Atlas Society will hold no Summer Seminar in 2009


Robert Campbell

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8. Finally, they failed to provide any alternative to ARI on what is the biggest issue in the USA today. Is the USA a constitutal republic with limited government based on self-defense or is the USA an empire which can kill defenseless children all over the world and give money to bloodthirsty goons in places like Israel and Georgia. Yaron Brook has already shown everyone that he is genocidal maniac, and TAS didn't show that they were any better.

Uh, Chris, Israel has the moral right and duty to utterly crush Hamas. It is interesting that in your cosmology there are no "bloodthirsty goons" in Iran and Gaza, among other similar places.

--Brant

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It really is fun to see that Baker has come back to posting.

Us "genocidal manics" are happy to be reminded that places where women were stoned for "adultery" are the best places on earth. War is peace, slavery is freedom in Baker's world.

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Roger,

The cowardice of ARIans like "RT" is indeed noteworthy.

Here is an individual whose identity has to be known to the forum owner, Ms. Hsieh, who has offered RT her support. (Anonymous posts from people she doesn't know are routinely challenged.) What's more, he or she knows in advance that none of the people he or she is denouncing are allowed to post in her comments section.

So what the hell is RT afraid of?

Could it be that those whom RT criticizes will ask him to provide coherent arguments in support of his or her position?

This is the closest RT comes to actually producing an argument:

Amazing that Rasmussen and crowd, professional philosophers who have allegedly studied Rand for decades, can still publicly claim that: "it would imply that morality is based on an arbitrary choice. If reason cannot tell us how to choose between life and death, then the choice must be subjective. It could be based only on a person's feelings and preferences." Peikoff demolished this error in OPAR in 1990. Arbitrary? Where'd you get that concept, brothers -- what referents does it subsume, in what context does it arise, and in what context only does it apply? Where is reason supposed to be standing, and what is it supposed to be looking at, while it carefully weighs the relative merits of existence vs non-existence? [While we're at it, why is there something (existence) instead of nothing? Where did existence (the universe) come from? Isn't it "arbitrary" to say "it just is" without giving "reasons" for why existence exists?]

Kelley himself seems also to have no clue what Peikoff is saying in OPAR.

Since David Kelley has defended the Peikovian doctrine of the "premoral choice to live," I have no idea what RT is rattling on about in the second paragraph.

As for the first one, Doug Rasmussen is well aware of Leonard Peikoff's purported argument in Objectivism: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand. He has merely concluded that it is not a good argument. So, over to you, RT. Whoever you are, wherever you are. Oops, it's seems you've fled before any discussion could begin...

No doubt RT has decided in advance that my forthcoming analysis of the Peikovian doctrine of the arbitrary assertion is an "ill-informed adaptation." And, no doubt, RT will never bother to explain what's ill-informed about it.

Given RT's blatant gutlessness, his or her final paragraph is noteworthy mainly as an exercise in chutzpah:

It's hilarious watching this motley crowd loudly and pretentiously (and continuously) patting themselves on the back for their 'courage' and 'independence' in being willing to point out alleged flaws and errors in Ayn Rand's thought, while proudly prancing as martyrs who have been condemned for this 'courage' and 'independence'. Note to motley crowd: the reason people want nothing to do with you is that you have but a superficial grasp of Ayn Rand's ideas; the 'errors' you find are the result of your own tenuous understanding; and rather than seeking to improve and deepen your knowledge of her ideas, you prefer to cling to your own errors (which you gleefully call *her* errors), and go your own merry way. Please, go.

Everyone in that "motley crowd" has put his or her formulations out in public, where they can be criticized.

I might add that RT seems mightily content to rely on Leonard Peikoff's interpretations of Ayn Rand, instead of seeking to improve and deepen his or her knowledge of her ideas.

Robert Campbell

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Guys:

I am begging you to just let it go and focus on advancing Objectivism with a tabla raza approach.

This just reminds me of the Star Trek with Frank Gorshen who is one half black on the "right" half of his face!

He and his adversary who is black on the "wrong" half of his face are locked into this past dead dance.

