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Everything posted by dianahsieh

  1. Feel free to forward this announcement to anyone you think might be interested in attending. If you do plan to come in from out of town for the event, you might want to contact Lin Zinser for recommendations on where to stay and what to do, as well as to request notice about other Front Range Objectivism get-togethers that weekend. (This announcement is also available on the <A HREF="http://www.frontrangeobjectivism.com">Front Range Objectivism</A> web site <A HREF="http://www.frontrangeobjectivism.com/news/2005/02/frost-tara-smith-on-egoistic-justice.html">here</A>.) *** <I><A HREF="http://www.frontrangeobjectivism.com/frost.html">Front Range Objectivist Supper Talks</A> is pleased to announce its next event: A lecture on "Egoistic Justice and Some of its Practical Implications" by Tara Smith on February 19, 2005 in Denver, Colorado</I> People frequently complain that injustice results from selfishness. Ayn Rand demonstrated that nothing could be farther from the truth. This lecture will explore Ayn Rand's illuminating account of the egoistic nature of justice. After tracing the practical case for being just, we will consider four of the unconventional implications that flow from this: the emphatic need to judge other people; the diametrical opposition between justice and today's ubiquitous ideal of egalitarianism; the proper place of forgiveness in a just man's life; the proper place of mercy in a just man's life. When, if ever, are forgiveness and mercy justified? Is either of them ever not merely permissible, but required? Since injustice is the result not of too much egoism, but of too little, a fuller understanding of the egoistic character of justice can fortify us to exercise the virtue of justice more consistently and to reap thereby its selfish rewards. <I>More Details</I> The "Egoistic Justice and Some of its Practical Implications" lecture will be hosted at the West Woods Golf Club at <A HREF="http://maps.yahoo.com/maps_result?ed=IiShZep_0Tq8lLxdfUqLseYTn1ItZQwR8GZN&csz=Arvada%2C+CO&country=us&new=1&name=&qty=">6655 Quaker Street, Arvada, Colorado</A> (a suburb of Denver). There will be a social hour (with cash bar) beginning at 6:00 pm, followed by buffet dinner at 7:00, and Dr. Smith's talk at 8:00. The cost is $45 for adults and $25 for students. Reservations with Lin Zinser are required by February 15, 2004. E-mail <A HREF="mailto:lin(at)zinser.com">lin(at)zinser.com</A> or send your check or money order to FROST, 8700 Dover Court, Arvada, CO 80005. Anyone is welcome, including interested non&mdash;Objectivists. Please contact Lin Zinser for details at <A HREF="mailto:lin(at)zinser.com">lin(at)zinser.com</A> or snail-mail your reservation and check to 8700 Dover Court, Arvada, CO 80005. You may also call her at 303.431.2525. <I>About Tara Smith</I> Dr. Smith is associate professor of philosophy at the University of Texas at Austin. She is the author of <I>Moral Rights and Political Freedom</I> (Rowman &amp; Littlefield, 1995), a book on individual rights, and <I>Viable Values: A Study of Life as the Root and Reward of Morality</I> (Rowman &amp; Littlefield, 2000). In addition to these books, Dr. Smith has published articles and/or lectured on such topics as self-interest, objectivity, affirmative action, business ethics, pride, justice, forgiveness, and romantic love. Dr. Smith has also presented seminars on clear thinking to businessmen. <I>About FROST</I> FROST is an organization which brings national and internationally known speakers affiliated with the <A HREF="http://www.aynrand.org">Ayn Rand Institute</A> to the Denver metro area to speak on a variety of subjects. For further information about FROST, please view the <A HREF="http://www.frontrangeobjectivism.com//frost.html">FROST Page</A> or contact Lin Zinser at <A HREF="mailto:lin(at)zinser.com">lin(at)zinser.com</A>.
