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Volume 9, No. 1 - Fall 2007

Issue #17



To Think or Not: A Structural Resolution to the Mind-Body and Free Will-Determinism Problem, pp. 1-51

Neil K. Goodell

The mind-body and free will-determinism problem is presented as an instance of the more general top-down versus bottom-up process model. The construct of a metaphysical hierarchy consisting of 3 levels (matter, life and mind) is introduced, with each level governed by emergent, non-overlapping fundamental causal forces. Rand's theories of epistemology, language, and volition are shown to be inherently circular and impossible to be true. The concepts of metaphysical identity and epistemological identity are introduced. Metaphysics and epistemology are recharacterized in exclusively bottom-up terms informed by recent advances in the natural sciences, along with theories for perception, similarity, language, and volition.

Ayn Rand and "The Objective":  A Closer Look at the Intrinsic-Objective-Subjective Trichotomy, pp. 53-92

Roger E. Bissell

This essay offers a new interpretation and clarification of Rand's intrinsic-objective-subjective trichotomy, arguing that although her writings show the objective as having both epistemological and metaphysical aspects, the latter has been drastically downplayed, much to the detriment of the further development of Objectivism. The article traces the historical roots of the concept of the "objective," as well as the confusion and errors that led to the scope of Rand's trichotomy being radically curtailed by its two chief proponents, and it explains how the common view of the objective as "mind-independent" is a pitfall to be avoided.

Self-as-Organism and Sense of Self: Toward a Differential Conception, pp. 93-111

Andrew Schwartz

This article proposes that Rand's identification of self with mind is at odds with an approach to self that would optimally recognize and honor the integrated nature of mind and body. The article seeks to demonstrate the logic and value of identifying the self with the whole organism, and proposes that differentiating the self from the sense of self is crucial to developing objectivity of self-understanding and a skillful lifestyle.

Society: Toward an Objective View, pp. 113-38

Susan Love Brown

This article seeks to clarify the nature of human society by reclaiming sociality as an attribute of human nature. Sociality—the need for human beings to connect physically and psychologically with other human beings—contributes to the development of the rational faculty, affecting the processes of identity formation, socialization, and enculturation. Following F. G. Bailey's model of political structures as a foundation, the article posits that social structures and their institutions derive from nine domains of human action: the social, economic, political, legal, educational, medical, spiritual, artistic, and sportive.

A Critique of Ayn Rand's Theory of Intellectual Property Rights, pp. 139-61

Timothy Sandefur

Ayn Rand viewed copyrights and patents as natural rights that were secured by legislation, rather than as monopoly privileges that were created by the state. Other Objectivist writers have followed suit. This article disputes this thesis on the grounds that it fails to recognize the distinction between the right to use and the right to exclude, the latter of which cannot be justified with regard to intellectual property on Objectivist premises. In addition, the article discusses three significant objections to the natural-rights interpretation of copyright that Objectivist authors have failed so far adequately to address.


Self-Directedness and the Human Good, pp. 163-74

Peter E. Vedder

This review of Norms of Liberty by Douglas Rasmussen and Douglas Den Uyl seeks to outline the authors' attempts to provide a foundation for liberalism. Their solution emerges from a synthesis of the liberty implied in acts of deliberative choice and norms rooted in knowledge of human nature. This synthesis, however, proves to be unstable. Deliberative choice must be conditioned and determined by knowledge of human nature, but free choice must be unconditioned and autonomous. The attempt to square this circle through the notion of individualistic perfectionism conceals rather than solves the difficulty.

Ayn Rand, Novelist, pp. 175-79

Peter Saint-Andre

This review provides a precis of The Literary Art of Ayn Rand, edited by William Thomas, a recent volume of essays that delve into the often-neglected literary aspects of Rand's major novels. After summarizing work on Rand's style, characterization, plots, and themes, the reviewer also raises issues that remain to be explored regarding Rand's imaginative writing.


REply to freD SEDDON:
On Behalf of Ethical Intuitionism, pp. 181-84

Michael Huemer

This is a response by the author of Ethical Intuitionism to criticisms raised by Fred Seddon (JARS, Spring 2007). Among other things, Huemer observes that his attack on ethical reductionism does not depend upon excluding relational properties from consideration at the start; that he does not claim that all philosophers are intuitionists; and that Objectivism is susceptible to the general arguments he discusses against the possibility of deriving an "ought" from an "is".

Rejoinder to Michael Huemer:
Neglecting Rand's Metaethics, pp. 185-86

Fred Seddon

Fred Seddon answers Michael Huemer's reply, focusing on two central issues in ethics: foundationalism and relativism. On the latter, he argues that Huemer neglects Rand's metaethics and her relational notion of the good.




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