2000


TABLE OF CONTENTS

Volume 2, No. 1 - Fall 2000 Issue #3

CRITICAL NEGLECT OF AYN RAND'S THEORY OF ART, pp. 1-46

MICHELLE MARDER KAMHI and LOUIS TORRES

The Authors analyze the scant critical and scholarly attention that has been devoted to Rand's aesthetic theory by other writers since its publication more than a quarter-century ago. They argue that, with few exceptions, Objectivists and non-Objectivists alike have tended to misinterpret and undervalue Rand's philosophy of art which (owing in part to Rand's own emphasis) has not been sufficiently distinguished from her theory of Romantic literature. They also point to infelicities of style that have impeded serious consideration of her ideas.

STRANGE BEDFELLOWS: AYN RAND AND VLADIMIR NABOKOV, pp. 47-67

D. BARTON JOHNSON

Johnson traces the parallel lives and literary origins of two Russo-American writers: Ayn Rand and Vladimir Nabokov. Born in Saint Peterburg six years apart, they overlapped on the New York Times bestsellers list in the late fifties. While Nabokov's Russian cultural roots have been much explored, Rand's were little realized prior to Chris Matthew Sciabarra's investigation of her Russian philosophical context. Nabokov and Rand represent polar examples of their cultural heritage: for Nabokov, the aesthetically-oriented tradition of the modernist Russian Symbolists; for Rand, the social-utilitarian tradition of Nikolai Chernyshevsky, and later, Maxim Gorky, founder of Socialist Realism..

AYN RAND AND THE METAPHYSICS OF KANT, pp. 69-103

GEORGE V. WALSH

Walsh examines the differences and similarities between Immanuel Kant and Ayn Rand in the area of metaphysics. He presents Kant's premises and conclusions on the major issues and provides a detailed discussion of Rand's criticisms of Kant. Walsh argues that Rand has seriously misread Kant on several points. Her interpretation that Kant saw our sensory grasp of the world as "delusion," rather than knowledge, resembles that of Arthur Schopenhauer, except that the latter declares Kant's doctrine worthy of praise instead of condemnation.

REVIEWS


FLOURISHING OBJECTIVISM, pp. 105-15

LESTER HUNT

Hunt reviews Tara Smith's Viable Values: A Study of the Root and Reward of Morality. He finds it an excellent contribution to the ongoing discussion of Objectivist ethics. Especially noteworthy, he says, are Smith's treatment of the concept of intrinsic value, her use of the concept of flourishing, and her treatment of the relations between the interests of different people. Though the book provides no sustained discussion of casuistical applications, epistemological assumptions, or potentially interesting side-issues, it raises many provocative questions that will fuel further debate.

THE GREAT AMERICAN NOVEL, pp. 117-30

MIMI REISEL GLADSTEIN

The author views Douglas Den Uyl's The Fountainhead: An American Novel as a further sign of the growing scholarly interest in Ayn Rand's works. The volume, featured in the Twayne Masterwork Studies series, develops the thesis that the novel is quintessentially American, by virtue of its core individualist values. Gladstein argues that Den Uyl could have profited from engagement with more literary critiques of the novel, especially recent feminist perspectives, but she finds his reading a convincing one.

A PRIMER ON AYN RAND, pp. 131-35

AEON J. SKOBLE

Skoble argues that Allan Gotthelf's new primer, On Ayn Rand, is a helpful survey of Rand's thought. Though it explains her theories systematically and offers a thorough treatment of her metaphysics, epistemology, and ethics, however, it provides hardly any discussion of her political philosophy or aesthetics. It is also regrettable that the bibliography lacks references to the secondary literature, which, in a primer such as this, would have been very useful.

DISCUSSION

REPLY TO SECHREST: ON THE ORIGINS OF GOVERNMENT, pp. 137-39

MARSHA F. ENRIGHT

Enright responds to Larry Sechrest's article "Rand, Anarchy, and Taxes" (Journal of Ayn Rand Studies, Fall 1999). She examines the social forces that logically lead to the development of government, and the reasons for geographical demarcations of governments.

