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Leonard Peikoff: In His Own Words


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#21 Bidinotto

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Posted 05 December 2007 - 07:00 PM

But then there is this about Leonard Peikoff, from the ARI website "FAQ":

http://www.aynrand.o...q_index#obj_q12

#22 Roger Bissell

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Posted 05 December 2007 - 07:59 PM

But then there is this about Leonard Peikoff, from the ARI website "FAQ":

http://www.aynrand.o...q_index#obj_q12


Duly noted. As I suspected, ARI officially endorses Peikoff's claim and/or claims about Peikoff being Rand's intellectual heir.

Out of curiosity (mostly at whether they would bother to respond), I just submitted the following question(s) on the ARI website:

When, and by whom, was Leonard Peikoff designated as Ayn Rand's ~intellectual~ heir? Was this done publicly? Is there documentation for it?


My own guess to the answers: by Rand shortly before she died, no, and no.

REB
Objectivism, properly used, is a tool for living, not a weapon with which to bash those one disagrees with.

#23 Ellen Stuttle

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Posted 05 December 2007 - 08:23 PM

Duly noted. As I suspected, ARI officially endorses Peikoff's claim and/or claims about Peikoff being Rand's intellectual heir.


Interestingly, though, in his own bio on his website, he just says "legal heir." Also, he at least acknowledges the existence of "a friend" through whose intermediary role he met Ayn Rand (unlike the story told by Little -- see post #15 -- which makes it sound as if he got to know Rand entirely on his own doing):

http://www.peikoff.com/bio.htm

In 1951, when he was 17-years-old, Leonard Peikoff made a trip to California that changed the course of his life.

Through a friend who knew her, he was invited to the home of Ayn Rand, the novelist and Objectivist philosopher. Thus began a friendship and professional association that was to last until her death on March 6, 1982.

Peikoff is Rand's legal heir.

[....]


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#24 Michael Stuart Kelly

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Posted 05 December 2007 - 08:27 PM

But then there is this about Leonard Peikoff, from the ARI website "FAQ":

http://www.aynrand.o...q_index#obj_q12

Robert,

This link is a curious one. Within close proximity, you have the following texts:

Who is Leonard Peikoff?
Dr. Leonard Peikoff is Ayn Rand's legal and intellectual heir and the foremost authority on her philosophy.

. . .


Is ARI or anyone else formally vested with the right to speak on behalf of Ayn Rand's Objectivism?
No.

(scratching head...)

That's a hell of a text for a philosophy of reason. It invites new thresholds of nuances in hairsplitting of nonessentials...

Roger,

My bet is that you will not get a response, or you will get some kind of hostility that does not even deal with the issue. I hope I am wrong.

Michael

Know thyself...


#25 Bidinotto

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Posted 05 December 2007 - 09:21 PM

If you read Rand's "To Whom It May Concern" in 1968, and her subsequent article or two of elaboration, she made it clear that after her experience with her only publicly designated "intellectual heir," she would never endorse any organization or individual to speak in her name again. Thus, I can't conceive of her so designating Peikoff or anyone else. There is certainly no language of this sort in her will (of which I have a photocopy).

The significance of this matter is that Peikoff's statements and theories after Rand's death are regarded by many as having been given a special benediction, as if he was specifically authorized to speak for her by that claimed "intellectual heir" designation. But despite having publicly questioned the validity of this claim for years, not a single soul has ever complied with my request for a source or citation for it. In the absence of any evidence for that claim, I believe it is justifiable to conclude that such a title was never granted to Peikoff, or to anyone else, by Ayn Rand.

In support of that interpretation, Peikoff himself says only "legal heir" on his own website; in his Preface to Objectivism: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand the term he uses is "chosen heir." He also has been cautious enough to concede that his own theories and books (such as his "DIM hypothesis") that have appeared after Rand's death are his interpretations alone, and not an official part of Objectivism...although you would never know it by how these ideas are discussed and treated by many in his orbit.

And sometimes, by how Peikoff himself describes his ideas. Consider Peikoff's confusing description of the relationship of his book Objectivism: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand to Rand's philosophy, as he presents the matter in the last two paragraphs of that book's Preface. Is he claiming that his book is a reliable guide to RAND'S ideas, or not? If you can figure it out, let me know.

#26 Michael Stuart Kelly

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Posted 05 December 2007 - 09:31 PM

Robert,

Just for the record, here is a post I made earlier on another thread. I know you know this.

I am surprised that nobody remembered this: Fact and Value by Leonard Peikoff. From the essay (my emphasis):

Now I wish to make a request to any unadmitted anti-Objectivists reading this piece, a request that I make as Ayn Rand's intellectual and legal heir.

Michael

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#27 Bidinotto

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Posted 05 December 2007 - 09:35 PM

Oops, you're right, Michael. I forgot.

Funny that he hasn't provided a lick of evidence for that claim since making it in 1989. Given the absurd nature of what he was asserting in that essay, however, I can perfectly understand why he would want to give his assertions the borrowed support of his late mentor.

One can only wish that she had been alive to render her own public verdict.

