Ayn Rand (Neera K. Badhwar and Roderick T. Long) [REVISED: January 20, 2016]
By 1958, Rand’s novels, increasingly philosophical, had won her ideas a sufficiently devoted following for her to form, in association with psychologist Nathaniel Branden (with whom she later broke), an official “Objectivist” philosophical movement, complete with journals and lecture courses. For all her popularity, however, only a few professional philosophers have taken her work seriously. As a result, most of the serious philosophical work on Rand has appeared in non-academic, non-peer-reviewed journals, or in books, and the bibliography reflects this fact. We discuss the main reasons for her rejection by most professional philosophers in the first section. Our discussion of Rand’s philosophical views, especially her moral-political views, draws from both her non-fiction and her fiction, since her views cannot be accurately interpreted or evaluated without doing so.
Capitalism, “the unknown ideal”, is for her the only political-economic system compatible with this philosophy because it is the only system based on respect for human beings as ends in themselves. The free-market libertarian political movement, though largely disowned by Rand, drew—and draws—great inspiration from her moral defense of the minimal state, that is, the state whose only raison d’être is protection of individual rights.
Whereas Rand’s ideas and mode of presentation make Rand popular with many non-academics, they lead to the opposite outcome with academics. She developed some of her views in response to questions from her readers, but never took the time to defend them against possible objections or to reconcile them with the views expressed in her novels. Her philosophical essays lack the self-critical, detailed style of analytic philosophy, or any serious attempt to consider possible objections to her views. Her polemical style, often contemptuous tone, and the dogmatism and cult-like behavior of many of her fans also suggest that her work is not worth taking seriously. Further, understanding her views requires reading her fiction, but her fiction is not to everyone’s taste. It does not help that she often dismisses other philosophers’ views on the basis of cursory readings and conversations with a few philosophers and with her young philosophy student acolytes. Some contemporary philosophers return the compliment by dismissing her work contemptuously on the basis of hearsay. Some who do read her work point out that her arguments too often do not support her conclusions. This estimate is shared even by many who find her conclusions and her criticisms of contemporary culture, morality, and politics original and insightful. It is not surprising, then, that she is either mentioned in passing, or not mentioned at all, in the entries that discuss current philosophical thought about virtue ethics, egoism, rights, libertarianism, or markets. (Readers may also find the entry on Nozick’s political philosophy to be of interest.) We present specific criticisms of her arguments and claims below, in the relevant sections of this entry. [...]
Some altruists are altruists because their mentalities are still frozen in a tribal past when survival required the sacrifice of some for the sake of others (1973b). Rand herself rejects a zero-sum picture of human relationships, so long as everyone in the relationship acts rationally.
Rand’s defense of “selfishness” and rejection of altruism are part of the reason both for her popularity with the general reader, and her unpopularity with philosophers and other intellectuals, although some would no doubt agree with her rejection of abject self-sacrifice and her recognition of proper concern with the self as moral (Falk 1963; Gilligan 1982; Hampton 1993; Badhwar 1993a). The general reader who responds positively to Rand’s work finds, for the first time, a moral justification for pursuing a life of her or his own and a liberation from “unearned guilt”. The philosopher who responds negatively to her work finds many biased and simplistic interpretations of philosophers and philosophical doctrines, including her claim that she is the first to consistently defend a morality of rational self-interest, all other philosophers having defended either altruism or mysticism (Pojman 1995). Her critics also challenge her equation of altruism with abject self-sacrifice (Rachels 2000, Flew 1984), and her claim (explained below) that there is no conflict between people’srational interests (Flew 1984). Copyright © 2016 by Neera K. Badhwar <email@example.com> Roderick T. Long
ADAM SMITH DID NOT "FOUND" MODERN CAPITALISM - *Ron A. Rhoades*, JD, CFP® is an Assistant Professor of Finance and the Director of the Financial Planning Program in the *Gordon Ford College of Business ...
Sri Aurobindo puts this latter point: “. . . we can say that the Overmind releases a million Godheads into action, each ... we must radically modify Sri Aurobindo'scosmology and its grossly inflated claims about the supremacy of a prior involution.
The 'one thing wanting is strength', Aurobindo insisted in Bhawani Mandir, ' strength physical, strength mental, strength moral, but above all strength ...commitment to global expansion, for it was in the warlike struggle for supremacythat manhood might be conclusively proven and realized. ... 91 See Gordon, Bengal, 112; Purani, The Life of Sri Aurobindo, 78, 80; Singh, Prophet of Indian Nationalism, 97.
Haridas Chaudhuri, Frederic Spiegelberg - 1960 - Snippet view - More editionsIn this book of enormous scholarship and prophetic vision, Aurobindo traces the rise, mutations, and decline of the ... One is state supremacy over the individual; in the other the state yields as much as possible to the 'freedom, dignity, and ...
T. V. Kapali Sastry - 1948 - Snippet view - More editionsShe is the Para Shakti with all Her supremacy spoken of in the Tantra; He is the Parama Purusha with all his aspects and ... The essentials, the positive sides of the Vedanta as well as of the Tantra find their rightful place in Sri Aurobindo's ...