Ben Bayer

Updates to Stanford Encylopedia of Philosophy Entry on Ayn Rand

I was pleased to see the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy feature an updated entry on Ayn Rand earlier this week. The piece is authored by past ARS presenter Neera Badhwar (University of Oklahoma) and Roderick Long (Auburn). The entry was originally published in the summer of 2010, and its first major revision was in the fall of 2012. (You can review earlier versions here.)

I was happy in 2010 to see this entry finally contributed to the SEP. Fair and accurate encyclopedia entries on Rand for philosophers have been few and far between.

New Interviews with Tara Smith on Objective Law

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As many in our audience may already know, frequent ARS presenter Tara Smith (UT Austin) has a new book out, Judicial Review in an Objective Legal System (Cambridge University Press, 2015). The introductory chapter of the Cambridge volume is also available online.

Recently a number of items of interest related to Professor Smith's book have popped up on the Internet. Here is a link to an interview she conducted with the student publication The Undercurrent.

The History of Objectivity in Light of Rand’s Epistemology and Ethics

Over the years I've heard plenty of people wonder why Ayn Rand would have named her philosophy "Objectivism." Rand is best known in ethics for her advocacy of the virtue of selfishness, and many—especially the philosophically trained—have a hard time understanding why anyone would call this an objective approach to morality. The "objective," after all, is associated with the impersonal, whereas the "subjective" is associated with the self.

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Over the break I read a book that will help answer that question.

Three ARS Philosophers in a Panel on Rand

Back in November, ARS members recently spoke at a student conference in Atlanta: Gregory Salmieri (Rutgers/Anthem Foundation), Onkar Ghate (the Ayn Rand Institute), and Jason Hill (DePaul University). Hill will also be presenting a paper at the upcoming ARS meeting at the APA Eastern, where Salmieri will be commenting. A video of the panel is now on YouTube and you can watch it here.

Here you'll see panelists answering questions from students, often regarding the practical dimension of Objectivist ethics, especially as applied to career choice.

A Neo-Aristotelian Against Mainstream Virtue Ethics

Friends of mine who work on Rand's ethics often list Elizabeth Anscombe’s seminal 1958 article, “Modern Moral Philosophy” as a favorite. The paper is noteworthy for its sweeping condemnation of both consequentialist and deontological normative ethical theory and its allegation that both relied on concepts rooted in divine command morality.

Welcome to “Check Your Premises”

Welcome to Check Your Premises, the blog of the Ayn Rand Society. I am Ben Bayer and I’m honored that the ARS board has given me the opportunity to serve as blog editor. “Editor” is a misleading title. I’ll not be actively editing any posts other than my own, but I will manage the blog, solicit posts from ARS members, and review submissions from non-members.

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