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Summer Seminar: Objectivism in Theory and Practice

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This is kind of funny. At the next TOC conference they are having a panel discussion titled "Objectivism and Libertarianism: A Reassessment."

Read the course description here.

Basically, they are discussing why they were wrong about libertarianism and Peter Schwartz was right, although they probably won't say that explicitly. They are asking themselves why, after all these years, libertarianism remains an empty wasteland. I think Schwartz explained that quite some time ago.

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The 15th annual TOC Summer Seminar: Objectivism in Theory and Practice will

be held July 3-10, 2004 at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver,


The week-long program is filled with the best known names in Objectivism:

David Kelley, Nathaniel Branden, Robert Bidinotto, Lindsay Perigo, Tibor

Machan, Ed Hudgins, Douglas Rasmussen, Robert Poole, Stephen Hicks, Eric

Mack, Mimi Gladstein, Michael Newberry, and many, many more.

Topics include: "Analyzing the Harmony of Interests"; "Philosophy and the

Origins of Art"; "Objectivism and Libertarianism"; "Islamic Philosophy";

"Bioethics and Human Cloning"; "Business Ethics and Atlas Shrugged"; and

much more!

Full program information and secure, online registration is available at

The Objectivist Center:


Shawn Klein

[email protected]

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David Kelley is a post-modernist.

"I owe a great deal to my teacher and advisor at Princeton, Richard


Richard Rorty is one of the leading PM teachers in the world.

PM philosophers attack the very concept of philosophy-the idea that

philosophy is a specifically delimited subject requiring a definite methodology.

See The black hole of contemporary philosophy by Gary Hull.

Kelley's open/close debate, his spliting reason from reality, how he can't

judge any one"who am I to know," etc. is all modern philosophy.

He uses terms with meanings he gives them. Communists kill people not

the peolple teach communism so they get a free ride.

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Matt is right. I don't like Kelly or his ilk, either, but making such an accusation is totally uncalled for. One of the things that has always pissed me off about people on "that side" has been their habit for making unfounded and unwarranted accusations against Peikoff. Don't sink to their level.

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Post-moderns want to destroy philosophy but they still teach and write, so

the destruction has a purpose, no standards.

Kelley is a PMS objectivist: post-Modern subjectivist. He wishes to destroy

Objectivism. He covers himself with slogans of individual rights, etc.

Kelley was NOT kicked out because of libertarianism- he was on the masthead

of a libertarian newsletter from at least 1985 and spoke at a Cato seminar. It

was because of "A question of sanction."

The Objectivist theory of concepts is the foundation of all Objectivist principles.

But Kelley wishes to destroy the need for even forming concepts.

DK:"When we formulate moral principles, we may abstract from such

differences of degree; we omit measurements, as Ayn Rand explained. But

when we apply the principles in forming moral judgements about particulars,

we must reintroduce the relevant measurments."

His whole approch is to reject principles. He has to be tolerant, because when

he reintroduces the the measurement, he's back where he started. In kelley's

universe, when you stand by principles you "indulge in moral hysteria."

DK:"concept of evil applies primarily to actions, and to the people who

perform them."

People's cognition drive their actions.

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Conspircay theory? That's not too much of an ad hominem.

Everybody holds ideas because they think there useful and right, to them.

Kelley hasn't gone under cover as an objectivist. His skepticism is right out

in the open: who am I to know? Maybe I have something to learn from this

marxist. His use of "tolerance" is as an anti-concept.

He can't play his intellectual game if Ayn Rand sets the rules, so you

destroy the rules.

Dude, maybe you need to take Kelley's advice:"Objectivity is the ability to step

back from our own thinking, so that we can see it critically, through the eyes of

someone who does not share our outlook, our own preferences, our


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I must agree with WGD to some extent, in that Rorty's relativist influence on Kelly is obvious. I think it's kind of funny, just because Rorty is such a lousy philosopher that it's hard to see how anyone who claims to be an Objectivist could take him the least bit seriously. Read some of his stuff sometime for a good laugh. The few actual arguments you might find in his papers are incredibly bad. He denies being a relativist, identifying himself as more of a skeptic/pragmatist--in other words, a relativist...all these things boil down to exactly the same thing: subjectivism.

And Kelly is definitely a subjectivist. Arguing over how "post-modern" he is is pointless. WGD is right: he has done and continues to do a lot of damage to the Objectivist movement.

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  • 1 month later...

It is sad to see the loose reasoning and ad hominem attacks on David Kelley and TOC. As is the case in many of these type of attacks, nothing specific is cited (or its taken out of context) or claimed, just insults hurled like subjectivist or postmodernist. It was good to see a few who though they disagree with Kelley's thought, were unwilling to engage in these silly attacks.

This attack is new, though, that Kelley worked with Rorty at Princeton as graduate student he must somehow share the same philosophy.

David Kelley is quite clear and explicit that he takes Rorty's philosophy to be wrong at the base of it and most of his work has been defending and explaining Rand's theory.

Kelley's comments about Rorty were taken complete out of context, showing a kind of intellectual dishonesty by intentionally trying to portrary Kelley's comment as an approval of Rorty.