  2. First of all, I have no idea to what article you are referring. I searched my web site for anything on the Free State Project or "Galaxy Far, Far Away" (that's a blog, but not mine), but found absolutely nothing. So perhaps you have me confused with someone else. Second, it would surprise me if I had even written positively about FSP, since I've never been particularly interested in or enamoured of the idea. Even when I considered myself a libertarian, the thought of living amongst libertarians was less than appealing. And I've long held that the most major violations of our rights (esp income taxes) are federal matters. Third, even if I had ever written positively on the FSP or the like in times past, I've changed my mind about a lot over the past two years, including libertarianism -- as the disclaimer on my web site indicates. Fourth, my name is Diana or Diana Hsieh, not Dianah. I hope that was clarifying, if perhaps more detailed than necessary. Diana Hsieh
  3. I'm not much of a fan of the Free State Project for various reasons, but I do know that life can be a bit lonely without in-town Objectivist friends or a healthy Objectivist community. When I was an undergrad, I knew of no other Objectivists at WashU. (Technically, my then-friend and now-husband, Paul Hsieh, was faculty at WashU's medical school, but he was more of a sympathizer than an Objectivist at the time.) In other cities in which I've lived, the local Objectivist community often consisted of a barely-limping-along discussion group that no one really enjoyed. It takes a lot of hard work -- not to mention careful judgment and commitment to Objectivist principles -- to create a thriving Objectivist community, particularly a community of friends. But it is possible -- as Front Range Objectivism proves. Over the years, Lin Zinser has worked very hard to create and maintain a high-quality discussion group, FROG (Front Range Objectivist Group). In 15 some-odd years, FROG has skipped just one of its monthly meetings. Then last year, Lin started FROST (Front Range Objectivist Supper Talks) to bring in Objectivist speakers about six times per year for dinner and a delicious meal. Shortly thereafter, we started up FROLIC (Front Range Objectivist Laughter Ideas and Chow) for social get-togethers, such as our monthly Sunday Dinner and various meals when a FROST speaker comes to town. Lin also recently started a second FROG discussion group, because our first was too full with its 20 active members. I expect that we'll need to open a third discussion group in a year or two. As far as I know, no other Objectivist community in the world is as active as Front Range Objectivism. We're also very serious Objectivists, in that (1) our core group consists of very knowledgable, longstanding Objectivists and (2) newer people tend to become increasingly interested in deeply understanding and applying Objectivism. (That certainly happened to me. In fact, the culture of FROG was instrumental to my disassociation from TOC.) None of that is meant to demean the accomplishments of other Objectivist groups. But I am tremendously proud of and excited by Front Range Objectivism. Its success shows all that is possible in a good-sized city -- without any crazy Free-State-Project-ish schemes. Nonetheless, I expect that Objectivists will more strongly consider Denver as a place to move in light of its thriving and friendly community of Objectivists in the upcoming years. The fact that the area is such a fabulous place to live for so many other reasons certainly won't hurt us! Diana Hsieh (NoodleFood)
  4. Pardon my French, but ... WTF?!? (Really, I have no idea why my name was dragged into this dispute about moderation.) For the record, I never write under any name under my own.
  5. Well, the volume isn't intended for "children" any more than it is intended for professional philosophers. (In my experience, a person really isn't able to think about philosophy directly until about 15 or so, i.e. until the transition between childhood and adulthood.) The volume is aimed more toward the philosophical novice, although even the expert may find material of interest in it. I suspect that you found the volume "rather simplistic" upon first glance due to your prior exposure to philosophy, not your age (whatever that may be). In any case, you might not wish to form such a solid opinion until you have at least read an essay or two.
  6. I worry that you are misconstruing the purpose of the volume. It was designed to examine some of the philosophic issues raised in the <I>Harry Potter</I> novels -- for an audience that is expected to be fairly young and thus generally unfamiliar with the standard concerns, methods, and positions of philosophy. In addition, the essays don't presume the encyclopedic knowledge of and obsession with the novels common among us hard-core fanatics. :-) I think the volume served its intended purpose quite well, particularly given its generally Aristotelian slant. Of course, it's not that an older person with a greater knowledge of philosophy won't enjoy the volume, but they should keep their expectations reasonable.
