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What happen with Mr. Branden and Objectivism?

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I realize you meant it in jest, but I wish you wouldn't joke about something like that.  I take my reputation VERY seriously and I will not allow ANYBODY to misrepresent my views or my actions. :)

Yes, I meant it as a joke, and made that clear in the 2nd half of my post. Sorry if I offended you.

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trolls like you

This is probably what Quantum Mechanic was referring to as "the typical harsh language employed by Objectivists, harsh moral judgements", etc. perfectly illustrating the posters point.

and invade other's property to tell them how “minor” their ideas are

You mean invade a public web forum? If this forum's intention is to castigate anyone who disagrees with a set of premises, then it should be called the "Acceptance or Else" section rather than "Debate and Discussion".

I would disagree that Objectivism is a minor movement; I'd bet it's been largely responsible for most of the free market/individual rights/individualist ideas that do exist on our culture.

However, in my opinion it has fallen short of what I would have expected since Ayn Rand's death. From the Objectivist establishment I hear primarily a regurgitation of what Ayn Rand wrote. Are these people telling me that it's all been written? That no more detail or philosophizing is required? Then, finally, an interesting and innovative work comes along that (I thought) began to flesh out the broad philosophical infrastructure that Ayn Rand built: "The Evidence of the Senses", and soon thereafter, David Kelley was voted off the island. I, for one, was disappointed.

Regarding the penetration of Objectivism into our culture since Ayn Rand's death, I can say that in the past 20 years, although I have seen/read/heard about her novels, I did not hear the word "Objectivism" even once without my specifically looking it up. Not once in 20 years. There comes a point at which you can no longer continue to blame the ignorance and evil of others for results like that.

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This is probably what Quantum Mechanic was referring to as "the typical harsh language employed by Objectivists, harsh moral judgements", etc. perfectly illustrating the posters point.

Never mind about Quantum's insult, right? He can dump on what he wants, and others should be...what? Sensetive? Respectful? Tolerant? Is it a secret that insulting ARI here is not tolerated? I don't think so.

You mean invade a public web forum? If this forum's intention is to castigate anyone who disagrees with a set of premises, then it should be called the "Acceptance or Else" section rather than "Debate and Discussion".
ARI sucks is not a set of premises. And I believe this is actually private property. At least I hope so. Note also Quantum put that attack out there without backing it up (which he can't).

I would disagree that Objectivism is a minor movement; I'd bet it's been largely responsible for most of the free market/individual rights/individualist ideas that do exist on our culture.

Yet later in your post you claim you have not heard the word Objectivism in 20 years except from yourself or looking it up. What is it? Major? But, also non-existent in the culture?

However, in my opinion it has fallen short of what I would have expected since Ayn Rand's death. From the Objectivist establishment I hear primarily a regurgitation of what Ayn Rand wrote.
And I'm sure 99% of that effort has been yours, right? It has fallen short. You mean ARI, do you not? You have to have an object to attack here. If there were no entity, your attack would be utterly meaningless.

Your tripe about the regurgitation of Ayn Rand's writing is pure horsesh**. Let's see I just got the AynRand Bookstore Fall 2004 catalog. Let's see. Page 4. Ah! The DIM Hypothesis by Dr. Peikoff. No, never heard Ayn Rand cover that one. Understanding Objectivism, now I know Ayn Rand never covered most of the material in this one. Induction in Physics and Philosophy (it is simply a fact that Ayn Rand never got around to the problem of induction in a serious way, serious enough to be published that is); Objectivism Through Induction (don't recall Ayn Rand going into too much detail on her inductive philosophic method), again, new material. I left out all the great work that some Objectivists are doing (and done) in history just to name one branch.

You are obviously wrong.

There comes a point at which you can no longer continue to blame the ignorance and evil of others for results like that.

Results of what? You sitting alone, dejected from the world so much you haven't heard the word Objectivsm outside your own mind in 20 years? The blame rests with you, brother, not your phantom "enemies" you obviously know very little about.

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Then, finally, an interesting and innovative work comes along that (I thought) began to flesh out the broad philosophical infrastructure that Ayn Rand built: "The Evidence of the Senses", and soon thereafter, David Kelley was voted off the island. I, for one, was disappointed.

David Kelley wasn't "voted off the island" for writing "The Evidence of the Senses", which as far as I know is a valid book. Read LP's essay "Fact and Value" if you want to understand the problem with Kelley.

