Friends don’t let friends read Ayn Rand

February 24, 2009

On Facebook I joined Martin’s group, “Friends don’t let friends read Ayn Rand”. A populist, interlectually weak charlatan who disseminates, according to Martin, “bad philosophy, poor thought and encouraged bad table manners”

The cynical pot shots, ripostes, and general disdain make for excellent and humorous reading.

One of Martin’s typical responses to a post:
I think your point concerning Heidegger is due to a missunderstanding of the content of Sorge. It is not the case that one ought to care, it is in the nature of Dasein to care. No moral claim is extracted from that claim, as you well know. Indeed, not even the emergence of the ontological stance demands any type of prescription. Heidegger has been often criticized for not being able to provide action guiding principles and a method to apply them. It is not that Heidegger does not believe that there is a gap, it is that value positing is take to be inherent to Dasein’s mode of being. So one could even say that Dasein is one who is often confused in infering values from ontological stance. For Heidegger, however, it seems that the ontological stance is the articulation of the pre-ontological value positing of Dasein. With that, I think, we can leave Heidegger aside.

Aristotle is a more complicated issue because as you may know, it is mainly with the aristotelian cape that Rand hides her philosophical shames. In any case, I think that this is a selective reading of Aristotle. In fact, there are plenty of people reading Aristotle a la Heideggerian. Nonetheless, the Humean challenge is indeed a challenge to the presuppositions entailed in moral philosophy in which a logical fallacy is committed. and ‘as you may know’ Aristotle had not been a good reader of Hume. Philosophers do not need to accept the law, they can leave it aside a accept the fallacy. This however is not the case with Rand. She declares the fallacy dead and this shows that the fallacy is not understood.
It is not debated here if human being are value positing–of course human beings are–the question that is being asked is if the fact that human beings “exists” entails that human beings ought to do anything at all, even exist. So my take is that you can miss the metaethical question but that does not make it go away. I would certainly not say that any of ‘our leading moral philosophers reject the distinction’ because I have no idea what the force of rejecting a logical deduction could possibly be. Rather, I would argue that there is an attempt to work out this distinction

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