  7. Thanks, Carla! I have been quite remiss in not mentioning the publication of that essay on my blog. You finally broken the back of my procrastination. :-) In addition to the brief comments below, I should mention that I do not merely cite OPAR in the essay, I also explicitly discuss Ayn Rand's idea of the benevolent universe premise toward the end. Here's what I just wrote about my essay and the volume on NoodleFood: It's a good essay, I think, perhaps even my best work to date. So I'm pleased to have it published in a volume that is likely to be fairly widely read. In general, I do recommend the volume. As expected, I disagreed at least in part with many of the essays. Yet all were clear, and many were quite interesting. (I particularly enjoyed the essay on Slytherin and ambition, as it got me thinking about the relationship between various virtues and other character traits which are related to virtues but not virtues themselves.) Also, the subtitle ("If Aristotle Ran Hogwarts") is very apt, as most of the essays were Aristotelian in flavor. Here's the Amazon link: <A HREF="http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0812694554/dianahsieh-20"><I>Harry Potter and Philosophy</I></A>.
  8. Some of you might be interested in my dissection of The So-Called Objectivist Center's altruistic Christmas op-ed by soon-to-be Executive Director Ed Hudgins. It's available on my blog here: http://www.dianahsieh.com/blog/2005/01/app...ent-center.html (I didn't want to have to reconstruct the formatting here.) It's astonishingly vile, even for them.
  9. <A HREF="http://www.frontrangeobjectivism.com/frost.html">Front Range Objectivist Supper Talks</A> is pleased to announce its fifth and sixth events: <B>Lecture on "Global Capitalism: The Cure for World Oppression and Poverty" by Andrew Bernstein on November 5, 2004 at University of Colorado, Boulder</B> Although leftist agitators continue to protest global capitalism, they overlook the key points in the debate. In Europe, North America, and Asia, the capitalist nations are, by a wide margin, the wealthiest societies of history&mdash;with per capita incomes in the range of at least $20,000-$30,000 annually. What are the deeper principles making possible the freedom and wealth enjoyed under capitalism&mdash;and lacking in its political antipodes? How has capitalism already greatly enhanced the lives of millions of human beings in formerly impoverished Third World countries? What can the men of the free world do to further promote the spread of capitalism into the repressed nations of the globe? These are the questions addressed in this talk. This talk is jointly sponsored by the Boulder Campus Objectivist Club. <I>More Details</I> The "Global Capitalism" talk will be held at 7:00 pm at University of Colorado at Boulder, <A HREF="http://www.colorado.edu/directories/webmap/map.html?search=hale">Hale 270</A>. Anyone is welcome, particularly students and non-Objectivists who you think might be interested. No RSVP is required. Admission is free. This event is co-sponsored by the <A HREF="http://www.colorado.edu/studentgroups/objectivists/">Boulder Objectivist Club</A>. <B>Presentation on "How to Be an Impassioned Valuer" by Andrew Bernstein on November 6th, 2004 in Denver, Colorado</B> The very next afternoon and evening, Saturday, November 6, 2004, we will have a four and a half hour FROST seminar and dinner with Andrew Bernstein on "How to Be an Impassioned Valuer." Ayn Rand's fiction and non-fiction provide an answer to philosophy's central question: what is the meaning of life? Her answer: values are the meaning of life. Values&mdash;deeply cherished, indefatigably pursued, passionately celebrated&mdash;are what bring purpose and joy into human existence. But some people have not yet identified those objects, activities or persons that can fill their lives with significance. Others, fascinated by numerous possibilities that life offers, have not prioritized their values into an effective hierarchy. How do I identify those things that will bring meaning into my life? How do I organize my personal pantheon of values into a hierarchy that maximizes my ability to achieve them? What is the rational principle of time management that optimizes value achievement? These are the questions that this seminar addresses and answers. <I>More Details</I> The "How to Be an Impassioned Valuer" seminar will be hosted at the West Woods Golf Club at <A HREF="http://maps.yahoo.com/maps_result?ed=IiShZep_0Tq8lLxdfUqLseYTn1ItZQwR8GZN&csz=Arvada%2C+CO&country=us&new=1&name=&qty=">6655 Quaker Street, Arvada, Colorado</A> (a suburb of Denver). The seminar will start at 2:00 pm and run for four and a half hours. A social hour and dinner will follow the seminar. Reservations made <I>before</I> November 1st cost as