Ed Snider died Monday, April 11, 2016, after a long battle with cancer.
Ed first made his mark in the sports business in 1966 when he founded the Philadelphia Flyers. Five years later he bought out the Spectrum arena, and then created Spectacor as a management company to oversee the Flyers and Spectrum. Over the next 20 years, Spectacor grew to be a national force in sports and entertainment. He was elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1988. In 1996, Ed merged Spectacor with Comcast Corporation to form Comcast-Spectacor, which operated sports teams, stadiums, a cable channel, and much more.
At The Atlas Society’s 50th anniversary celebration of Atlas Shrugged in 2007, Ed gave a wonderful talk about his start in business, reading the novel and then meeting Ayn Rand to discuss a project to promote her ideas on campuses. Brief as it was, the talk was elegant, funny, and moving.
Ed was instrumental in starting the Ayn Rand Institute in 1985. After I founded The Atlas Society, he joined our board in 1995 and served until 2009. His impact was enormous; in addition to his major financial support he contributed his business acumen to board decisions.
Ed invested philanthropically in many other causes and organizations in education, health research, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, to name just a few.
Ed had the patrician look and bearing (without the character flaws) of Gail Wynand in The Fountainhead. But he was open and interested in people from all walks of life. On a visit to his office once, we went for lunch to a local diner. On the way out, a Flyers fan approached him to challenge a call in a recent hockey game. Ed must have heard that kind of thing endlessly, but he engaged the man with courtesy and thanked him.
Our world, and the world at large, has lost a truly great man.
David Kelley is the founder of The Atlas Society. A professional philosopher, teacher, and best-selling author, he has been a leading proponent of Objectivism for more than 25 years.
David Kelley founded The Atlas Society in 1990 and served as Executive Director through 2016. In addition, as Chief Intellectual Officer, he was responsible for overseeing the content produced by the organization: articles, videos, talks at conferences, etc.. Retired from TAS in 2018, he remains active in TAS projects and continues to serve on the Board of Trustees.
Kelley is a professional philosopher, teacher, and writer. After earning a Ph.D. in philosophy from Princeton University in 1975, he joined the philosophy department of Vassar College, where he taught a wide variety of courses at all levels. He has also taught philosophy at Brandeis University and lectured frequently on other campuses.
Kelley's philosophical writings include original works in ethics, epistemology, and politics, many of them developing Objectivist ideas in new depth and new directions. He is the author of The Evidence of the Senses, a treatise in epistemology; Truth and Toleration in Objectivism, on issues in the Objectivist movement; Unrugged Individualism: The Selfish Basis of Benevolence; and The Art of Reasoning, a widely used textbook for introductory logic, now in its 5th edition.
Kelley has lectured and published on a wide range of political and cultural topics. His articles on social issues and public policy have appeared in Harpers, The Sciences, Reason, Harvard Business Review, The Freeman, On Principle, and elsewhere. During the 1980s, he wrote frequently for Barrons Financial and Business Magazine on such issues as egalitarianism, immigration, minimum wage laws, and Social Security.
His book A Life of One’s Own: Individual Rights and the Welfare State is a critique of the moral premises of the welfare state and defense of private alternatives that preserve individual autonomy, responsibility, and dignity. His appearance on John Stossel’s ABC/TV special "Greed" in 1998 stirred a national debate on the ethics of capitalism.
An internationally-recognized expert on Objectivism, he has lectured widely on Ayn Rand, her ideas, and her works. He was a consultant to the film adaptation of Atlas Shrugged, and editor of Atlas Shrugged: The Novel, the Films, the Philosophy.
“Concepts and Natures: A Commentary on The Realist Turn (by Douglas B. Rasmussen and Douglas J. Den Uyl),” Reason Papers 42, no. 1, (Summer 2021); This review of a recent book includes a deep dive into the ontology and epistemology of concepts.
The Foundations of Knowledge. Six lectures on the Objectivist epistemology.
“Universals and Induction,” two lectures at GKRH conferences, Dallas and Ann Arbor, March 1989
“Skepticism,” York University, Toronto, 1987
“The Nature of Free Will,” two lectures at The Portland Institute, October 1986
“The Party of Modernity,” Cato Policy Report, May/June 2003;and Navigator, Nov 2003; A widely cited article on the cultural divisions among pre-modern, modern (Enlightenment) and postmodern views.
"I Don't Have To" (IOS Journal, Volume 6, Number 1, April 1996) and “I Can and I Will” (The New Individualist, Fall/Winter 2011); Companion pieces on making real the control we have over our lives as individuals.