REPLY TO SECHREST: PRIVATE CONTRACT, MARKET NEUTRALITY, AND "THE MORALITY OF TAXATION", pp. 141-59

MURRAY I. FRANCK

Franck responds to Larry Sechrest's article "Rand, Anarchy, and Taxes" (Journal of Ayn Rand Studies, Fall 1999). Franck further develops his thesis that because minarchist government is essential to civil life including the market economy and because government requires material support to operate, taxation is moral. Against anarchist objections, Franck notes that taxation for legitimate purposes, though coercive, does not constitute the initiation of force.

REPLY TO SECHREST: A MINOR FLAW, pp. 161-62

DANIEL UST

Ust argues that Larry Sechrest's valuable contribution ("Rand, Anarchy, and Taxes," Journal of Ayn Rand Studies, Fall 1999) to the debate on anarchism uses certain "unobservables" to bolster the case against taxation in an uneven and contradictory manner.

REJOINDER TO ENRIGHT, FRANCK, THOMAS, AND UST: TAXATION AND GOVERNMENT ARE STILL PROBLEMATIC, pp. 163-87

LARRY J. SECHREST

Sechrest replies to critics of his Fall 1999 Journal of Ayn Rand Studies article, "Rand, Anarchy, and Taxes." Sechrest argues that none of the critics provides an effective counterargument to his claim that all known taxing schemes redistribute income and wealth. Sechrest reviews some recent research, which strongly suggests that complex legal systems can exist and have existed without the benefit of being either established or enforced by government. He concludes that, insofar as the anarchy versus minarchy debate is concerned, the preponderance of evidence is on the side of anarchy.

REPLY TO CAMPBELL: WHERE WERE THE COUNTING CROWS?, pp. 189-95

RICHARD SHEDENHELM

Shedenhelm responds to Robert Campbell's essay, "Ayn Rand and the Cognitive Revolution in Psychology" (Journal of Ayn Rand Studies, Fall 1999). He identifies the most likely source of the crow-counting experiment cited at the beginning of chapter seven of Ayn Rand's Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology. He finds that the crow study was not at all an experiment, but instead an anecdotal account dating from the eighteenth-century French writer of animal behavior, Charles-Georges Leroy.

REPLY TO BISSELL, CAMPBELL, AND JOHNSON: THE STRANGE ATTRACTOR IN RANDIAN AESTHETICS, pp. 197-209

BARRY VACKER

Vacker views The Fountainhead as unique in utopian literature, since it rejects the traditional vision of total planning for total order, in favor of a utopian vision expressed through the aesthetics of egoism and chaos. In particular, Howard Roark's buildings embrace the fractal forms being uncovered in the post-Newtonian sciences of chaos and complexity. As such, this suggests that the insights of chaos theory be integrated with Rand's theory of art and epistemology. Vacker argues that chaotic forms and processes should be placed at the center of a utopian cultural aesthetic that embraces strange attractors.

REJOINDER TO SHEDENHELM, THOMAS, AND VACKER: IMPLIED EPISTEMOLOGY, EPISTEMOLOGY OF THE IMPLICIT, pp. 211-19

ROBERT L. CAMPBELL

Campbell replies to commentary on his article, "Ayn Rand and the Cognitive Revolution in Psychology" (Journal of Ayn Rand Studies, Fall 1999). He comments briefly on Richard Shedenhelm's historical analysis of the "counting crows" experiment. He agrees with Barry Vacker's view that nonlinear dynamics are required in any analysis of skill and implicit knowledge, but contends that Rand's explicit epistemological formulations exclude these dynamics and prevent her from offering an adequate treatment of the implicit. Campbell also responds to Will Thomas's comments made in the journal, Navigator. He finds that Thomas has accepted the critical role that psychology must play in an epistemological theory of concepts.