Let us move forward!

Adam

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Guys:

I am begging you to just let it go and focus on advancing Objectivism with a tabla raza approach.

This just reminds me of the Star Trek with Frank Gorshen who is one half black on the "right" half of his face!

He and his adversary who is black on the "wrong" half of his face are locked into this past dead dance.

Let us move forward!

Adam

Bravo, Adam. If there were more people like you, Objectivism would be much furthr along.

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Guys:

I am begging you to just let it go and focus on advancing Objectivism with a tabla raza approach.

This just reminds me of the Star Trek with Frank Gorshen who is one half black on the "right" half of his face!

He and his adversary who is black on the "wrong" half of his face are locked into this past dead dance.

Let us move forward!

Adam

To what? If we wanted to "move forward" we'd all be over at the immutable Ayn Rand Institute. I'm not, in principle, immutable, regardless the consistency of my positions.

--Brant

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Guys:

I am begging you to just let it go and focus on advancing Objectivism with a tabla raza approach.

This just reminds me of the Star Trek with Frank Gorshen who is one half black on the "right" half of his face!

He and his adversary who is black on the "wrong" half of his face are locked into this past dead dance.

Let us move forward!

Adam

To what? If we wanted to "move forward" we'd all be over at the immutable Ayn Rand Institute. I'm not, in principle, immutable, regardless the consistency of my positions.

--Brant

Again, how does that follow Brant?

Moving forward, in my mind, is to proactively establish schools/local community organizations and other O'Biwan "community organizing structures" to orient folks to rational objectivist approaches to their own self improvement which will lead to the improvement of the community that they live in and allow them to be more productive for their own self interests.

Tip O'Neil, clearly not a Randian ideal, understood that all politics is local.

One aspect that I taught my rhetoric students was define your terms.

I will ask you then to define "move forward" as in what can advance the philosophy of Objectivism throughout the world?

Thank you for your efforts.

Adam

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Guys:

I am begging you to just let it go and focus on advancing Objectivism with a tabla raza approach.

This just reminds me of the Star Trek with Frank Gorshen who is one half black on the "right" half of his face!

He and his adversary who is black on the "wrong" half of his face are locked into this past dead dance.

Let us move forward!

Adam

To what? If we wanted to "move forward" we'd all be over at the immutable Ayn Rand Institute. I'm not, in principle, immutable, regardless the consistency of my positions.

--Brant

Again, how does that follow Brant?

Moving forward, in my mind, is to proactively establish schools/local community organizations and other O'Biwan "community organizing structures" to orient folks to rational objectivist approaches to their own self improvement which will lead to the improvement of the community that they live in and allow them to be more productive for their own self interests.

Tip O'Neil, clearly not a Randian ideal, understood that all politics is local.

One aspect that I taught my rhetoric students was define your terms.

I will ask you then to define "move forward" as in what can advance the philosophy of Objectivism throughout the world?

Thank you for your efforts.

Adam

I used quotation marks just because it was undefined (by you in that post--tabula rasa? As for "self improvement" and "'community organizing structures'" I am really dubious). If you want to "advance the philosophy of Objectivism throughout the world" the way you state then you must get into bed with the ARI and its minions or be antagonistic to them and their approach and understanding of Objectivism. That's because of the sheer space they occupy. The latter of course you refuse in your "move forward" so you are stuck with the former. Not necessarily a bad thing; they do a lot of good things. As for me, the only way forward is critical, conceptual thinking in education, which means marginalizing and bypassing public education. Referencing Objectivism per se, it is too immature and grandiose yet for general public consumption. ARI is Ayn Rand's philosophy of Objectivism. Or: If she said it or wrote it yes, if she didn't, no. Hence, contemning and condemning the Brandens is part of all that, even though it's essentially an attempt to maintain the Peikoffian reins on the Objectivism movement horse.

--Brant

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Guys:

I am begging you to just let it go and focus on advancing Objectivism with a tabla raza approach.

This just reminds me of the Star Trek with Frank Gorshen who is one half black on the "right" half of his face!

