Sunlight filtering through green leaves

This is more of a literary post than a philosophical one, but I think it may interest some readers and it gives me an occasion to explain why we chose the cover image we did for this blog. The image of sunlight filtering through green leaves figures in a number of significant passages from Rand's novels. I'm going to survey them, and make a few comments at the end on what I take to be the significance of this image to Rand. The clearest instances are in The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged, but let me consider first some examples from…

Read full post

An example of withdrawing the sanction of the victim

I learned of an interesting and inspiring historical episode last week, when reading Brent Staples' New York Times review of Ethan Michaeli's book The Defender (about the Baltimore newspaper of the same name, which was one the most prominent of the black newspapers in the mid-20th Century). As Staples tells the story, John Sengstacke, who was The Defender's publisher and the president of the Negro Newspaper Publishers Association, had a meeting in 1942 with Francis Biddle, Franklin Roosevelt's Attorney General. The black papers had been extremely critical of Roosevelt's embrace of segregation in the military, which (as Staples puts it)…

Read full post

A Thought on Consequentialism

In a comment on Ben Bayer's recent post about the NDPR review of Sanford's Before Virtue, an anonymous person asks about the distinction between the consequentialist and teleological ethics. In Ben's response, he mentions how I differentiated Rand's ethics from consequentialism in Ch. 6 of A Companion to Ayn Rand. I thought I'd take this opportunity to quote from that discussion: Under the heading of “egoistic consequentialists,” I include Epicurus, Hobbes, and Chernyshevsky. Hobbes identified an individual’s interest with the satisfaction of her desires; the other two identified it with her pleasure. On either view, the individual’s interest…

Read full post

Introducing "Check Your Premises" the Blog of the Ayn Rand Society

On behalf of the steering committee of the Ayn Rand Society, I am happy to announce a new initiative, in addition to our meetings at conferences of The American Philosophical Association conferences, and our book series, we will now be operating a blog named for Rand's principle piece of methodological advice: Check Your Premises. The blog will feature posts by society members on topics pertaining to Rand's philosophy, Objectivism, especially as it relates to philosophy as it relates to philosophical issues currently being discussed within the philosophy profession. There may also be guest posts by non-members. Our editor will be…

Read full post