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Volume 3, No. 1 - Fall 2001
TABLE OF CONTENTS
ON HUMAN CAPABILITY, pp. 1-27
and MARTYN DYER-SMITH
discuss the understanding of
human capability posited by two elitist thinkers: Elliott Jaques and
Ayn Rand. They review Rand's ideas in this area, present Jaques's
contributions in his own field, and compare their approaches. They
find that both view individuals' abilities to plan over time as a key
REVIVAL OF OBJECTIVITY IN SCIENTIFIC METHOD, pp. 29-46
DOUG FRAEDRICH reviews recent developments in the field of scientific method and assesses their relevance for Objectivism. Objectivism differentiates between the concepts of proof and validation. The system exploits the use of "concepts" that are generally not proven, but subject to validation. While proof is accomplished by logical deduction, validation is accomplished by the application of the scientific method. Fraedrich concludes that Error Statistics-based inference is objective and that it meets the desiderata of a normative methodology for scientific inference---a necessary condition for inclusion in Objectivist philosophy.
POETRY AND HISTORY: THE TWO LEVELS OF NINETY THREE, pp. 47-69
MICHELLE FRAM-COHEN argues that in her "Introduction to Ninety Three," Rand uses Hugo's novel to demonstrate the disparity between literature and history, and the conflict between Romanticism and Naturalism. However, by dismissing the novel's historical aspects, Rand severs her perspective from a major source of the novel's greatness, and estranges herself from other favorable critics. In her reading of Ninety Three, Rand turns the Aristotelian distinction between poetry and history into a false alternative. Poetry and history actually complement each other in this novel; the Romanticism of Ninety Three can be greatly enhanced by its historical background.
TEACHING AYN RAND'S VERSION OF ETHICAL EGOISM, pp. 71-81
TIBOR R. MACHAN explores how to present Rand's ethics in an introductory college course on moral philosophy. Despite their inclusion in some textbooks, Rand's ideas often get misrepresented. For example, James Rachels' work treats her as a subjective egoist, ignoring Rand's own focus on human nature and the individual's identity in the formulation of guidelines to personal conduct. In teaching Rand's ethical egoism, Machan examines several metaethical topics, including the nature of ethical knowledge, the challenges to such knowledge posed by Hume's and Moore's arguments, and a comparative analysis with conventionalism, naturalism, intuitionism, subjectivism, and rationalism.
DO KNOWLEDGE, ETHICS, AND LIBERTY REQUIRE
FREE WILL?, pp. 83-108
WILLIAM DWYER reviews Initiative: Human Agency and Society, in which Tibor Machan argues that free will is a prerequisite for knowledge, ethics, and political liberty. Machan criticizes Hayek, Stigler, and "public choice" economics for their economic determinism and for discounting the importance of abstract ideas. Despite making a good case against environmental and economic determinism, Machan fails adequately to defend his central thesis that free will exists and that it
is required for normative values.
INDIVIDUALIST ETHICS AND THE WELFARE STATE, pp. 109-15
DOUGLAS J. DEN UYL expresses agreement with David Kelley's thesis in A Life of One's Own that the welfare state is not a good thing both for moral reasons and for its practical consequences. But the relationship between the moral and the political is more ambiguous than might first be imagined. The main questions explored are twofold: Is Kelley presupposing the truth of his own position in criticizing another and does this alter the presentation from argument to rhetoric?; and secondly, is Kelley's approach to the moral issue the only one that can be used to criticize the welfare state?
PORTER'S RAND: A COMMENTARY, pp. 117-24
CAROLYN RAY reviews Tom Porter's Ayn Rand's Theory of Knowledge, a paragraph-by-paragraph annotation of Ayn Rand's Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology. She finds that, while Porter's basic idea is a good one, the book suffers from a lack of internal coherence, citations, and editing.
LEARN FROM A MERE CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGIST?, pp.
