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Volume 11, No. 2 - December 2011
TABLE OF CONTENTS
SACRIFICE AND THE
A GIRARDIAN READING OF ATLAS SHRUGGED, pp. 161-88
OLIVER GERLAND III
This essay uses the mimetic theory of controversial literary anthropologist Rene Girard to explicate a central but neglected theme in Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged: sacrifice. In Rand's view, big government is supported by a sacrificial ideology founded in the idea of Original Sin that fosters the petty resentments of the masses while scapegoating the productive elite. John Galt triggers the self-destruction of this "infernal" sacrificial machine by withdrawing its intended victims. The resulting political collapse opens the way to a Randian utopia beyond the theorizing of Girard (and Friedrich Nietzsche, whose work is discussed in conclusion), a society without sacrifice.
Objectivism and Christianity, pp. 189-213
Eric B. Dent
The two primary philosophies upholding reason today are Objectivism and Christianity. They may seem like strange bedfellows, but many of the large perceived gaps between them disappear upon close inspection. This paper analyzes five areas (creation; tabula rasa; life as the ultimate standard; romantic love, sex and marriage; and altruism and the trader principle) in which Objectivist philosophy can be enhanced by assuming Christian philosophical axioms. The argument focuses on Christianity as a philosophy and intentionally does not assume a transcendent God. In each case, the Christian philosophical axioms are more realistic and better supported empirically than the Objectivist axioms.
THE SIM-DIF MODEL AND COMPARISON, pp. 215-32
This article presents a new conceptual or categorization model. It will be compared to a similar but simpler model. The models are given in the form of Venn diagrams. The model and examples using are explored to illuminate the role of similarities and differences in concept formation, which is sometimes complex. It explores abstraction, conceptual change by children and in science, and similarity metrics. It proposes that comparison is the basic act of thought.
WHAT ABOUT SUICIDE BOMBERS?
Stressing that the pronoun "I"picks out one and only one person in the world (i.e., me), I argue against Hunt (and other like-minded Rand commentators) that the supposed "hard case" of destructive people who do not care for their own lives poses no special difficulty for rational egoism. I conclude that the proper response to a terse objection like "What about suicide bombers?" is the equally terse assertion "But I don't want to get blown up."
THE SIX MILLION DOLLAR RAND, pp. 237-48
100 Voices: An Oral History of Ayn Rand is an enjoyable compendium of mostly favorable interviews of those who knew or met Ayn Rand. While it contains many valuable insights about Rand and her life, it fails to achieve its objective in providing a good selection of interviews of those who knew Rand in various "contexts"and "relationships," contrary to what editor Scott McConnell claims. Those who are interested in the movement side of Objectivism, which developed in the 1950s and 1960s, will be disappointed in the lack of attention paid to this part of her life.
FLOURISHING AND SYNTHESIS, pp. 249-53
Edward W. Younkins's book, Flourishing and Happiness in a Free Society, is a welcome contribution to individualist thought. Focusing on Aristotle, Ayn Rand, Carl Menger, Ludwig von Mises, and Murray Rothbard, Younkins demonstrates the compatibility of Aristotelian liberalism, Objectivism, and Austrian Economics. Younkins suggests that synthesizing these philosophies will lead to human flourishing and happiness. These philosophies share certain general principles that can serve as moral bases for political action.
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