Notes on Academic Cordiality

My post in response to Denise Cummins’ critique of Rand at PBS appears to have put our new blog on many people’s radar screen. In the first few days after the post we experienced something like a 30-fold increase in the level of traffic to the site.

The increase in attention to the site has also brought a flood of comments. I’d like to take a moment to explain to commenters how we will handle comments in the future, because this blog is unique compared to other online forums where Rand’s ideas are discussed.

In response to some commenters on my post, I’ve copied variations of the following reply. In the future I will simply link to a page reproducing these guidelines.

The purpose of this blog has implications for how we intend to conduct our discourse. The Ayn Rand Society is attempting to facilitate increased and improved interaction between philosophers interested in Ayn Rand and the broader academic philosophical community. This community includes many who disagree strongly with Rand, but who may nonetheless come to recognize the significance of some of her ideas and the need to treat her with the respect that they accord to others with whom they disagree.

As such, our protocol is to conduct ourselves with cordiality that is appropriate to an academic function, and we ask commenters to maintain this same standard. This requires refraining from attacks on the intelligence or character of writers with whom we disagree. Not all disagreements are a result of immorality or stupidity on either side. This is particularly true of disagreements over a writer like Rand, who is unique and radical in both her substance and her style. It is not to be expected that even intelligent and honest people from different intellectual backgrounds will immediately recognize the value of her works.

Of course, sometimes people are dishonest, and sometimes moral censure is called for. There are forums for articles and posts where such judgments are best expressed. But there are other forums in which this is inappropriate, and this blog is among them.

For the reasons mentioned above, any comments posted to Check Your Premises that are judged to be uncivil or otherwise unbefitting of standard academic discourse will either be deleted or at minimum publicly flagged with attention directed to this statement.

Scroll to Top