ROBERT L. CAMPBELL views Nathaniel Branden's The Art of Living Consciously as an example of a popular book, written by a clinical practitioner, which nonetheless has many important implications for academic researchers. These include questions about: the correct theoretical understanding and successful measurement of self-esteem; the nature of free will; and the relationship between "cognitive" and "social" issues in psychological research.
INCORRECTNESS, pp. 145-50
LELAND B. YEAGER argues that James Arnt Aune, in Selling the Free Market, does not come to grips with the core case for capitalism. Though the author names without adequate explanation nearly twenty rhetorical tricks allegedly employed by champions of the free market, his narrow survey of procapitalist writings focuses on applied political philosophy rather than economics. Far from using rhetoric in an exemplary way, Aune engages in name-calling and imputes guilt by supposed association. This is particularly true in a chapter on Ayn Rand, where he diagnoses the supposed personality flaws of those who would take her writings seriously.
HOW NOT TO GUIDE STUDENTS TO RAND'S FICTION, pp. 151-58
KIRSTI MINSAAS reviews CliffsNotes to Ayn Rand's Anthem, The Fountainhead, and Atlas Shrugged, authored by Andrew Bernstein. Minsaas argues that there is little value in these guides, partly because of the restricted format of the CliffsNotes themselves. But she also takes issue with Bernstein's approach, which she believes is flawed by being more concerned with the philosophical than with the literary aspects of Rand's works and by a rigidly doctrinal Objectivism.
RECLAIMING RAND, pp. 159-64
KAREN MICHALSON reviews Mimi Reisel Gladstein's new volume in Twayne's Masterwork Studies Series, Atlas Shrugged: Manifesto of the Mind. Michalson reads Gladstein's study in terms of late twentieth-century gynocriticism and feminist re-examinations of the traditional literary canon. She observes that Gladstein is addressing Rand's exclusion from the feminist canon by using many of the same kinds of arguments feminist critics have developed to argue for the inclusion of lesser known women writers.
AYN RAND IN
THE SCHOLARLY LITERATURE, pp. 165-69
GREGORY R. JOHNSON and CHRIS MATTHEW SCIABARRA discuss references to Ayn Rand in the works of Paul Feyerabend and Slavoj Žižek.
A GUIDE TO
RAND SCHOLARSHIP II, pp. 171-80
MATTHEW STOLOFF provides the second installment of his ongoing "Guide to Rand Scholarship," which was inaugurated in The Journal of Ayn Rand Studies in the Spring 2000 issue (volume 1, number 2). In this article, he concentrates on the international community, offering the most comprehensive list of foreign citations and translations relevant to Rand studies.
REPLY TO D. BARTON JOHNSON:
NABOKOV AND RAND: KINDRED IDEOLOGICAL SPIRITS, DIVERGENT LITERARY AIMS, pp. 181-93
GENE H. BELL-VILLADA argues that despite major differences in aesthetic, Nabokov and Rand share ideological attitudes resulting from their Russian emigre‚ pasts. Both rejected "social" criteria for judgment and set out to build counter-models to socially oriented values. In their respective spheres, both were absolute purists, and as harsh and uncompromising as the Soviets they despised. Bell-Villada discusses his own relationship to Nabokov and Rand. "Hooked" on Nabokov in the 1960s, he later turned against and seriously criticized him. And, in reaction to America's formulaic individualism, he satirizes Rand in his own published stories.
REPLY TO GEORGE WALSH:
RETHINKING RAND AND KANT, pp. 195-204
R. KEVIN HILL argues that while Walsh is correct in urging caution regarding Rand's polemical characterizations of Kant, interpreting her charitably reveals surprising insights into the underlying structure of Kant's thought. Rand's objections to Kant's epistemology, psychology and metaphysics are truer to Kant's intentions than revisionist attempts to save him from himself. Her objections to Kantian ethics contain promising critiques of both Kant's rational reconstructive-methodology and his misuse of the concept of agent-neutral reasons. Lastly, though she paints too broadly in her account of Kant's influence, two questionable tendencies in contemporary thought are traceable to him.
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