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Talk:Ayn Rand

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(Presentation here; facts about her work, regardless of opinion about it.: I'll drink to that (and not a cup of hemlock, either!))
(Sticky business: new section)
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:As a non-philosopher whose only acquaintance with the field is a longtime friendship with [[Daniel C. Dennett|Dan Dennett]], may I say that I agree with everything above.... [[User:Hayford Peirce|Hayford Peirce]] 21:20, 29 November 2008 (UTC)
:As a non-philosopher whose only acquaintance with the field is a longtime friendship with [[Daniel C. Dennett|Dan Dennett]], may I say that I agree with everything above.... [[User:Hayford Peirce|Hayford Peirce]] 21:20, 29 November 2008 (UTC)
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== Sticky business ==
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The stamp material is something I have never encountered. Now, Hayford, are you saying she was first cancelled in New York? [[User:Howard C. Berkowitz|Howard C. Berkowitz]] 21:46, 29 November 2008 (UTC)

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 Definition (1905-82) Russian-born novelist, nowadays credited as the founder of the philosophical movement called Objectivism; wrote Atlas Shrugged, The Fountainhead etc [d] [e]

Awfully critical

[I've read the comments carefully and think there are a lot of points, of relevance here to the wider CZ debates. So I propose to take it up in the CZ Forum. Martin Cohen 18:16, 28 November 2008 (UTC) ]

Might I ask that when you do so, you put a note here recording the section and thread titles in the Forum? (General comment that we often lose continuity between Talk and Forum, and no, I don't have an immediate solution other than manual notation.) Howard C. Berkowitz 18:43, 28 November 2008 (UTC)
If I knew how! But will have a go now... Martin Cohen 20:32, 28 November 2008 (UTC)
Well, that shouldn't be difficult. Here's the link for anyone interested to go to the ongoing discussion about this in the Forum: [1]Hayford Peirce 20:37, 28 November 2008 (UTC)

This article is remarkably hostile to Ayn Rand. It should be neutral, of course, and in that spirit should balance the current criticism with actual details about Rand's views and other works. One claim is, "She is described by her admirers as ‘a philosopher’ but this is not a term accepted by many in the philosophical community." This seems a little slanted. It is certainly true that most philosophers who are familiar with her writings don't think much of her as a philosopher, but I don't recall it often being denied that she is a philosopher. I doubt most philosophers care about that particular question--I don't. I'd say she wasn't a professional philosopher, and that she was an amateur philosopher, and that she was much overrated by herself and her followers. Does this mean she wasn't a philosopher? It makes about as much sense to deny that as to deny that black velvet Elvis paintings are art. Jimmy Wales and I used to debate about the merits of her work.  :-) --Larry Sanger 02:25, 28 November 2008 (UTC)

