ROGER E. BISSELL offers a new interpretation and clarification of Rand's intrinsic-objective-subjective trichotomy, arguing that although her writings show the objective as having both epistemological and metaphysical aspects, the latter has been drastically downplayed, much to the detriment of further development of Objectivism. He traces the historical roots of the concept of the "objective," as well as the confusion and errors that led to the scope of Rand's trichotomy being radically curtailed by its two chief proponents, and he explains how the common view of the objective as "mind-independent" is a pitfall to be avoided.
I'm not sharing this here in order to provoke a discussion. That is the job of the essay, where the case is made for these various claims. So, if OL folks are at all interested in my take on this subject, (1) buy Vol. 9, No. 1 when it comes out (soon) and/or (2) wait until fall or so of next year, when I post the essay here at OL. Between now and then, discuss or not, as you like, but I'm going to step back from the controversy myself, until my own views are out in print. They've already gone by some rather tough reviewers, and they are much better presented now, thanks to that input. Ready for prime-time, as it were.
The essay for Spring 2008 is (tentatively) entitled "Mind and Will as Objective Phenomena: the Ontological Status of Introspective Data," and it seeks to clarify the nature of introspection and its data by applying the method used in Robert Efron's analysis of perception and Leonard Peikoff's analysis of the ontological status of sense data. Sense data are neither intrinsic nor subjective but
objective, and the same will be shown to be true of our awareness of mind, will, and the various processes associated with them. An extended parallel is drawn between perception and introspection, between sense data and mental data, and between physical objects and the brain-mind. In simplest terms, mind is the form in which we are introspectively aware of the brain, and mind is an entity, viz., the brain, as we are aware of it directly, i.e., introspectively; and there are serious problems with viewing mind in any other way, such as a spiritual entity cohabitating and interacting with the body, or a non-physical process having causal efficacy.
The essay for Fall 2008 is entitled "Will the Real Apollo Please Stand Up? Rand, Nietzsche, Keirsey, and the Reason-Emotion Dichotomy," and it will explore the possible basis for Ayn Rand’s and Friedrich Nietzsche’s misidentification of Apollo as “The God of Reason,” as well as the claim by psychologist David Keirsey that Apollo was instead characterized by emotion or “feeling.” A case will be made, from both personality type theory and mythology, that Apollo was, most fundamentally, the god neither of reason, nor of emotion, but of intuition. (Keirsey is a big Rand fan and cites the heroes and heroines of Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead as exemplars of one of his four temperament types, the intuitive-thinkers or Rationals or Prometheans. For details on his views of personality and temperament, see his book Please Understand Me, or check him out on the web.)
The mind-body essay will be a considerably revised version of a paper presented to the 2002 TOC Advanced Seminar in Waltham, Massachusetts, but the most difficult part of the essay (organizing and writing an actual draft) is already done. The Apollo essay is something I've been threatening to do for 10 years or so, and I have just finished my second draft, though it is still quite rough. I'm expecting to have room to spare for making my February 15 and March 1 deadlines, which I just found out about from my cruel taskmaster...uh, dear friend and editor, Chris Sciabarra. :-)
These three essays are about topics that are near and dear to me. I've been fascinated with Rand's trichotomy and the mind-body problem since about 1970, and the relationship of personality type and temperament to Objectivism since the late 1980s, so I greatly appreciate the opportunity to put my long-pondered thoughts into print. Yet another reason to really be glad there is someone smart, generous, decent, and open-minded like Chris at the helm of JARS!
Happy Holidays, everyone!