This is a very interesting thread, which I've not participated in because
of my strong feelings. However, I think there is some good dialogue here
that draws me in.
I think there needs to be a distinction between Rand -- and her conception
of objectivism -- and her avid followers. In fact, I think, for practical
purposes, we should make a distinction between the objectivist
philosophers (such as Nathaniel Brandon and David Kelly) and objectivist
One would have to say that the Objectivist Philosopher's have contributed
many important ideas that have helped us come to better understand the
individual. I think Nathaniel Brandon's work on "self-esteem" has been
extremely valuable, and David Kelly's work on "reasoning" has provided a
wonderful context for others to learn the basics of logic. Rand started
the ball rolling.
On the other hand, some of the objectivist followers have taken the
objectivist philosophy to the extreme. For instance, in a conversation
where you may take issue with a point, many followers simply accuse you of
"evading the issue." This makes it very difficult to achieve any form of
dialogue. The underlying attitude is: "I'm write, your wrong, and until
you see things my way, we have nothing to talk about." Granted, not all
objectivist followers engage in this style of conversation, but I've met
more than my fair share who do. (And, honestly, I think a shift in this
attitude would make the Libertarian Party -- a political party more or
less centered in Rand's philosophy more palatable.)
I beleive Kelly became an outcast from the objectivist movement when he
said it was OK for people to disagree with the objectivist philosophy, and
that objectivists would be well served to explore why others might
I think it is the way some of the followers engage in philosophical
discussions that make the objectivist philosophy unsuitable for a LO.
As far as Rand as a philosopher. I think the main reason she insn't
recognized more as a legitimate philosopher is because she wasn't a
technical philosopher. I think she wrote one book -- the name escapes me
at the moment (I think it was the New Intellectual) -- that could be
considered technical philosophy. And, frankly, she was fairly good at
technical philosophy. It's unfortunate she didn't pursue this more.
For those who are unfamiliar with Ayn Rand or her objectivist philosphies,
take a look at the following links:
For what it's worth. . .
Ben Compton firstname.lastname@example.org
Learning-org -- An Internet Dialog on Learning Organizations For info: <email@example.com> -or- <http://world.std.com/~lo/>