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Post 180

Monday, July 25, 2005 - 9:02amSanction this postReply
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It was nice to see Walter here. It's already been said/explained as to whether his first volley was out-of-context or not, all I would say is that if someone theorizes something when psychology gets involved into the discussion he is likely to answer it. That includes him sometimes saying that he doesn't know, or isn't sure (maybe because he hasn't yet read something pertinent to the topic). He's very honest in that way, and I value that.

It was to be expected that there would be more discussion about this topic. From my perspective, these recent ones have generally been more civilized, and solution-oriented.

I tend to be solution-oriented when it comes to movements. Intellectual, individualist movements take much longer, which is kind of perplexing when you think about it.  How do you move forward with the objectives? One way to not do so is create paralysis within the organization through in-fighting. Even if the ARI and everyone else close to the movement simply could agree to a commonality of purpose that was, say, 50% of the message, that would create the mobility, the facility to create more change than what sitting in idle does, while we churn away. Objectivism is very young, and the dissent and churn is to be expected, for sure. But, it is also has some efficiencies about it that could be exploited, and that hasn't happened yet. The polarization is very hard, isn't it? If you don't agree, ask Leonard Peikoff, for instance why he doesn't ever write here. If I were him, I wouldn't. Maybe he wants to when he has a little time.

Looking at things the way an organizational behavior person would look at it wouldn't be a bad idea. Doing some healing and communicating wouldn't be a bad idea.




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Post 181

Monday, July 25, 2005 - 2:18pmSanction this postReply
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[Walter Foddis wrote]An extrovert's behavior would be characterized by such things as being emotionally expressive, assertive, and sociable.
Sarah House commented: 
No. An extrovert's behavior would simply involve having people around when he wants to relax. Although outgoing people are often extroverts, extroverts are not always outgoing people.
Walter and Sarah are both correct. Extraversion is not a monolithic attribute. It is a complex attribute that is the result of several (four or five, depending on which theorist you consult) narrower characteristics. These include: emotional expressivity, sociability, enthusiasm, and assertiveness/intrepidity. Both the Big 5 NEO-PI test and the expanded form of the MBTI tease out these details of extraversion vs. introversion. In my case, I have a close balance between extraversion and introversion on the global level. However, there are narrower aspects of my personality that are more extraverted and aspects that are more introverted. Indeed, when I took the more complex version of the MBTI a few years ago, I came out introverted on 3 facets of the E-I scale and extraverted on 2 of them. So, it is certainly possible to be a quiet extravert or a reserved extravert -- just as it is possible to be an outgoing introvert or an enthusiastic introvert.

Best to all,
REB




Post 182

Monday, July 25, 2005 - 3:03pmSanction this postReply
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You can also use other models to look at personality types. In one system, people socially identified as "extroverts" might be called "expressives".
Within that way of looking at things, there are many degrees. That one is an axis-type system.




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Post 183

Monday, July 25, 2005 - 11:57pmSanction this postReply
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Oh, now I get it.  Nathaniel's version--Barbara's version--Rand's version--Perversion--Aspersion--Introversion--Extroversion.  Sure.  It's an alliteration thing.  It all fits together perfectly....




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Post 184

Tuesday, July 26, 2005 - 5:37amSanction this postReply
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Just to notify the members here:  I've posted my rejoinder to James Valliant at Notablog here

The comments section is now closed at Notablog---time to move on, for me at least. 

Cheers,
Chris




Post 185

Tuesday, July 26, 2005 - 12:11pmSanction this postReply
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Wow, Valliant must have really humiliated Sciabarra. Chris gave a several paragraph response and then quickly shut down the comments section, like a kid that takes home his bat. I guess it's back to song of the day.



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Post 186

Tuesday, July 26, 2005 - 12:21pmSanction this postReply
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Glenn I. Heppard wrote:
Wow, Valliant must have really humiliated Sciabarra. Chris gave a several paragraph response and then quickly shut down the comments section, like a kid that takes home his bat. I guess it's back to song of the day.
Glenn, Glenn, Glenn, your biases are showing!  :-)

Chris announced before Valliant made his comments that that was how he was going to frame the discussion. This is completely parallel to how discussions of articles are conducted in Chris's Journal of Ayn Rand Studies. The article or review is published, a response (e.g., from the person being critiqued in the article or review) is presented, and a rejoinder is given by the original author. Period.

You, by the way, are free to set up your own blog-site and run it how you wish. But please spare us the insinuation that Chris cannot stand the heat, so that's why he "quickly shut down the comments section..." Those of us who know Chris, and those of us who pay attention to his announcements, know better.