#28 Ellen Stuttle

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Posted 06 December 2007 - 04:34 AM

[...] not a single soul has ever complied with my request for a source or citation for it. In the absence of any evidence for that claim, I believe it is justifiable to conclude that such a title was never granted to Peikoff, or to anyone else, by Ayn Rand.

In support of that interpretation, Peikoff himself says only "legal heir" on his own website [...]


Agreed. I think that if she had granted him the "intellectual heir" title, he would use it on his own website. He doesn't object to others using it, and he himself, as MSK has noted, did use it in "Fact and Value" (the source which probably started the whole idea he'd been designated her "intellectual heir"). My bet is that he doesn't want, now, to declare in public that he over-spoke, in haste and the heat of battle, in "Fact and Value," and he doesn't want to contradict in public those who refer to him as her "intellectual heir," but he can't go quite so far, in cold blood, as to use the designation himself.

Ellen

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#29 Chris Grieb

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Posted 06 December 2007 - 05:38 AM

This tread has been very interesting. The only problem is how does it affect me. I'm not breathlessly awaiting "Dim Hypothesis". I'm not going to buy this silly DVD. One of these days I'm going to listen to the "State of Art" tapes Peikoff did and which I have.

As I have said I think some of the other lecturers at ARI and many of lecturers at TAS events contribute more of my knowledge of Ayn Rand's ideas. As I have said before they are more her intellectual heirs.


Edited by Chris Grieb, 06 December 2007 - 05:42 AM.


#30 Robert Campbell

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Posted 06 December 2007 - 10:52 AM

Oh my god!!! John Little's review of this DVD reminds me of what Louis XIV's courtiers wrote about Le Roi Soleil. The difference being the literary flair they could bring to their flattery...

Meanwhile, Interplanetary Funksmanship is a handle I'd expect from someone who was a fan of Sun Ra and George Clinton. Nothing sinister there. I just don't know too many denizens of Rand-land who are also in the Ra orbit.

However, I must note that, unless Mr. IF appropriated his photo and movie preferences from someone else, he bears an uncanny resemblance to an occasional contributor right here at OL.

As for IF's review of the Peikoff DVD, I'm withholding judgment till I've witnessed said DVD. It may, after all, be the kind of thing that deserves a horselaugh.

Robert

#31 Michael Brown

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Posted 06 December 2007 - 12:46 PM

One would suspect that if Peikoff believed these advertising statements to be over-the-top, he would have long ago taken steps to have Little (or whoever) modify the promotional and advertising language.


It may be that he is unaware of them.

#32 Michael Stuart Kelly

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Posted 06 December 2007 - 01:11 PM

One would suspect that if Peikoff believed these advertising statements to be over-the-top, he would have long ago taken steps to have Little (or whoever) modify the promotional and advertising language.


It may be that he is unaware of them.

Michael,

Heh.

(With all due respect.)

:)

Michael

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#33 studiodekadent

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Posted 07 December 2007 - 01:18 PM

http://www.maxcontra...com/peikoff.htm

[emphasis added]

Peikoff recognized the significance of Ayn Rand’s novel The Fountainhead and detected within its pages a philosophical message of profound importance. Had he been like millions of others, he might simply have left it at that. Instead, he took it upon himself to contact the author and travel at his own expense to learn first hand at the university of the “self-made soul” that was Ayn Rand. [....] Any acceptance, however reluctantly granted, to Objectivism over the years as a legitimate philosophical system is due largely (if not solely) to the pioneering efforts of Dr. Peikoff. This was not unrecognized by Ayn Rand, who not only considered him intellectually (and solely) qualified to speak with authority on her ideas, but who encouraged him to write about his own conclusions (the result: The Ominous Parallels). As if this alone was not sufficient testimony to his philosophic significance, Rand then entrusted Peikoff with the future of her legacy and of the philosophic system she created by designating him as her legal and intellectual heir (this last title is, in many respects, of far greater and graver significance than the former).

In the decades just prior to and after her passing, Dr. Peikoff has proven himself to be not only a brilliant educator, but also a world-class thinker who has cultivated unique insights into history and man that have served to further validate the Objectivist postulates. He is Objectivism’s greatest protector, advocate and champion and he has proven himself to be an eminently worthy recipient of the trust and high moral judgment that Ayn Rand granted him. Moreover, Dr. Peikoff has demonstrated the most rare of qualities, that of being a dedicated and loyal friend; a friend to Ayn Rand, a friend to her philosophy, and a friend to all those who value reason, philosophy and man at his best.

It is one thing to have a “sense of life” or even a personal philosophy, but it is quite another to have the courage and conviction to act on it; i.e., to live it. And it is quite another thing still to possess the intellect and the ability to effectively communicate and advance such a philosophy when its creator is no longer present to offer advice and support. Leonard Peikoff has accomplished this, often doing so in the teeth of great adversity, because of his intellectual honesty and his passionate belief that the message he had been entrusted with safeguarding was vitally and historically important. The genius he has displayed is known by many today, but it is the generations not yet born that will be the greatest beneficiaries of his labors.


That is the biggest piece of self-promoting (in the bad way) ego-masturbatory (again, in the bad way) cult-of-personality generating crap since Kim Il-Sung.

Leonard Peikoff is not the intellectual heir of Ayn Rand, by any rational standard.
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