Volume 8, No. 1 – Fall 2006 (Issue #15)
TABLE OF CONTENTS
DE-MYSTIFYING EMOTION: INTRODUCING THE AFFECT THEORY OF SILVAN TOMKINS TO OBJECTIVISTS, pp. 1-18
A special video presentation
This article features a special video presentation, “The 9 Innate Affects — S. S. Tomkins,” which is available on YouTube. It provides the raw data upon which the article is based. Those who wish to have the original CD-ROM disc that came with this essay should contact us. Our special thanks to the author for providing this presentation for our archives, and for providing our readers with a multimedia experience.
Objectivism’s approach to the nature of emotion is incomplete. It has oversimplified emotional phenomena and has substantially underestimated the importance of emotion as a tool of survival. This article presents an introduction to Affect Theory, an approach to understanding emotion based on ostensive definitions, which was developed by the American psychologist Silvan S. Tomkins. Affect theory subsumes the Objectivist theory of emotion while being true to all the complexities of our emotional lives. This theory provides an important supplement to Objectivist thinking. The relationship between emotion and reason and the role of affect in shaping sense of life are considered.
SOME CONVERGENCES AND DIVERGENCES IN THE REALISM OF CHARLES PEIRCE AND AYN RAND, pp. 19-39
Structured around Charles S. Peirce’s three-fold categorical scheme, this article proposes a comparative study of Ayn Rand and Peirce’s realist views in general metaphysics. Rand’s stance is seen as diverging with Peirce’s argument from asymptotic representation but converging with arguments from brute relation and neutral category. It is argued that, by dismissing traditional subject-object dualisms, Rand and Peirce both propose iconoclastic construals of what it means to be real, dismissals made all the more noteworthy by the fact each chose to ground them in indissoluble triads of self-evident first principles.
RAND AND RESCHER ON TRUTH, pp. 41-48
This essay argues that Rand’s conception of truth marshals all the strengths of the four theories of truth detailed by philosopher Nicholas Rescher: correspondence, coherence, intuitionistic, and pragmatic.
DECONSTRUCTING POSTMODERN XENOPHILIA, pp. 49-62
The most prominent feature of postmodern liberal relativism is its obsession with the Other, allegedly marginalized or repressed in the dominant Western culture. If all cultures are morally equal, then tolerance of, and openness to, the Other on the part of the enlightened postmoderns is the only non-repressive value. This view, dubbed “xenophilia,” implies that hospitality to the most radically Other, ultimately to the enemy, is the highest virtue. There is a fatal complementarity between a culture defining itself as openness and any intolerant Other. The former can only succumb to, or be destroyed by, the latter.
ESSAYS ON AYN RAND’S FICTION, pp. 63-84
The two volumes edited by Robert Mayhew provide new information about the creation, publication, and histories of Anthem and We the Living. The essays were written by authors who had access to the Ayn Rand Archives, and whose work constitutes a good foundation for the study of these novels. Although both volumes contain chapters that deal unsatisfactorily with Rand’s changes between editions and sometimes fail to acknowledge the work of other writers and scholars in the field, these collections also contain many new insights into Rand’s life in Russia and the creative process and are great additions to Rand scholarship.
PUTTING HUMANS FIRST?, pp. 85-104
In Putting Humans First: Why We Are Nature’s Favorite, Tibor Machan argues against moral perspectives that require taking animals’ interests seriously. He attempts to defend the status quo regarding routine, harmful uses of animals for food, fashion and experimentation. Graham and Nobis argue that Machan’s work fails to resist pro-animal moral conclusions that are supported by a wide range of contemporary ethical arguments. [This article is featured on the site of The Humane Society of the United States.]
AYN RAND AS LITERARY MENTOR, pp. 105-10
Erika Holzer’s Ayn Rand: My Fiction-Writing Teacher is a collection of essays about Holzer’s mentor-protege relationship with Rand. Written as a memoir, it is also a how-to-book on writing (fiction and nonfiction) which takes as its point of departure the personal advice Holzer received from Rand in her early years as a writer. The primary interest of the book lies in Holzer’s account of her efforts to put this advice into practice, especially her struggle to learn from Rand while developing her own voice and vision.
