... Objections to Objectivism (standing on one foot): ...
- incapable of correction (absolutism of dicta)
. . .
... Objectivism is the philosophy of Ayn Rand, as stated by herself.
Using that standard, anything written by any author who is dead is "incapable of correction."
Or do you believe in the afterlife with spirits who can come back to earth to correct stuff?
If not, your third objection, as you stated and qualified it with a definition, doesn't make any sense.
MSK, I disagree.
Once again, I think Darwin is a good analogy here. To this day, evolution is referred to as “Darwinism”, despite the fact that he never lived to know a fraction of the discoveries that have been made regarding evolution that we know of today. We still credit him with being the father of this science, because it was he who laid the foundation for these discoveries. He told us where the right place to look was. He pointed us in the right direction.
Can you imagine how irrational it would’ve been for his to say “Hey, evolution is my discovery, and only that which is written under my name about it can be called ‘Darwinism’. Any discovery made after I’m gone, whatever you choose to call it, cannot be called ‘Darwinsim’”. No – instead he recognized that his contribution to science, while vitally important, was limited to what he was able to discover during his lifetime. Further discoveries, so long as they are consistent with the framework he provided, still qualify as "Darwinism".
How could Rand possibly imagine that there were no discoveries left to be made by anyone else, either while she was still here or after she was gone, that would not be perfectly consistent with her philosophy? And if she knew that such discoveries were possible, why, then, would she refuse to permit them to be entered into the record as new discoveries of Objectivism?
I can only imagine it had a lot to do with how many people kept trying to edit her work in Hollywood, or her novels. I can understand how she got to that point – it must have been supremely frustrating to have people bastardize her material. But to declare that nothing qualifies as Objectivism unless she herself declared it so… this was the very reason I ceased identifying as an Objectivist.
Consider how self-contradictory and self-defeating it is to claim adherence to a philosophy that extols the virtue of independent thought and then ostracizes all those who exercise it.
The choice at hand is to think, or not to think. And if one thinks, one will arrive at exactly the same conclusions as Ayn Rand did. If one does not, one has failed to think. And if you diverge in any way from Rand's concept of rugged individualism and absolute rejection of collectivism, then you can't be one of us!!
I think this criticism is legitimate.
"How could Rand possibly imagine that there were no discoveries left to be made by anyone else, either while she was still here or after she was gone, that would not be perfectly consistent with her philosophy? And if she knew that such discoveries were possible, why, then, would she refuse to permit them to be entered into the record as new discoveries of Objectivism?"
This issue is discussed by Barbara Branden in some detail, in her Foreword to The Vision of Ayn Rand: The Basic Principles of Objectivism (2009, Cobden Press/Laissez Faire Books)., including this:
Much work remains to be done, as Rand was quick to acknowledge. In an interview with Garth Ancier of Focus on Youth in 1978, Rand was asked: "Miss Rand, is there anything more to say about your philosophy that you haven't said already?" "I'm glad that you are not acquainted with my philosophy, because if you were, you would know that I haven't nearly said everything yet. I do have a complete philosophical system, but the elaboration of a system is a job that no philosopher can finish in his lifetime. There is an awful lot of work yet to be done." [Objectively Speaking: Ayn Rand Interviewed, edited by Marlene Podriske and Peter Schwartz, p.239]
Barbara Branden then comments
Those who insist that Objectivism is a closed system, that only the writings of Ayn Rand can ever be considered part of it, are mistaken.
Strictly speaking, Objectivism cannot yet be considered a complete philosophical system. There remain important philosphical issues that have not been dealt with sufficiently or not dealt with at all - such as esthetics, and as Rand noted, induction.. There are also areas in which Rand is unclear or seems to contradict herself, such as in her various discussions of collateral damage in war. If Objectivism is a closed system, then it can never be completed. (p.xii)