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Reason and Value: Aristotle versus Rand Paperback – October 1, 2000
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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.Read more ›
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.