Okie, I have absolutely *no* dogs in this hunt, or fight (except I now wonder how I could have read her interminable books 50 years ago and found them entertaining) -- if no one else steps up, I will neutralize these assertions in the next day or so. I already did a *little* bit in that direction.... Hayford Peirce 03:13, 28 November 2008 (UTC)
Well, it hasn't been quite 50 years, but I did go through a certain fascination at 18 or so, until I realized I'd never get a date with Dominique or Dagny. On the other hand, I met my first wife at a political event, where I was the only person who had heard of Objectivism, so she did get a date with Howard. Actually, she's a sort of second-generation Topic Informant, as she did date one of Rand's disciples. Calling himself the dictator of a libertarian commune (!), he did have a black jumpsuit with a gold dollar sign on the chest, with a gold cape for formal occasions. Let's put it this way; I've known enough people that were on her fringes (ummmm...maybe that isn't the word) that I injured my rib cage laughing at Jerry Tucille's book, It Usually Begins with Ayn Rand. Howard C. Berkowitz 03:45, 28 November 2008 (UTC)
"...the dictator of a libertarian commune..." -- my head just exploded. --Larry Sanger 03:49, 28 November 2008 (UTC)
Merde! Larry just wiped out my reply. What did I say??? Well, OK, the thing that baffled me the most as I read the John Galt book as a freshman at Stanford in the fall of 1959 (only 49 years ago), was that people were always "kissing each other on the mouth". Yes, yes, even as a 17-year-old I knew that alternatives existed but it seemed to me then, and still does, as being extremly clumsy writing. Once yes, in an 800-page book, just a slip of the typewriter -- but *50* times?! Hayford Peirce 03:57, 28 November 2008 (UTC)
Larry's reaction 'twas to be expected; it was my response at the time. Yes, the article is a bit harsh. Going into the history, I wasn't aware there were Certified Philosophers (as distinct from academics with qualifications in philosophy).
This is bringing back so many memories; I'm giggling, which is getting me strange looks from several cats and dogs. Cats tend to be Objectivists. The American Psychiatric Association may not recognize Post-Rand Stress Disorders, but there are these sudden flashbacks — when the Unabomber's manifesto came out, I must have gotten a dozen calls asking if he was John Galt, or if he merely had Ayn Rand's editor.
Should the Language Variant be Russian English? Howard C. Berkowitz 04:03, 28 November 2008 (UTC)
Well, I'll answer that when *you* answer "Who is John Galt?" Hayford Peirce 16:07, 28 November 2008 (UTC)
Back in my more political days, there was one in the Alexandria, Virginia telephone directory. Never called him to ask. Howard C. Berkowitz 20:45, 28 November 2008 (UTC)

Re. this, and the discussion in the forum - why not 'neutralise' some of the phrases - qualify assertions that may be too dogmatic.

As to the whole article, well, let me defend my version! I have put together a short summary suitable for a CZ article of Rand's early life, her main works, and so on. I have tried to include the crticisms made, evidently they came across a bit abruptly! (And it may reflect the reality that I share the critics perspective, not the afficianados...) Summarising like this is quite time-consuming - Pascal said it well when he apologised for the lenght of his letter, saying that he would have written a short one but he was in a hurry - and it is all too easy to read summaries and say 'I would have put it differently'... As a starting point, the article is not as bad as you're all making it sound - is it?

I agree--qualifying and toning down is always a good place to start, and it might turn out to be enough. --Larry Sanger 02:00, 29 November 2008 (UTC)

Toned down ' abit' and New Version up now - better I think. Mind you, I'm a little bit worried in case it begins to PROMOTE 'objectivism! Martin Cohen 21:00, 29 November 2008 (UTC)

Presentation here; facts about her work, regardless of opinion about it.

First, I really have trouble with the discussion which I removed,

She is described by her admirers as a 'philosopher’ but this is not a term accepted by many in the philosophical community. Although her works certainly advance a ‘philosophy’ of life, there is little resembling a rigorous argument...

I'm sorry, but I don't know how to get to the philosophical community. Is it, perhaps, gated, and accessible only by private road or the Phoenix-Durango railroad? May I gently suggest that the term is a bit pretentious for an encyclopedia lead?

Second, whether one agrees with her writings and presentations or not, she certainly did not only express philosophical ideas in novels and speeches. Rand wrote nonfiction books and articles in which she specifically discussed philosophical concepts, comparing and contrasting with Aristotle and other self-described philosophers without academic credentials. There were lecture series, the Nathaniel Branden Institute, and she published periodicals in the sixties. I added some quick citations.

Can we tone down a bit more, please? Howard C. Berkowitz 21:12, 29 November 2008 (UTC)

As a non-philosopher whose only acquaintance with the field is a longtime friendship with Dan Dennett, may I say that I agree with everything above.... Hayford Peirce 21:20, 29 November 2008 (UTC)

Sticky business

The stamp material is something I have never encountered. Now, Hayford, are you saying she was first cancelled in New York? Howard C. Berkowitz 21:46, 29 November 2008 (UTC)

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