Roderick T. Long, responding to Gregory Browne's article "The 'Grotesque' Dichotomies Still Unbeautified," contributes a rather technical article that will strike some readers as pedantic and other as niggling. In any case, despite the subtle clarity of much of Long's analysis, to my mind he altogether misses what should be the main point of the whole exercise. At stake in any debate over the analytic-synthetic dichotomy (and that's what the debate really is all about) is the question of what is the best way to determine matters of fact: deductions from first principles (i.e., from "axioms" and the like); or experimental reasonings based on scientifically controlled observations and criticisms from qualified experts (i.e., the scientific method). I contend that the scientific method is far and away the best method of determining matters of fact, and that, when stripped of all the pedantic excesses that Kant placed around it, this is what the analytic-synthetic is striving to assert. And so any attack on this dichotomy, particularly one that goes all the way down to its core truth about the cognitive superiority of "empirical science," is motivated by a desire to give speculative philosophy the same cognitive standing as scientifically tested knowledge and common sense knowledge derived from observation and experience. The Objectivist attack against the analytic-synthetic dichotomy is simply a roundabout way of rationalizing Rand's deplorable empirical irresponsibility. Rand wanted to believe in a theory of human nature that fails to accord with the facts. Since she could not defend her theory on the basis evidence, she chose instead to defend it with the appearance of logic. The argument for the Objectivist version of free will is essentially an argument for Rand's theory of human nature. Bear in mind: she provided no other argument for her view of man--none whatsoever! Her argument is presented as if it were a kind of logical validation on par with empirical evidence. But since this sort of procedure for determining matters of fact is challenged by the analytic-synthetic dichotomy, Rand had Peikoff write his notorious article against it.
Curiously, Browne himself, as noted by Long, complained that Rand and Peikoff have an "excessive aversion" to more geometrico reasoning (i.e., to determining matters of fact through logical or pseudo-logical constructions, rather than through observations, research, and the scientific method). I don't know where he finds this "excessive aversion." If we judge Peikoff and Rand, not merely on what they say, but how they go about their business, it becomes clear that more geometrico reasoning is one of their favorite methods of defending Objectivist dogma.