Rand doesn’t follow the conventional standards of logic. She has her own distinctive method of arguing. If that method is valid, her moral and political philosophy stands. If it is invalid, her whole system comes crashing down.
What is her method and is it valid?...
Rand’s distinctive method to answering many philosophical questions is to ask what knowledge is already presumed by the very terms in the question.
You say, “Miss Rand, I want to argue with you about the proper role of government.” She replies, in effect, “OK, but let us first unpack the concepts you are using. What are you already assuming by using the words ‘proper’ and ‘government’?” If you think of a government as the owner of buildings where you fill out forms and “proper” as whatever avoids your mother’s wrath, then Rand will insist that the two of you first work out a mature and essentialized understanding of these concepts.
In other words, Rand seeks to answer very complex philosophical questions via an explication of the meanings of words. Is this an effective way to answer moral questions? Is it an effective way to determine matters of fact?