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The following books by Robert Paul Wolff are available on Amazon.com as e-books: KANT'S THEORY OF MENTAL ACTIVITY, THE AUTONOMY OF REASON, UNDERSTANDING MARX, UNDERSTANDING RAWLS, THE POVERTY OF LIBERALISM, A LIFE IN THE ACADEMY, MONEYBAGS MUST BE SO LUCKY, AN INTRODUCTION TO THE USE OF FORMAL METHODS IN POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY.
Now Available: Volumes I, II, III, and IV of the Collected Published and Unpublished Papers.

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Tuesday, March 28, 2017

SIGH

Forty-five years ago, I assigned some writings by Ayn Rand in an Introduction to Philosophy Course at the University of Massachusetts and lectured on her ideas for more than a week.  I found nothing in them worth pursuing or taking seriously, but that was a long time ago, and I simply do not have the energy to resurrect that critique and publish it here, so I cheerfully cede the terrain to the Rand supporters and promise not to mention her again.  Life is too short, or at least what is left of it to me.

7 comments:

Marinus Ferreira said...

Dear heavens above, there is no reason to cede this ground. Given Rand's bizarre popularity, there​ is an unending stream of careful treatments of the many manifest failings of her work available. Michael Huemer's webpage on her probably being the most comprehensive one-stop shop online. In any case, the complainant's are just tools trying to get you to cede ground by sheer exhaustion through their incessant ridiculous demands. That is a strategy I'm sure you find familiar from the political domain.

Marinus Ferreira said...

I meant the complainants are 'trolls', not 'tools', sorry. I had typed my comment on my phone, and autocorrect got in the way.

s. wallerstein said...

Nietzsche says (Gay Science 209):

There is a way of asking us for our reasons that leads us not only to forget our best reasons but also to conceive a stubborn aversion to all reasons. This way of asking
makes people very stupid and is a trick used by tyrannical people.

The above quote seems to be describe the saturation tactics of the Rand fans.

Ed Barreras said...

Hopefully the contagion is confined to that one thread. Otherwise you may want to consider moderated comments.

A said...

A is A. Therefore, capitalism is good.

*John Galt speaks for 60 pages*
*Weird sex scene*
*Death*
*Clarence Thomas*

mesnenor said...

As I think I've remarked in another comment on this blog some time last year, the most philosophically interesting aspect of Ayn Rand's thought is her unique version of the argumentum ad verecundiam. In her essays, she appeals to authority by quoting speeches by the fictional characters in her own novels.

Thus she deserves at least a passing mention in any course on logic that covers the common informal fallacies.

Ultimate Philosopher said...

Marinus Ferreira said...
Dear heavens above, there is no reason to cede this ground. Given Rand's bizarre popularity, there​ is an unending stream of careful treatments of the many manifest failings of her work available. Michael Huemer's webpage on her probably being the most comprehensive one-stop shop online. In any case, the complainant's are just tools trying to get you to cede ground by sheer exhaustion through their incessant ridiculous demands. That is a strategy I'm sure you find familiar from the political domain.
March 28, 2017 at 3:23 PM


Huemer mischaracterizes Rand's egoism. It follows a common pattern of mischaracterizations of her as some sort of homo-economicus pragmatic consequentialist calculator; in fact her conception of egoism is in the virtue-ethics not consequentialist tradition. I rebut a characterization of Randian egoism similar to Huemer's here: http://www.oocities.org/cathcacr/Egoism-Rights-JARS-2006.pdf

UP / CRC