He and his adversary who is black on the "wrong" half of his face are locked into this past dead dance.

Let us move forward!

Adam

To what? If we wanted to "move forward" we'd all be over at the immutable Ayn Rand Institute. I'm not, in principle, immutable, regardless the consistency of my positions.

--Brant

Again, how does that follow Brant?

Moving forward, in my mind, is to proactively establish schools/local community organizations and other O'Biwan "community organizing structures" to orient folks to rational objectivist approaches to their own self improvement which will lead to the improvement of the community that they live in and allow them to be more productive for their own self interests.

Tip O'Neil, clearly not a Randian ideal, understood that all politics is local.

One aspect that I taught my rhetoric students was define your terms.

I will ask you then to define "move forward" as in what can advance the philosophy of Objectivism throughout the world?

Thank you for your efforts.

Adam

I am more interested in forming and sharing insights, whether about Objectivism or whatever, than I am in doing missionary work for Objectivism. There's nothing wrong with the latter, if it's properly formulated (see below), but that is not the sum and substance of "moving forward."

I am more interested in clarifying and/or correcting the perspectives advocated by Objectivism than in spreading Objectivism as it is currently understood (?). Again, I'm all for getting Objectivism out there, warts and all -- which is why I put so much effort into transcribing (with the help of Jerry Biggers and Robert Campbell!) Nathaniel Branden's lectures on Basic Principles of Objectivism.

But my big passion is pushing the envelope on Objectivism's ideas, not passing the envelope on "as is." And that is not because I love Objectivism less, but because I love truth more.

REB

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Reb:

I am a seeker of truth also and I do not see that search as mitigating advancing objectivism, big "O" or little "o". I remember to well how we would be arguing till dawn at Columbia University at the anarchist conferences we would run - about whether there would be such a thing as private property when the revolution came.

My point, being an anarcho-capitalist was that they could purchase property and then run it as a commune and it would fit in our political structure, but we the private property advocates could not live in their communalist society!

So I have no problem with your approach.

Adam

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In some ways, it's good that the summer seminar is canceled. This may help people wake up, and not take things for granted. Does anyone know where Terry Goodkind stands between ARI/TAS? Maybe TAS flyers could go in his books?

To be honest, I haven't read Goodkind's books. I have no idea how consistent his books are with Objectivism. If Goodkind's books are not consistent enough with Objectivism, it would be inappropriate to even ask him if TAS flyers could be included. It certainly would not happen if Goodkind does not approve of TAS. Perhaps TAS flyers could be added to books like The Art of Reasoning or The Evidence of the Senses, etc. The point is that Ayn Rand's books are a premium source of growth for ARI. There is no reason why TAS could not capitalize on this same idea whenever possible.

This is off the topic of this thread, so I won't go too far on this.

IMO, Goodkind's book are very consistent with Objectivism. Heck, I first became aware of them after reading a review in an early issue of TNI.

It's clear that the main characters adhere to Objectivism. The main opponents adhere to collectivism. And there are several passages where the different characters express their philosophical beliefs.

In the first few books, Objectivism isn't blatent, but it is there. The sixth book, "Faith of the Fallen" is more heavily philosophical. The next one not as much, and the 8th ("Naked Empire") is more, but not as much as FotF. The final 3 books are philosophical, again, prehaps not to the level of FotF.

I think some Objectivist may be put off by the books because they are 'fantasy', and have magic and the like. Its important that the magic does have underlying rules and consistancy, and so doesn't really 'violate' Objectivism because of that.

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Guys:

I am begging you to just let it go and focus on advancing Objectivism with a tabla raza approach.

This just reminds me of the Star Trek with Frank Gorshen who is one half black on the "right" half of his face!

He and his adversary who is black on the "wrong" half of his face are locked into this past dead dance.

Let us move forward!

Adam

To what? If we wanted to "move forward" we'd all be over at the immutable Ayn Rand Institute. I'm not, in principle, immutable, regardless the consistency of my positions.

--Brant

Again, how does that follow Brant?

