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Objectivism and the Corruption of Rationality: A Critique of Ayn Rand's Epistemology
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Top Customer Reviews
Much of the book is about the theory (or problem) of universals. Ryan raises the topic repeatedly, beyond annoyance. He claims it is an ontological, not an epistemological problem. Wrong, it's both. He asserts Rand is a nominalist in ontology but a moderate realist in epistemology. How can that be if the theory of universals is, as he says, only ontological? I offer two reasons. First he confuses the two aspects. Second, he portrays her that way to try to make her look ridiculous. He calls Ayn Rand's solution an "optical illusion."
He claims Rand didn't understand the problem. Given what Ryan writes about it, she understood it better than he does. He says he agrees with Blanshard on universals. However, Blanshard's position is far from Ryan's own confused one he calls "realist", and Ryan's use of "generic universals" and "specific universals" does not match Blanshard's. I think Ryan fails to understand Blanshard's theory.
Blanshard rejected the Platonic theory and the Aristotelian theory, both realist. He rejected "generic universals" (Reason and Analysis, IX, 28, 29, 34) and non-specific, qualitative universals for lack of sameness (RA, IX, 14). Ryan does not.Read more ›
No wonder, either. Mr Ryan has delivered a powerhouse philosophical critqique of Objectivism in this work. I'm not at all surprised that Rand's followers are having trouble refuting it (in part because it's written well over their heads; Ryan is considerably more expert in real philosophy than Rand was, let alone her acolytes).
Ryan demonstrates consistently, time after time, that Rand's explicit philosophy depended implicitly on unacknowledged premises that were at odds with it. In summary, and with an irony not at all lost on Ryan, Objectivism itself is a huge "stolen concept."
Ryan is not Rand's enemy; on the contrary, he expressly states that he enjoys much of her fiction and agrees broadly with her political philosophy. He just doesn't think she was much of an epistemologist. Any unbiased reader of this book will come to agree, after watching Ryan deconstruct and decimate her theories on page after page of careful exposition and analysis.
There aren't very many competent philosophical critiques of Objectivism in print. This is one of the best. Its detractors either don't know what they're talking about, or just don't want you to read it, or (most likely) both. Don't let them turn you away.
There are some interesting challenges Ryan would make to whomever thinks Ayn Rand was infallible. She does seem to have an almost fanatical obsession with casting as many behaviors as possible in the light of self interest only. "I don't want you to think I'm giving this to you for your benefit, it's for my benefit only", "I wouldn't accept it if I thought that".Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Scott Ryan should challenge Leonard Peikoff to a public debate. I wonder why he hasn't. Oh yea, because his book is a joke and he knows it.Published 15 months ago by Marco Otero
Unfortunately this so called man, uses his intellectuallism as a weapon against others. Notice "non practicing lawyer". Read morePublished on June 10, 2011 by knowsthetruth
I own many hundreds of books and have never written a review before. If I could give this book a negative score, I would. Read morePublished on December 24, 2010 by RationalHuman
I'm bewildered by the suggestion that this book takes a derisive tone toward Ayn Rand or tries to tear apart her entire life. Read morePublished on September 10, 2004 by Michael Clark
I bought this book with the hope of descovering an interesting and innovative view of Ayn Rand. But after reading it, and researching Ryan on the web, I can find no reason to... Read morePublished on September 7, 2004 by Amazon Customer
(...) Scott Ryan, previously best known for his work "In Refutation of Newton, A Mathematician's Assault on Calculus," steps into the world of philosophy swinging full on. Read morePublished on April 5, 2004