follows: <LI>Seminar only: $ 60 <LI>Dinner only: $ 35 <LI>Seminar and Dinner: $ 75 Reservations made <I>on or after</I> November 1st cost as follows: <LI>Seminar only: $ 75 <LI>Dinner only: $ 45 <LI>Seminar and Dinner: $100 The special rate of $40 for the seminar and dinner is available for students. Anyone is welcome, including interested non&mdash;Objectivists. Please contact Lin Zinser for details at <A HREF="mailto:lin(at)zinser.com">lin(at)zinser.com</A> or snail&mdash;mail your reservation and check to 8700 Dover Court, Arvada, CO 80005. You may also call her at 303.431.2525. <I>About Andrew Bernstein</I> Andrew Bernstein has published on a wide variety of philosophical and literary issues. Dr. Bernstein lectures regularly at American universities, speaking on a broad range of intellectual topics. He has given addresses at: Harvard University, Stanford University, the United States Military Academy at West Point, Northwestern University, the University of Michigan, the University of Chicago, the University of Wisconsin, Carnegie-Mellon University, Columbia University, and many others. A popular lecturer and guest, he appears frequently on the radio on shows in Boston, Northern California, St. Louis, and Detroit among others, and has been a talk&mdash;radio guest host in Los Angeles. Discussions include such topics as the role of values in human life, the need for heroes in our society, the nature of a proper curriculum for our schools, and the application of philosophical principles to a broad array of cultural/political topics. Dr. Bernstein teaches Philosophy at Pace University, the State University of New York at Purchase and formerly at Marymount College in Tarrytown, New York&mdash;which presented him its 'Outstanding Teacher' award in 1995. He has taught at Hunter College, Long Island University, and many other New York-area colleges. He lectures frequently at philosophy conferences all over the United States; additionally in Canada, England, Belgium, Norway, Hong Kong and Bermuda. His op-ed essays have been published in such newspapers as <I>The San Francisco Chronicle</I>, <I>The Chicago Tribune</I>, <I>The Baltimore Sun</I>, <I>The Atlanta Constitution</I>, <I>The Washington Times</I>, <I>The Los Angeles Daily News</I>, <I>The Houston Chronicle</I> and many others. <I>About FROST</I> FROST is a new organization with the purpose of bringing national and internationally known speakers affiliated with the <A HREF="http://www.aynrand.org">Ayn Rand Institute</A> to the Denver metro area to speak on a variety of subjects. For further information about FROST, please view the <A HREF="http://www.frontrangeobjectivism.com/frost.html">FROST Page</A> or contact Lin Zinser at <A HREF="mailto:lin(at)zinser.com">lin(at)zinser.com</A>.
  10. Front Range Objectivism has a brand new web site at <A HREF="http://www.frontrangeobjectivism.com">FrontRangeObjectivism.com</A>. Here's what's happening: <BLOCKQUOTE><B><A HREF="http://www.frontrangeobjectivism.com/frost.html">FROST</A></B> (Front Range Objectivist Supper Talks) brings <A HREF="http://www.aynrand.org/">Ayn Rand Institute</A> approved speakers to Denver for delicious dinners and stimulating lectures on a variety of topics about six times per year. Past lecturers include John Lewis on "The Failure of Homeland Defense," John Ridpath on "In The Dawn's Early Light: Patrick Henry," and Yaron Brook on "The Morality of War" and "The State of ARI." Anyone is welcome, including people unfamiliar with Objectivism. <B><A HREF="http://www.frontrangeobjectivism.com/frog.html">FROG</A></B> (Front Range Objectivist Group) is a discussion group that meets monthly in members' homes. With about 20 active members at each meeting, the group is currently at capacity. (A second discussion group will be formed if enough Objectivists from FROST and FROLIC are interested.) FROG members differ in the depth of their understanding of Objectivism, but all are deeply committed to understanding and applying the principles of Objectivism in their own lives. <B><A HREF="http://www.frontrangeobjectivism.com/frolic.html">FROLIC</A></B> (Front Range Objectivist Laughter Ideas and Chow) is a social group which meets at least once per month at a Denver restaurant. Other fun events may be scheduled according to the wishes of participants. All friendly people with a serious interest in or honest curiosity about Ayn Rand's philosophy are welcome. Also, the University of Colorado at Boulder has a new <A HREF="http://www.colorado.edu/studentgroups/objectivists/">Boulder Objectivist Club</A> this year. The club meets every other week on Thursday evenings in <A HREF="http://www.colorado.edu/directories/webmap/map.html?search=Ketchum">Ketchum 301</A> on the Boulder campus. Contact Jared Seehafer at <A HREF="mailto:Jared.Seehafer(at)colorado.edu">Jared.Seehafer(at)colorado.edu</A> to join the mailing list.</BLOCKQUOTE> The next major Front Range Objectivism event is <A HREF="http://www.frontrangeobjectivism.com/news/2004/10/frost-andrew-bernstein-on-global.html">Andy Bernstein's visit to Denver</A> for FROST in early November. On Friday November 5th, he will be lecturing on "Global Capitalism: The Cure for World Oppression and Poverty" at the University of Colorado at Boulder. The next day, he will be giving a four and a half hour seminar on "How to Be an Impassioned Valuer" in Denver. For more information, <A HREF="http://www.frontrangeobjectivism.com/news/2004/10/frost-andrew-bernstein-on-global.html">view the full announcement</A>.