REJOINDER TO VACKER: ROCKIN' WITH RAND: SAILING THE TURBULENT SEAS OF THE OBJECTIVIST AESTHETICS, pp. 221-27

ROGER E. BISSELL

Bissell challenges Barry Vacker's claim that "aesthetics is at the core of Randian theory," even as he endorses Vacker's comments on the fractal aesthetics of Rand's Fountainhead. Bissell observes that "the actual fountainhead" of Rand's aesthetics is a certain metaphysical value-judgment, which he terms the Turbulent Universe, Pro-Effort Premise. He acknowledges Vacker's valuable insights about the demanding nature of the dynamic, chaotic processes in the world around us and explains how it is just another aspect of what Rand regards as the (conditional) "benevolence" of the universe.

REJOINDER TO THOMAS AND VACKER: AYN RAND AND THE MASTERY OF NATURE, pp. 229-40

GREGORY R. JOHNSON

Johnson argues, contra Barry Vacker, that reductionist thinking and nonlinear aesthetics are not mutually exclusive, and that the passages in The Fountainhead cited by Vacker actually support the mastery of nature thesis. Johnson also addresses some miscellaneous criticisms offered by William Thomas, who wrote a review of Johnson's "Liberty and Nature" (Journal of Ayn Rand Studies, Fall 1999) that appeared in Navigator.

Volume 1, No. 2 - Spring 2000 Issue #2

THE ROLE OF TRAGEDY IN AYN RAND'S FICTION, pp. 171-209

KIRSTI MINSAAS

Minsaas examines the role of tragedy in Rand's fiction. Rand tended to dismiss tragedy, finding it incompatible with her doctrine that art should serve as a kind of inspirational fuel. But her own fiction often makes use of tragedy in ways that transcend her theory and that reveal its inadequacy as a basis for interpreting her works. A satisfactory comprehension of the meaning and function of the tragic occurrences in Rand's works, Minsaas argues, requires engagement with such conceptual frameworks as Aristotle's catharsis theory, Nietzsche's attack on pity, the Prometheus myth, and the Stoic idea of heroic calm.

THE UNIVERSALITY AND EMPLOYMENT OF CONCEPTS, pp. 211-44

BRYAN REGISTER

Register explores Rand's theory of concept-formation and concept-employment. Rand proposes a sophisticated nominalist theory of universals, which accounts both for the objectivity of categories of things and for the universality and abstractness of certain mental states. However, Rand's theory is found wanting: through an erroneous and confused treatment of the relation between words and concepts, it fails to account for non-linguistic conceptual activity. A revision of Rand's theory, drawing from Price and from Rand's notion of concepts of method, seeks to fill the gap.

RAND ON ABORTION: A CRITIQUE, pp. 245-61

GREGORY R. JOHNSON and DAVID RASMUSSEN

The authors argue that Rand's defense of abortion on demand is inconsistent with her own fundamental metaphysical, epistemological, and moral principles, namely that everything that exists has a determinate identity, that the concept of man refers to all of man's characteristics, not just his essential characteristics, and that there is no gap between what an organism truly is and what it ought to be.

REVIEWS

AYN RAND: A FEMINIST DESPITE HERSELF?, pp. 263-81

LISA M. DOLLING

Dolling reviews Feminist Interpretations of Ayn Rand, edited by Mimi Reisel Gladstein and Chris Matthew Sciabarra. The anthology attempts to re-read Rand's work in light of important feminist issues and to locate it in the context of debates current in feminist discourse. Dolling argues that the book--which contains nineteen articles by philosophers, psychologists, literary theorists, and numerous others--is an important step toward bringing fresh attention to Rand's thought and toward the canon-transformation called for by contemporary scholars.

EGOISM AND BENEVOLENCE, pp. 283-91

TIBOR R. MACHAN

Machan argues that David Kelley's Unrugged Individualism: The Selfish Basis of Benevolence, which makes the case for including the benevolent virtues as a prominent feature of the Objectivist ethics, is too brief but filled with poignant observations and some valuable analysis. Machan discusses altruism, in response to much criticism of Rand's rendition of the position, and defends ethical egoism against widespread misrepresentations.

