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George H. Smith

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About George H. Smith

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  • Birthday 02/10/1949

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  • Full Name George H. Smith
  • Description Writer -- author of "Atheism: The Case Against God," "Atheism, Ayn Rand, and Other Heresies," and "Why Atheism?" My most recent book, "The System of Liberty: Themes in the History of Classical Liberalism," will be published by Cambridge University Press in April 2013.
  • Articles I write weekly essays on the history of libertarian thought for libertarianism.org (a branch of the Cato Institute). See the index of my essays at: http://www.libertarianism.org/publications/essays/excursions
  • Favorite Music, Artworks, Movies, Shows, etc. West Coast Jazz greats, such as Gerry Mulligan, Stan Getz, Shorty Rogers, etc., etc. I have posted numerous music videos on YouTube as smikro1
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  • Website URL http://www.facebook.com/george.h.smith.7
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  • Gender Male
  • Location Bloomington, IL
  • Interests Books, ideas, jazz, chess, and intelligent people
  1. My Cato Essays

    Immanuel Kant, the Social Contract, and the State Smith explains how Robert Paul Wolff and Immanuel Kant used the same principle of moral autonomy to reach opposite conclusions about the legitimacy of the state. My Libertarianism.org Essay #207 has been posted. Ghs
  2. My Cato Essays

    Immanuel Kant’s Theory of Justice Smith discusses some libertarian aspects of Kant’s theory of individual rights. My Libertarianism.org Essay #206 has been posted. Ghs
  3. My Cato Essays

    Immanuel Kant and the Natural Law Tradition Smith discusses Kant’s attempt to justify objective moral principles and his views on when the use of coercion is morally proper. My Libertarian.org Essay #205 has been posted. Ghs
  4. My Cato Essays

    A Few Kind Words about the Most Evil Man in Mankind's History. Smith explains some fundamental features of Immanuel Kant’s moral and political theory. My Libertarianism.org Essay #204 has been posted. Ghs
  5. My Cato Essays

    Roger, I just read your excellent and informative discussion of Kant from JARS, just an hour or so after submitting my latest L.org essay, to be posted later today. Titled "A Few Kind Words about the Most Evil Man in Mankind's History," it issimilar to your earlier attempt to correct some of the errors about Kant perpetrated by Rand, Peikoff, and other Objectivists; and we focus on some of the same issues. I guess it really is true that great minds think alike. 8-) Ghs
  6. My Cato Essays

    Some Personal Reflections on Ayn Rand Smith discusses some good and bad influences that Ayn Rand’s ideas had on his own intellectual development. My Libertarianism.org Essay #203 has been posted. Ghs
  7. My Cato Essays

    Ayn Rand on Aristotle Smith examines some of Rand’s claims about the beneficial influence of Aristotle’s ideas on the course of Western civilization. My Libertarianism.org Essay #202 has been posted. Ghs
  8. My Cato Essays

    On the Influence of Ideas Smith discusses the issue of whether we should hold a philosopher responsible for the beliefs of those followers who agree with him. My Libertarianism.org Essay #201 has been posted. This piece contains more criticisms of Rand and Peikoff. Ghs
  9. My Cato Essays

    Two points come to mind. First, in Kant's version of the social contract, consent is purely hypothetical. If a rational person should have consented to be ruled by a particular government, then his consent is taken for granted, even if he never did actually consent or would never haveconsented. Second, Kant denied the rights of resistance and revolution even against an unjust government. Those two rights were pillars of the classical liberal tradition, at least in Kant's day. Ghs
  10. My Cato Essays

    Thanks again, Roger. For those who don't follow my FB page, here is the reply I posted there. Wow, Roger, thanks a lot. You are on my short list of people whose opinion has a special significance for me. I'm happy with today's essay. I had more time than I usually do to focus on stylistic considerations, and I am pleased with the style of one paragraph in particular--the one that contains this line [about Rand]: "This is absurdity sui generis, absurdity elevated to a fine art, absurdity so quirky and outrageous that it could only have come from the mind of a brilliant and original thinker whose self-confidence was off the charts."This is obviously an unusual way of looking at the matter, but I think the point is legitimate. I must have spent 2 hours working on that paragraph alone. I consider it a luxury to be able to spend that much time reworking a handful of lines. In my terminology, careful attention to style can elevate an "article" to an "essay."
  11. My Cato Essays

    No, not at all. Although Kant'smoral and political theories are fundamentally individualistic, his theory of the state veersfrom the classical liberal tradition in some respects. Ghs
  12. My Cato Essays

    Some Reflections on the History of Philosophy Smith explains the views of Kant and Hegel on the history of philosophy, and explores whether moral judgments should be applied to the realm of ideas. My Libertarianism.org Essay #200 has been posted. It contains a criticism of Rand and Peikoff in regard to their treatment of Kant. Ghs
  13. My Cato Essays

    Ayn Rand and the History of Philosophy Smith discusses whether we should hold a philosopher responsible for how other philosophers use his or her ideas. My Libertarianism.org Essay #199 has been posted. Ghs
  14. My Cato Essays

    Immanuel Kant and Nazism Was Kant somehow responsible for the rise of Nazism? Smith explores two points of view on this issue. This essay discusses the views of Ayn Rand and Leonard Peikoff on Kant. Ghs
  15. Photo upload program (to Michael)

    Michael, Thanks for taking care of this by uploading Marilyn's photo. Ghs