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Donovan A.

Where is Paul Lepanto?

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I would like to know more about who Paul Lepanto is. He wrote: Return to Reason in 1971 . Does anyone know how to contact him?

Title: Return to Reason: An Introduction to Objectivism

Author: Paul Lepanto

Year Published: 1971

Publisher: Exposition Press

Publication Type: Self/Vanity

ISBN-10: 0-682-47204-2 (hardcover)

ISBN-13: 978-0-682-47204-3 (hardcover)

Description: Lepanto's preface self-describes him as a "student of the only rational school of contemporary philosophy: objectivism." (He uses the lower-case 'o' throughout his book.) The book is supposed to be a "layman's introduction" to Rand's philosophy. This book is currently out of print.

Contents

Preface

Part One

Existence

Life

Part Two

Our Senses

Concepts

Logic

Volitional Consciousness

Values

Reason, Purpose, Self-Esteem

Morality

Duality of Awareness

Art

The Subconscious

Emotions

Emotional Perplexities

Repression

Self-Esteem

A Summary and a Preview

Part Three

Knowledge and Progress

Production and Trade

Visibility

Sexuality

The Nature of Freedom

Freedom in Society

Rights: I

Rights: II

The Role of Government

Censorship

Prohibitionism

Conscription

Taxation

Evaluating Government Practices

Capitalism

Social Metaphysics and Spiritual Appeasement

A Rational Way of Life

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I would like to know more about who Paul Lepanto is. He wrote: Return to Reason in 1971 . Does anyone know how to contact him?

Title: Return to Reason: An Introduction to Objectivism

Author: Paul Lepanto

Year Published: 1971

Publisher: Exposition Press

Publication Type: Self/Vanity

ISBN-10: 0-682-47204-2 (hardcover)

ISBN-13: 978-0-682-47204-3 (hardcover)

Description: Lepanto's preface self-describes him as a "student of the only rational school of contemporary philosophy: objectivism." (He uses the lower-case 'o' throughout his book.) The book is supposed to be a "layman's introduction" to Rand's philosophy. This book is currently out of print.

Contents

Preface

Part One

Existence

Life

Part Two

Our Senses

Concepts

Logic

Volitional Consciousness

Values

Reason, Purpose, Self-Esteem

Morality

Duality of Awareness

Art

The Subconscious

Emotions

Emotional Perplexities

Repression

Self-Esteem

A Summary and a Preview

Part Three

Knowledge and Progress

Production and Trade

Visibility

Sexuality

The Nature of Freedom

Freedom in Society

Rights: I

Rights: II

The Role of Government

Censorship

Prohibitionism

Conscription

Taxation

Evaluating Government Practices

Capitalism

Social Metaphysics and Spiritual Appeasement

A Rational Way of Life

I don't know where LePanto is but he and his awful book can continue to stay away.

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[Long and unnecessary quote deleted]

I don't know where LePanto is but he and his awful book can continue to stay away.

Instead of inserting long quotes, you might tell us why you think that is book is so awful.

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[Long and unnecessary quote deleted]

I don't know where Lepanto is but he and his awful book can continue to stay away.

Instead of inserting long quotes, you might tell us why you think that is book is so awful.

I bought Lepanto's book the year it came out. I believe that the legendary Laissez Faire Books offered it at that time. They were desperate for anything to complement the "approved" Objectivist texts. It was published by a "vanity press" (i.e., the author pays the publisher, rather than the reverse). Generally, at that time, to be published by a vanity press was considered the "kiss of death," in terms of getting a book to be considered by most reviewers or to get it distributed widely to bookstores. Due to the internet, that may no longer be the case.

Somewhere, buried in a box, I still have the book. I read through it once, 38 years ago, and got the impression that the author had just reorganized and reworded sections from Rand, Branden, etc. I don't recall it having much to add in terms of interpretation or analysis, no comparison or contrast with other systems of thought or ideologies. Let's just say that it was not destined to be considered an Objectivist "classic." Its main (or only) claim to "fame" is that it was the first book on Objectivism from outside of the "authorized" New York/NBI authors.