Moving forward, in my mind, is to proactively establish schools/local community organizations and other O'Biwan "community organizing structures" to orient folks to rational objectivist approaches to their own self improvement which will lead to the improvement of the community that they live in and allow them to be more productive for their own self interests.

Tip O'Neil, clearly not a Randian ideal, understood that all politics is local.

One aspect that I taught my rhetoric students was define your terms.

I will ask you then to define "move forward" as in what can advance the philosophy of Objectivism throughout the world?

Thank you for your efforts.

Adam

I am more interested in forming and sharing insights, whether about Objectivism or whatever, than I am in doing missionary work for Objectivism. There's nothing wrong with the latter, if it's properly formulated (see below), but that is not the sum and substance of "moving forward."

I am more interested in clarifying and/or correcting the perspectives advocated by Objectivism than in spreading Objectivism as it is currently understood (?). Again, I'm all for getting Objectivism out there, warts and all -- which is why I put so much effort into transcribing (with the help of Jerry Biggers and Robert Campbell!) Nathaniel Branden's lectures on Basic Principles of Objectivism.

But my big passion is pushing the envelope on Objectivism's ideas, not passing the envelope on "as is." And that is not because I love Objectivism less, but because I love truth more.

REB

Roger,

Thanks for this excellent post. I've wanted to write a short piece on Objectivism that would be similar to Spong's Why Christianity Must Change or die except that for Objectivism it would be: Why Objectivism must change or stand still. I've also wanted to write a response to Truth and Toleration, because aside from saying that a closed system is wrong, it doesn't really spell how Objectivism is to change. I'm of almost a split personality about this because I really like Ayn Rand's system as it is. To me, the easiest and most obvious place to start are areas that are impacted by new data since Ayn Rand died. Obviously, Objectivism was an open system while Rand was still writing. The real problem for people wanting to do new work in areas heavily traveled by Objectivists is that the new work has to be integrated into an existing body of knowledge without contradiction.

A better approach would be what areas have clearly added significantly to their datasets since Rand wrote most of her important work and how do they impact philosophy and cultural prediction. A quick survey will show that brain science, psychology and complex dynamic systems are the three most revolutionized areas with new data, that impact philosophy and cultural prediction.

I would say that the first skirmish in the open/closed Objectivist wars was really a fight about psychology and Objectivism. I would say that the open system side won the psychology part of the fight and the closed system side won the Objectivism part of the fight. A lot of what David Kelley wrote that was new and central was that part of positive psychology that could be integrated into Objectivism. The problem is that there are large parts of the new positive psychology that can't be very well integrated with Objectivism and it's a very open question whether Objectivism is wrong or psychology is wrong or that they really are in conflict sometimes and we have to reconcile our psychology. My money is on Objectivism for most of those cases. Robert Campbell probably has the bet on psychology for most of them :-). ARI has actually shrunk down Objectivism quite a bit to those things Rand wrote about philosophy and excludes a lot of her comments on psychology.

I think the easier route (maybe for me partly because of my broad scientific background and my mathematical genius brother) is brain sciences and complex dynamic systems. The data is new, the early theoretical frameworks for these disciplines are being formed and they can inform epistemology and philosophy of history. Open system advocates can own this territory outright and I think it is more important than the fights over psychology because there is much more ground to cover. I like what open system advocates have written about psychology, I like what David Kelley has written about benevolence and I like how closed system presents Objectivism as an integrated system.

Jim

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Objectivism is an integrated system because of the logical, derivative relationships between its four basic principles, metaphysics through politics/economics. When it gets larded up with everything else it falls into the hands of the clergy.

--Brant

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Objectivism is an integrated system because of the logical, derivative relationships between its four basic principles, metaphysics through politics/economics. When it gets larded up with everything else it falls into the hands of the clergy.

--Brant

Interesting, so in your view everything else is open to amendment or simply to be left open and large parts of ethics and epistemology to be infomred directly by special sciences?

Jim

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Objectivism is an integrated system because of the logical, derivative relationships between its four basic principles, metaphysics through politics/economics. When it gets larded up with everything else it falls into the hands of the clergy.

