George H. Smith

Peikoff qua "intellectual heir"

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I know this subject has been discussed before on OL, but I am too busy and/or lazy to look up the earlier discussions.

I finally got around to reading Goddess of Market, by Jennifer Burns. On p. 278, Burns writes: "In the final weeks of February 1982 [Rand]gave her work in progress to Peikoff, now her designated legal and intellectual heir."

I would like to settle this issue in my mind once and for all. Where did this "intellectual heir" business originate? Did Rand ever write anything to this effect? If not, did she ever verbally communicate it -- to anyone other than Peikoff, that is? Or did Peikoff originally make the claim with no corroborating evidence? If so, where?

Ghs

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George,

Burns' statement is contradicted by Anne Heller, as you can see here:

Peikoff: The Great Pretender

Barbara verifies Heller's statement here:

Barbara Branden's comment on Heller

My guess is that Burns took Peikoff's word for it. Based on what Heller and Barbara say, I think she's wrong.

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George,

Burns' statement is contradicted by Anne Heller, as you can see here:

Peikoff: The Great Pretender

Barbara verifies Heller's statement here:

Barbara Branden's comment on Heller

My guess is that Burns took Peikoff's word for it. Based on what Heller and Barbara say, I think she's wrong.

Thanks for the links. I need to listen to Peikoff's podcast.

Ghs

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Where did this "intellectual heir" business originate? Did Rand ever write anything to this effect? If not, did she ever verbally communicate it -- to anyone other than Peikoff, that is? Or did Peikoff originally make the claim with no corroborating evidence? If so, where?

Here's some stuff from OO, so you can see how the orthos deal with it nowadays.

http://forum.objectivismonline.net/index.php?showtopic=22166&view=findpost&p=279515

http://forum.objectivismonline.net/index.php?showtopic=22197&hl=&fromsearch=1

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Where did this "intellectual heir" business originate? Did Rand ever write anything to this effect? If not, did she ever verbally communicate it -- to anyone other than Peikoff, that is? Or did Peikoff originally make the claim with no corroborating evidence? If so, where?

Here's some stuff from OO, so you can see how the orthos deal with it nowadays.

http://forum.objecti...ndpost&p=279515

http://forum.objecti...l=&fromsearch=1

Hey Ninth,

Just out of curiosity, how many of your posts on that OO thread were deleted by moderators?

J

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Where did this "intellectual heir" business originate? Did Rand ever write anything to this effect? If not, did she ever verbally communicate it -- to anyone other than Peikoff, that is? Or did Peikoff originally make the claim with no corroborating evidence? If so, where?

Here's some stuff from OO, so you can see how the orthos deal with it nowadays.

http://forum.objecti...ndpost&p=279515

http://forum.objecti...l=&fromsearch=1

I am not familiar with "Objectivism Online." Who is behind it? Is a pro-ARI (i.e., ortho) forum?

Ghs

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Just out of curiosity, how many of your posts on that OO thread were deleted by moderators?

I honestly don't think any were. But I could be wrong. I had posts deleted in the "Closed system" thread, when I got into it with "Mark K.", who repeatedly said things like "he needs a banning bad" and crap like that. He wanted to know what "enemies of Objectivism" I sanction, after I said I couldn't pass Harry Binswanger's loyalty oath test. It was really comical. I also had a flame war with a holocaust denier deleted, and also a post soon after I first started over there, when I called Ed Cline a twit. I got a "warning" for that. I don't have any juicy moderator emails to share, though I'm curious to see your collection.

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Just out of curiosity, how many of your posts on that OO thread were deleted by moderators?
I honestly don't think any were. But I could be wrong. I had posts deleted in the "Closed system" thread, when I got into it with "Mark K.", who repeatedly said things like "he needs a banning bad" and crap like that. He wanted to know what "enemies of Objectivism" I sanction, after I said I couldn't pass Harry Binswanger's loyalty oath test. It was really comical. I also had a flame war with a holocaust denier deleted, and also a post soon after I first started over there, when I called Ed Cline a twit. I got a "warning" for that. I don't have any juicy moderator emails to share, though I'm curious to see your collection.

