|Phil, please do post your training proposal for discussion here on SOLO. And if you start a new thread for it, please put a little notice/link here, in case some of us miss it otherwise. And thanks for your continued interest in this area and your generosity in sharing your extended thoughts with us.|
Robert Campbell wrote:
(1) What should advanced training in Objectivism consist of? Should the focus be solely on work approved for publication by Ayn Rand during her lifetime? (On a closed-system definition, those are the only Objectivist texts.) Or is it necessary to cast the net more broadly? If so, how much more broadly? Should the work of non-Objectivist philosophers that shows significant affinities with Objectivism be included? Should the work of influential philosophers strongly opposed to either the methods or the conclusions of Objectivism be included?My replies (omitting #4 and #5):
(2) What is an appropriate model for such training? For example, should it resemble graduate education in philosophy?
(3) Objectivism is a philosophy--not a biological theory, or a psychological theory, or a conception of applied politics, or whatever. Does it follow that advanced Objectivist training should be given only to those who want to become professional philosophers? Should advanced Objectivist training ever focus on any discipline outside of philosophy?
1. I think that methodology is of utmost importance. Advanced training should include critical thinking as well as both deductive and inductive logic, focusing primarily on Peikoff's lecture courses, but also including outside readings from the best Aristotelian logicians, especially, in my opinion, Henry B. Veatch. He has covered a lot of ground not well trod yet by Objectivist philosophers, and his treatment of those topics is rigorous enough and close enough to Objectivist thinking to be helpful and "safe." Another part of methodology I think should be included in advanced training is the whole area of methodological orientations, but especially systematic context-keeping, as exemplified by Chris Sciabarra's brand of dialectics (see his Total Freedom)...This may seem a bit odd, but I also think that economics or politico-economics should be a part of advanced training. The texts should include Reisman's book on capitalism and von Mises' Human Action. (Perhaps also Bernstein's new book.) I also think that philosophy of science should be included, both the life sciences and the physical sciences. There are several texts by Objectivists on the former, and Peikoff's lecture course on induction in physics and philosophy would suffice for the latter until his book with Harriman is available...As for philosophers at odds with Objectivism, I think that in-depth study of Plato and Kant (and their principal offshoots) should be required -- but of Aquinas and Aristotle, as well.
2. I think that a graduate training school would be the most effective setting for building a community of Objectivist scholars. However, the syllabi and course materials should be made available for independent Objectivist scholars as well.
3. Even though psychology, biology, economics, etc. are not part of Objectivism, it has long been obvious that Objectivism's methodology is especially important in helping professionals in these areas to ground their views. As noted above in my reply to #1, I think that economics and physics (and perhaps other areas) would be good non-philosophical areas for advanced training to focus on. The rigorous study of these areas, with the training wheels of Objectivist methodology, would be the kind of practice-in-application that would well prepare Objectivist intellectuals to import rational individualism to their fields of expertise.
This is a vital topic for further exploration. Thanks, Bob, for drawing our attention to it, and thanks, Phil, for your valuable insights. (More, please. :-)