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Philosophy Scholarship and Rand

Philosophy Scholarship and Rand

2 Mins
September 28, 2010

Question: I find the comment "Scholars are exploring the trails she blazed in philosophy" patently absurd, since the entry in the Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy—the 'Bible' of philosophy— states the following:

"Rand’s political theory is of little interest. Its unremitting hostility towards the state and taxation sits inconsistently with a rejection of anarchism, and her attempts to resolve the difficulty are ill-thought out and unsystematic."

Are any of you people actual philosophers; people who understand how to reason effectively?

Answer: Ayn Rand is not a revered figure in academic philosophy at this time. But there is a growing body of scholarship on her ideas by academic and academically trained philosophers who have been inspired by her views. In which sense these scholars might be "us people" varies: Some are self-described Objectivists, some have been published by or have spoken at The Atlas Society; I'm not sure which of those sets would be "us people."

To get a taste of the scholarly work on Ayn Rand and Objectivism , I suggest looking at sources like these:

—See our "Scholarship" page to access the range of academic resources that we at TAS offer. Among those are the "Objectivist Studies" monographs, to which several philosophers have contributed. And see our Graduate Seminar and Advanced Seminar archives for recent papers discussed there.

The Journal of Ayn Rand Studies, a peer-reviewed, indexed interdisciplinary journal that publishes philosophical papers inter alia

Philosophical Books (Vol. 44, No. 1, January 2003) published an article by an editor of The Journal of Ayn Rand Studies, Chris Matthew Sciabarra, surveying recent work on Ayn Rand (42-52).

—There is an "Ayn Rand Society" of the American Philosophical Association. It holds a session on Objectivism each year at the Eastern Division meetings of the A.P.A.

As to whether any of us understand how to reason effectively, well, I would hope we would at least have the basics down, since a book many of us admire is David Kelley's The Art of Reasoning, a logic textbook published by Norton. David Kelley is the founder of The Atlas Society.

I hope you improve your understanding of our philosophical outlook and your knowledge of the scholarship on it. If you would like to learn more about Objectivism, I recommend our Summer Seminar and Graduate Seminar conferences. And if you have a strong interest in studying Rand and Objectivism, we have a scholarship program that provides support to promising graduate students.


William Thomas

William R Thomas writes about and teaches Objectivist ideas. He is the editor of The Literary Art of Ayn Rand and of Ethics at Work, both published by The Atlas Society. He is also an economist, teaching occasionally at a variety of universities.

William Thomas
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William Thomas
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