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David Kelley wasn't "voted off the island" for writing "The Evidence of the Senses", which as far as I know is a valid book.

Yes, it's a valid book in that it has pages with writing on them. I wouldn't, however, consider it a valid piece of Objectivist scholarship. Look to Dr. Gotthelf's On Ayn Rand for an appropriate standard of Objectivist scholarship.

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I once asked Harry Binswanger if he was against people reading "Evidence of the Senses", seeing as how it was written by an arch-enemy of ARI and the man who peddles his ideas as Objectivist. HB replied that he wasn't against it at all, and that it wasn't a wrong or bad book, just not written very well and sort of boring. He then provided a list of other books (none of which were by Objectivists) as suggestions.

So please climb out of that bubble of yours gadfly. Interesting username too, by the way... darn it, it seems to appropriate.

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Ray,

I have Gotfhelf's book. I read it once, then never found a reason to come back to it, because I saw it as pretty much summarizing material I already had. I think the target audience was an academic looking for a concise treatment of Ayn Rand's philosophy.

It think it was controversial when it came out though, because some Objectivist intellectuals (I forget whom) though it was a bad idea. Do you know anything about that?

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Yes, it's a valid book in that it has pages with writing on them. I wouldn't, however, consider it a valid piece of Objectivist scholarship.

Why not? Do you disagree with the comments attributed to HB?

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Yes, it's a valid book in that it has pages with writing on them. I wouldn't, however, consider it a valid piece of Objectivist scholarship. Look to Dr. Gotthelf's On Ayn Rand for an appropriate standard of Objectivist scholarship.

Would you mind specifying what is wrong with it? When I read Evidence of the Senses I thought it was pretty consistent with Objectivism, other than the fact it was written in a slightly esoteric style.

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I have Gotfhelf's book. I read it once, then never found a reason to come back to it, because I saw it as pretty much summarizing material I already had. I think the target audience was an academic looking for a concise treatment of Ayn Rand's philosophy.

It think it was controversial when it came out though, because some Objectivist intellectuals (I forget whom) though it was a bad idea. Do you know anything about that?

There are many new and interesting formulations in that book and I think that is the best thing about it. In one sense it isn't saying anything new but in another sense it is (i.e., integrations between ideas count as content if made in the reader's mind). This is why I consider it to be a standard of Objectivist scholarship.

I haven't heard about the situation that you mention so I can't comment.

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Why not? Do you disagree with the comments attributed to HB?

Nope. Pay close attention to what I said. I didn’t say, “Don’t read The Evidence of the Senses.” What I said was that I don’t consider that book to be a piece of Objectivist scholarship. The next question will most likely be, what do I consider Objectivist scholarship to be?

If you have read much of the Objectivist literature, you should have noticed that alternatives to Objectivism are discussed in many places. But the purpose of each and every one of these contrasts is to further the readers’ understanding of Objectivism. In other words, in a positive exposition of a philosophy, polemics should never reach the level of being the primary purpose. This makes it much harder for readers to grasp the meaning of the writing and it violates the principle that the truth should be presented on primarily positive grounds.

Books like The Evidence of the Senses raise polemics to the level of a primary. This is typical of most academic journals and books so it isn’t a criticism of Kelley alone. It just violates what I think should be the standard of scholarly writing. Look, it isn’t just coincidence that bad theories of epistemology have led to the standards of academic writing that we see today. A primacy of consciousness epistemology demands that one refer not to reality but to what some other guy said. Objectivist epistemology, likewise, demands a certain standard of writing and I’m saying that this standard is quite different from what you find in libraries today.

Let me just finish by saying that I’m not against footnotes and references altogether. There are many valid and appropriate ways to use these tools. It’s not the content of the book that bothers me as much as the method used to deliver it; Objectivist scholarship demands the correct method.

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Although I do agree, the explicit purpose of both ARI and TOC is to promote O(o)bjectivism.  This is what I take issue with, given that both organizations are doing a terrible job.

GC's responded well enough that I defer my response to him. Thanks GC.

VES

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Your tripe about the regurgitation of Ayn Rand's writing is pure horsesh**. Let's see I just got the AynRand Bookstore Fall 2004 catalog. Let's see. ...

I will check the AynRand Bookstore catalog and we'll see. Thanks for the tip, amid your sarcasm and cursing.

Results of what? You sitting alone, dejected from the world so much you haven't heard the word Objectivsm outside your own mind in 20 years? The blame rests with you, brother, not your phantom "enemies" you obviously know very little about.

