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Found 5 results

  1. Confirming the new status of the Ayn Rand Society of the American Philosophical Association as a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Leonard Peikoff Institute, a new blog ("Check Your Premises") has been launched, with turns by reliable junior affiliates of the Institute, such as Ben Bayer and Greg Salmieri. There is value in some of the posts, if only to clarify what the official line is today, and what the official line regarding defenses of the official line might be. So Greg Salmieri's entry and the accompanying comments http://www.checkyourpremises.org/2016/03/15/the-meaninglessness-of-arbitrary-propositions/ have proven most informative. In his Ayn Rand Companion chapter on epistemology, Salmieri hewed closely to Rand's theory of concepts. This could be defended on the grounds that the book is an Ayn Rand companion, not a Leonard Peikoff companion, so the chapter should confine itself to issues about which Rand herself published. But of course an ARIan philosopher is still required to subscribe to Peikoff's doctrine of the arbitrary assertion, to treat it as indispensable, and to be prepared to defend it. So now the obligation is being made good on. Much should be of interest to participants here. For instance, Donald J. Trump gets Salmieri's nomination as a serial generator of arbitrary assertions (which, in turn, implies that most of Mr. Trump's functioning, in any walk of life, is wholly noncognitive, and the product of "arbitrary internal monologues"). Here's another item. In a response to a comment, Salmieri writes: This reads to me like a reaffirmation of Peikovian proof, tracking relentlessly from one truth to the next. And, like Peikovian proof, it doesn't seem to allow for the method of hypothesis (even in highly restricted ways) as part of "normal cognition," because in testing a hypothesis, one generally comes up with a proposition without already having on hand all of the evidence necessary to show that is true (or false), one then looks for further evidence (sometimes, for scads of further evidence), and occasionally one has to try to figure out what the evidence might be like before going in search of it. It also doesn't seem to allow for modus tollens or reductio ab absurdum. Perhaps BaalChatzaf, Roger Bissell, or M. Guyau will have some ideas here. Of possible further interest is the fact that Salmieri is responding to Chris Cathcart. On the one hand, Cathcart gives an excellent example of a proposition some have claimed was asserted arbitrarily, but anyone else has for many years thought is true: "Rand and Branden had a romantic affair." Salmieri refuses to consider the example, complaining that it's hurtful to him and all. With the step-aside, he gets to avoid defending various things that Peter Schwartz, Leonard Peikoff, and Jim Valiant have said about that proposition. On the other hand, Cathcart refers to a certain article of mine as proof that someone "has a hobby-horse." He then proceeds to guess its contents, admitting in the process that he hasn't read the article. Salmieri could use Cathcart's statements about my article as examples of arbitrary assertions. I doubt he will. Robert Campbell PS. If Mr. Cathcart wants to read my article—I recall that he reached the second word, "Peikovian," in the title, underwent a dreadful attack of Peikovian paralysis, and could go no further, but this had to be 7 or 8 years ago—he is welcome to contact me (we academics are never hard to find) and request a copy.
  2. I'm posting this at Irfan Khawaja's request. (Correction: I initially stated that he is not a member here. Apparently he is a member, but highly inactive.) Keep in mind that I am serving (primarily) as the lightning rod. I cannot quit the Ayn Rand Society because I was never eligible to join it. I do not have a degree in philosophy and therefore cannot join the parent organization, the American Philosophical Association. That said, the decision to invite Yaron Brook to give a talk at an ARS meeting has never made sense to me, except as a demonstration of allegiance, and of inside influence, by the ARIans who are now in complete control of the Ayn Rand Society. So I do support the call for a boycott. Robert Campbell BOYCOTT THE AYN RAND SOCIETY Posted on December 16, 2014 by Irfan KhawajaThis may turn out to be the least-publicized call for a boycott ever, but I’m going to call for one anyway: Philosophers attending the APA Eastern Division Meetings this year should boycott the meeting of the Ayn Rand Society. Frankly, in my view, they should boycott the Society itself. For twenty-five years now, the Ayn Rand Institute (ARI) has vilified libertarians as “nihilists,” and declared them too evil to “sanction,” i.e., too evil to endorse or deal with. “Boycotted and condemned.” I like that. Despite some tricky-looking verbal gymnastics, ARI has not disavowed that view (and explicitly says that it has not). So vilification of libertarianism and libertarians remains the official view of the Ayn Rand Institute despite their paradoxical (that is, hypocritical) decision to make common cause with a few libertarian organizations. The Ayn Rand Society (ARS) is a nominally distinct entity, but every single member of its Steering Committee is in some way affiliated with ARI. In any case, this year, they’ve decided to invite Yaron Brook as the main speaker at their APA Eastern Meeting (see the very first link in this post). Yaron Brook is the Executive Director of the Ayn Rand Institute. He is therefore the man responsible for ARI’s continuing policy of defamation. ARS has invited him to address their meeting despite that fact, and absurdly enough, has invited two libertarians to respond to him. The Steering Committee’s knowledge of Brook’s institutional role–and of ARI’s ideological position–are, in my view, sufficient to justify a boycott of the meeting. (Read this exchange if you’d like a sense of Yaron Brook’s moral stature and his method of cognitive functioning. It’s best read in conjunction with this piece from the Chronicle of Higher Education.) It makes things worse that intellectually, Brook is a shallow propagandist entirely lacking in bona fide qualifications as a political philosopher. (Nonetheless, like all Objectivist pseudo-intellectuals of his type, he insists on describing himself as an “expert.”) It’s therefore a mystery why ARS’s leadership would have invited him to speak at the APA. In 2012, I asked both the late Allan Gotthelf (ARS’s founder*) and James Lennox (the current co-chair of ARS’s Steering Committee) why Brook had been invited. Neither of them had an answer. If you’d like an answer, feel free to ask Lennox or his co-chair Gregory Salmieri for one, and share what you hear from them. But my own inference is that they have no defensible answer to give. I also find it a mystery why James Otteson and Peter Boettke would have accepted an invitation to discuss libertarian politics with someone responsible for a mass-movement campaign of anti-libertarian defamation, but I suppose one mystery begets another. I’m happy to say that I’ve convinced at least one major philosopher to back out of an invitation to speak at an ARS event, and have convinced a few prominent libertarians to let their membership in ARS lapse (or in the case of those who had already let it lapse, not to renew their membership). I’d like to add indefinitely to that list. Whatever you do, don’t seek refuge in the excuse that philosophers are obliged to have conversations with those with whom they disagree on moral issues. (Scroll down in the link to my exchange with Matt Zwolinski.) The response to that is: “no kidding.” The question is whether philosophers ought to help burnish the reputation of organizations that suborn and facilitate decades-long campaigns of character-assassination. If you want to be a part of that of effort, feel free. But then take responsibility for being a part of it. And don’t complain when you’re treated accordingly. You’ll have no one to blame but yourself. *Correction (added after posting): To be precise, Gotthelf was ARS’s co-founder, along with David Kelley and George Walsh. ARS was co-founded by the three of them in 1990. But Walsh died in 2001, and Kelley has not been active at the leadership level in ARS for decades. Gotthelf was the central figure at the heart of ARS, and was responsible for the decision to invite Brook.
  3. Kat

