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Wednesday, March 24, 2004 - 5:43amSanction this postReply
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Ed, I just wanted to thank you for posting yet another provocative piece on SOLO HQ.  I'm unable right now to comment in detail (though, truth be told, Ed is developing a piece for the Spring 2005 issue of The Journal of Ayn Rand Studies that will focus on "Ayn Rand Among the Austrians"---part of our two-issue Rand Centenary Celebration). 

I just marvel at how much of this developing model is rooted in the work of Aristotle, who influenced so many thinkers from Aquinas to Locke to the Founding Fathers to Menger, Rand, Rothbard, and beyond. 

Keep up the good work!




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Wednesday, March 24, 2004 - 5:54amSanction this postReply
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Ed,

I second Chris' comments. Your entire project is just magnificent! I am particularly struck by the way in which errors or oversights made by one theorist can effectively be negated by integrating insights from another. The integrated sum of so many powerful thinkers must surely be far greater than its parts, and I fully expect that the case for liberty will be *greatly* advanced by work such as yours.

MH




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Wednesday, March 24, 2004 - 7:52amSanction this postReply
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You write "The suggested synthesis of Austrian Economics and Objectivism ethics can provide an excellent foundation for such a paradigm" and yet you dedicated at least half your essay to the epistemological failures of even the best Austrians. Why is such a synthesis even neccessary? Isn't it easier to view the Austrians as excellent economists who were flawed philosophically. After all, they were not philosophers. Rand was. It was her job to correct (or rather complete) Aristotle. It was Menger's and Von Mises' job to describe the rules of a market economy. Leave it at that.

Objectivism will grow, it will expand, and eventually it will have a group of its own economists that will take the accomplishments of the Austrians and build upon them. (Reisman is one such example.) I see no reason to fuse Rand, Von Mises, and even Rothbard to create a new "paradigm." I don't think Rand should be fused with anyone. Please, let her be. There are many of us who like her precisely because she is "unfused" and "unsynthesised."

You are obviously an academic and obviouly very intelligent. But in my opinion, you have too much free time.




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Wednesday, March 24, 2004 - 10:41amSanction this postReply
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argive99, Mr. Younkins

I think you might like my little satire posted here a while back:

Brave New Objectivism

(You are among the victims of that article, Mr. Younkins.)

Regi





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Wednesday, March 24, 2004 - 10:58amSanction this postReply
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"dedicated at least half your essay to the epistemological failures of even the best Austrians." - Argive99
 
The point is that Rand's epistemological insights overcome those failures. Hence the synthesis.




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Wednesday, March 24, 2004 - 12:26pmSanction this postReply
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I would like to thank Ed Younkins for alerting me to his article, and for starting it off with a diagram of its logical structure. This makes it much easier to identify both the points of coincidence and the points of divergence between Objectivism and Younkins' project.

Objectivism proceeds from the realization that all knowledge is derived by inductive interaction (Sciabarra would say "dialectic") between consciousness qua concsiousness, and reality (including consciousness qua aspect of reality). As Peikoff points out in his notes on "Objectivism Through Induction," Ayn Rand identified induction as _the only method of discovering and validating principles_, _in *any* field_. Nothing is known - yes, even including axioms - except by inductive interaction between reality and the knower.

There are many details in Younkins' diagram of his project that put him at odds against Objectivism. For example, his two boxes labeled "Apprehension of External Reality" and "Introspection" have no direct connection with each other (how would one square that with Rand's "To be aware, is to be aware of _something_."?) One of Rand's key contributions was the understanding of consciousness as _a fact of reality_, and therefore of introspection as _one of the senses_ that provide the human mind with "the evidence of the senses" on which knowledge is built. Etc.

But beyond the many divergent details, there is the overwhelming structural defect: nowhere in the Economics segment of Younkins' diagram is there a single inductive loop. It is a picture of an oxymoron: a "science" that would somehow function without inductive interaction - that is, without any interaction with "the evidence of the senses" _and therefore without any grounding in reality_ at all.

The chief irony about the many valid scientific contributions of Austrian economics is that the Austrians were so punctilliously silent about the inductive foundations of their science. But because induction IS the only method of discovering and validating principles as knowledge of reality, these inductive foundations had to be identified before one could tell what in the enormous output of the Austrians is valid science. And the economists who did that, Oskar Lange and Robert Heilbroner, did it _as Marxists_. If Austrian economics is ever intergrated into Objectivism, we shall have two Marxists to thank for leading the way.




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Wednesday, March 24, 2004 - 1:10pmSanction this postReply
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argive99:
Objectivism will grow, it will expand, and eventually it will have a group of its own economists that will take the accomplishments of the Austrians and build upon them.
This is what you're witnessing right now. Thanks to work such as Younkins, we have gained an insight in how Austrian economics and Objectivism can relate to each other. By understanding how the two systems are connected, we can gain a lot of insight to how an economic theory based on Objectivism would work, and this can be of great help to Objectivist who studies economics.