Edited by Jerry Biggers

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Somewhere, buried in a box, I still have the book. I read through it once, and got the impression that the author had just reorganized and reworded sections from Rand, Branden, etc. I don't recall it having much to add in terms of interpretation or analysis, no comparison or contrast with other systems of thought or ideologies. Let's just say that it was not destined to be considered an Objectivist "classic." Its main (or only) claim to "fame" is that it was the first book on Objectivism from outside of the "authorized" New York/NBI authors.

I also have the book and as far as I remember it didn't tell anything new, it was just a synopsis of Objectivist ideas. From the preface:

Before getting underway, I'd like to make two important points:

1. For several years, I have been a student of the only rational school of contemporary philosophy: objectivism. This book is a product of those years of study. I frankly and gratefully acknowledge my intellectual indebtedness to Ayn Rand and Nathaniel Branden, and to their associates who have contributed to the growth of objectivism. This I want to say, so as not to be guilty of intellectual plagiarism.

2. However, this book is solely my own work, based on my understanding of rational philosophy. I am not a spokesman for Miss Rand, nor for anyone else - except myself. I am not personally acquainted with Miss Rand or her associates, past or present; I know them only through their works. I do not know what evaluation Miss Rand will make of this book, if she chooses to make any at all. This I want to say, so as not to be guilty of intellectual fraud.

So I'm curious why Chris thinks that this is an awful book. Has Lepanto misunderstood Rand? Is it awful because it isn't very original? I'd like to hear some well-founded criticisms.

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His book was an earnest but sketchy overview of Objectivism. I've got it in storage somewhere. The vanity publisher was, I think, one of the best of that type.

--Brant

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The book is awful because it is not very orginial. Exposition Press was the best of the "vanity" presses. LePanto did have some invovlement in the early years of the Libertarian Party but I think was gone by 1975.

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The book is awful because it is not very orginial. Exposition Press was the best of the "vanity" presses. LePanto did have some invovlement in the early years of the Libertarian Party but I think was gone by 1975.

Objectivism actually needed this kind of book back then, but it wasn't done well enough, not by a country mile. But if it had been original too that would have made it awful. I once wrote an awful book myself, not published. The only thing good in it was the prediction almost to a T of the fall of South Vietnam and why several years before it happened. I just didn't know when. I even posited it would fall to conventional arms from multiple directions. When it did happen I was only surprised that the Mekong Delta held out the longest, one reason being all the rivers and canals that diced it up.

--Brant

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Aside from estimates and opinions of Return to Reason which I didn't ask for. Does anyone know more about the author or how to contact him?

- Sorry if that sounds a little snarky, but I'd like help contacting this person, if it is possible.

Edited by Randall

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I have sent a personal message about people who might know about Paul LePanto.

As I said I was not impressed with the book. I hope you can find him.

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I am so far not finding anyone who has any knowledge of Paul Lepanto. "Where is Paul Lepanto?" might be a good opening line of a novel.

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Randall,

Here's a small lesson (not too deep) in searching for information on the Internet.

Let's start with Google. If you Google Paul LePanto, you will get a lot of information right from the start. But you might get a whole bunch of other dudes who are not him mixed with stuff about him. So you need to put the name in quotes to make sure no Paul or LePanto who is not a "Paul LePanto" is included. But there might be many other people with the name, Paul Lepanto, so I would also include a word that would further identify him. Since the name of the book is "Return to Reason," the word reason seems to be a good choice. Here is what I would put in Google:

"Paul LePanto" reason

If you want a demonstration, see here. :)

Look at those results! Now we have somewhere to start.