I think you just answered my question. :laugh:

Ghs

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I am not familiar with "Objectivism Online." Who is behind it? Is a pro-ARI (i.e., ortho) forum?

Based on the posting guidelines you'd think it was strict ortho forum, but in practice not quite. They definitely have active moderation, but it's more about keeping the tone polite than enforcing ideological purity. I haven't had to censor myself in that way. FWIW I think the median IQ is lower over there, but there's some bright people so it's not a bust. I've seen people over there comment that OL is more negative, and I feel tempted to say something, but on reflection I can see why someone would say that. Depending on what they read, I mean I've had Wissler on ignore for over a year, so I only see his crap when you quote it. If I was just giving this site a try and came across him first, I'd get a real bad impression.

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George,

This "intellectual heir" stuff has been haunting the Objectivist subcommunity ever since Fact and Value by Peikoff was published in 1989. Here is Peikoff's quote from that article (he was especially addressing David Kelley here)--my bold:

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.

This issue was debated ad nauseam during the PARC debates on SoloHQ, Solo Passion, OL and some other places. Valliant claimed (if I remember correctly) that "intellectual heir" was Rand's intention.

No one during all that bickering--which included several ARI folks (including upper level ones)--was able to produce one statement by Ayn Rand that substantiated that claim, Even parts of her will were brought up.

Basically, this issue is a concrete example of the commitment by the fundamentalist faction within Objectivism to rewrite history--at least the older folks.

That's just what they do.

And I'm not so sure it's only the older folks, since this inaccuracy seems to have "taken" and is repeated by many young fundy people.

There is a well-known propaganda technique: if you repeat a lie often enough in public, people start believing it. I think this applies here. It works even better if the lie is endorsed (actively or tacitly) by an "official" organization. I don't recall ARI making this attribution--that Peikoff is Rand's "intellectual heir"--as an explicit part of its policy, but ARI does publish a lot of folks who claim this--including Peikoff himself.

Michael

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George,

This "intellectual heir" stuff has been haunting the Objectivist subcommunity ever since Fact and Value by Peikoff was published in 1989. Here is Peikoff's quote from that article (he was especially addressing David Kelley here)--my bold:

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.

This issue was debated ad nauseam during the PARC debates on SoloHQ, Solo Passion, OL and some other places. Valliant claimed (if I remember correctly) that "intellectual heir" was Rand's intention.

No one during all that bickering--which included several ARI folks (including upper level ones)--was able to produce one statement by Ayn Rand that substantiated that claim, Even parts of her will were brought up.

Basically, this issue is a concrete example of the commitment by the fundamentalist faction within Objectivism to rewrite history--at least the older folks.

That's just what they do.

And I'm not so sure it's only the older folks, since this inaccuracy seems to have "taken" and is repeated by many young fundy people.

There is a well-known propaganda technique: if you repeat a lie often enough in public, people start believing it. I think this applies here. It works even better if the lie is endorsed (actively or tacitly) by an "official" organization. I don't recall ARI making this attribution--that Peikoff is Rand's "intellectual heir"--as an explicit part of its policy, but ARI does publish a lot of folks who claim this--including Peikoff himself.

Michael

It's very simple--at least before the barnacles of complexity attached themselves--really: he crowned himself.

--Brant

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Re-reading "Fact and Value" after all these years, it is obvious Peikoff is throwing up a gigantic smoke-screen--using everything including the kitchen sink--demonstrating the power of Objectivism as wielded by him. If this intellectual heirism is true, it's a sad commentary on Rand's last years. My hundred to anyone's one, it's not.

--Brant

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BTW, does anyone know how Murray Rothbard came to be “Dean” of the Austrian school? Who held the position prior to him? And who’s the Dean now?