REPLY TO FRED SEDDON: RAND AND EMPIRICAL RESPONSIBILITY, pp. 111-19
Responding to Fred Seddon’s review of his book, Ayn Rand Contra Human Nature, Nyquist defends his view that Rand failed to provide evidence for her view of man. Using evidence compiled by cognitive scientists, neuroscientists, and evolutionary psychologists, Nyquist challenges not only Rand’s view of man, but also her epistemology, particularly her overestimation of the role of logic in efficacious thinking.
REJOINDER TO GREG NYQUIST: NYQUIST CONTRA RAND, PART II, pp. 121-22
Seddon echoes comments he made in his original Spring 2003 Journal of Ayn Rand Studies review of Greg Nyquist’s book, Ayn Rand Contra Human Nature. He argues that Nyquist’s reply still does not grasp fully the Objectivist view of logic and the role of induction.
REPLY TO RODERICK T. LONG: THE ‘GROTESQUE’ DICHOTOMIES STILL UNBEAUTIFIED, pp. 123-42
This essay strongly affirms, rather than denies, continuity of reference across theory change, while reconciling this with other claims made in the book Necessary Factual Truth, and in addition defends the book’s claim that all non-disjunctive qualities common to the paradigms are essential to a kind, discusses its arguments against truth by convention, and denies that its attempt to show Newton’s axioms necessary is a priori, rejecting the a priori altogether.
REJOINDER TO GREGORY M. BROWNE: A BEAUTY CONTEST FOR DICHOTOMIES: BROWNE’S TERMINOLOGICAL REVOLUTIONS, pp. 143-62
While regarding Gregory M. Browne as mainly on target in his Rand-inspired treatment of reference and necessity, as well as in his rejection of the analytic-synthetic dichotomy, Long argues, first, that Browne is mistaken in rejecting some other vital distinctions, such as the a priori / a posteriori distinction; second, that Browne is nevertheless implicitly committed, under different terminology, to these very distinctions that he purportedly rejects; and third, that Browne’s treatment of kinds and definitions leads him to misdescribe and mis-prescribe ordinary language use, and also to embrace unnecessary semantic incommensurability.
Susan Love Brown is interim director of the Ph.D. in Comparative Studies, associate professor of anthropology, and a women’s studies faculty associate at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton. She is the co-author of Meeting Anthropology Phase to Phase (2000) and the editor of Intentional Community: An Anthropological Perspective (2002). As a political and psychological anthropologist, her research involves the cultural origins of ideology (especially American individualist anarchism), social evolution, intentional communities, gender and ethnicity, and popular culture. Her article, “Ayn Rand: The Woman Who Would Not Be President,” appeared in Feminist Interpretations of Ayn Rand (1999), edited by Mimi Reisel Gladstein and Chris Matthew Sciabarra.
Gregory M. Browne, an Instructor at Eastern Michigan University and sometimes other Michigan colleges, is the author of Necessary Factual Truth (University Press of America, 2001), which presents, elaborates and advocates a position similar to that of Leonard Peikoff in “The Analytic-Synthetic Dichotomy.” He has also written “Future Contingents” (unpublished). He has a B.A. in an interdisciplinary social sciences program and in political science (1979), an M.A. in political science (1984), and an M.A. (1988) and Ph.D. (1994) in philosophy, from Michigan State University.
Marc Champagne is a philosopher completing a doctorate in semiotics at the University of Quebec in Montreal. Recipient of the 2003 Ian Bailey award for interdisciplinarity, he is currently adjunct-researcher at the Canada Research Chair in the Theory of Knowledge and a past member of the Peirce-Wittgenstein Research Group (which is preparing volume 7 of the Writings of Charles S. Peirce).
