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Philosophers’ Unprofessional Treatment of Ayn Rand

In this episode of New Ideal Live, Onkar Ghate and Mike Mazza discuss academic philosophers’ dismissals of Ayn Rand’s philosophy, and some of the reasons why academic philosophers often fail to live up to the profession’s scholarly standards when addressing Rand’s ideas.

Among the topics covered:

  • The provincial view of philosophy that leads Sidney Hook to dismiss Rand as unsophisticated in his review of her book For the New Intellectual;
  • How Robert Nozick goes wrong in his article “On the Randian Argument” by approaching Rand’s inductive arguments as if they were deductive;
  • James Rachels’s claim, in his widely-used textbook The Elements of Moral Philosophy, that Rand’s argument for egoism is based on a false alternative;
  • Why the ability to understand other philosophers’ fundamentals and enter into their worldview is essential to being a genuine philosopher;
  • Reasons why academic philosophers are extremely dismissive of Rand;
  • Whether it’s valid to classify egoistic theories into categories such as “rational,” “parasitic,” “predatory,” etc.;
  • Ghate’s and Mazza’s experiences with both philosophic and non-philosophic people in academic philosophy.

Mentioned in this podcast are Gregory Salmieri’s essay “An Introduction to the Study of Ayn Rand” from A Companion to Ayn Rand, edited by Salmieri and Allan Gotthelf; Harry Binswanger’s 1977 letter to Nozick; and two essays from the book Foundations of a Free Society, edited by Salmieri and Robert Mayhew: “Ayn Rand’s Theory of Rights” by Fred D. Miller and Adam Mossoff and “Rand (contra Nozick) on Individual Rights and the Emergence and Justification of Government” by Ghate.

The podcast was recorded on May 25, 2022. Listen to the discussion below. Listen and subscribe from your mobile device on Apple PodcastsGoogle Podcasts, Spotify or Stitcher. Watch archived podcasts here.

Podcast audio:


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Sam Weaver

Sam Weaver, BA in English, is an associate fellow at the Ayn Rand Institute and a recipient of the Conceptual Education Fellowship.

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