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I still havn't found a good argument against Objectivism...

Has anyone at least seen any good publications objecting to Objectivism?

I've seen maybe 2-3 books trying to dispute the philosophy and it does nothing but get on a personal level and try to debunk the people rather than the ideas.

~Michael

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I still havn't found a good argument against Objectivism...

Has anyone at least seen any good publications objecting to Objectivism?

What's the point? Are you looking to raise doubts in your mind? For what end?

Doubts are a normal part of learning and integrating a philosophy into your life. Even after years of study, there will at least be points that stand unclear in your mind. This is true of any philosophy. But questions should properly come from your first-handed grasp of the facts and the application of the facts using your own mind not from what someone else said in a book or a journal.

I did read some "third-party" material when I was first learning Objectivism. But really, it didn't add to my understanding at all. I would recommend focusing on the positive aspects of Objectivism before researching its opponents. This will do a greater benefit to your understanding in the long run.

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The argument that appears to be most convincing to ex-pseudo-Objectivists is:

"Objectivism makes me feel uncomfortable when I'd like to evade thinking, dis-integrate concepts, tolerate contradictions, or engage in hypocrisy, thus either Objectivism is wrong or I am, and I don't want to be wrong."

You can find this argument in pretty much all anti-Objectivist material, between the lines.

Since we take Objectivism as the philosophy that's true, how can you ask us to characterise a publication that objects to that philosophy as "good"? It's impossible to recommend a good lie or a good mistake.

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I wouldnt say Ive ever read any thing that tries and succeeds to refute the philosophy. However, I have read many valid critiques of Rand's attempt at psycho-analysis. And I have read a few things that dispute a few parts in the politics of her philosophy. However, the philosophy as a whole remains pretty unscathed.

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I'm not really looking for this information to add doubt to my mind Bowzer, I'm looking to see if anyone can actually dispute the philosophy, not so that I can dispute it myself, but to add an "objective" approach to a very objective philosophy...I'd like to see both sides.

But really, I don't think anyone has been able to dispute it...thats what I'm really getting at. This philosophy makes so much sense, it's so rational, and so clear I'm kicking myself that I havn't discovered this structure earlier...so I'm curious to see if anyone in the 60 or so years this has been around has been able to make a good argument against it.

It's quite harmless, really.

~Michael

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I've had people try to use Quantum Theory to prove that Rands saying that "Reality is absolute" is invalid. They also tried to use Relativity, the Sound Doppler effect, and colorblindness to prove that Reality is not Absolute. I no longer speak to this person. :)

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I'm not really looking for this information to add doubt to my mind Bowzer, I'm looking to see if anyone can actually dispute the philosophy, not so that I can dispute it myself, but to add an "objective" approach to a very objective philosophy...I'd like to see both sides.

If you're looking for such an exercise, every other major philosophical school disputes one or more key elements of Objectivism, and thus can be taken as the other "side". Just read any Philosophy textbook and you should be able to identify numerous disagreements with Objectivist principles. So if you like, you can try to identify and refute such wrong ideas. Objectivism's biggest philosophical enemies don't typically confront it head on - they simply propagate their own bad ideas.

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If you're looking for such an exercise, every other major philosophical school disputes one or more key elements of Objectivism, and thus can be taken as the other "side".

I agree. In fact, studying the history of philosophy has helped my understanding of Objectivism (versus what I said above). Just as in any kind of writing, there are various levels of quality from good to bad to complete garbage. "Critiques" of Objectivism usually fall into the latter category whereas a Hume would fall into the "good" category. Even though he had terrible ideas, he was original and he communicated his ideas relatively clearly.

There is a benefit to be gained from playing "Devil's Advocate," Michael, and if that's what you're seeking then I agree with A.West's suggestion.

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I agree. In fact, studying the history of philosophy has helped my understanding of Objectivism (versus what I said above). Just as in any kind of writing, there are various levels of quality from good to bad to complete garbage. "Critiques" of Objectivism usually fall into the latter category whereas a Hume would fall into the "good" category. Even though he had terrible ideas, he was original and he communicated his ideas relatively clearly.

There is a benefit to be gained from playing "Devil's Advocate," Michael, and if that's what you're seeking then I agree with A.West's suggestion.

My intention is exactly that..."Devils' Advocate". The problem I have with other philosophy is that it doesn't make logical sense, most of them don't...they don't because I've become well armed with Objectivism and I see through their lies and I see their intentions.

I think having a point by point breakdown of Objectivism for me to dispute myself would be a good exercise for myself and would get me thinking some more. I mean none of this in a disrespectful or doubtful sense, it's for my own gain in Objectivism to understand it at that angle.

The science angle is something I wouldn't be able to approach though, for I am not too fluent in the sciences (especially the higher sciences like physics).

~Michael

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Objectivism's biggest philosophical enemies don't typically confront it head on - they simply propagate their own bad ideas.

This is really the fundamental problem. Objectivism has a clear relation to Aristotle's philosophy, but it is not the same as Aristotle's philosophy. I think that the closest you can get in philosophy to a criticism of Objectivism is a criticism of Aristotle. And that is not the same thing.