A VETERAN RECONNOITERS AYN RAND'S PHILOSOPHY, pp. 293-312

ROBERT L. CAMPBELL

Campbell finds Tibor Machan's book, Ayn Rand, to be a thoroughgoing introduction to every part of Rand's system except the esthetics. Machan's presentation is knowledgeable and sympathetic but entirely non-sectarian; it offers several significant criticisms of Rand's views. Campbell focuses on Machan's discussion of Rand's philosophical axioms, her ethics, and her antipathy to Immanuel Kant. Certain questions that Machan asks prompt Campbell to inquire whether Rand's avoidance of cosmology in metaphysics is an example to be followed in epistemology (where it would imply an avoidance of psychological questions about the nature, evolution, and development of the human mind).

THE ART OF FICTION, pp. 313-31

STEPHEN COX

Cox examines The Art of Fiction, a book of newly published selections from Ayn Rand's lectures on fiction-writing that extend and complicate our knowledge of her literary ideas. Her discussion of the fiction-writer's craft provides interesting and sometimes provocative views on general problems of literary form and method.

A GUIDE TO RAND SCHOLARSHIP - I, pp. 333-44

MATTHEW STOLOFF

Stoloff provides a brief review of Mimi Reisel Gladstein's New Ayn Rand Companion, Revised and Expanded Edition, and inaugurates an ongoing reference guide to scholarship on Ayn Rand and Objectivism.



2000


CONTRIBUTOR BIOGRAPHIES

Volume 2, No. 1 - Fall 2000 Issue #3

ROGER E. BISSELL

Is a professional musician and graduate student in psychology at California Coast University. He is also a writer on psychology and philosophy. His work has appeared in a number of publications, including Reason Papers, Objectivity, Journal of Consciousness Studies, Vera Lex, and ART Ideas.

ROBERT L. CAMPBELL

Professor, Department of Psychology, Brackett Hall 410A, Clemson University, Clemson, South Carolina 29634-1355, is a theoretical psychologist. He edited and translated Jean Piaget's Studies in Reflecting Abstraction (Psychology Press, due December 2000) and co-authored The Earthly Recordings of Sun Ra (Cadence Jazz Books, 2000).

MARSHA F. ENRIGHT

M.A. psychology from The New School for Social Research, is a writer, psychotherapist and educator. Among her many educational and social projects and organizations: The New Intellectual Forum (founded by her in 1987), Council Oak Montessori Elementary School (founded by her in 1990), Camp Indecon, and her newly formed Fountainhead Institute. She has written about many psychological topics and lectured frequently at The Objectivist Center's Summer Seminar and elsewhere. Her interests are wide-ranging but always take a psychological bent.

MURRAY I. FRANCK, Esq.

Assistant Professor of Law, Zicklin School of Business, Baruch College, City University of New York (C.U.N.Y.), 17 Lexington Avenue, New York, New York 10010, teaches at the undergraduate and graduate levels. He is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Queens College, C.U.N.Y., and holds both J.D. and LL.M. degrees from the New York University School of Law. In addition to other publications in law, economics, and ethics, he is writing a book, provisionally entitled "Moral Elegance: The Ethics of Non-Contradiction."

MIMI REISEL GLADSTEIN

Professor of English and Theatre Arts, University of Texas at El Paso, El Paso, Texas 79968-0526, currently serves as Associate Dean of Liberal Arts at her college. She is the author of The New Ayn Rand Companion> (Greenwood Press, 1999), Atlas Shrugged: Manifesto of the Mind (Twayne, 2000), and co-editor of Feminist Interpretations of Ayn Rand. Author of The Indestructible Woman in Faulkner, Hemingway, and Steinbeck, Gladstein has won international recognition for her work on John Steinbeck, including the Burkhardt Award for Outstanding Contributions to Steinbeck Studies in 1996.

LESTER H. HUNT

Professor of Philosophy at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, 600 North Park Street, Madison, Wisconsin 53706; is the author of Nietzsche and the Origin of Virtue (Routledge) and Character and Culture (Rowman and Littlefield).

