on January 23, 2012
The essays vary somewhat in quality, as some of the contributors clearly aren't experts in Objectivism (Christine Swanton's insistence on trying to ascribe some form of "virtuous altruism" to Rand borders on the willfully obtuse)---but even the weaker contributions raise interesting questions and distinctions, and the responses to them are often enlightening. Darryl Wright's essay "Reasoning about Ends: Life as a Value in Ayn Rand's Ethics" alone is worth the price of the volume. This is the direction Ayn Rand scholarship should be taking. Can't wait for future volumes in the series on other areas of her thought!
on April 6, 2013
This project comprises a collection of outstanding scholarly essays on Objectivism's theory of normative ethics. I found the opening essay by Darryl Wright particularly illuminating and helpful in reaching a more thorough understanding of Ayn Rand's Ethics. I imagine this volume will be of special interest to philosophers and students of philosophy who want to engage Objectivism with greater clarity and depth. It includes a very demanding sustained philosophical debate between leading specialists on Objectivism and distinguished scholars in contemporary analytic philosophy. Both sides of the debate are interested in finding how Ayn Rand's metaethics and theory of value, virtue, reason, and egoism compare and contrast with the analytic tradition.
For those unfamiliar with the works of Ayn Rand, but wishing to comment on her philosophy Objectivism or her literary oeuvre, I recommend reading her works. If, after reading her works and understanding her philosophy, one wishes to relate her thought to the history of philosophy and to technical problems in epistemology and ethics in particular, the following secondary works on aspects of Ayn Rand's philosophy are highly recommended: (per this review) "Metaethics, Egoism, and Virtue: Studies in Ayn Rand's Normative Theory" edited by Allan Gotthelf and James G. Lennox, the works by Tara Smith, especially "Viable Values" and "Ayn Rand's Normative Ethics" as well as Leonard Peikoff's "Objectivism: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand."
on October 15, 2014
This book is an excellent discussion of Rand’s ethical ideas. It features articles written by a number of intellectuals who possess a more or less good grasp of the fundamentals of ethics from an Objectivist foundation. Some of the writers have a Kantian base (without a clear grasp of Objectivism as it relates to concepts such as reason, purpose, virtue and altruism). The contrast between the Analysts and the Objectivists is palpable. For instance, one of the (Kantian/Analyst) writers attempts to define Objectivist ethical concepts so they fit into the Kantian framework. This is a futile endeavor since Rand rejected virtually every Kantian concept (particularly the distinction between analytic and synthetic statements). Positing concepts such as “virtuous altruism” and then claiming they are consistent with Rand’s ethics is the equivalent of trying to fit an epistemological square peg into an epistemological round hole. The stars and most knowledgeable scholars on Rand's ethics are Dr. Tara Smith whose books provide much of the basis (along with Rand) for the discussion and Professor Darryl Wright. This book provides excellent insights for intellectuals who have reached an advanced understanding of the philosophy of Objectivism.
on June 13, 2012
I hadn't planned to review this book, which I bought a while back, but I decided that it was better late than never.
This book made me gag, it was so bad. The problem with this book is that it tries to analyze the "philosophy" of a woman who wasn't a philosopher. She was a cult novelist, and it is almost funny to take her so seriously. I only realized that after I bought it. My mistake was in not returning it.
This book is an absolute waste of money. It is only for the true believers. Anyone else is advised to take the money that they would use to purchase this book and give it to charity.