--Brant

Interesting, so in your view everything else is open to amendment or simply to be left open and large parts of ethics and epistemology to be infomred directly by special sciences?

Pretty much, if I understand you correctly. For Ayn Rand Objectivism was her world entire. That is, she had the basic principles then piled on everything else that made sense to her. (Because I didn't explicitly say "ethics and epistemology" along with metaphysics and politics, however, doesn't mean I excluded them, if you read me carefully. I hope you're not making that assumption. See my signature line.) You can literally make as many philosophies of Objectivism as there are people who base those philosophies on those four principles plus whatever makes sense to them. Rand did. Anyone else can. If you do, it's doctrine or even as bad as dogmatism. If you don't, you have a rational philosophy investigatable by reason and applied by reason with data and scientific methodology. Objectivism, the philosophy of Ayn Rand, is doctrine. Like Peikoff, you can spend 40 years studying it and still mess up. Objectivism, per se, is a philosophy per se. The first two principles are axiomatic and I hardly ever spend time thinking about them. For instance, what is the nature of a concept? Well, knock yourself out; a concept is an idea. In my whole conscious life I've known what an idea is and I know ideas are in your head not out there but they are all about out there. Whatever Rand wrote about concepts may be true or not but almost not relevant. Scientific method preceded her celebration of its success. Success in science or anything else has not accelerated since ITOE was first published 42 years ago because it was. ITOE is valuable back-filling and beefs up reason so more young people don't go wrong with nonsense. When you get to ethics and politics things get dicey. The rightness of the principles involved doesn't mean that if the right switches were thrown today we'd have the basis of paradise tomorrow, as in Atlas Shrugged at the end when they were going back into the world. For starters, you don't imagine what kind of ethics John Galt needs and tell everybody else they need the same without even a serious inquiry into the nature of everybody else. Human beings as plastic enough to twist their philosophies/psychologies into another shape by an act of thought and will is unrealistic. The totalitarians thought that and those they thought they couldn't change they scapegoated and murdered. John Galt telling what was left of the world what screwed them up was analogous to the "airmen" in Things to Come taking over after the carnage of destructive wars. Of course, JG was not speaking to the hapless denizens of his world but to the productive, rational ones of this one so to avoid the shit now falling down around our heads. If AR hadn't been such an ego monster her philosophy may have done much more cultural good by now than it has. It's done a lot of good in individual lives. That's it, though, pretty much, as long as the ARI exists. The ARI is all about doctrine--and control--and frequent nonsense which further retards Objectivism. Its minions just won't let Ayn Rand die. She's dead, of course, but her corpse might as well be propped up behind her desk at the Ayn Rand Institute. It's a wonder they don't have a mannequin there. (Maybe they do.) As for libertarians, they probably accept three of the four principles of Objectivism, but because they eschew ethics except as implied by the protection of individual rights and eschew philosophy as such except for politics, they are, well, self-neutered. A philosophy without moral force and without philosophy generally, frankly, is a farce.

Reason magazine has never published ONE article about reason. What a frickin' rip off!

-Brant

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Objectivism is an integrated system because of the logical, derivative relationships between its four basic principles, metaphysics through politics/economics. When it gets larded up with everything else it falls into the hands of the clergy.

--Brant

Interesting, so in your view everything else is open to amendment or simply to be left open and large parts of ethics and epistemology to be infomred directly by special sciences?