    ARI Livestream

    <iframe width="560" height="340" src="http://cdn.livestream.com/embed/aynrandcenter?layout=4&color=0x8cb6e5&autoPlay=false&mute=false&iconColorOver=0x5484ba&iconColor=0x386496&allowchat=true&height=340&width=560" style="border:0;outline:0" frameborder="0" scrolling="no"></iframe><div style="font-size:11px;padding-top:10px;text-align:center;width:560px">Watch <a href=http://www.livestream.com/?utm_source=lsplayer&utm_medium=embed&utm_campaign=footerlinks title=live streaming video>live streaming video</a> from <a href=http://www.livestream.com/aynrandcenter?utm_source=lsplayer&utm_medium=embed&utm_campaign=footerlinks title=Watch aynrandcenter at livestream.com>aynrandcenter</a> at livestream.com</div> Streaming live now is a tea party meeting. Yaron Brook will be speaking.
  4. On today's once a season drop-in at Objectivism-with-one-hand, I discovered something meaty and weighty and fabulous. No, not an Objectivish BBQ dish, but a New Telegraph Course by Leonard Peikoff. My exaggeration of the technology to be used for the New Course is unfair, of course, but it reflects my feeling of falling, screaming, into a time tunnel. At the end of his career as an educator, Peikoff starts a fifteen-unit course of Writing -- all to be delivered by telephone (not telegraph) in 90 minute consecutive installments. Now, I might stop, remove my blinders, take a deep breath, and work carefully through my prejudices and biases in re Peikoff. That would not be fun, but hey. Still, if I find the whole notion of telephone courses to be anachronistic, if I think that the oral-culture holdovers from NBI times (courses on tape/vinyl) are weird, and if I think that this is likely to be a terrible waste of time and money for all concerned -- am I wrong? What makes me so sure? In case I haven't mentioned it in a while, I do not consider Peikoff a good writer, let alone a teacher of same. He Doesn't Write, He Yaps, I might say. Over to more fair and judicious opinions ... I leave OLers the link to discover the thrilling (and awkward) public relations bumf here. The link does not go to ARI or the Ayn Rand Center, because I cannot find news of the New Course on either site given my task time-allotment. Heck of an exciting launch, guys. Oh, and, er,
  5. Never listened to Amy Peikoff's radio blog - probably because I didn't even know it existed. Anyway, she has Yaron Brook on for a full hour on Paul Ryan, and practically everything or issue that could be brought up in that Grand Canyon-sized subject. It's too long to summarize, he brings up most of the points that others have made here on OL (is he a "closet" reader of this forum??). Actually, this is a very good discussion and more realistic than past ARIans might have been. But don't read too much into what I am saying, just listen. Here is the link, http://www.blogtalkradio.com/amypeikoff/2012/08/13/dont-let-it-go-unheard