That’s right, I’m trying to formulate the principle behind the Dean. :rolleyes:

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The concept of “intellectual heir” might be used in several ways. We might speak of St. Thomas Aquinas as the intellectual heir to Aristotle, or St. Augustine as the intellectual heir to Plato. By this we mean that the former worked within a significant aspects or portions of the paradigm of the latter.

We might even argue about who was an intellectual heir and why in terms of who was working within a particular paradigm. My professor of philosophy of science, Dominican priest William Wallace, argued that while Galileo proclaimed himself more Platonist because the Catholic Church had in essence canonized Aristotle, he was in practice more Aristotelian. He sought the natural or this-worldly “vera causa” of observable phenomena.

On the other hand, Peikoff implies and sometimes argues explicitly, as with the McCaskey affair, that Rand’s designation—if it happened—of him as “intellectual heir” somehow gives him ex cathedra or a privileged authority to speak on the truth of Objectivism. While the thoughts of Peikoff, as Rand’s close associate and student, certainly deserve thoughtful consideration, an appeal to authority runs contrary to the most fundamental principles of the Objectivist philosophy. The truth must stand on its own.

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The concept of “intellectual heir” might be used in several ways. We might speak of St. Thomas Aquinas as the intellectual heir to Aristotle, or St. Augustine as the intellectual heir to Plato. By this we mean that the former worked within a significant aspects or portions of the paradigm of the latter.

We might even argue about who was an intellectual heir and why in terms of who was working within a particular paradigm. My professor of philosophy of science, Dominican priest William Wallace, argued that while Galileo proclaimed himself more Platonist because the Catholic Church had in essence canonized Aristotle, he was in practice more Aristotelian. He sought the natural or this-worldly “vera causa” of observable phenomena.

On the other hand, Peikoff implies and sometimes argues explicitly, as with the McCaskey affair, that Rand’s designation—if it happened—of him as “intellectual heir” somehow gives him ex cathedra or a privileged authority to speak on the truth of Objectivism. While the thoughts of Peikoff, as Rand’s close associate and student, certainly deserve thoughtful consideration, an appeal to authority runs contrary to the most fundamental principles of the Objectivist philosophy. The truth must stand on its own.

Rand designated Branden as her "intellectual heir." He wasn't, of course, but Peikoff picked it off the ground and draped it over his shoulders. The proper sense of the term is purely intellectual, not cult-movement to the slightest extent. It'd be like Napoleon not crowning himself but declaring he was the heir of the Age of Reason, even writing a book and lecturing about it while his armies conquered Europe. Nappy was much more honest than that.

--Brant

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There's a difference. Peikoff does not acknowledge that David Kelley is an intellectual heir to Rand's ideas--as are many of us--but that he, Peikoff, is the intellectual heir. Peikoff uses the term concerning himself not to communicate the fact that he is working within the philosophical system established by Rand but that he, as heir, has some special authority.

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The truth must stand on its own.

Ed,

Amen.

Now here's the rub.

It is a verifiable fact that lying and propaganda techniques are part of this "intellectual heir" thing with Peikoff. And I say "lying" based on the fact that no evidence has ever been given to support this claim, while there has been plenty of evidence of inner circle Ayn Rand fanatics attempting to rewrite history over the years.

But that is not a problem for Peikoff or those who support his claim.

It is a HUGE problem for everyone else who likes Rand's ideas and wants to spread them.

How can you talk to the general public about Objectivism being a rational path to truth when the legal heir of Ayn Rand promotes a lie and the structures allied to him propagandize it?

Talk about having to dance on a tightrope!

The public might uninformed and stupid at times in a country where there is a free press, but it is not uninformed and stupid forever.

Michael

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Monopolies are so hard to come by... Objectivism has no special claim to this problem of "intellectual heir."

