Rebirth of Reason

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Monday, May 19, 2014 - 7:09pmSanction this postReply

The best part of this article is the almost explicit admission that there can be "corrections and additions" to Ayn Rand's version of the philosophy of Objectivism, and that this new, emended, and expanded thought-system can still accurately be called Objectivism. I agree with this. If a given philosophy isn't continuously self-correcting, changing, growing, and refining itself then it's dying.

I think any given philosophy is a coherent and integrated series of beliefs and claims which agrees with itself. Thus, Objectivism isn't any more "open" or "closed" than Aristotelianism, Kantianism, utilitarianism, pragmatism, socialism, fascism, Christianity, or Islam. Rather, Objectivism is a group of ideas and theories which naturally and logically flow from one to the other. The various claims are related, derivative, parallel, applied, consequent, antecedent, etc. But all have to fit in smoothly.

Thus it's very possible for intelligent, educated, insightful, ingenious thinkers to add or subtract from standard accepted theory -- and then form a new and hopefully even more coherent and integrated theory. I think Objectivism, like all philosophies, has a life of its own. It stands apart from its creator, and enjoys an independent existence separate from Ayn Rand and her writings.

Thus even if Ayn Rand claims that a certain tenet is part of Objectivism it may not be. Maybe she was wrong. And even if she doesn't discuss some issue, or rejects some claim explicitly and emphatically, this new idea may well be 100% Objectivist anyway.   

Eventually many different schools of Objectivist thought will emerge. Neo-Objectivists and Semi-Objectivists will so identify themselves. Then there will be many great debates. This is as it should be. It will be very healthy, and will strengthen the Objectivist movement, and all of philosophical thought.

The main weakness of the Objectivist movement today is the continued -- if ever-diminishing -- presence of cultism and religiosity. This embarrassing monstrosity needs to be explicitly identified, openly condemned, and mercilessly crushed. But few Objectivist intellectuals nowadays have the necessary honesty, courage, integrity, and character to do so. It takes a certain philosophical power, spiritual indomitability, and personal greatness -- which today is strangely and sadly rare.

Ayn Rand was neither intellectually nor morally perfect. She herself created Randroidism. This needs, at long last, to be admitted. And the Ayn Rand Institute and Leonard Peikoff are the centers of this stunning evil, which badly hurts the entirety of mankind. If the Objectivist movement wishes to ascend rapidly, this too needs to be explicitly and openly acknowledged.


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Tuesday, May 20, 2014 - 7:52pmSanction this postReply

I agree in full, both with the excellent article by Robert Tracinski and the comment here by Kyrel Zantonavitch. In order for a philosophical system to continue to have relevance and life, it needs to continue to be developed and refined through the contributions of intelligent, insightful thinkers who are not the originator of the philosophical system, and as many such thinkers as could be found. Otherwise, the system becomes just a memorialization of the thinking of one person – who, as brilliant as she was, could not possibly have been either perfect/infallible or exhaustive in addressing every implication and application of the principles she put forth.



G. Stolyarov II

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