  11. Oh goodness. Until I popped by last night, I had no idea that this thread had been resurrected from the dead. A few clarifications are in order: Joerj11 never had my implicit or explicit permission to reproduce my private e-mails. Given the clear dismay in my final letter to him (reproduced in this thread), I am flabbergasted that he continued posting bits of our earlier private correspondence, once again without even alerting me. I can only hope that he has actually stopped for good, as I never intended nor imagined that my brief comments would become the subject of public discussion. One frustration of Joerj11 publishing my private comments is that, in the time since that exchange although certainly not because of it, I decided to step back and examine the closed system view in greater detail. I presently have substantial doubts and questions about the views I sketched in those e-mails to Joerj11, so much so that those e-mails should not be taken as indicative of my present views. Of course, I don't fault Joerj11 for failing to know that, but such considerations are precisely why private correspondence shouldn't be published without permission. Since I fear that people will continue wrongly speculating about my views, let me sketch my current thinking. I am quite interested in hearing thoughtful and knowledgeable arguments on these issues. First, in "Fact and Value," Peikoff says that the "the essence of the system [of Objectivism]--its fundamental principles and their consequences in every branch--is laid down once and for all by the philosophy's author." I wholeheartedly agree with that statement. Contra Kelley, to reject or revise some principles of Objectivism is to depart from Objectivism. The philosophy is not some loose family of views generated within a school of thought, but a specific system developed by a single person. It necessarily includes many principles regarded as derivative and hence optional by Kelley, such as the axiom of consciousness, the virtues of pride, honesty, and integrity, knowledge as hierarchical and contextual, the form/content distinction in perception, the benevolent universe premise, the value of romantic love, the whole of aesthetics, and so much more. In my view, the claim that Objectivism is an open system is not merely wrong, but disastrous as implemented in both academics and activism at TOC. In keeping with the above, I also agree with Peikoff that "if anyone wants to reject Ayn Rand's ideas and invent a new viewpoint, he is free to do so--but he cannot, as a matter of honesty, label his new ideas or himself 'Objectivist'." I know and respect many "fellow travellers" of Objectivism, i.e. people who agree with some aspects of the philosophy, but not the whole. Such standing is basically fine by me, so long as the disagreements with Objectivism are openly acknowledged. (Of course, I regard them as in error, but that's another matter.) So long as they approach ideas (including Objectivism) seriously and carefully, debate and discussion with such fellow travellers can be extremely profitable. Second, in "Fact and Value," Peikoff also says that "the 'official, authorized doctrine' [of Objectivism] remains unchanged and untouched in Ayn Rand's books." Again contra Kelley, I have no objection to the idea of an "official, authorized doctrine" of Objectivism. I deny that such represents a departure from the norms of the history of philosophy. A person wanting to know the definitive Kantian view on some subject ought to consult Kant's writings; secondary sources or later thinkers may be illuminating, but only Kant's writings are authoritative. (Of course, Objectivists also validly use the term "Kantian" to encompass a wide range of philosophic views which trace back to Kant, such as pragmatism and logical positivism. However, such usage is derivative and dependent upon a more restricted understanding of the term as referring to the particular philosophic system developed by Kant.) In addition, Kelley's argument that an authorized Objectivist doctrine generates conflict between the demands of Objectivism