REB




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Post 187

Tuesday, July 26, 2005 - 12:23pmSanction this postReply
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Not humiliation at all.

Probably Chris didn't want Valliant to ride piggyback on his name anymore.

Let Valliant or his supporters open their own discussion blog.

Hmmmmm...

Something wrong? Like no heavyweight will show up?

Michael




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Post 188

Tuesday, July 26, 2005 - 12:39pmSanction this postReply
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Glenn, I have to agree with Roger and Michael that your comment about Chris closing his blog comments is unwarranted. Many bloggers do not allow any comments at all, much less a lengthy response from the person they have criticized. From his own remarks, I do not believe Valliant considers himself to have been treated unfairly in regard to the blog comments (though of course he does not agree with most of the criticisms levelled against him there). He had his say (as did others), and Chris got the last word -- as is only fair considering that it is, after all, his blog.

--
Richard Lawrence
Webmaster, Objectivism Reference Center




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Post 189

Tuesday, July 26, 2005 - 1:00pmSanction this postReply
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Glenn,

Is your assessment of the situation

Wow, Valliant must have really humiliated Sciabarra. Chris gave a several paragraph response and then quickly shut down the comments section, like a kid that takes home his bat. I guess it's back to song of the day.

based on actually reading any of the comments to Chris Sciabarra's review of Valliant's book?

Chris didn't just announce that comments would end when he posted his final reply to Jim Valliant.  He gave Valliant space in the comments section to present a lengthy response to Chris's review of his book, then afforded him the opportunity to "hold court" (as some detractors of Valliant have opined) and engage in a series of exchanges with other participants.  (Valliant, I might add, was a good sport about it all.)

And Notablog is not a message board.  It is not even particularly intended to draw comments.

If you really believe that Valliant "humiliated" Chris, tell us how.  Tell us which arguments he demolished, and what unanswerable counterevidence he provided.

Otherwise, the rest of us here are going to have every reason to treat your remarks as trolling (or schoolyard taunting, which is basically the same thing).

Robert Campbell

PS.  Different bloggers set different rules, but in my experience most ARI-affiliated bloggers are far less likely than Chris has been to allow lengthy exchanges with opponents of their views.

(Edited by Robert Campbell on 7/26, 1:20pm)




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Post 190

Tuesday, July 26, 2005 - 1:03pmSanction this postReply
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I appreciate the added commentary from Michael, Roger, Richard, and Robert.

Glenn, nobody humiliated me---and I humiliated no one. 

I come from a scholarly culture.  In a scholarly context, the typical model is:  review-reply-rejoinder.  Sometimes, it goes a bit further.  But I don't have an endless amount of time to debate issues when the lines are so clearly drawn and there is not likely to be any movement one way or the other.  I treated James Valliant fairly---as he attests on my blog.  (And yes, I announced last week that my rejoinder would be the last word at Notablog.)

In fact, I was kind enough to share my review with Valliant before it was posted; I was kind enough to invite him to post a lengthy reply.  I was kind enough to allow nearly 60 additional comments---and Valliant authored an even dozen of them.

I should also mention that it is not fair to my readers to allow a comments section to go on endlessly when I don't have the time to pay close attention to that level of traffic, given my other research, writing, and editing commitments.  I love blogging and I love cyber-culture, but I do have a life.

I am the host of Notablog.  I wrote the review at Notablog.  I have the last word at Notablog. 

(Edited by sciabarra on 7/26, 1:25pm)




Post 191

Tuesday, July 26, 2005 - 1:19pmSanction this postReply
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First class, Chris, all the way. :)



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Post 192

Tuesday, July 26, 2005 - 2:03pmSanction this postReply
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Glenn,

I appreciate your enthusiasm, but I must state my agreement with Dr. Sciabarra here. It is only proper that he close-down the comments at some point, and, since it IS his site, we had agreed (a while ago) that he would have the last word. (As my readers know, the LAST thing that I want to do is to "distract" from other, more important issues.)

Indeed, I am tremendously grateful to Dr. Sciabarra for the HUGE amount of space he gave me to respond--and then even to respond to questioners. I also appreciate the high tone he set for the discussion--something rare indeed--where no one was in danger of "humiliation"--only the pride that comes from using one's grey cells, rather than one's bile.



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Post 193

Tuesday, July 26, 2005 - 2:57pmSanction this postReply
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I wondered why Chris would wade in on this subject with such an unwieldy and easy to knock down "review." I did compliment Chris that he was honest and up front. Some people would have tried to pass their biased work off as objective. He told the reader right up front which side the article would come out on and, almost as if it was planned, it did.