D. BARTON JOHNSON

Professor Emeritus, Department of Germanic and Russian Studies, Phelps Hall, University of California, Santa Barbara, California 93106, specializes in contemporary Russian and American literature and has published extensively on Russian emigre writers such as Vladimir Nabokov, Sasha Sokolov, and Vasily Aksyonov. A two-time president of the International Vladimir Nabokov Society, he is founding editor of the journal Nabokov Studies and of the electronic discussion forum Nabokv-L.

GREGORY R. JOHNSON

is a philosopher in private practice in Atlanta. In addition to consulting with individuals and institutions, he runs The Invisible College, a private educational organization offering classes on topics in philosophy, psychology, and literature.

MICHELLE MARDER KAMHI

is an independent scholar and critic. She co-edits Aristos (an arts journal informed by Ayn Rand's philosophy of art), and is co-author of What Art Is: The Esthetic Theory of Ayn Rand, published by Open Court earlier this year. A graduate of Barnard College, she earned an M.A. in Art History at Hunter College, State University of New York (S.U.N.Y.). Prior to her association with Aristos, she worked as an editor and freelance writer, and conceived, produced, and directed Books Our Children Read, a documentary educational film on literature in the school curriculum..

LARRY J. SECHREST

Associate Professor of Economics and Director of the Free Enterprise Institute, Sul Ross State University, Alpine, Texas 79832,is the author of Free Banking: Theory, History, and a Laissez-Faire Model (Quorum Books). His research interests include free banking, business cycles, the history of economic thought, economic history, and the philosophical foundations of economics.

RICHARD SHEDENHELM

Head of the Serials Technical Processing Section, University of Georgia Libraries, Athens, Georgia 30602-1642, is a graduate student in philosophy at the University of Georgia. He is the author of Critics of Environmentalism: A Comprehensive Bibliography Covering Philosophy, Economics, and Science and "Are We Burying Ourselves in Garbage?" (The Freeman, April 1995). He is the publisher of Summa Philosophiae, a monthly philosophical newsletter. He is currently completing his Master's thesis on certain aspects of C. S. Peirce's graphical logic.

AEON J. SKOBLE

Visiting Assistant Professor of Philosophy, Department of English and Philosophy, United States Military Academy, West Point, New York 10996, is editor of the annual journal Reason Papers, and co-editor of the anthology, Political Philosophy: Essential Selections (Prentice- Hall 1999). He has also published in The Review of Metaphysics, Modern Schoolman and Ideas on Liberty. His main areas of scholarship are ethics, political philosophy, and logic. The ideas expressed here are his own.

LOUIS TORRES

Is an independent scholar and critic. He co-edits Aristos (an arts journal informed by Ayn Rand's philosophy of art), which he founded in 1982, and is co-author of What Art Is: The Esthetic Theory of Ayn Rand, published by Open Court this year. A graduate of Rutgers University, where he majored in Psychology, he earned an M.A. at Teachers College, Columbia University. Prior to founding Aristos, he taught English and arts appreciation in public and private high schools. He is a specialist in the fiction of Jack Schaefer, author of Shane.

DANIEL UST

Writes on various topics. His essays have appeared in The Free Radical, Full Context, Objectivity, Summa Philosophiae, and elsewhere.

BARRY VACKER

Assistant Professor, Meadows School of the Arts, Southern Methodist University, Dallas, Texas 75275, earned a doctorate from the University of Texas at Austin, where his studies and dissertation covered philosophy, aesthetics, law, and media. He has authored articles and book chapters on aesthetics, culture, and technology. His forthcoming book, entitled Chaos at The Edge of Utopia, offers a radical new interpretation of utopia based on aesthetics and chaos.

