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Reason and Value: Aristotle versus Rand Paperback – October 1, 2000


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 123 pages
  • Publisher: Objectivist Center (October 1, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1577240456
  • ISBN-13: 978-1577240457
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 8.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,831,995 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Author

Two of the central questions in philosophy are: What are the foundations of knowledge? and What is the nature of human well-being? Ayn Rand regarded herself as a follower of Aristotle. I argue, however, that in answering the above two questions she unfortunately deviated from Aristotle in ways that subverted her own philosophical intentions. In particular, I maintain that Rand's rejection of Aristotle's coherentist, testimony-based epistemology in favor of her own version of foundationalist empiricism both opens the door to a corrosive skepticism that she rightly wishes to avoid, and forces her into defending an instrumental survival-oriented conception of the relation of morality to self-interest, even though a constitutive, flourishing-oriented relation along Aristotelian lines would more closely match her basic ethical insights. Hence Rand's admirers may still have something to learn from Aristotle, their "teacher's first teacher." I invite readers to visit my website: geocities.com/BerserkRL Roderick T. Long

About the Author

Roderick T. Long is a professor of philosophy at Auburn University, as well as Editor of the Free Nation Foundation's journal Formulations. His principal research interests are moral psychology, Greek philosophy, and libertarian thought.

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17 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Steve Jackson on November 24, 2005
Format: Unknown Binding
Roderick Long is a libertarian philosopher who (like many of us) was first introduced to philosophy via the works of Ayn Rand. And (like many of us) he has to a greater or lesser extent "moved on." Prof. Long is still broadly Aristotelian in his outlook, but has integrated his Aristotelianism with many insights from the Austrian school of economics.

In this relatively brief work Prof. Long discusses Rand's conception of reason and value and compares it to the views of other philosophers. He discovers Humean, Aristotelian, Platonic, Kantian and Hobbesian aspects to Rand's ethical thought. I found Prof. Long's discussion of the instrumentalist aspects of Rand's ethics quite interesting. Take the issue of dishonesty. Since Objectivists are opposed to "instrinsicism," they often discuss the virtue of honesty in terms of the consequences that flow from dishonest acts. Objectivists typically argue that a person who undertakes a sophisticated swindle has to engage in so many lies and deceptions that he is likely to get caught. Indeed his machinations are so in conflict with their likely result that it in fact amounts to an attempt to "fake reality." This reduces to don't lie because you'll get caught. However, as Prof. Long points out, the virtuous characters in Rand's novels don't act on such blatantly instrumentalist premises. Is John Galt honest because he fears the consequences of cheating? Is he really not bright enough to "pull it off"? In fact, implicit in the "faking reality" approach is a noninstrumentalist (and even vaguely Nietzschian) rationale. There is even a Kantian subtheme here, e.g., when Rand demands "consistency" in one's conduct toward others.

Prof. Long's essay is particularly broad and covers aspects of Rand's epistemology and even politics.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I wrote this book. (Sorry for giving it 5 stars but I had to give it SOME number.) This book is listed here at an astronomical price but I'm told the publisher (now renamed the Atlas Society) still sells these at a normal price "on inquiry" but they don't advertise it. They also, equally un-advertisedly, host the whole thing in PDF form for free at:

[...]
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14 of 48 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 29, 2004
Format: Paperback
Thank goodness that Rand departs from Aristotle on a number of points. The author has it just backwards: it is Aristotle's errors that gave rise to "corrosive skepticism" and ethical subjectivism. In arguing that there are values outside of the context of life, the author has also departed from what may be the implicit and overriding idea behind Aristotle's own thought. There still can be no values outside of that context and these arguments only confirm Rand's thesis.
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9 of 48 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 2, 2003
Format: Paperback
This book has changed my life. Seriously.
Amazingly enough, the author easily commands an intellect far greater than those his book is about, combined! I sleep with this book at night...
if you know what I mean.
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