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I still havn't found a good argument against Objectivism...

Especially since you are so new to Objectivism, I think you would be better off continuing to study the arguments for it, rather than looking for arguments against it. Since Objectivism is right, and its antagonists are wrong, you will benefit more from first understanding what is right, rather than attempting to refute what is wrong.

Has anyone at least seen any good publications objecting to Objectivism?

Try Immanuel Kant. :D

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Especially since you are so new to Objectivism, I think you would be better off continuing to study the arguments for it, rather than looking for arguments against it. Since Objectivism is right, and its antagonists are wrong, you will benefit more from first understanding what is right, rather than attempting to refute what is wrong.

Try Immanuel Kant.  :D

Kant is WRETCHED...Rand was completely right about him.

I'm just so taken back by how correct Ayn Rand is...it's the first philosophy and theory of life that is just amazingly logical...I may be preaching to the choir here but it's still pretty amazing to me how much sense she makes.

I don't know, perhaps I'm just in the "too good to be true" stage because I've fully digested what is necessary to understand the philosophy and in application I understand everything (mostly) and it's an amazing feeling.

~Michael

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I don't know, perhaps I'm just in the "too good to be true" stage because I've fully digested what is necessary to understand the philosophy and in application I understand everything (mostly) and it's an amazing feeling.

From what I can tell you have come a long way in a very short time, Michael, and you should feel proud about what you have done. But, with all due respect, I think you still have a long intellectual road to travel. Even the most brilliant need time to digest -- to think, analyze, and apply -- and even more time to integrate all of the philosophy together. Not to mention internalizing the philosophy so that it fully becomes your own, not just in thought but completely in action. Enjoy where you are, but give youself time to continue to grow.

Anyway, my 2 cents.

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From what I can tell you have come a long way in a very short time, Michael, and you should feel proud about what you have done. But, with all due respect, I think you still have a long intellectual road to travel. Even the most brilliant need time to digest -- to think, analyze, and apply -- and even more time to integrate all of the philosophy together. Not to mention internalizing the philosophy so that it fully becomes your own, not just in thought but completely in action. Enjoy where you are, but give youself time to continue to grow.

Anyway, my 2 cents.

I appreciate the comments Stephen...I'm not trying to say that I've FULLY integrated the philosophy into life, but I've seen major changes in major ways because of it and I've digested much in a short period of time. It really clicked for me and things just started making sense everywhere I looked...

The point of the thread though is honest and I believe it would help my integrating of the philosophy if I could understand an opposition of it. At this point I can't and I believe that is one of my problems, I understand the opposition enough to know that it's wrong or misguided but I don't understand it enough to combat it with words and I think that may be what you're talking about. I have a lifetime ahead of me of intellectual persuit and I believe that this is my next step for right now.

I've found a couple of books on the subject of opposing Objectivism but like I said, they are ridiculous garbage directed at debunking Ayn Rand's character and not her ideas, which I see as absurd and ridiculous. From the other philosophies I've read I've been able to see right through some of their ridiculous notions, and I feel confident disputing all of them, but I feel like I need to do something (as in intellectual persuit) in order to get to the next stage...

Well, I'll take your advice for now.

~Michael

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I've found a couple of books on the subject of opposing Objectivism but like I said, they are ridiculous garbage directed at debunking Ayn Rand's character and not her ideas, which I see as absurd and ridiculous.  From the other philosophies I've read I've been able to see right through some of their ridiculous notions, and I feel confident disputing all of them, but I feel like I need to do something (as in intellectual persuit) in order to get to the next stage...

If what you mean by "the next stage" is that you want to test your understanding of your new ideas, then I can make two suggestions. There are no really significant challenges against Objectivism, but some of this will require you to think.

The first is a series of issues written by a philosophy professor challenging Objectivism. It is available online here. However, if you get stuck do not expect my participation if you bring it up here, since I am simply fed up with the repeated discussion this has generated over the years.

The second is a book with essays on Objectivism by professional philosphers: The Philosophic Thought of Ayn Rand, Edited by Douglas J. Den Uyl and Douglas B. Rasmussen. The challenges here are not just responding to criticism, but in identifying what is wrong with their representation of Objectivism.

If this is what you want, have fun.

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One thing I love about Objectivism is it's elegent simplicity. Rand was not a professional Philosopher, who debates the finer points of works of literature no one really knows or cares about, she was a child of the world, who "called 'em as she saw 'em" so to say. Objectivism is not based on faith of any kind, it is based on logic. A is A, reality is constant and our job is not to create it, it is to percieve it. This is a central tenet of her philosophy, and it is astoundingly realistic.