and the demands of independence and rationality is an expression of tribalism, not a repudiation of it. Rational and independent people discard labels like "Objectivist" when no longer applicable to them; they do not clutch onto them by arbitrarily weakening and redefining their terms. I am, however, quite reluctant to limit the principles of Objectivism to only those found in Ayn Rand's books. This limited view is most clearly elucidated by Harry Binswanger in his HBL List Policies, where he writes that "Objectivism is limited to the philosophic principles expounded by Ayn Rand in the writings published during her lifetime plus those articles by other authors that she published in her own periodicals (e.g., The Objectivist) or included in her anthologies." Clearly, such carefully vetted written works constitute the core of the Objectivist corpus. They are the "gold standard" against which all other potential sources ought to be judged. Nonetheless, some other works do seem worthy of standing in establishing the principles of Objectivism, even though excluded by Binswanger's criteria. Most uncontroversially, Peikoff's _The Philosophy of Objectivism_ course was specifically endorsed by Ayn Rand as a presentation of "the entire theoretical structure of Objectivism." From what I understand, other lecture courses given by Ayn Rand's associates were presented with her basic approval. In addition, a wealth of very Objectivist material is found in Ayn Rand's posthumously published letters, seminars, and journals, as well as in recorded Q&As. Also notable are reliable reports of philosophic discussions, particularly those between Ayn Rand and Leonard Peikoff, as he reports taking copious notes over the course of 30 years. Given that such sources were never prepared for publication by Ayn Rand, they ought not be accepted at face value as part of Objectivism, but instead carefully compared against the principles found in the core sources. The often fascinating and illuminating insights in these sources ought not be regarded as mere curiosities irrelevant to the substance of Objectivism. In essence then, my basic view is that Objectivism includes all of the philosophic principles and methods substantially developed by Ayn Rand, i.e. those elements of her personal philosophy given physical form. Third, in "Fact and Value," Peikoff says that "new implications, applications, integrations can always be discovered" and that "anyone else's interpretation or development of her ideas, my own work emphatically included, is precisely that: an interpretation or development, which may or may not be logically consistent with what she wrote." Read literally, I am again in agreement with these claims. My question concerns the status of such "new implications, applications, integrations," in particular, whether they are part of Objectivism or not. From what I understand, the closed system answers an emphatic "no." In many ways, this strictly limited understanding of Objectivism seems quite sensible and significant to me. People often claim that some new idea is merely a straightforward and logical development of Objectivism. To passively accept such claims would be idiotic -- and to investigate them requires differentiating between the core principles of the philosophy developed by Ayn Rand and the work of later Objectivist scholars. This strictly limited sense of "Objectivism" is, I would say, the root meaning of the term. So my question is really whether such is its only possible meaning. In other words, are there contexts in which a slightly broader term -- one which includes later philosophic developments deeply and thoroughly consistent with the core principles of Objectivism -- would be appropriate? From my perspective, it seems that Objectivists, including advocates of the closed system, appeal to this broader meaning rather frequently -- and rightfully so. For example: - Objectivists commonly claim that "the Objectivist view on X is Y," even though Y is a later application of the core principles established by Ayn Rand rather than one of those principles themselves. So if an analytic philosopher invents some new object allegedly demanding our sacrifice (such as bacteria, alien invaders, or household pets), we would not be shocked or dismayed to hear Objectivist scholars say that Objectivism rejects that view entirely, even though such a rejection is, strictly speaking, an application of the general Objectivist view on self-sacrifice to this new case. - As far as I recall, Leonard Peikoff's lecture course, "Objectivism: The State of the Art," primarily concerns material he learned while writing _Objectivism: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand_. On the strict and narrow meaning of "Objectivism," this title seems baffling to me. How