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#41 Stephen Boydstun

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Posted 21 September 2014 - 05:44 AM

The volume referred to here under the projected title Ayn Rand: A Companion to Her Works and Thought will be issued by Blackwell this coming March with the title A Companion to Ayn Rand. I expect it to include a contribution from Harry Binswanger on art and metaphysical values, from Tara Smith on objective law, and from John David Lewis on Rand’s cultural and political commentary. Much more, and more surely, I’ll let you know when its TOC becomes available.



#42 Stephen Boydstun

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Posted 25 November 2014 - 06:29 AM

Neera Badhwar, a past presenter at the Ayn Rand Society, has a new book:

Well-Being: Happiness in a Worthwhile Life

 

Paul Bloomfield, a past commentator at ARS, also has a new book:

The Virtues of Happiness: A Theory of the Good Life

 

On 27 December, ARS will have a session on the topic The Moral Basis of Capitalism: Adam Smith, the Austrians, and Ayn Rand. Presenters will be James Otteson, Peter Boettke, and Yaron Brook. The session will be chaired by James Lennox. The session will be 6:30–9:30 p.m. at the Marriott Philadelphia Downtown. Admission is registration, which unfortunately is steep if you’re not a member of APA.* The papers in this session will join earlier ARS papers in a future ARS book dealing with Rand’s political philosophy.



#43 Merlin Jetton

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Posted 25 November 2014 - 06:45 AM

Hmmm. I used the Look Inside feature on Amazon. Badhwar's book does not mention Rand or Objectivism. Bloomfield's book mentions Rand once -- amid a list of several egoists -- and Objectivism zero times.



#44 Brant Gaede

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Posted 25 November 2014 - 07:10 AM

Hmmm. I used the Look Inside feature on Amazon. Badhwar's book does not mention Rand or Objectivism. Bloomfield's book mentions Rand once -- amid a list of several egoists -- and Objectivism zero times.

 

?--Look Inside only shows a fraction of a book. How did you search the books?

 

--Brant


Rational Individualist, Rational self-interest, Individual Rights--limited government libertarian heavily influenced by Objectivism


#45 Merlin Jetton

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Posted 25 November 2014 - 07:22 AM

 

-Look Inside only shows a fraction of a book. How did you search the books?

 

Like I said, I used Amazon's Look Inside feature. It shows hits, with a brief excerpt, in two ways -- black or blue font for pages you can see online, a lighter color font for pages you can't see online. The index is treated a little differently. So my undertanding of how it works is that any appearence of the search word or phrase in the book will result in a hit.  This is for "print book". Search isn't available for a Kindle book.



#46 Brant Gaede

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Posted 25 November 2014 - 07:30 AM

Thanks for the information.

 

--Brant


Rational Individualist, Rational self-interest, Individual Rights--limited government libertarian heavily influenced by Objectivism


#47 Stephen Boydstun

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Posted 25 November 2014 - 10:51 AM

Prof. Bloomfield was a critic of Irfan’s ARS paper, and Bloomfield canvassed some of his criticisms of Rand’s ethical thought in that critique* (published in the ARS volume Metaethics, Egoism, and Virtue). Both Bloomfield and Prof. Badhwar have in great hand the entire history of ethical theory, including ethical egoism within that history, right up to their own contemporaries. I expect Bloomfield gives Rand the small amount of space he thinks she merits among past and current ethicists as they bear on his own ethical theory presented in this book. The ancient four virtues he adopts, reformed in light of some modern developments, should be interesting to compare to the logical places of those virtues in, or resolutions of those virtues by, Rand’s own. That is not work that is likely to be done by the leading professional moral philosophers, due to the portion of their efforts they think would be warranted for such a project. And any such study by the few professional philosophers subscribing to an ethical theory close to Rand’s is likely to receive attention, or anyway public comment in print, only from the more intellectual quarter of Rand’s own children.

 

I notice that both of these titles include Happiness and Life, but not Egoism. Perhaps that portends a lack of focus on egoism and self-interest in these books. I plan to find out. I notice that in Badhwar’s book she thanks inputs from Fred Miller and from a couple other philosophers friendly towards Rand’s ethics. However, not only is Rand evidently not mentioned, it seems that Tibor Machan is also not mentioned. So I expect his portrayals of the classical egoism of Greece (and its affinities with Rand’s egoism) is far from her own ethical outlook being presented in this book. Badhwar’s presentation at ARS was in 1993, one of three presentations on that occasion concerning The Fountainhead at age 50. I don’t know what she said there, but I imagine she had some reservations about the ethics put forth in that philosophical novel. Two years later, Badhwar delivered a paper at a seminar of the Institute of Objectivist Studies titled “Self-Interest and Altruism.” I had not been present, at least not for the audience Q&A portion, but I gathered talking to her that afternoon, as we waited for David Kelley’s “Benevolence and Civility as Objectivist Virtues,” that the audience criticism had been harsh, really a resounding No! Prof. Badhwar has some expertise in Rand’s philosophy and apparently some continuing interest, as she is a co-contributor of the entry Ayn Rand in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.* 



#48 Brant Gaede

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Posted 25 November 2014 - 12:49 PM