Algirdas Degutis is a Senior Fellow at the Culture, Philosophy and Arts Research Institute (Vilnius, Lithuania). He is the author of three books, including Language, Thought and Reality (1984), Individualism and Social Order (1998), and of numerous articles on philosophy of language and political philosophy. He has translated into Lithuanian some major works of classical liberalism and libertarianism, including those by John Locke, Friedrich Hayek, Milton Friedman, and Robert Nozick.
David Graham is an independent scholar living in Sacramento, California. He graduated summa cum laude from California State University, Sacramento, with degrees in English and philosophy. His writing, which focuses on libertarianism and animal rights, has been published on iFeminists.com andStrike-the-Root.com.
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 (forthcoming, Routledge, 2007). He edits The Journal of Libertarian Studies; runs a fledgling think tank, the Molinari Institute; blogs at Austro-Athenian Empire; and is currently engaged in translating some of the works of Gustave de Molinari (1819-1912), the originator of free-market anarchism. He is a co-editor of The Journal of Ayn Rand Studies.
Kirsti Minsaas is a senior lecturer in English literature at the University of Oslo, Norway. In addition to works on Shakespeare and Aristotle’s Poetics, she has published several articles on Ayn Rand’s literature and aesthetic theory. Her most recent contributions to Rand criticism are included in The Literary Art of Ayn Rand (The Objectivist Center, 2005). She is currently working on a monograph dealing with the heroic vision of Rand’s fiction.
Nathan Nobis, Department of Philosophy and Religion, Morehouse College, Atlanta, Georgia. He has teaching and research interests that include ethical theory, epistemology, critical thinking and practical ethics, especially ethics and animals.
Greg Nyquist is a writer on philosophy and economics. His books include Ayn Rand Contra Human Nature and the forthcoming Visions of Reality: New Ways of Conceiving Old Problems. He has published numerous economic articles for Worldnet and at jrnyquist.com. Currently, he is an assistant editor at jrnyquist.com and a media consultant for Nyquist Media Group, with which he collaborated on the documentary What We Think: Conversations with the College Generation.
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 100 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 has been in private practice for 27 years. He holds degrees from Swarthmore College, Harvard University and Indiana University. He became interested in Objectivism in 1962 and attended lectures at the Nathaniel Branden Institute in New York for several years. In 1997, he began to study the work of Silvan Tomkins. He is a co-author of A Basic Study Group (1999) and An Advanced Study Group (2000), curriculum guides to Tomkins’s work published by The Silvan S. Tomkins Institute.
Volume 8, No. 2 – Spring 2007 (Issue #16)
TABLE OF CONTENTS
GOD AND OBJECTIVISM: A CRITIQUE OF OBJECTIVIST PHILOSOPHY OF RELIGION, pp. 169-210
Objectivism is committed to atheism. However, Objectivists have done little work in Philosophy of Religion. This article argues that much of the work that they have done is fallacious. In particular, the critique of God that Peikoff gives in Objectivism: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand is deeply flawed. If they want to justify their atheism, Objectivists need to rework and revise their arguments; in the final analysis, however, it is doubtful that their efforts will succeed.
OBJECTIVIST ATHEOLOGY, pp. 211-35
Objectivists insist on the primacy of existence — the axiom that existence exists. This axiom is taken to entail that the universe exists independent of any consciousness, human or divine. Objectivists hold that a straightforward consequence of this axiom is that God does not exist. The central argument of this paper is that the Objectivist atheological argument based on the primacy of existence fails. Atheological arguments based on the alleged incoherence of the Divine attributes are at best inconclusive. Theism has not been shown to be incompatible with Objectivism.
MERELY METAPHORICAL? AYN RAND, ISABEL PATERSON, AND THE LANGUAGE OF THEORY, pp. 237-60
Admirers of Isabel Paterson’s political and historical theory have often been critical of her use of imagery drawn from various branches of engineering. An examination of Ayn Rand’s comments on this issue introduces important questions about the use of imagistic language in theory and description, the role of imagery in Paterson’s theories, and the difficulties that Rand encountered in assessing those theories.
