Thursday, March 08, 2007

Slow Posting Weeks, Upcoming Projects

Just a note to say that my posting will be limited over the coming weeks due to work and travel commitments. Greg may post as the spirit moves him. I'm also working on a couple of longer term projects for the site. One is an "Instant ARCHN" sidebar - an introduction to visitors who have not read the book, so they know what the Sam Hill we are talking about.

Here's a proposed structure. First, some basic critical tools one needs to see what's wrong with Rand's theories:

a) About 'Essentialism'
This will briefly examine the methodological problems philosophy - and Objectivism in spades - inherited from Aristotle and Plato and that Popper exploded in his classic chapter 11 in "The Open Society and its Enemies", illustrated with examples from Rand.

b) The Ayn Rand Word-Game Lexicon
A handy list of the many verbal devices that Rand uses to confuse - oxymorons such as "contextual absolute", her key equivocations over terms such as "man's life", and the other sundry verbal fudges that permeate her work. Then:

Reality Contra Ayn Rand: A Summary of ARCHN's arguments.
This will give capsule overviews of the book's refutations of Rand's various theories
- Theory of Human Nature
- Theory of History
- Theory of Knowledge
- Theory of Metaphysics
- Theory of Morals
- Theory of Politics
- Theory of Aesthetics
Summary of ARCHN's conclusions

If y'all have anything you'd also like to see here, let me know.

I'm also working on a review of "We The Living" and a Popperian look at the unwittingly Platonic roots of Rand's ethical theories. Stay tuned.


Anonymous said...


One thing I haven't seen anyone comment on is how Rand (and her followers) praise certain behavior that on the surface seems "altruistic" (such as a limited amount of charity, helping out your family or whatever). Objectivists often argue that these things are really "selfish."

Granted some things of this sort can be recharacterized as selfish (I give up something for my wife, for example), but I wonder if everything can.

Anonymous said...

I think this tendency to rationalize seemingly altruistic behaviors as ultimately selfish (whether it's paying for your child's medicine because you don't want to live without them or donating to the Red Cross because it gives you the warm fuzzies) stems from Rand's over-broad definition of selfishness exorcised of its negative connotations.