I notice in the Google results that his book is on Amazon. I went and took a look over there. I also noticed that there were 3 reader reviews--one from Michael Gilson, one from Ronald Satz, and one from Greg Nyquist. Looking at the star ratings, the ones from Gilson and Satz seemed favorable so I decided to look further. Gilson wrote:

The book was used at SUNY-Geneseo in a series of courses on Rand given in the 1970's.

That might have come from a blurb on the book or, who knows? That sounds like a person who keeps up with the book on some level. After all, he gave this information and he reviewed the book. I looked at Gilson's profile (see here) and saw that he has been very active in the libertarian world. He also has an email: GilsonDe@Yahoo.com. Does he know LePanto? Why not write him and find out?

Now look at this quote from Satz's review:

Lepanto, a staff engineer at Hughes Aircraft Company...

How does he know this? Maybe this guy knows LePanto? Hmmm... Let's look at the rest of the review. There are 14 paragraphs and most of them are long. The gushing is obvious, even from the title, "Excellent Systematic Presentation of Objectivism." It was posted on November 22, 2009. Does this sound like a guy who might know LePanto? Maybe even a friend? Maybe... So I looked at his profile (see here). There is no email, but there is a web page. And, although a bit abandoned, the web page has phone numbers and emails on it. Why not get in touch?

But wait a minute. There's even something else you can do. You can Google "Hughes Aircraft Company". (I didn't get anything from Googling LePanto's name with the Hughs company.) Here is the website from the Google search: Hughes Aircraft Company. You may have to bop around there for a while until you can find where to contact someone in human resources, but that would be an excellent lead. I presume they have employee records.

Also, what on earth is SUNY-Geneseo? On Googling that, I saw that it is the State University of New York in a small town called Geneseo. The distance in time given in Gilson's review (the 1970's) is a bit too great for pursuing this further as a lead, though. So that's a dud. Discard the idea.

Now go back to the original Google search and look through the other search engine results (I got 187), at least the ones that look promising. When you visit the sites, most will be duds. But some will not. Try to look for and dig out small bits of information about LePanto and people who look like they might know him. Then look that stuff up.

You might want to keep a Notepad file open where you can copy-paste stuff as you go along. (Don't forget to save your file periodically.)

It takes a little work, but there's a lot of information you can gain like that.

Michael

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Although I disagree with many of the criticisms that Greg Nyquist has made of Objectivism in his book, Ayn Rand Contra Human Nature (and on his website), I find myself in complete agreement with his review of Lepanto's book on Amazon.com:

3 of 8 people found the following review helpful:

1.0 out of 5 stars Simplistic Interpretation of Objectivism, January 12, 2001

By Greg Nyquist (Eureka, California USA) - See all my reviews

(REAL NAME)

This review is from: Return to Reason an Introduction to Objectivism (Hardcover)

I see that this book is out of print. It's just as well. I could not even recommend this book to hard-core Rand fans. Lepanto succeeds at making Objectivism seem more simplistic and intellectually shallow than it really is. This most sophisticated presentation of Objectivism is Sciabarra's treatment of it in his "Ayn Rand: Russian Radical." If you can handle Mr. Sciabarra's curious thesis that Rand is a dialetical thinker, his book is the best place to go for a detailed summary of Rand's creed.

And much as I admire Michael's display of web research procedure on the author and this book, I am afraid that those who hunger for anything in print that has been positive about Rand and her philosophy, and have heretofore been unaware of this book, will most likely not find much (if any) additional information that is of value in Lepanto's book.

In fact, if people are looking for a brief (bordering on the simplistic) summary of Objectivism in book form, they would do better with Andrew Bernstein's Objectivism in One Lesson, while keeping in mind that Bernstein's discussion is restricted to his ARIan perspective, and ignores any discussion that has not received the imprimatur of ARI.

But, as they say in the auto commercials, "Your mileage may vary."

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I visited Laissez Faire books several times in and around its founding. Nice store and storefront.

I think Paul Lepanto is deceased. Likely several decades, but I may have mixed him up with another libertarian-type guy who did much better work--initials RM.

--Brant

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