ISABEL PATERSON AND THE IDEA OF AMERICA, pp. 261-69
Stephen Cox’s book, The Woman and the Dynamo: Isabel Paterson and the Idea of America, is a well-written, thoughtful, and exhaustively researched biography of a key pioneer in the libertarian movement. Isabel Paterson, who was a mentor to and close friend of Ayn Rand, had an accomplished career in her own right. From the 1920s to 1940s, she was a nationally respected, and sometimes feared, literary critic and best-selling novelist. Her masterwork, The God of the Machine, appeared in the same year as The Fountainhead and The Discovery of Freedom by Rose Wilder Lane.
RECENT WRITINGS ON ETHICS, pp. 271-84
This essay reviews three books in the ethics literature of interest to contemporary Rand scholars: Ayn Rand’s Normative Ethics by Tara Smith; Ethical Intuitionism by Michael Huemer; and Is Virtue Only a Means to Happiness? by Neera Badhwar.
UNILATERAL TRANSFERS AND A REINTERPRETATION OF OBJECTIVIST ETHICS, pp. 285-90
Kathleen Touchstone’s Then Athena Said: Unilateral Transfers and the Transformation of Objectivist Ethics is an intriguing book on unilateral transfers within the context of Objectivism. Touchstone examines Rand’s primary social ethic, the Trader Principle — the bilateral exchange of value between independent equals. In reconsidering Rand’s thoughts, she raises many arguments and provides thought-provoking insights especially on charity, reproductivity, retaliation and rights. Touchstone reinterprets Objectivism through the prism of economics, applying economic tools such as consumer theory, capital theory, game theory, and decision-making under uncertainty to address the questions she raises.
REPLY TO TIBOR R. MACHAN, ERIC MACK, AND DOUGLAS B. RASMUSSEN: OBJECTIVITY AND THE PROOF OF EGOISM, pp. 291-303
Tibor R. Machan, Eric Mack, and Douglas B. Rasmussen present three differing analyses of Rand’s view that the “choice to live” serves as the foundation of her ethical system. Hartford criticizes Machan’s view that the choice is a “fundamental commitment.” Hartford concludes that Rasmussen’s assertion — that individual self-perfection is the natural end of human choice — cannot validate the choice to live. Hartford claims that Mack’s analysis of the “function of valuing” as a bridge of the factual-normative gap can be strengthened. Hartford argues that carefully defining the meaning of “the choice to live” allows proof of its validity.
REJOINDER TO ROBERT HARTFORD: A BRIEF COMMENT ON HARTFORD, pp. 305-6
In response to Robert Hartford’s criticisms of his Spring 2006 Journal of Ayn Rand Studies essay, “Rand and Choice,” Machan reiterates the main point: Prior to the choice to live/think, a human being cannot be aware of any principle of ethics. So the choice to live/think cannot rest on such a principle. Only once that choice has been made, however incrementally, gradually, by fits and starts, can one be rationally expected to live a principled life.
REJOINDER TO ROBERT HARTFORD RAND’S METAETHICS, pp. 307-16
In response to Robert Hartford’s criticisms of his Spring 2006 Journal of Ayn Rand Studies essay, “Regarding Choice and the Foundations of Morality,” Rasmussen argues against “the official” interpretation of Rand’s ethics as resting on a basic “choice to live.” Drawing from his work with Douglas Den Uyl, Rasmussen argues that Rand’s metaethics is best understood in “biocentric,” neo-Aristotelian terms: that human choice does not set the context in which it operates and that “man’s life qua man” is the natural end of human life.
