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Volume 7, No. 1 - Fall 2005

Issue #13




In an examination of recently recovered materials from Russian archival sources, Sciabarra expands on his earlier studies of Rand's secondary and university education in Silver Age Russia (see the Fall 1999 Journal of Ayn Rand Studies essay, "The Rand Transcript"). He uncovers new details that are consistent with his historical theses, first presented in the 1995 book, Ayn Rand: The Russian Radical. He reexamines the case for a connection between Rand and N. O. Lossky, and proposes a possible parallel between Lossky and a character Rand called "Professor Leskov" in an early draft of the novel, We the Living.

Mimesis and Expression in Ayn Rand's Theory of Art, pp. 19-56

Kirsti Minsaas

This article explores the many ways in which Rand's theory of art, though basically mimetic, is strongly infused with expressive elements traditionally associated with Romantic aesthetics. This expressionism, it is argued, puts pressure on Rand's mimeticism to the point of threatening to destabilize it. This is especially evident in Rand's discussion of architecture and music, both of which she regards as valid art forms but fails to accommodate to her mimetic definition of art as a selective re-creation of reality. This inconsistency, the article suggests, is best resolved by reference to the expressive dimension that informs Rand's overall theory.

Langer and Camus:  Unexpected Post-Kantian Affinities with Rand's Aesthetics, pp. 57-77

Roger E. Bissell

Contrary to the standard Objectivist view of post-Kantian philosophy's two principal lines of development, Linguistic Analysis and Existentialism, there are deep and striking commonalities between Ayn Rand's aesthetic views and those of two prominent writers in the latter traditions: Susanne Langer and Albert Camus. In particular, Langer holds the equivalent of Rand's microcosm view of art (as elaborated upon in Roger Bissell, "Art as Microcosm," Journal of Ayn Rand Studies 5, no. 2), and Camus holds a view indistinguishable in all essential respects from Rand's definition of art as "selective re-creation of reality."

The Facts of Reality: Logic and History in Objectivist Debates About Government, pp. 79-140

Nicholas Dykes

This essay examines Objectivist thinking on anarchism and minarchism. Drawing on a wide range of historical and anthropological sources, the author calls into question a number of standard Objectivist positions, such as 'government is essential to protect rights'; 'only government can create objective law'; and 'government is required to create the legal basis for commerce.'  He also addresses the nature of individual rights, and concludes by querying some of Ayn Rand's interpretations of history.

AYN RAND VERSUS Adam Smith, pp. 141-80

Robert White

This article compares Ayn Rand's trader principle with Adam Smith's invisible hand principle. Rand's defense of laissez-faire capitalism is often confused with Smith's defense of the market economy. White argues that Rand and Smith do not share the same ideas on the importance of self-interest or support the same sort of minimalist government, and that these are important and substantial differences between the two thinkers. He examines the antitrust case against Microsoft as one example of the importance of these differences.


Feser on Nozick, pp. 181-87

Peter Jaworski

Edward Feser's book On Nozick is an overview of the political philosophy of Robert Nozick from a rare perspective—a sympathetic one. In the space of a mere 100 pages, Feser manages to guide the reader through Nozick's Anarchy, State and Utopia, and to defuse some of the more popular criticisms leveled against it. With a few flaws—the most significant of which is the acute focus on Nozick's major work, to the exclusion of other papers and contributions—the overall effect of Feser's short work is impressive.

Kant on Faith, pp. 189-202

Fred Seddon

This paper analyzes the oft-quoted sentence from Immanuel Kant's first Critique of Pure Reason, viz., "I have therefore found it necessary to deny knowledge in order to make room for faith." Seddon argues that Kant is hardly the mystic that Ayn Rand and many Objectivists have caricatured him as being.

Seddon on Rand, pp. 203-7

KEvin Hill

Fred Seddon's book, Ayn Rand, Objectivists, and the History of Philosophy, defends some of the historical figures Rand attacks in her polemical writings on the history of philosophy. Unfortunately, Seddon's interpretations of Plato, Augustine, Hume, Kant, and Nietzsche are often only marginally more sound than Rand's.

Reference and Necessity: A Rand-Kripke Synthesis?, pp. 209-28

Roderick T. Long

The widespread assumption among academic philosophers that no truth can be simultaneously necessary and factual, founded on the analytic-synthetic dichotomy, was challenged from outside the profession by Ayn Rand and Leonard Peikoff in the 1960s, and from within the profession by Saul Kripke and Hilary Putnam in the 1970s. Gregory M. Browne's book Necessary Factual Truth represents a long-overdue attempt to synthesize the Rand-Peikoff and Kripke-Putnam approaches into an integrated theory. While Browne's project is partially successful, it gives up one of the chief attractions of these approaches: the ability to preserve continuity of reference across radical theoretical change.


How to Be a Perceptual Realist, pp. 229-37

Michael Huemer

In response to Ari Armstrong's essay, "A Direct Realist's Challenge to Skepticism," Huemer defends his views on two issues concerning the nature of perception, against the Objectivist position: First, he argues that perceptual experiences have propositional but nonconceptual content; second, he argues that in perceptual illusions, the senses misrepresent their objects. He finds that the Objectivist view that perception cannot misrepresent because it lacks propositional content not only is absurd but opens the door to philosophical skepticism.

Direct Realism and Causation, pp. 239-45

Ari Armstrong

Armstrong disagrees with Huemer over the proper interpretation of the Objectivist theory of concepts. Huemer worries that Objectivists empty perception of content, while Armstrong argues that Objectivists recognize some content. However, Huemer attempts to inject conceptual content into perception, which explains why his treatment of illusions differs from that of Objectivists.




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