Let me dry my weepy eyes first. OK. If by "your own mind", you mean newspapers, TV, radio, magazines and people, then... YES.

Yet later in your post you claim you have not heard the word Objectivism in 20 years except from yourself or looking it up. What is it? Major? But, also non-existent in the culture?

I was referring to the lack of effect in the last 20 years (give or take a few) because Ayn Rand died in '82. The fact that I have not heard one peep about this philosophy outside of the times I have specifically sought it out because I already knew about it, is merely an example. Can you honestly say that the philosophy has gained cultural momentum in Ms. Rand's absence? You could probably say that Reaganomics in the 80's was indebted to Objectivism (even though Reagan was a disappointment to any Objectivist) but it was probably the culmination of HER influence. Can you see any major influence in politics today, for example? If anything we have taken steps backwards. Except for Greenspan being at the Fed.

Never mind about Quantum's insult, right? He can dump on what he wants, and others should be...what? Sensetive? Respectful? Tolerant? Is it a secret that insulting ARI here is not tolerated? I don't think so.

Your methods are your call. If alienation is your aim, by all means, swing away... I'm sure you will succeed.

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Books like The Evidence of the Senses raise polemics to the level of a primary. This is typical of most academic journals and books so it isn’t a criticism of Kelley alone.

Are you saying that too much of the book is devoted to refuting other theories? As opposed to simply elaborating his theory? Because what I remember is mostly that it was very interesting in its very specific descriptions of the mental process of forming concepts.

it isn’t just coincidence that bad theories of epistemology have led to the standards of academic writing that we see today. A primacy of consciousness epistemology demands that one refer not to reality but to what some other guy said.

Bad - why? Is there a criticism that you know of other than "Fact and Value"?

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Can you honestly say that the philosophy has gained cultural momentum in Ms. Rand's absence?

Abso-freakin'-lutely I can say that it has gained cultural momentum. Let's just run through a few of the well known ones.

1. A Sense of Life being nominated for an Academy award.

2. All sales of Ayn Rand's books continue to rise.

3. The numerous forums, including this one. And all the cites about Ayn Rand (not judging their individual qualities).

4. The appearance of top Objectivist professors on national programs like The O'Reilly Factor, Peikoff on the BBC and on the Michael Savage show, not to mention a host of others.

5. Mentions of Ayn Rand's philosophy regularly appear in business of economic publications.

6. C-Span just did (2 years ago) a 2 hour spot honoring the writing and influence of Ayn Rand in their American Author series.

7. And last, but the most important. The ever growing number of Objectivist professors into academia. That is the cultural influence that is really happening and the one that will have any real effect. That, BTW, being in large part thanks to the efforts of ARI.

8. Atlas Shrugged being named the number two most influential books among Americans in a survey by The Book-of-the-Month Club and the Library of Congress.

9.The Ayn Rand postage stamp.

Do I need to continue? I imagine the death of Aristotle was quite the damper on Aristotilianism in its own day. So, you might want to go blame Ayn Rand for dying!

Your methods are your call. If alienation is your aim, by all means, swing away... I'm sure you will succeed.

The question is: alienation from what? From people who throw groundless accusations at a group of dedicated professionals (ARI) fighting hard to change the philosophic course of this country? Then yes, alienation is my aim.

Also note: groundless. It was intellectually evasive, and lazy to flatly assert: "ah, they're doing an awful job."

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I was referring to the lack of effect in the last 20 years (give or take a few) because Ayn Rand died in '82. The fact that I have not heard one peep about this philosophy outside of the times I have specifically sought it out because I already knew about it, is merely an example. Can you honestly say that the philosophy has gained cultural momentum in Ms. Rand's absence? You could probably say that Reaganomics in the 80's was indebted to Objectivism (even though Reagan was a disappointment to any Objectivist) but it was probably the culmination of HER influence. Can you see any major influence in politics today, for example? If anything we have taken steps backwards. Except for Greenspan being at the Fed.

The problem is in thinking that the spread of Objectivism can be measured only in the political realm. In fact, if Objectivism is to have a chance to spread as a philosophy, the focus has to be on education, not politics (which are an effect, not a cause). That is the approach ARI takes, and they are making significant headway.

By the way, there have been plenty of mentions of Objectivism in the culture since Ayn Rand died, and gaining momentum lately (some of which Thoyd Loki detailed). How do you think that there are so many of us here who are too young to remember when Ayn Rand was alive? How did we hear about the philosophy? And there are more coming all the time.

