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Why Ayn Rand Is Wrong (and Why It Matters) Kindle Edition
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Top Customer Reviews
Two Senses of Self is really just a semantical argument. What do we mean when we say "self"? If you already know who you are and where your nose ends and someone else's begins, you can skip through this, Objectivist. Oh, and don't be sucked in by the paragraph about the people in the car at the beginning -- it's got nothing to do with what he's really saying, just a foreshadowing for ...
The Case Against Egoism. This is where he discusses how people can act as a group or collective, subordinating individual needs and opinions to work for the higher good. He fails to recognize that when individuals do this, they are still working for their *individual* good. He seems never to have read Ayn Rand's discussion of how people can hold certain values (truth, justice)in such high esteem that they can die for them, and how that is not a contradiction of rational self-interest but an extension of it. I am surprised that he's missed these discussions since they are all over Objectivist literature. Also, he's never writing about "rational self-interest"; he's writing about egoism. They are not the same things and he's missed this entirely! I don't know how if he's read and studied Ayn Rand as extensively as he's claimed.
A Shot In The Arm -- This is a sophistical discussion of empathy and how it must mean something important about our connectedness as human beings if we can feel each other's pain, etc. I guess the idea that I can be I -- alone -- and yet still connected through various important commonalities to other separate individuals is too complicated a concept to be admitted here.Read more ›
Do yourself a favor: accept the author's position that he doesn't exist as an individual self and save your money.
I was wrong; Although I'm no more sympathetic to Rand's philosophy or politics than Asher is, his attack on her rings hollow to my ears. Asher fails to either do justice to Rand's philosophy, nor to effectively dispute it. Rather he makes some vague New Age-y arguments about personality and empathy. If I were an objectivist, I doubt I would've lost any sleep over this attack.
Asher's main (indeed, only) attack on Rand is on her doctrine of Egoism, which he sorts of describes, by quoting her, as the view that all people do live for their own selves, and not for others. Strangely, in the passage quoted Rand refers to this as a Normative statement ("the pursuit of his own rational self interest... is the highest moral purpose of [man]'s life"), but Asher ascribes to her a belief in Egoism as a Positive fact ("Importantly, psychological egoism is not a statement about how we should live, but rather a description of how certain psychologists think we do live").
So which is it? And crucially, what role does the doctrine of Egoism play in Rand's philosophy? Everyone is wrong about some things; Even if Asher manages to unravel one of Rand's beliefs, does this undermine the whole of her philosophy?Read more ›
For the record, I'm neither Objectivist or altruist; although my sympathies tend towards the former, imho Rand's anarcho-capitalist Utopia ultimately fails for the same reason Marx's anarcho-collectivist version did: it doesn't fit human beings. Asher touches on a few of the reasons why in this essay (and misses a few), but his main thrust seems to be that Rand's central principle of egoism is simply wrong. He makes several good points - along with a number of rather weak ones - but ultimately his own arguments point toward a theory of egoism that is incomplete, rather than invalid. There's nothing at all wrong with this; only hardcore Randroids assert that there is no room for improvement in Objectivism. It's rather disappointing, therefore, that Asher didn't even try to go in that direction, preferring instead an unsuccessful attempt to refute egoism altogether.
Asher does deserve a great deal of credit in one regard: penning a critique of Rand that is cool, calm, and respectful. This may make Asher's essay unique in its category; every other work of this sort I've encountered has been a frothing-at-the-mouth ad hominem rage-fest. Asher's essay, flawed as it is, actually adds to the discussion, and so is worth reading. Three stars for the content, plus one for the unexpected civility.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The author seems like s nice enough guy, but both his critiques of Ayn Rand and the counter virtues he sought to extol came off so tepid as to be barely noticed.Published 17 days ago by Jon I Stevenson II
In discussing this book with my Dad, who was Rand's personal student and IMHO knows a lot more about her and her philosophy than even her official proponents, here're some points... Read morePublished 6 months ago by I'm no expert, yet...
What a great little book swimming against the tide of unbridled egotism/individualism ruining our world. Read morePublished 7 months ago by Robert A. Peate
So Rand writes:
"The pursuit of his own rational self interest... is the highest moral purpose of [man]'s life".
This is nonsense. Read more
A has been. Why 17 and not 15? So it is 23 now. who cares,One to three four five six.Published 21 months ago by Eric Glenn Eaton
In the first chapter, LA exclaims how much he respects Ayn Rand's views and perspective. For Objectivists, this is seductive - it will lead them in. Read morePublished on January 9, 2014 by Karl G. Kowalski
Mr. Asher starts off on the right foot, which is to disprove Ayn Rand's philosophy by demonstrating that it is based on an assumption for which there is no proof. Read morePublished on December 9, 2013 by J. Bullard
What a waste of eight dollars! This group of pages is not what an Ayn Rand reader would expect as an argument refuting her ideas of individuality.Published on May 2, 2013 by Michael A. Capodanno
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