also Professor Emeritus at Auburn University’s Department of Philosophy and Research Fellow at the Hoover Institution (Stanford, California). He has written, among other works, Ayn Rand (Peter Lang, 1999), Generosity: Virtue in the Civil Society (Cato Institute, 1998), and Classical Individualism: The Supreme Importance of Each Human Being (Routledge, 1998).
Kirsti Minsaas, University of Oslo, Department of British and American Studies, P. O. Box 1003 Blindern, 0315 Oslo, Norway, is a research fellow in English literature at the University of Oslo, Norway. Receiving her doctorate in 1998, her dissertation topic was on the role of Aristotelian catharsis in Shakespearean tragedy, and she is currently working on a project on the “exemplary hero” in English literature from 1590 to 1820. She has also lectured extensively on Ayn Rand’s fiction, both in Europe and in the United States.
David Rasmussen is an independent scholar living in Carson City, Nevada. He earned his M.S. in Computer Science from North Carolina State University.
Bryan Register, Department of Philosophy at the University of Texas at Austin, Austin, Texas 78712-1180, is a graduate student in the Special Program in Continental Philosophy of UT-Austin, and has studied Rand’s theory of concepts under David Kelley during an internship at the Institute for Objectivist Studies (now The Objectivist Center). He has written for Liberty, Navigator, Free Inquiry, and The Free Radical. His work includes a thesis on The Logic and Validity of Emotional Appeal in Classical Greek Rhetorical Theory, as well as preliminary work on the emotions, language, and other topics.
Matthew Stoloff holds a B.A. in philosophy from the University of Cincinnati and a Masters in Labor Relations and Human Resources from the School of Labor and Industrial Relations at Michigan State University. His current research interests include labor law, corporate campaigns, and corporate crimes.