What was odd, he seemed to have no response at all to the fact that his top sources were discredited. Lying, made up stories, contradictions, and scamming and grifting Ayn. It didn't seem to matter to him. ,"One would think that a man [Sciabarra] so concerned with the accuracy of the historical record would be deeply troubled by the revelation that two people he used as major sources for his bookon Rand have MASSIVELY LIED ABOUT AND DISTORTED HISTORICAL ACCOUTS OF AYN RAND AND THE OBJECTIVIST MOVEMENT."

Then I realized that this was about Sciabarra's reputation not the Brandens. James Lennox had already raised serious questions about his scholarship. http://www.reason.com/9602/BkLENNOX.feb96.shtml 

Lennox:"A thoughtful discussion of Rand's views on the precondition of a benevolent culture is marred by unconvincing attempts to reveal her "dialectical sensibility" that obscure her thought rather than illuminate it."

"They [letters in "Letters of Ayn Rand" to Hospers, Paterson, etc.] show no hint of the sorts of influences that Sciabarra conjectures were crucial to her philosophical development."

"But this is precisely not asserting "that each of the opposing schools of philosophy is half right and half wrong."

"Nor is Ayn Rand's method systematically aimed at "overcoming dualisms."

And method:"But the direct evidence that the youthful Ayn Rand was positively influenced, through Lossky, by the "dialectical antidualism" of early 20th century Russian philosophy is thin. In Part Two, however, such influences are taken for granted."

"Demonstrated is a strong word--and entirely inappropriate here.  No evidence that Rand was familiar with Lossky's philosophy has been provided, and only weak conflicting evidence that she studied ancient philosophy with him. Sciabarra thoroughly discussed the philosophy of Russia's "Silver Age," but provides no direct evidence that it influenced Ayn Rand."



Now James Valliant eviserates the Brandens. Their claims are arbitrary, contradictory or just made up. Then Valliant show's with Ayn Rand's notes that the Brandens stories of the break were distortions. Chris seemed to be acting like a pre 1968 WWI scholar after Fritz Fischer released "Germany's Aims in World War One." If his method and conclusions are have been knocked down, the revelation that the sources he has heavily relied on have lied to him, it makes the "russian radical" look like Michael Bellesile's "Arming America: The origins of the national gun culture." 

Sciabarra as a scholar is supposed to check his sources not treat uncorroborated reports as facts. Valliant points out, "While Sciabarra acknowledges that, from the first, he realized that the Brandens' memoirs were written from a "particular point of view." He seemed to treat them like a gold standard. What explanation Sciabarra will offer is unclear, but a finding of unforgivable sloppiness seems to be about the best he can hope for.

 





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Post 194

Tuesday, July 26, 2005 - 3:39pmSanction this postReply
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A few points in response:

This thread is about James Valliant's work, not mine.

What I said in my review was that the Brandens commented on an earlier draft of my book, not that they were major sources.  In fact, the Brandens were not "major sources" for my book on Rand.  My major source consisted of original Russian archival research.  So, I'm sorry, Glenn, none of my "top sources were discredited" by James Lennox or anybody else.

Lennox raised no serious questions about my scholarship.  Lennox did not have the foggiest idea what I meant by "dialectical sensibility."  He was operating with the conventional view of dialectics as some kind of Hegelian waltz.  My trilogy, of which RUSSIAN RADICAL was one part, aimed to recapture dialectics as an eminently radical Aristotelian legacy, one which is well-represented in Rand's work and in the works of other great classical liberal and libertarian thinkers.

The influences I talked about in RUSSIAN RADICAL were not substantive, in any event; they pertained to an overall methodological orientation.  And, in truth, my further historical work on the subject uncovered the depths of Rand's dialectical education, even if it could never substantiate precisely what Rand learned from her teachers.  Now that the historical record has been bolstered---by my work on "The Rand Transcript" and my forthcoming JARS essay detailing additional historical study, now that the evidence has weighed heavily on the side of Rand having studied with Lossky and other great scholars in the dialectical tradition, now that even an ARI archivist such as Jeff Britting admits that Rand studied from the texts of her professors, I'd say the tide of historical interpretation is on my side---ten years after I first proposed my theses in RUSSIAN RADICAL.

As we say here in Brooklyn: You wanna piece of me?  Then wait till August when I post my "tenth anniversary" tribute to SOLO, and I'll be happy to engage you on that thread.

(Edited by sciabarra on 7/26, 4:29pm)




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Post 195

Tuesday, July 26, 2005 - 3:47pmSanction this postReply
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Bravo, Chris!

A classy response, from a class act.