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Ray,

I have Gotfhelf's book. I read it once, then never found a reason to come back to it, because I saw it as pretty much summarizing material I already had. I think the target audience was an academic looking for a concise treatment of Ayn Rand's philosophy.

It think it was controversial when it came out though, because some Objectivist intellectuals (I forget whom) though it was a bad idea. Do you know anything about that?

Peikoff and some others wrote a short criticism of the book. It came out in The Intellectual Activist at the time. There was also a good deal of debate back and forth on other Objectivist forums. I don't think the debate is worth resuscitating. If you're interested, see the article. It may be up on the TIA website.

I've read the book (once) and thought it gave a decent summary of Objectivism. Contrary to opinions of some, I don't see how it could actually do harm to the spread of Objectivism. There are dozens of ways for people to first learn about Ayn Rand and Objectivism; this book provides one more.

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Just recieved my Ayn Rand Bookstore(ARI) catalog as well, and there is quite a bit in there... almost a book in it's own right. :)

The two works by Peikoff that had my attention were 'Principles of Grammar' and 'Philosophy of Education'.

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since this thread has somewhat reverted to a Purist vs Libertarian thread, I'd like to ask everyone's opinion on my strategy concerning objectivism and libertarianism. It's my "hidden agenda" so to speak.

my school is a military school, and is therefore for the most part hard-liner Republican. If you are not a Bush-worshipping, God-fearing big R Rebublican, then people tend to dismiss you as "liberal", and if word gets out that you are a liberal, you are generally scorned, because to a hard-liner Republican, "liberal" is a four letter word. Our Libertarian club has more members then our democrats club. I'm not kidding how irrational some of these people are, I've had people dismiss Ayn Rand as a Tree-hugging Liberal Hippie because she "likes fags" and "kills babies" (being pro-choice alone is enough to qualify you as a pinko liberal)

I wasn't getting a good reception from the Republicans, so I began looking for more like-minded people. My good friend and my favorite economics professor had just started the Libertarians club, so I joined it. These people are far more receptive to what I have to say, and that club is a great place to begin. I have begun turning people on to Ayn Rand, and most speakers we have had are very much admirers of Ayn Rand's works (Gary Nolan, one of the LP presidential nominees, praised me highly when I told him that I was an admirer of Ayn Rand.) I always bring my Ayn Rand books to meetings, and sometimes print essays from people like Peikoff and Binswanger and bring those as well. Call it subterfuge, but I am using the Libertarian club as a place to spread Ayn Rand's works and ideas, and compared to the Republicrats I am having a much better success rate.

I voted LP this season not because of any obligations towards the party, I simply took the politopia test online, compared it to the results of the other presidential candidates, and picked the closest advocate of my ideas, which happened to be Badnarik. I would have no convictions voting for a Republican or even a Democrat if that candidate best expressed my ideas. In other words, if another Barry Goldwater ever ran for office, I'd tell any Libertarian who got huffy at my lack of devotion to the party to shove it.

The common conception of Libertarians on this website seems to be that they are whim-based subjectivist pot-heads. The only example of this that I have ever seen personally was online, which has happened to me more than once (I have been castigated by some libertarians for being a follower of Ayn Rand, so I certainly do not think that the Libertarians are pure) so I do see where y'all are coming from when y'all make those statements. But in my club these people are my friends, who have come not because they like to sit around and smoke weed and promote anarchy, but because they are open to new ideas, and want something else other then the socialism of the democrats or the theocratic fascism of the Republicans.

Objectivism is a radical departure from the norms of how most people think, particularly in the subjects of metaphysics (the non-existence of God) and politics (pure unregulated capitalism.) So when "preaching" to the unwashed masses, I find that I best garner support when I take baby steps. I define the general premise of Objectivism first, and the hard details come later. I admit it took me a long time before I was able to abandon religion and finally embrace objectivism in it's entirety, so I do not want to alienate potential fans by hitting them with the harder concepts first, when all that may be required is time. So I work with the easier to grasp concepts (I find that people are very receptive of her position on Aesthetics, Ethics, and Epistemology) before moving on to more to the deeper subjects of Metaphysics and Politics.