Here is the sentence in more complete context, from his introduction to "Evidence of the Senses"

"I owe a great deal to my teacher and advisor at Princeton, Richard Rorty. My analysis of the idealist strain in contemporary philosophy was inspired by his seminar on the subject, though our evaluations of idealism differ radically."

Earlier in the introduction, Kelley writes:

"The philosopher who had the greatest influence on my thinking about perception was the late Ayn Rand."

And he continues by saying that her epistemology "represents a profound, and profoundly important, alternative to traditional theories"

Many of the claims against Kelley made by "WGD" are equally ridiculous--they too are take out of context and meant to portrary something very different from what Kelley is writing about. Either WGD is being intentionally dishonest or he can't understand what he reads.

The notion that Kelley is a "weasel" is absurd and contradicted by anyone who has met him or read any of his work. He always comes across as professional, intelligent, and straightforward.

The claim that Kelley splits reason from reality or ever claimed "who am I to know" (or anything remotely similar) is even more absurd. What is the basis for such a remark? Clearly these claims are made by someone who hasn't seriously read Kelley's work. An honest reading of Kelley's writing shows a deep commitment to reality, reason, objectivity, and indeed Objectivism.

One doesn't have to agree with Kelley--but this name calling and ridiculous, out of context, unsubstantiated attacks are beyond the bounds of decency and objectivity.

For those interested, here are some links from the TOC website:

The Objectivist Center: for Objectivity and Independence:


Introduction to Truth and Toleration:


Shawn Klein

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I find that WGD has put these words in to proper context, and Kelly is the one who is masking them from thier correct perspective. Look at what Kelly says, I mean really stop and look. ” I owe a great deal to my teacher and advisor at Princeton, Richard Rorty”. No mater what contex you put this in he still thinks, and out right says that he owes a great deal to…Rorty. No mater what reason you give after a statement like this you are still abiding by the idea that you had something to learn from someone who is inferior to yourself.

The attacks made by WGD may be harsh, but sometimes the truth hurts.

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S. Klein, if your so concerned about honesty, why didn't you admit your paid

by David Kelley?

With no response on www.dianahsieh.com/toc/statement.html , I guess you

believe it is correct?

Or this from March 26th - www.dianahsieh.com/blog - where she talks about the lameness of TOC's intellectual work.

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WGD, what does the fact that Klein is paid by Kelley have to do with the truth or falsity of his arguments? That type of argument reeks of Marxism (follow the money, not the logic). Also, it is possible that he either a) didn't see the post, or :blink: has other things to do then respond to random posts on random blogs. Besides, he didn't even make a full argument, he just disputed some facts and added others to the content of the discussion. Your line of attack and poor English only lends weight to the (horribly inaccurate) stereotype of ARI supporters as zealots or dogmatists.

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Atlas 51184, I hope your "final paper" makes more sense. The honesty issue is important. The line "He always comes across as Professional, intelligent, and straightforward" just sound different coming from an employee. This topic started with Klein posting an ad on Feb. 17th. Klein leaves ads all over the net, thats his job.

"...reeks of Marxism." Marx said that a mans thinking comes from his class,

outside of his control. How does that fit here. Klein is in control of himself, he's just paid by Kelley. Don't use terms you don't understand.

"...other things to do than to respond to random posts on random blogs."

That makes alot of sense, since that is what he did here.

Is your use of "also" an example of good English? I've never seen "a)" used by itself before.

"Besides(why is this word here?), he didn't even make a full argument,"

Are you his mother? What ever I think of Klein its not that he can't argue his


The line of attack in your last sentence contradicts the argument of your first


Are you still upset about your Feb. 20th meltdown????

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WGD, Atlas is right, it's not a reasonable argument. In fact, I was going to post about that myself. "You're paid by x, therefore you're biased" is the same line used by leftists against, for example, Cheney and non-environmentalist scientists. Shawn probably works for TOC because he thinks they're right, not the other way around.

Once again, the calibur of arguments on this thread is pathetic. Compare the posts here to Diana's recent posts on her blog, which are just a preview of the criticism she's writing, and you'll see the difference between a reasoned critique and the random flinging of insults which this thread has been full of.

"Meltdown"? What the hell does that refer to?

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Matt I never said Shawn didn't believe Kelley was right. Your argument is backwards.

Your example proves my case. Scientist alway identify their source of funding.

Cheney has always tells people where he worked.

Leftists might use that info as an attack but that's because they have no arguments.

Professionals in every field report anything that will be viewed as biased up front.

Just watch cable news programs.

But no, I don't think your argument is pathetic.

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Consider your views expressed in this quote:

Leftists might use that info as an attack but that's because they have no arguments.

In that light, why would you want to use information about the identity Shawn's employers as an attack on his credibility? I'd think that sticking to your arguments of whether or not the event will be worthwhile to attend based on the ideas that will likely be imparted there would be sufficient.

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I'm aware of that. I read the other page and in fact took the quote from the first page.

My point is that you potentially have some good arguments regarding whether or not the conference is worthwhile to attend. The only end you achieve by arguing about Shawn's employment is undercutting your own credibility. By your own words, people use arguments like that when they have no other arguments.

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