I just read Wittgenstein's Poker: The Story of a Ten Minute Argument Between Two Great Philosophers by David Edmonds and John Eidinow. Karl Popper and Ludwig Wittgenstein debated once on October 25, 1946, at the Moral Science Club, Cambridge, which met in Room H3 of King's College. Wittgenstein had been chairman of the MSC for a decade. Popper was an invited guest speaker. They were both domineering, sure of themselves, insistent on the rightness of their methods. As chairman, Wittgenstein so often monopolized the meetings that he took a leave of several years so that others could talk. When Popper began, Wittgenstein interrupted. Neither would yield. Eventually, Wittgenstein took a poker from the fireplace. The story fills a book.

I mention it here because the authors note (Chaper 21, "Poker Plus"; page 263) "There was one other Cambridge figure that Popper had in his sights that night: [bertrand] Russell. His claim to be Russell's intellectual heir, and his patent anxiety to impress Russell form a subplot to the H3 confrontation."

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I am actually Ayn Rand's intellectual heir....

It all happened late one evening in 1981, while I was driving from Los Angeles to Las Vegas. I found a disheveled and dirty woman lying on the side of Highway 95, approximately 150 miles from Vegas. The woman, who spoke with a Russian accent, asked for a ride, so I told her I would drop her off at the Sands Hotel. During the ride, she identified herself as Ayn Rand.

We had a long talk on the way to Vegas, during which I converted Miss Rand to anarchism. She was so dazzled with my arguments that she proclaimed me her intellectual heir. Miss Rand said she would give written confirmation to "that spineless sycophant Peikoff," but, as I expected, Peikoff has refused to release the documentary proof. He probably destroyed it out of envy.

Ghs

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I am actually Ayn Rand's intellectual heir....

It all happened late one evening in 1981, while I was driving from Los Angeles to Las Vegas. I found a disheveled and dirty woman lying on the side of Highway 95, approximately 150 miles from Vegas. The woman, who spoke with a Russian accent, asked for a ride, so I told her I would drop her off at the Sands Hotel. During the ride, she identified herself as Ayn Rand.

We had a long talk on the way to Vegas, during which I converted Miss Rand to anarchism. She was so dazzled with my arguments that she proclaimed me her intellectual heir. Miss Rand said she would give written confirmation to "that spineless sycophant Peikoff," but, as I expected, Peikoff has refused to release the documentary proof. He probably destroyed it out of envy.

Ghs

NO! I am Rand's intellectual heir! I got that through osmotic conversion to Objectivism when I first read Atlas Shrugged in 1963! Beat that!

--Brant

I am the one!

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I am actually Ayn Rand's intellectual heir.... It all happened late one evening in 1981, while I was driving from Los Angeles to Las Vegas. I found a disheveled and dirty woman lying on the side of Highway 95, approximately 150 miles from Vegas. The woman, who spoke with a Russian accent, asked for a ride, so I told her I would drop her off at the Sands Hotel. During the ride, she identified herself as Ayn Rand. We had a long talk on the way to Vegas, during which I converted Miss Rand to anarchism. She was so dazzled with my arguments that she proclaimed me her intellectual heir. Miss Rand said she would give written confirmation to "that spineless sycophant Peikoff," but, as I expected, Peikoff has refused to release the documentary proof. He probably destroyed it out of envy. Ghs
NO! I am Rand's intellectual heir! I got that through osmotic conversion to Objectivism when I first read Atlas Shrugged in 1963! Beat that! --Brant I am the one!

Check with Mormon Headquarters in Salt Lake City. For reasons that are too complicated to explain now, they can verify my claim that Ayn Rand appointed me her intellectual heir.

When I told Miss Rand that I would rather be her legal heir than her intellectual heir, she got a bit snippy, so I dropped the matter.

Ghs

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Well, there is only one website called Objectivist "Living."

It is not called Objectivist "Dead."

:)

Michael

Michael, you're not putting on heirs, are you? (Heh.)

REB

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