Baby steps from semi-similar people is what I advocate. Am I in the wrong for this?

oh and to answer Betsy's very legitimate question, when someone asks what I am, I say that I am a political Capitalist and a philosophical Realist, the proper term being Objectivist (that is the simplest definition of Objectivism that I have come up with, better suggestions are welcom.) You are correct in your assertion that there is no reason for an Objectivist to call himself a libertarian before calling himself an Objectivist. The only time I will identify myself as a Libertarian would be if someone asks what political party most closely resembles my beliefs.

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I'd say that you're focusing too much about what other people think of you and your philosophy, and too much about preaching and gathering fans for your philosophy. Philosophy, first and foremost, is about you and reality, not you and other people, or what clubs or friends it involves. Your job is to improve your own life and understanding, not others'. If you figure that out, and practice it, maybe you can stop being a "tortured one".

Look at what you just wrote - it's all about how you're perceived by others, how others perceive you, what various groups you find yourself in or out of, who you plan to persuade or entice into "baby steps." My tip is that you spend some time alone with philosophy, lay off the clubs, lay off the internet forums, and have some quality time being happy with yourself and your ideas.

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I assure you, it has little do with the acceptance of my peers. They are my friends first and foremost, philosophy will never get in the way of that, even the crazy Republican ones. I was friends with these people long before any philosophical or political discussion arose, for the most part politics have been on the downlow up until this year, when emotions flared during election season. If anything, people now look down on me for being an "athiest baby-killer hippie" but all that generates from me is a slight chuckle.

friends are a beautiful thing

Objectivism is a beautiful thing

Objectivist friends are even better! (man I love being logical :D )

nor does it have to do with any altruistic notions of "spreading the good word of Rand," I openly admit that arguing and making the case for Objectivism is for selfish reasons only; I love to debate and have philosophical discussions, I love having a well rounded, consistent philosophy, and I love comparing and contrasting it to other, well rounded (even if they are misguided) philosophies, I love the challenge, and I love the rewarding feeling that comes from knowing the extent of my own reason. I joined the LP club for the same reason I played football in high school; not because I wanted to be cool in my school jersey or hang out with all the cool kids, I played football for the stimulation, the physical and mental challenges. I wanted to be the best on the team not because of jealousy, but because I wanted to expand beyond the parameters of what I thought was possible and not.

I advocate baby steps because thats how I arrived at Objectivism. It wasn't a single moment of cloud parting clarity which caused me to run naked through the streets naked shouting "Eureka!", it was a slow process from the religion that I had cherished all my life to my current philosophy where the only thing I cherish is myself. Granted, reading Atlas Shrugged was the first step, but it was awhile after i read that before I finally accepted it in it's entirety. At first I thought Objectivism was too idealogical, based on non-realistic ideas, but it was at least on to something. Society certainly wanted me to think that way. Then I studied it further, reading Anthem and Capitalism:the Unknown Idea. I liked what I read, so I tried to meld it into my past, Objectivist Christianity. Objectivist politics epistemology, with christian Ethics and Metaphysics. Upon reading further into Objectivism, I discovered that Ayn Rand rejected any notion of the divine with her own unique brand of Metaphysics. From here I sort of had a fall out with Ayn Rand, questioning the nature of existence, God, and religion. Finally, no matter how I looked at it, I couldn't bring myself to accept the existence of a being who could not be proven. I grabbed my gold bar and left my steel mills behind, but not without that bruise to my temple (I did have a rather nasty fall out with the Catholic church.)

oh yeah, my "Tortured One" alias is a carry over from my freshman (knob) year. I just kept it because I already had accounts in other places, this was my way of letting people know who they're dealing with when they see "the tortured one" on the internet. I suppose it could relate to the fact that I am currently trying out for the Summerall Guard; the school's elite silent drill team, which consists of some pretty rough physical training and mental stress, but again, I revel in the challenge, the fact that I have friends and confidants trying is simply support, it is not a means to an end, because I'd still be doing it if none of them were going out for it.

Being the Tortured One has nothing to do with my philosophical life, Objectivism I feel had alot to do with that. Ever since I embraced objectivism in it's entirety I have had this feeling of serene confidence I never had while I was a christian. Christianity preached that you needed to be sorry for what your ancestors did and sorry for anything that God deems bad, and your life should be devoted to making up for all of those bad things you did. With Objectivism, I had no one to apologize to but myself, I am the means to my end, and no one has dominion over me but me. I keep it for the same reason the NBI used to smoke cigarettes; it's a mockery of the society that preaches self-denial and self-flagellation. I may call myself tortured, but I am more alive than any collectivist could ever hope to be.

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