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Volume 10, No. 1 - Fall 2008

Issue #19


Preface:  Our Tenth Anniversary Year - Chris Matthew Sciabarra, p. 1

Mind, Introspection, and "The Objective", pp. 3-84

Roger E. Bissell

In this sequel to his essay "Ayn Rand and 'The Objective'" (JARS, Fall 2007), the author warns against "the seduction of 'the basic'" and uses ideas by Efron, Peikoff, and Aristotle to argue that introspection and mental data (including mind) are objective and that causal efficacy of mind and mind-body interaction only make sense if mind is conceived of not as an attribute, but as an entity (viz., the conscious human brain). None of this, however, implies Epiphenomenalism or that consciousness is irrelevant to human history.

The Peikovian Doctrine of the Arbitrary Assertion, pp. 85-170

Robert L. Campbell

The doctrine of the arbitrary assertion is a key part of Objectivist epistemology as elaborated by Leonard Peikoff. For Peikoff, assertions unsupported by evidence are neither true nor false; they have no context or place in the hierarchy of conceptual knowledge; they are meaningless and paralyze rational cognition; their production is proof of irrationality. A thorough examination of the doctrine reveals worrisomely unclear standards of evidence and a jumble of contradictory claims about which assertions are arbitrary, when they are arbitrary, and what ought to be done about them when they are. A wholesale rejection of the doctrine is recommended.

Economic Decision-Making and Ethical Choice, pp. 171-91

Kathleen Touchstone

Some economists, notably Gary Becker, claim that economic analysis is applicable to any decision, ethical or otherwise. Ethical principles within Objectivist Ethics are based on long-range success—life being the measure of success. This paper examines these different approaches to decision-making. Decision theory and Rand's Benevolent Universe Premise form the basis for the analysis.


Re-Reading Atlas Shrugged, pp. 193-205

J. H. Huebert

Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged: A Philosophical and Literary Companion, a new book edited by Edward W. Younkins, provides a reminder of how much Rand's great novel has to say on a broad range of subjects—and of what a joy the book has been for so many to read. This review summarizes and comments on the book's essays.

Plato, Aristotle, Rand, and Sexuality, pp. 207-17

Fred Seddon

This essay offers a critical review of Robert Mayhew's translation of Plato: Laws 10, Chris Matthew Sciabarra's monograph, Ayn Rand, Homosexuality, and Human Liberation, and Roderick T. Long's monograph, Reason and Value: Aristotle versus Rand.  Seddon finds especially questionable Long's treatment of Plato.


Reply to Fred Seddon
Interpreting Plato's Dialogues: Aristotle versus Seddon,
pp. 219-29

Roderick T. Long

In reply to Seddon's charge that Long's analysis in Reason and Value rests on a mistaken reading of Plato, Long both defends his interpretation of Plato and argues that nothing in Reason and Value depends on Plato interpretation in any case.

Rejoinder to Roderick T. Long
Long on Interpretation,
pp. 231-33

Fred Seddon

In this essay, Seddon provides a brief rejoinder to Long's reply to his review of the monograph Reason and Value: Aristotle versus Rand. Despite his criticisms, Seddon maintains that reading Long's monograph will pay rewards for all those interested in the history of philosophy as it impacts Ayn Rand's thought.

Reply to Peter E. Vedder, "Self-Directedness and the Human Good" (Fall 2007)
Defending Norms of Liberty,
pp. 235-38

Douglas J. Den Uyl and Douglas B. Rasmussen

This essay is a response to Peter E. Vedder's Fall 2007 review of the authors' book, Norms of Liberty: A Perfectionist Basis for Non-Perfectionist Politics. Vedder argues that the authors 1) have a Kantian notion of self-directedness, and 2) are inconsistent in the application of their philosophical anthropology to their view of political liberty. In denying both claims, the authors assert that Vedder both fails to define certain terms and holds them to positions they do not accept.

Rejoinder to Douglas J. Den Uyl and Douglas B. Rasmussen
Difficulties in Norms of Liberty,
pp. 239-42

Peter E. Vedder

This rejoinder is a reply to the authors' criticisms of Vedder's original review of Norms of Liberty that seeks to clarify why the difficulties present in their attempt to establish the modern right to liberty on the foundation of Greek nobility and Aristotelian eudaemonism are insuperable.




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