Greg Salmieri

New Article on Rand’s view of Self-Interest

Stephen Hicks has a new piece in the Encyclopedia of Concise Concepts by Women Philosophers titled "Self-interest in Ayn Rand." The Encyclopedia, which seems to be in its early days, is part of a project at Paterborn University called History of Women Philosophers and Scientists.

It is nice to see both that Rand is being included in projects on the history of philosophy, and that the editors of this project found someone knowledgeable about Rand to write the piece.

How should philosophy professors approach Ayn Rand?

Skye Cleary (with whom I've had a few brief and pleasant interactions in her capacity as the editor of the APA's blog) recently wrote a piece at Aeon encouraging philosophers who are disturbed by what they take to be the "pernicious" effects of Rand's ideas to "treat the Ayn Rand phenomenon seriously," because "ignoring it won't make it go away."

Vilifying Rand without reading the detail, or demonising her without taking the trouble to refute her, is clearly the wrong approach.

I couldn't agree more.

Report on Author Meets Critics session on Tara Smith’s Judicial Review in an Objective Legal System

Two weeks ago at the American Philosophical Association's Eastern Division Meeting, the Ayn Rand Society held an "Author Meets Critics" session on Tara Smith's 2015 book Judicial Review in an Objective Legal System.

Dr. Smith's critics were Timothy Sandefur (of the Goldwater Institute), Onkar Ghate (of the Ayn Rand Institute), and Mark Graber (of the University of Maryland's School of Law).


Another Critic Who Doesn’t Care What Rand Thought or Why She Thought It, Only That She’s Wrong

One function of this blog is to address comments made by academics and public intellectuals on Rand's philosophy. Several weeks ago, research psychologist Denise Cummins wrote a piece on a PBS blog about what happens when people attempt to put Rand's ideas into practice. Her aim there was not to engage with Rand's ideas per se, but to discuss what happens when certain ideas are put into practice, and then to explain why these ideas lead to these results.

A Mostly Bibliographic Note on the Objectivist View of the Arbitrary

In his recent post on epistemic possibility, Ben Bayer attributed to Rand the view that "it is evidence that gives claims their cognitive content, such that without it, there is no claim to be assessed: such 'arbitrary' claims are neither true nor false." This is an idea that often raises a lot of questions and putative counter-examples, some of which have come up in the comments on Ben's post. If there's interest I may address these questions in a future post, but my aim here is different.

Sunlight filtering through green leaves

This is more of a literary post than a philosophical one, but I think it may interest some readers and it gives me an occasion to explain why we chose the cover image we did for this blog.

The image of sunlight filtering through green leaves figures in a number of significant passages from Rand's novels.

An example of withdrawing the sanction of the victim

I learned of an interesting and inspiring historical episode last week, when reading Brent Staples' New York Times review of Ethan Michaeli's book The Defender (about the Baltimore newspaper of the same name, which was one the most prominent of the black newspapers in the mid-20th Century).

As Staples tells the story, John Sengstacke, who was The Defender's publisher and the president of the Negro Newspaper Publishers Association, had a meeting in 1942 with Francis Biddle, Franklin Roosevelt's Attorney General.

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