Pretty much, if I understand you correctly. For Ayn Rand Objectivism was her world entire. That is, she had the basic principles then piled on everything else that made sense to her. (Because I didn't explicitly say "ethics and epistemology" along with metaphysics and politics, however, doesn't mean I excluded them, if you read me carefully. I hope you're not making that assumption. See my signature line.) You can literally make as many philosophies of Objectivism as there are people who base those philosophies on those four principles plus whatever makes sense to them. Rand did. Anyone else can. If you do, it's doctrine or even as bad as dogmatism. If you don't, you have a rational philosophy investigatable by reason and applied by reason with data and scientific methodology. Objectivism, the philosophy of Ayn Rand, is doctrine. Like Peikoff, you can spend 40 years studying it and still mess up. Objectivism, per se, is a philosophy per se. The first two principles are axiomatic and I hardly ever spend time thinking about them. For instance, what is the nature of a concept? Well, knock yourself out; a concept is an idea. In my whole conscious life I've known what an idea is and I know ideas are in your head not out there but they are all about out there. Whatever Rand wrote about concepts may be true or not but almost not relevant. Scientific method preceded her celebration of its success. Success in science or anything else has not accelerated since ITOE was first published 42 years ago because it was. ITOE is valuable back-filling and beefs up reason so more young people don't go wrong with nonsense. When you get to ethics and politics things get dicey. The rightness of the principles involved doesn't mean that if the right switches were thrown today we'd have the basis of paradise tomorrow, as in Atlas Shrugged at the end when they were going back into the world. For starters, you don't imagine what kind of ethics John Galt needs and tell everybody else they need the same without even a serious inquiry into the nature of everybody else. Human beings as plastic enough to twist their philosophies/psychologies into another shape by an act of thought and will is unrealistic. The totalitarians thought that and those they thought they couldn't change they scapegoated and murdered. John Galt telling what was left of the world what screwed them up was analogous to the "airmen" in Things to Come taking over after the carnage of destructive wars. Of course, JG was not speaking to the hapless denizens of his world but to the productive, rational ones of this one so to avoid the shit now falling down around our heads. If AR hadn't been such an ego monster her philosophy may have done much more cultural good by now than it has. It's done a lot of good in individual lives. That's it, though, pretty much, as long as the ARI exists. The ARI is all about doctrine--and control--and frequent nonsense which further retards Objectivism. Its minions just won't let Ayn Rand die. She's dead, of course, but her corpse might as well be propped up behind her desk at the Ayn Rand Institute. It's a wonder they don't have a mannequin there. (Maybe they do.) As for libertarians, they probably accept three of the four principles of Objectivism, but because they eschew ethics except as implied by the protection of individual rights and eschew philosophy as such except for politics, they are, well, self-neutered. A philosophy without moral force and without philosophy generally, frankly, is a farce.

Reason magazine has never published ONE article about reason. What a frickin' rip off!

-Brant

I think ITOE is very important, but one of the things I find very impressive is that Rand knew enough not to put very much more into her epistemology than measurement omission, concept formation, abstraction, context, hierarchy and integration. Of course context and integration are the operations that for a philosopher require the most care. Also, knowing that you have the right amount of precision in the measurements you've omitted is tricky.

But, you're right. The best intellectual training an Objectivist can have is an exposure to as many different branches of knowledge as possible and each has its set of special considerations based on the subject and its corresponding dataset. I've always been surprised by the Objectivist reluctance about reductionism. Hierarchical reductionism is one of the best tools in a thinkers' tool kit. You want to know what's causally important at every level of causation whether it's forces and subatomic particles at the subatomic level, valence electrons at the molecular level, DNA and RNA at the genetic level or neocortical architecture at the cognitive level.

The aim for a kind of pure abstracted knowledge without getting your hands dirty is a fiction. This idea that pumping out more and better op-eds is going to turn the world is a fiction. You have to reach the right people at the right places and even then most of the time it isn't enough. The main salvation is that capitalism has been spawned in many other places besides the United States now and our country has existed relatively freely long enough to demonstrate its practicality. It has left the cradle and prosperity will flow to countries in the world that practice it.

Jim

Jim

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Is ~anyone~ paying attention? :(

After TAS emailed many of us in late December, announcing the (temporary?) suspension of the annual Summer Seminars, I inadvertently hit Reply instead of Forward, and typed in "Read this...love, reb," intending for its reader to be my wife, Becky. TAS received the rather odd "reply" on December 29 and just ~yesterday~ emailed me back this rather bland and also odd (considering what I had sent them) response:

Dear Mr. Bissell,

Thank you for your feedback on The Atlas Society's plan for 2009.

We appreciate your engagement and hope that you will continue to help us

advance the philosophy of Objectivism.

If you have any further questions or comments, please feel free to reply to

us at this address, tas@atlassociety.org.