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Wednesday, March 31, 2004 - 8:02amSanction this postReply
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Aristotle scholar, Ricardo Crespo, sent me this email and asked me to post it for him:

Thank you Ed for your interesting paper . I am not familiar with Rand's thought and, thus, I cannot give a solid opinion about your project. I agree with you on the necessity of integrating an ethical system with Austrian economics. I thought I had found this possible using the Aristotelian tradition. However, I am open to different views, and your paper encourages me to delve into new horizons.

Concerning Aristotle and passivity, I would like to clarify that his "nous poietikos" was not passive, but active, by definition. For Aristotle, the universal exists in the mind and corresponds to the form(eidos) of the concrete thing known. However, due to my ignorance of Rand's theory of knowledge, I cannot appraise whether they have similarities or not.

I hope the best for your project.

With every good wish,

Ricardo




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Friday, April 2, 2004 - 2:39pmSanction this postReply
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Economist and Menger scholar Sam Bostaph asked me to post his email to me:

Ed,

I don't really have a problem with anything in your essay at SOLO. Your schematic and words do help to more clearly see the interfaces between Aristotle, Rand and thr Austrians. I do tend to agree with the one commentator who questioned the necessity of explicitly creating such a paradigm. Or, at least dedicating a tremendous amount of effort to doing so. Why not just use an Ed Younkins treatise that presents a Younkins philosophical/economic/political theory, with references to the original sources on which it is based? In fact, Ed Younkins' life work of publications would constitute a paradigm for those who studied the works that compose it. Rothbard approached that achievement, absent the philosophical part. The fact is that HUMAN ACTION or ATLAS SHRUGGED or MAN, ECONOMY AND STATE are treated by some as if they constitute the epitome of all thought on the subjects they address, when we both know that there are flaws here and there in all three books. I don't think it is necessary for Austrians and Randians to have a Bible.

Sam




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Tuesday, April 13, 2004 - 7:39pmSanction this postReply
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Argive99 is correct. I am an academician and many of my colleagues tell me that I have too much time on my hands!  :) Really I do have job. I teach 4 courses a semester (3 at the graduate level), have several committees, play basketball 3 times a week,  play tennis 3 or 4 times a week weather permitting, work out regularly (nautilus, running, stairmaster, elliptical machine, etc.). And of course, I read and write.

Where did this Austrian-Objectivist project come from some of you have been wondering? It happened this way. After I finished writing my book, Capitalism and Commerce, I came to the realization that virtually all of what I had to say in it fit within Austrian economics, Objectivism, and oftentimes both areas. I began to read widely in Austrian economics. I already had a fairly good understanding of Objectivism. The more I read, the more I realized that the "schools" had much in common if one looked in the right places.

Menger was Aristotelian and had a lot in common with Rand. Mises was off base with his Kantian epistemology, but his excellent deductive use of the action axiom, as shown by Rothbard, could be derived using induction and a natural law approach.

In several essays I have shown how Austrian praxeology's emphasis on subjective value and value freedom are compatible with objective value and value relevance.

Praxeological economics and Objectivism are complementary and compatible disciplines.When used together to explain reality the case for a free society is strengthened!

Both Matt and Makemore understand what I am trying to do  So do Aeon Skoble, Tibor Machan, Sam Bostaph, Bill Peterson, Neil Parille, Jeremy, Joe Rowlands, Andre Zantonovitch, and Ricardo Crespo. Or, at least it appears that they do from their postings to my essays!. I have some fellow travelers in this project including Larry Sechrest (who I found out was on top of the project before I had a clue of what Austrian economics really was!), Chris Sciabarra, Stephen Kinsella, Richard C.B. Johnsson, and a few others.

Cheers!!!!

Ed




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Friday, April 16, 2004 - 5:34amSanction this postReply
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Ed,

Thank you for directing me to your article. This is not a review of the article but a sharing of my thoughts after reading it.

As a new student of both Objectivism and Austrian Economics, I continue to be drawn to further study of both, by the power of liberty and self-responsibility. As a young businessman, I enjoy reading the works of Aristotle, Rand, Von Mises and the Founding Fathers for their thinking process and the ideas that come from this process. Besides Atlas Shrugged one of my favorite book’s is the Prime Movers by Edwin Locke and what your article has made me think about is how powerful the rational human mind can be when it is free to take risk, however, knowing the ultimate return falls within their own responsibility.

Your article and your book Capitalism and Commerce has done its job in making this Human Mind work. I look forward to reading more of your work. One final thought; please push the reading of Aristotle, Rand, Von Mises, Menger and the Founding Fathers to your students at that great University.




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Friday, April 16, 2004 - 4:58pmSanction this postReply
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Thank you Mark!!!!

I am happy that you liked my essay and my book!!!!

You will learn a lot if you read the daily essays here at SOLO. I highly recommend this site to you.

Best of luck in your career!!!!

Cheers!!!

Ed




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