Monday, October 6

In response to Rob Locke in the previous comments thread:

My take on Objectivism can be summed up by a paraphrase of Samuel Johnson:

"I have read Ayn Rand's work, and found it to be both original and good. Unfortunately, however, the parts that were good were not original, and the parts that were original were not good."

To put it another way: what was useful in her philosophy was cribbed from Nietzsche, and what wasn't cribbed from Nietzsche wasn't useful.

Nietzsche himself points out the inescapable flaw in rational self-interest (I am again paraphrasing here):

"Man is not 'the rational animal,' he is the rationalizing animal. The primary use to which we put our reason is to justify our irrational desires and prejudices."


Rob Locke said...

well played. The Nietzsche influence is obvious... I was just unfamiliar with Rand until I did a little digging. But I guess I should have gotten real paper books, because those netbooks are edited!

heathcliff said...

The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged are two of my favorite books. Anthem was decent, if not the masterpieces that the other two are.

The bits of objectivism prevalent in these three are the extent of my exposure to her philosophy, having never read her books devoted to Objectivism. I can't comment much on it - and don't care to because it doesn't interest me - but her novels are worth defending. They are well-written, intricately plotted and unlike anything else I've read.

MWS said...

de gustibus non disputandum.

I admired THE FOUNTAINHEAD quite a bit when I was teenager.

But I got over it.