Thank you,

The Atlas Society

Just so you all know, on December 24, I ~did~ send Ed Hudgins a rather involved email regarding the way Becky and I feel about the current state of TAS, but except for the generic comments above and a fundraising email or two, we've heard nothing from the organization or any of its leaders.

Is this how TAS will die -- not with a bang, but with a generic form response?

REB

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I am requesting that TAS host its 2010 summer seminar in Dallas, TX. I have written TAS to see if they would be interested in working with me on this. I am going to collect signatures from people that are interested in attending to submit to TAS. Do any of you have thoughts about TAS hosting its summer seminar in Dallas? I know a few people that work in the Hotel industry and I think I can get a good deal in that respect. I also am confident that I can sell the summer seminar here in Dallas to my current and future students over the year. I think this would be a great opportunity for CRC as well.

On a side note, I think it would be more efficient for TAS to invest in their own building and host the summer seminars there. During the year, they could even hold classes, and sell products, which would help to establish a community and create a foundation of local members to work with. To travel across the country and host summer seminars annually seems expensive, difficult to organize, and perhaps not even profitable.

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I would say that the first skirmish in the open/closed Objectivist wars was really a fight about psychology and Objectivism. I would say that the open system side won the psychology part of the fight and the closed system side won the Objectivism part of the fight. A lot of what David Kelley wrote that was new and central was that part of positive psychology that could be integrated into Objectivism. The problem is that there are large parts of the new positive psychology that can't be very well integrated with Objectivism and it's a very open question whether Objectivism is wrong or psychology is wrong or that they really are in conflict sometimes and we have to reconcile our psychology. My money is on Objectivism for most of those cases. Robert Campbell probably has the bet on psychology for most of them :-). ARI has actually shrunk down Objectivism quite a bit to those things Rand wrote about philosophy and excludes a lot of her comments on psychology.

Jim,

I think you're on to something here.

But the "fight about psychology and Objectivism" goes back farther than David Kelley's excommunication.

For a very long time, Orthodox Objectivism has had trouble keeping psychologists in the fold. First, Nathaniel Branden was given the boot. After his expulsion, Allan Blumenthal was asked to write the first replacement article ("The Base of Objectivist Psychotherapy"). When Dr. Blumenthal, in turn, left the fold, his writings were also effectively expelled from the canon, so Edwin Locke and Edith Packer were commissioned to write new replacement articles. Edith Packer was run out in the 1990s. So Dr. Locke, now a professor emeritus, is still expected to write replacement articles (as he did recently with a piece on self-esteem in The Objective Standard). Since Edwin Locke has been a major contributor to applied psychology, it is really a shame that the Ayn Rand Institute can't find better things for him to do than restate the same propositions about self-esteem that Nathaniel Branden enunciated over 40 years ago, and provide the same standard defenses of them.

What David Kelley has to say about benevolence and tolerance is broadly consistent with positive psychology (although Positive Psych did not yet exist as a movement in 1989).

I'm assuming that the parts of positive psychology that you object to include the notion that the "meaningful" life is the best kind, centered on a commitment to some religion or other cause bigger than yourself. I'm skeptical of that, and have said so in print.

Positive psychologists also tend to think more highly of forgiveness than Ayn Rand did. Is this one of your other objections? (I take the evidence from Positive Psychology studies seriously, but the study of forgiveness is still very new.)

Anyway, I'm not sure what all of the contentious issues are, so I can't say where all of my bets are placed.

Robert Campbell

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I like what open system advocates have written about psychology, I like what David Kelley has written about benevolence and I like how closed system presents Objectivism as an integrated system.

My article on "The Peikovian Doctrine of the Arbitrary Assertion" (finally about to appear in the Journal of Ayn Rand Studies) suggests that some portions of the closed system aren't all that well integrated.

Robert Campbell

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Robert C.; Brief comments on your last two posts.

The first was very good. It seems very sad that ARI is in effect recycling Nataniel Branden's material but not surprising.

Will your JARS article be available on line some time after it appears in the journal? It sounds like you are addressing a very important issue.

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