could such material fall under the title "Objectivism"? How could Objectivism have a "state of the art" after Ayn Rand's death? Yet such is perfectly comprehensible under a slightly broader meaning of the term. - In his excellent course _Understanding Objectivism_, Peikoff breaks new ground in his detailed discussions of the rationalist and empiricist methodologies, particularly their relationship to the mind-body dichotomy. Such elaboration upon and integrations of already-established Objectivist principles are apparently not part of Objectivism, narrowly construed. Yet the deep connection to Objectivism is undeniable. One of the primary values of such work is that it provides us with the means to substantially enrich our concepts, e.g. those of rationalism, empiricism, and the mind-body dichotomy. Since such concepts refer to all that we might ever learn about their referents and such concepts compose various principles of Objectivism, in what sense can Objectivism exclude such new insights? We might think of many such insights as implicit in the system and thus part of it, even if not explicitly identified until after Ayn Rand's death. - In Ayn Rand's writings, some principles of Objectivism were merely asserted, but not explained or justified. For example, she claims that reason, purpose, and self-esteem are the cardinal values, but does not tell us what that means or why that is. Without a good explanation of the meaning and justification of this claim, it stands alone, without any connection to the rest of the system. When a good, deeply Objectivist explanation and justification is offered, should we continue to allow those cardinal values to stand outside the system? Or should we integrate them by incorporating this new understanding into our understanding of Objectivism? The latter seems like the right approach to me, but it also seems incompatible with the strictly closed system. To be clear, I'm not advocating any version of the open system here. Instead, my modest proposal is merely that "Objectivism" might also derivatively refer to the full system of philosophy rigorously and consistently developed from the principles and methods established by Ayn Rand. Some people might ask "Who decides what is included and what is not?" Let me answer simply by quote Peikoff: "In regard to the consistency of any such derivative work, each man must reach his own verdict, by weighing all the relevant evidence." Ultimately, the final arbiter is, of course, reality. To forestall confusion, perhaps the broader notion of Objectivism ought to be designated "extended Objectivism" or some such. Perhaps instead we ought to say that such later developments are "Objectivist" but not part of "Objectivism." However, I tend to think that the same term could be used reasonably clearly for these two related meanings based upon the context. In any case, unit economy seems to demand a single word to designate the philosophy developed by Ayn Rand plus the valid and consistent "new implications, applications, integrations" of that philosophy. (That's quite a mouthful!) So long as we adequately differentiate between Ayn Rand's philosophic work and the developments of later thinkers by retaining the root meaning of "Objectivism," this modest proposal seems reasonably consistent with Ayn Rand's comments about the use of the term "Objectivism" in the first issue of _The Objectivist Forum_. One final puzzlement: Adherents of the closed system generally claim as justification that Objectivism is a proper noun, not a concept. (Peikoff doesn't say that in "Fact and Value," so I'm unsure of the origin of this idea. Does anyone know?) I've always been rather puzzled by this view. If Objectivism is a proper noun, to what single particular does it refer? None of the candidates I've considered make much sense to me. One option is that the particular could be the philosophic ideas which once existed in Ayn Rand's mind. If so, Objectivism doesn't exist any more -- and no one but Ayn Rand could have been an Objectivist. So surely that's wrong. Another option is that the particular is the sum of the philosophic ideas which Ayn Rand gave physical form. However, those ideas do not exist in some Platonic realm; their physical forms do not possess intrinsic meaning. Individual minds are required to grasp the meaning of the ideas in those physical forms. Yet then we seem to have multiple instances, which excludes a proper name. Such multiple instances also serve as the basis on which to form a concept. Thus I must admit to some bafflement at the proper noun view. I hope that sufficiently explains my present views. I'm eager to hear the best contrary arguments that thoughtful and knowledgeable Objectivists can marshal! -- Diana Hsieh
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