All philosophy is about supposedly doing the right thing--or nothing. Thus all philosophy is moral philosophy. Morality is about control in a sea of choices. What kind of control and why is the derivative issue but the primary need not be mentioned or acknowledged but will always be inferred. Unfortunately this obscures the "why" of all the verbiage so the words can go way out of the control of relevance save for self-referencing discussions of the academics. I think this is the big reason Rand is hated so much. She's a threat to job security. Ironically, Objectivism itself was self-protecting from the beginning surrounded by moats to true critical thinking. This made there a lot more Objectivism to teach than teaching how to learn through critical thinking would have. But, regardless, morality is right at the heart of the philosophy. Not so libertarianism which pushed out morality in favor of politics leaving only that which you should not do--initiate force--which is actually only one bridge out of ethics to politics and general social interactions. That's negative, hence the idea of negative rights to counter the positing of phony rights--i.e., "positve rights." But positive morality is what kind of person one is and one's positive interactions with others on which libertarianism draws a blank. A pure political philosophy is no real philosophy at all. It beheads the person keeping the head and discarding the body. Philosophy is for the entire person and naturally enough takes in all of the Liberal Arts* (including science) as revealed in anyone's psychology.

 

All I've said is it's not philosophy commonly understood but philosophy-psychology and from one's that flows everything to one's interests, cook, baker, candlestick maker--scientist or politician or humanitarian to artist, mother or scoundrel: whatever rings your bell.

 

--Brant

*all acquired cognitive knowledge


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#49 Stephen Boydstun

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Posted 18 December 2014 - 11:09 AM



. . .

On 27 December, ARS will have a session on the topic The Moral Basis of Capitalism: Adam Smith, the Austrians, and Ayn Rand. Presenters will be James Otteson, Peter Boettke, and Yaron Brook.* The session will be chaired by James Lennox. The session will be 6:30–9:30 p.m. at the Marriott Philadelphia Downtown . . . . The papers in this session will join earlier ARS papers in a future ARS book dealing with Rand’s political philosophy.

 

I have added links for the presenters in that announcement. These will be three independent papers, none commentaries on the others.

 

As noted at OL by Robert Campbell, a boycott of the Ayn Rand Society has recently been urged by Irfan Khawaja here. I shall doubly not attend the session this year, though not because I heed the call for boycott. Firstly, I'll not attend as I'll not be attending the APA meeting at all because the last few months I've spent so much money on new books, I need to budget a bit, and really I should stay by the fire with my books and keep full press with the writing of my own book. Secondly, were I to have attended this meeting of the APA, I'd have needed to instead attend another session in the same time slot (as the ARS session), the session with Pippin and Neuhauser on Hegel's ethics. I do have a baseline to share for estimating effect of Irfan's boycott. Last year at our session on Nozick and Rand,* there were twelve people in the audience.

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

PS

James Otteson



#50 Brant Gaede

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Posted 18 December 2014 - 11:29 AM

Ah, new books. They tie you up and hold you down.

 

--Brant

The Torture of the Books!--(a movie?)

 

edit: The Silence of the Books?

 

(more thinking needed)


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#51 Merlin Jetton

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Posted 18 December 2014 - 11:38 AM


On 27 December, ARS will have a session on the topic The Moral Basis of Capitalism: Adam Smith, the Austrians, and Ayn Rand. Presenters will be James Otteson, Peter Boettke, and Yaron Brook.

 

Otteson was very recently interviewed on EconTalk. It's about an hour to listen, or read the transcript.



#52 Robert Campbell

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Posted 19 December 2014 - 02:14 PM

The one ARS session I attended, in 2006, had roughly 3 times as many in attendance (I say roughly because I didn't count the house) as the 12 that Mr. Boydstun reports for the session on Nozick and Rand last year.

 

So a decline has already set in, and it may be ongoing, whether anyone who was planning to go this year has changed his or her mind on account of a boycott.

 

Perhaps Yaron Brook will speak and only his scheduled commentators will be there to listen.

 

Then they would have the audience they deserve.

 

Robert Campbell



#53 Jules Troy

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Posted 20 December 2014 - 09:30 AM

Yaron who?
😈

#54 Stephen Boydstun

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Posted 20 December 2014 - 10:10 AM

Occasionally, APA symposia have only presentations of a few papers and no commentators, although some time for Q&A. That is the design of the ARS session at Eastern Division this year.

 

The largest attendance of any session of the Ayn Rand Society I recall was in 2005. I haven’t been to all ARS sessions by a long shot, but of those I attended, I’m pretty sure that was the largest. I have gathered from attending APA sessions in general, including various Society meetings, that attendance is affected strongly by who is presenting (together with who else is presenting in the same time slot at some other session). The presenters at the 2005 meeting* were James Lennox, Allan Gotthelf, Fred Miller, and Robert Mayhew, and the session was chaired by John Cooper (!) (no commentators for this session). Those papers will be included in the forthcoming collection Ayn Rand and Aristotle: Philosophical and Historical Studies.

 

The lowest attendance I’ve experienced at an ARS session was “Egoistic Virtue in Nietzsche and Ayn Rand” in the 2008 Pacific Division Meeting. There were only 7 or 8 in the audience. It turned out, in my assessment, that the commentator paper (Darryl Wright) was especially fine. Both of those papers are included in Metaethics, Egoism, and Virtue: Studies in Ayn Rand’s Normative Theory.*

 

On a somber personal note, I’d like to mention the death last month of Patrick Suppes,* whom I had the pleasure of hearing as presenter and as audience member at meetings of American Philosophical Association. His works light my mind.






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