Rebirth of Reason


Ayn Rand Society - 2006
by Stephen Boydstun

The topic of the Ayn Rand Society this year will be Tara Smith's new book Ayn Rand' Normative Ethics: The Virtuous Egoist. This work was published this year by Cambridge University Press. The ARS meeting will be held in conjunction with the APA Eastern Division meetings in Washington DC, at the Marriott Wardman
Hotel, Dec. 27-30, 2006.

CRITICS:     Helen Cullyer (University of Pittsburgh)
                  Lester Hunt  (University of Wisconsin)
                  Christine Swanton  (University of Auckland)
RESPONSE:  Tara Smith  (University of Texas)
CHAIR:        Allan Gotthelf  (University of Pittsburgh)

From the Introduction of Professor Smith's new book:

“In my last book, Viable Values—A Study of Life as the Root and Reward of Morality, I presented the case for egoism by examining the nature of morality itself, probing the fundamental nature and validation of values, from which moral prescriptions follow. Here, I turn from the questions of what it is to be moral and why such prescriptions are necessary to how to be moral. The heart of this book fleshes out the meat of morality’s practical guidance. We shall consider what types of actions are virtuous, and why—how these serve a person’s true interest. In essence, the book is an account of what Rand’s rational egoism consists of and requires.”
“Much as I find Rand’s egoism compelling, my paramount aim in this book is not so much to convince you, as to show you what Rand’s theory is as it has not received the attention it warrants. If we are to reach sound conclusions about the promise of virtue ethics and [ethical] naturalism, we must pursue all the questions that they raise, including questions about egoism. Rand’s theory offers a valuable, previously underexplored means of doing so.”
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