However, I did notice this, "He was operating with the conventional view of dialectics as some kind of Hegelian waltz."  Now Chris, you really can't blame him, don't you have a reputation as Objectivism's Fred Astaire?

George




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Post 196

Tuesday, July 26, 2005 - 4:13pmSanction this postReply
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Yes, George, well, given that Glenn said "I guess it's back to song of the day" on my blog, my "reputation as Objectivism's Fred Astaire" will serve me well.  Can't dance without a song.




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Post 197

Tuesday, July 26, 2005 - 4:24pmSanction this postReply
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The attempt to substitute the real Ayn Rand with the ARI-wannabe-Ayn Rand has failed.

--Brant




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Post 198

Tuesday, July 26, 2005 - 6:27pmSanction this postReply
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Chris,

As much as your responses are extremely well reasoned, correct and factual, I am afraid that they are wasted on the person to whom they are directed. You want truth and facts - especially when there are interesting slants like the dialectical approach.

This guy wants to draw attention to himself by trouncing a big name. Nothing more. He just went after you like a schoolboy even after the person he defends told him that he went over the line of reasonableness. You will never reach him with logic. He wants blood - with himself as the (very undeserving) hero of the day who slays dragons (of which you just became one).

I have stopped answering this dude. You, of course, decide on whether you want to waste anymore of the precious minutes and hours of your magnificent life on hopelessly irrational bullshit that never gets any better.

I have radically serious disagreements with Valliant's book, but hell, the guy did write a thick book. He did something in life. (I don't like what he did at all, but that is beside the point I am making - which is that he did produce a work that required intellectual effort.) Even he deserves a better defender than this particular supporter, who does nothing but stick his tongue out at people.

Michael



Post 199

Tuesday, July 26, 2005 - 7:08pmSanction this postReply
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Chris, James Lennox did raise questions about your "scholarship" because he did understand what your "unpromising conjecture" was based on. I don't think he would have written in Reason if he didn't.

You even give an example of it in your second to last paragraph in post 194. Ayn Rand went to school while still in Russia and read books. Wow, really, you figured that out. But it has nothing to do with your thesis. Now as Lennex said--

"But the direct evidence that the youthful Ayn Rand was positively influenced, through Lossky, by the "dialectical antidualism" of early 20th century Russian philosophy is thin. In Part Two, however, such influences are taken for granted: "Though Rand rejected much of the content of Lossky's philosophy, her own system retained an exhaustive and dialectical form that reflected her roots," writes Sciabarra. [this is based on what evidence, Bankout] And, later, "[A]s I have demonstrated, [Where was the demonstration, Blankout] Rand's philosophy...was a historical product of her revolt against formal dualism." [Evidence???]


LOL, I think you need to actually "demonstrate" something, not just say the equivalent of "because I say so."

Your book is really a lot of historical facts, a number of which are of questionable scholarship, and with NO demonstrated evidence for your thesis. That is Lennox's problem with your "scholarship." You provide no evidence for your work.


Lennox:"Yet the language of Kantian/Hegelian "dialectic," a language Ayn Rand explicitly attacked, is repeatedly used by Sciabarra to characterize her method. In this presentation of her thought, she "transcends opposites," "developing antinomies," "recognizes interpenetration of opposites," "works toward a new synthesis," "traces internal relations." All of this is used as evidence that she is "true to her dialectical roots." Such characterization are reinforced by constant claims of alleged similarities to Hegel, Marx, Marxist historians, Weber, even Trotsky. [The key word is alleged because you provide no evidence] The effect of those comparisons is clear. Absent the requisite direct evidence for a philosophical connection to "her Russian roots," Sciabarra intertwines such claims of kinship with dialectical redescriptions of Rand's ideas, thus giving the appearance of indirect evidence for such a connection. In dealing with the obvious objections that she explicitly rejected this philosophical approach, Sciabarra claims that she simply misunderstood it. But this undercuts his central historical thesis. [You don't need to make sense] Had she have so thoroughly absorbed a "dialectical sensibility" from her teachers, how could she so completely misunderstand it? When [RR] is insightful and illuminating about Objectivism, as it sometimes is, it is in spite of this misguided historiography, rather than because of it."

And in Part Three.
"Once again, next to a candid admission that there is "no available evidence" of any such influence, he is insistence that her "assessment of the nature of power" would be akin to that of Hegal and Marx because of her dialectical approach."


I think Lennex knows your "scholarship" to well.

But you argument is good: a respected philosopher at one of the top schools of philosophy doesn't understand philosophy.
LOL.

p.s. If you wear Barbara Branden's shoes you don't become BB, your just a guy wearing old lady shoes.








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