You can say "prove to me that God exists" and immediatly call into question everything theism stands for, because typically you will get a shaky answer like "the universe is too complex to be spontaneous" or something to that matter. If one says "Prove to me reality exists" all you need to say is "I'm standing here talking to you, aren't I?" It isn't rocket science, it's very common sense philosophy. Perhaps that's why most intellectuals don't like Objectivism, they feel they are too elite for such a logically simple philosophy.

the trends against Ayn Rand are typically people trying to use junk science to prove that reality is constant, or Ad Hominems attacking Ayn Rand the person, not the philosophy. When I ask people why they don't like Objectivism, I usually get an answer like "Ayn Rand was a hateful bitch!" which is the point where I stop pursuing that conversation, since they obviously know little about her and her philosophy. Ms. Rand had her moments, but of all things, she wasn't a hateful bitch.

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I looked at several articles that were presented by both Mr. Speicher and y_feldblum and I found that the articles y_feldblum had given me were actually written by a professor of philosophy at UNF, here in Jacksonville. I sent him a brief email explaining that I'd love to hear in person why he has written so much against Objectivism. It suprised me to see someone go to great lengths to denounce the philosophy. I recieved an email promptly and we have arranged a time to sit and meet.

I plan on sitting down with him and discussing the errors (in his eyes) of Objectivism, but instead of going into long winded discussions about why this philosophy is bad and discuss the deep issues of it, I'm going to cut it to a couple very simple questions after I present him with my particular situation. I'm going to take a pretty superficial approach to the philosophy and to my changes.

First, I'm going to tell him that I have completely turned a 180 in my life...I'll explain that I now know and understand ethics, morallity, work ethics and I now know what it takes to succeed and be happy in the world. I hate to go a superficial direction with this 'esteemed' professor of philosophy but I feel that that is all I need to hear from such a opponent of the philosophy. I then will ask him why he thinks it's such a bad thing that this philosophy exists and ask him how it could be a bad thing if it's made such positive changes in my life.

Hopefully he'll be able to make a good case because I'm up for a good conversation with someone who's well educated and who opposes Objectivism. Most people I've run into who oppose the philosophy just say "She's selfish and stupid" or something ridiculous like that...I don't tolerate such ignorance.

Any opinions?

~Michael

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Hopefully he'll be able to make a good case because I'm up for a good conversation with someone who's well educated and who opposes Objectivism.  Most people I've run into who oppose the philosophy just say "She's selfish and stupid" or something ridiculous like that...I don't tolerate such ignorance.

Any opinions?

~Michael

Michael,

My suggestion is to treat this as a learning experience. If I were in your place, I would not expect to "win" an "argument." I would try to learn as much as possible about this professor's disagreements with Objectivism, so I could later subject them to my own critical analysis.

Because this person is well-educated, he may be able to come up with a lot of arguments that appear good at first glance. Take your time and don't expect that you have to answer every one of his arguments on the spot.

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Any opinions?

~Michael

I think I agree with you're general goal here to find some persuasive and difficult-to-rebut arguments against Objectivism. I do that to some extent by listening to archives of collectivist radio talk shows (like Thom Hartman). It helps to clarify your ideas to have to defend them.

On this note, I think you'll get more out of a face-to-face with an anti-Objectivist philosophy professor than you would from anything you'll read.

Your superficial approach, while it will make a good "ice breaker", sounds a lot like the arguments I hear in favor of religion, and religion almost always has a lot of really bad philosophy associated with it, so I wouldn't expect it to hold much sway with this professor. I generally second Chumley's advice. Try to listen more and avoid arguing on the spot - ask for clarification if something unclear, but don't waste your time trying to "win" an argument with him or change his mind. Of course, by trying to get clear ideas out of him, you might end up changing his mind anyway.

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Yeah, I'm not planning on arguing really...I know that this man is very educated and I'm looking to just keep it one sided to a degree. If anything I'd like to create a good relationship with this person for he is someone who has a lot of knowledge on subjects that interest me. As someone who isn't in college it is VERY few and far between I find someone who is willing to discuss subjects of this caliber, let alone find someone willing and able too. So I'm approaching this with honest intentions to learn more about the philosophy that has changed my life for the good. I'm hoping that he won't dismiss me on the grounds of my 'stubborness' but I'm sure he wont just by the tone of the email I recieved.

I actually feel pretty fortunate to have stumbled accross such an opponent of Objectivism so near me. It's going to a fun next couple of weeks, thats for sure.

~Michael

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Your superficial approach, while it will make a good "ice breaker", sounds a lot like the arguments I hear in favor of religion, and religion almost always has a lot of really bad philosophy associated with it, so I wouldn't expect it to hold much sway with this professor. I generally second Chumley's advice. Try to listen more and avoid arguing on the spot - ask for clarification if something unclear, but don't waste your time trying to "win" an argument with him or change his mind. Of course, by trying to get clear ideas out of him, you might end up changing his mind anyway.

I appreciate your honesty on the subject, it may come off as a similiar argument religion uses, and thats not what I want to do. I'm sure I'll be able to speak to him and convey my intentions properly and still hold an intellectual conversation with him. And like I said in the post above this, I don't think there will be any arguing with someone who is so accomplished and has pretty extensive knowledge under his belt...i'm not stupid. :lol:

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