Empirical responsibility is not exactly one of Mr. Beaird's virtues. He twice insists that "Rand's use of observable facts and the relationships between them [which facts and relationships are those? can he state any?] to demonstrate the natural foundation of the concept 'value' is so well-known by now that, for you to still insist Hume had not been refuted reveals an uncomprehending mind..." Of course, no evidence is brought forth to back this extraordinary claim. Rand critic Michael Huemer expresses a very different point of view:
Objectivists seem to find "The Objectivist Ethics" completely convincing. But hardly anyone else finds it at all convincing. This is not a trivial observation—one often finds that people who do not accept a whole philosophical system nevertheless find certain parts of it plausible. And one often finds that people who are not ultimately persuaded by an argument nevertheless see some plausibility in it. But neither of these things is true of the argument of “The Objectivist Ethics”—hardly anyone finds that argument even slightly plausible, unless they also buy into virtually all of Ayn Rand’s views. This is not true of most of her other views: one would not be surprised to find a non-Objectivist who nevertheless thinks Rand’s political views are reasonable, or her epistemological views, or her aesthetic theories. The explanation is simple: the theory of “The Objectivist Ethics” is simultaneously the most distinctive and the least plausible, worst defended of all of Rand’s major ideas. (Here is a nicer way to say that: all of Rand’s other major theories are more plausible and better defended than that one.)
Now who is right? Is Rand's argument in "The Objectivist Ethics" so "well known by now" that only an "uncomprehending mind" would fail to understand that Rand had "refuted" Hume? Or is the argument only accepted by Objectivists, who are committed to accepting everything by Rand, in defiance of fact and logic? Huemer's contention is by far the more plausible. I can't think of a single non-Objectivist who accepts Rand's argument. And most people have never heard of it at all, and would not be able to make heads or tails of it if it were explained to them.
In my exchange with Mr. Beaird, I have made repeated calls for Beaird or any other Objectivist to back their talk and produce this marvelous refutation of Hume. Of course, no such proof will ever be produced. Ironically, however, the aforementioned Michael Huemer has attempted to state the Objectivist argument in logical form. I have linked to it before, but its worth the occasional perusal. Huemer finds all of Rand's premises to be dubious for one reason or another. Nor is Huemer able to complete the chain of reasoning all the way to Rand's "man qua man." That, of course, is impossible, since it involves a palpable equivocation ("'man qua man' and 'rational' [are] fudge words" is Huemer's verdict).