I am pleased to announce the publication of my latest book, The Faux-Rationality of Ayn Rand, which is available at amazon.com in paperback (and hopefully soon in kindle). Whether this is the best critical book on Ayn Rand and her Objectivism philosophy on the market today I will leave to others to decide. But I'd like to think it's the most readable, succinct, and relevant piece of Randian criticism that we've seen to date. It covers the main points of Rand's Objectivist philosophy (i.e., her views on human nature, metaphysics, epistemology, ethics and politics), showing, in lively, pointed language, what is wrong with her various contentions about these domains of experience. It is hardly an exhaustive critique of the Randian sophistry. It doesn't cover everything — only the most important stuff. More than anything else, I see this book as a one-stop shop for discovering what is fundamentally wrong with Rand's philosophy.
The book is only about sixty-thousand words long and is based on posts published here at ARCHN. The fact is this blog is a bit of a mess. Although most of Rand's philosophy is critiqued in a reasonably systematic matter, it's challenging to read the posts on the blog in the order they were originally meant to be read. The format of the blog simply doesn't allow for that, nor is this something that's easily fixable. Another issue is that many of the posts I contributed to ARCHN were written very hastily and they were not always well proof-read. Much of the material could really use a serious and thorough re-write — but that would be an immense job, and given the slippage of interest in Rand's philosophy, I doubt it would be worth the trouble. So instead I have culled the best and most pertinent posts that I have written for the blog, cleaned them up, arranged them in as systematic a way as possible, and then published them via amazon.com.
With this new work of criticism of the Randian sophistry now in circulation, I don't really see the need for additional forays against the Objectivist philosophy. While Rand's novels will continue to delight, exasperate, inspire, and mystify readers for decades to come, her philosophy will likely fade with the passage of time, becoming the near exclusive province of a handful of Ayn Rand nerds, but otherwise being of little practical or intellectual use to anyone else. The thing just doesn't seem to have legs for long-term endurance. Most of Rand's purely philosophical writings — that is to say, "Galt's Speech," the title essay of For the New Intellectual, the essay "The Objectivist Ethics," and Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology — are sketchy and poorly thought-out. There are too many dubious and untrue assertions in them. And let's face it: Rand, however brilliant she may have been on the literary side of things, was a philosophical illiterate. She believed, for instance, that the problem of universals was epistemological. That's about as embarrassing a philosophical faux pas as one can imagine — but it requires a fair amount of philosophical literacy to appreciate this.
The Faux-Rationality of Ayn Rand lays out the major issues in Objectivisim in lively, incisive prose. Making use of the latest evidence from the sciences of human nature, the book thoroughly refutes the Rand's ill-informed views of human nature. It lays bare the poverty of the arguments Rand set forth on behalf of her metaphysical "axioms." It shows how her ethics and politics are not merely badly formulated and thoroughly rationalistic, but irrelevant and beside the point as well. Hopefully, this work can help usher in a new appreciation of what an intellectual disaster Rand's philosophy really is. If you are inspired by The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged, I have nothing to say against that. But if you still find merit in a philosophy that denies that human beings have a genetic-based nature (which is what believing in the blank slate amounts to in the end); that regards emotions as merely automated value judgments and denies their cognitive and moral functions; that regards the philosophy of Immanuel Kant as the cause of most that is wrong in the world; that believes Rand's own poorly conceived metaphysical speculations have epistemological warrant to dictate to science; that believes, in the teeth of mountains of research and evidence, that human beings can be guided, in both morals and everyday life, by a consciously directed "reason"; and that insists that words that make up human languages have "real" meanings: if you must persist in all such delusions, then there really is no hope for you. You are merely additional evidence od the hypothesis that most human beings are not capable of being rational.