GEORGE V. WALSH

Professor Emeritus, Department of Philosophy, Salisbury State University, Salisbury, Maryland 21801, has taught philosophy and the history of religion at Hobart and William Smith Colleges and Eisenhower College. Having earned his Ph.D. from Princeton University, he is the co-translator (with Frederick Lehnert) of Alfred Schatz's Phenomenology of the Social World (Northwestern, 1967). A co-founder of the Ayn Rand Society (Eastern Division, American Philosophical Association) and a charter member of the Institute for Objectivist Studies (now The Objectivist Center), he is the author of such serialized essays as "Herbert Marcuse: Philosopher of the New Left," (published in 1970 in Rand's Objectivist journal) and the book, The Role of Religion in History (Transaction, 1998). [Ed: Professor Walsh passed away in January 2002; the Spring 2002 issue of The Journal of Ayn Rand Studies was dedicated to his memory, and to the memory of Don Lavoie, Robert Nozick, and Jack Schwartzman.]

Volume 1, No. 2 - Spring 2000 Issue #2

ROBERT L. CAMPBELL

Professor, Department of Psychology, Clemson University, Brackett Hall 410A, Clemson, South Carolina 29634-1511, first read Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology in 1973, while studying developmental and cognitive psychology as an undergraduate. He is the co-author (with Mark Bickhard) of Knowing Levels and Developmental Stages (S. Karger).

STEPHEN COX

Professor of Literature and Director of the Humanities Program at the University of California, San Diego, 9500 Gilman Drive, La Jolla, California 92093-0306, is the author of The Stranger Within Thee (University of Pittsburgh Press), Love and Logic: The Evolution of Blake's Thought (University of Michigan Press), The Titanic Story (Open Court), and the biographical introduction to Isabel Paterson's The God of the Machine (Transaction).

LISA M. DOLLING

Assistant Professor of Philosophy, St. John's University, Jamaica, New York 11439, specializes in hermeneutics and the philosophy of science. She is co-editor (with Arthur Gianelli) of the forthcoming Tests of Time: Readings in the Development of Scientific Theory, and is currently at work on a reader of twentieth century women philosophers. She has written on Edith Stein, Simone Weil, and on the philosophy of physicist Neils Bohr.

GREGORY R. JOHNSON

is a philosopher in private practice in Atlanta. In addition to consulting with individuals and institutions, he runs The Invisible College, a private educational organization offering classes on topics in philosophy, psychology, and literature.

TIBOR R. MACHAN

Distinguished Fellow and Freedom Communications Professor of Business Ethics and Free Enterprise at the Leatherby Center of Chapman University, Argyros School of Business and Economics, Orange, California 92866, is also Professor Emeritus at Auburn University's Department of Philosophy and Research Fellow at the Hoover Institution (Stanford, California). He has written, among other works, Ayn Rand (Peter Lang, 1999), Generosity: Virtue in the Civil Society (Cato Institute, 1998), and Classical Individualism: The Supreme Importance of Each Human Being (Routledge, 1998).

KIRSTI MINSAAS

University of Oslo, Department of British and American Studies, P. O. Box 1003 Blindern, 0315 Oslo, Norway, is a research fellow in English literature at the University of Oslo, Norway. Receiving her doctorate in 1998, her dissertation topic was on the role of Aristotelian catharsis in Shakespearean tragedy, and she is currently working on a project on the "exemplary hero" in English literature from 1590 to 1820. She has also lectured extensively on Ayn Rand's fiction, both in Europe and in the United States. For an interview with Minsaas, click here.

DAVID RASMUSSEN

Is an independent scholar living in Carson City Nevada. He earned his M.S. in Computer Science from North Carolina State University.

BRYAN REGISTER

Department of Philosophy at the University of Texas at Austin, Austin, Texas 78712-1180, is a graduate student in the Special Program in Continental Philosophy of UT-Austin, and has studied Rand's theory of concepts under David Kelley during an internship at the Institute for Objectivist Studies (now The Objectivist Center). He has written for Liberty, Navigator, Free Inquiry, and The Free Radical. His thesis, The Logic and Validity of Emotional Appeal in Classical Greek Rhetorical Theory, as well as other preliminary work on the emotions, language, and other topics.

MATTHEW STOLOFF

holds a B.A. in philosophy from the University of Cincinnati and a Masters in Labor Relations and Human Resources from the School of Labor and Industrial Relations at Michigan State University. His current research interests include labor law, corporate campaigns, and corporate crimes.