REPLY TO DAVID GRAHAM AND NATHAN NOBIS: PUTTING HUMANS FIRST? YES!, pp. 317-30
In “Putting Humans First?” David Graham and Nathan Nobis question Tibor Machan’s critique of the idea of “animal rights.” They suggest that Machan does not adequately respond to arguments about the impact of “marginal cases” on theories such as his, which claim that natural rights stem from the manner in which human beings as a species interact with the world. Altick argues that Graham and Nobis’s critique is misdirected and that it misses Machan’s underlying argument, thus leaving his defense of distinctly human natural rights relatively untarnished.
REJOINDER TO JOHN ALTICK: ANIMALS AND RIGHTS, pp. 331-39
In his reply to the Nobis-Graham review of Tibor Machan’s book, Putting Humans First, John Altick defends Machan’s and Rand’s theories of moral rights, specifically as they relate to the rights of non-human animals and non-rational human beings. Nobis and Graham argue that Altick’s defense fails and that it would be wrong to eat, wear, and experiment on non-rational — yet conscious and sentient — human beings. Since morally relevant differences between these kinds of humans and animals have not been identified to justify a difference in treatment or consideration, it is wrong to harm animals for these purposes also.
John Altick is a Ph.D. graduate student at the University of California, Irvine. He studies political theory, focusing on rights theory, theories of justice, and democratic theory.
David T. Beito is an Associate Professor at the University of Alabama. He is the author of Taxpayers in Revolt: Tax Resistance during the Great Depression (1989) and From Mutual Aid to the Welfare State: Fraternal Societies and Social Services, 1890-1967 (2000). He edited The Voluntary City: Choice, Community, and Civil Society (2002). He has received fellowships from the Earhart Foundation, the Olin Foundation, and the Institute for Humane Studies. He is currently writing (with his coauthor, Professor Linda Royster Beito of Stillman College) a biography of Dr. T. R. M. Howard, a black civil rights pioneer, entrepreneur and mutual aid leader. He belongs to the Liberty and Power Group Blog at the History News Network.
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, among other books, The Woman and the Dynamo: Isabel Paterson and the Idea of America (Transaction Publishers).
David Graham is an independent scholar living in Sacramento, California. He graduated summa cum laude from California State University, Sacramento, with degrees in English and philosophy. His writing, which focuses on libertarianism and animal rights, has been published on iFeminists.com and Strike-the-Root.com.
Robert Hartford received his Ph.D. in physics from the University of Pennsylvania in 1971 and is a software developer. His interests include the foundations of ethics and application of epistemology and ethics to promote a culture of self-responsibility and political freedom.
Tibor R. Machan holds the R. C. Hoiles Chair in Business Ethics and Free Enterprise at the Argyros School of Business & Economics, Chapman University, Orange, California 29866. His most recent book is The Morality of Business: A Profession of Wealthcare (Springer, 2007).
Nathan Nobis, Department of Philosophy and Religion, Morehouse College, Atlanta, Georgia, has teaching and research interests that include ethical theory, epistemology, critical thinking and practical ethics, especially ethics and animals.
Eren Ozgen is an Assistant Professor of Management in Sorrell College of Business at Troy University, Dothan, and has a Ph.D. (2003) in management from the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, New York. She is the author or coauthor of numerous journal and conference publications.
Stephen E. Parrish is an Associate Professor of Philosophy and librarian at Concordia University in Ann Arbor. He is the author of God and Necessity (University Press of America, 2001), and the coauthor of See the GODS Fall (College Press, 1997) and The Mormon Concept of God (Edwin Mellen, 1991). He is writing (very slowly) a book on the mind-body problem.
Douglas B. Rasmussen, Professor of Philosophy, Department of Philosophy, St. John’s University, 8000 Utopia Parkway, Jamaica, New York 11439, 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 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.
Patrick Toner, Department of Philosophy, Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem, North Carolina 27100, works in metaphysics and philosophy of religion, and has published previously in journals such as Philosophical Studies, The Philosophical Quarterly, and Faith and Philosophy. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Virginia, and was a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Notre Dame’s Center for Philosophy of Religion before coming to Wake Forest.