Tag Archives: Ayn Rand

“The Fixation of Belief”: Charles Sanders Peirce’s Terrific Introduction to Critical Thinking

In 1877 the great scientist and logician, Charles Sanders Peirce, wrote a mercifully short, but not simplistic, essay for Popular Science Monthly titled, “The Fixation of Belief.” It’s a stunner. I stumbled across it in a 1964 anthology of philosophy essays, … Continue reading

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Ayn Rand Against Religion in Conservative Politics

In thinking about Emile Durkheim’s three Ps of sociology (power, prestige, and property), it occurred to me that the contemporary Republican Party has its own three Ps that it’s committed to advancing: plutocracy (rule by the rich); Pentacostal-style revivalism; and … Continue reading

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Let My People Go: Reconsidering the Tea Party

I have of late been rethinking the meaning of the Tea Party to American politics. My first take was dismissive: this movement is the same type of Herderian nationalism that, last century, brought Hitler and his merry band of crazed … Continue reading

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Let the 30-Year-Old Die!: The Christianist Party Shouts for Crucifixion

This is a must-see. It’s the Republican audience’s reaction to a debate question directed last night to Ron Paul by Wolf Blitzer. The gist of the question was the following: Should society let an employed 30-year-old experiencing a catastrophic health crisis, but lacking insurance, die? … Continue reading

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The Flintification of America

I recently watched Roger and Me—Micheal Moore’s late-1980s documentary on the economic decline of his hometown of Flint, Michigan—and what upended me is how prophetic the film is. If you want to see what’s happening to America today, have another looksie at Moore’s survey … Continue reading

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Terry Eagleton Asks: What Does It Mean to Live in a Secular Society?

Terry Eagleton, in a recent essay for the New Statesman, suggests a sure-fire method for determining just how secular your society truly is. It has to do with the degree to which universal compulsion on matters religious has been abandoned (both in law and cultural … Continue reading

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The New Left Behind Series: Atlas Shrugged the Movie, Part 1

Living within an hour’s driving distance of Hollywood, Ca., it wasn’t difficult locating a nearby theatre to have a looksie at Atlas Shrugged the movie, Part 1. I did that this weekend. I’d love to say, like Sam in Sam … Continue reading

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Critics Shrugged: Atlas Shrugged Part 1, the Movie, is Getting a Lot of Rotten Tomatoes at the Rotten Tomatoes Website

Some early buzz (see here) had me hopeful about Atlas Shrugged Part 1, the movie, but, alas, as of this afternoon, not a single critic—including Roger Ebert—has given the movie a good review at the Rotten Tomatoes website. Eleven have been posted so … Continue reading

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Inside Job: Max Keiser Was Right!

Before seeing the documentary Inside Job, I genuinely thought that Max Keiser’s somewhat well-known public condemnation of Goldman Sachs was largely hyperbole. I now think otherwise. Everything he says here is, if anything, an understatement:                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            . And here’s Inside Job on DVD … Continue reading

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Who is Dagny Taggart? Atlas Shrugged Part 1, the Movie, is Coming to Theatres April 15th

Atlas Shrugged Part 1, the movie (which depicts the first third of Ayn Rand’s famous novel of ideas) comes into general release on April 15th, and I must say that the following YouTube teaser clip posted by the film’s producers is … Continue reading

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What is a Human, Really? Thinking about Definition via Aristotle

If your definition of a word is to be any good, Aristotle was the first to notice that it should say something general and something specific. Aristotle designated these two components the genus and species of a definition. Thus you might … Continue reading

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Critical Thinking Tip #2: Be Alert to Your Premises

Thomas Jefferson once encountered a jaw-dropping claim. The claim that confronted Jefferson was from eyewitnesses who said that they had seen rocks fall from the sky. They even claimed to retrieve fragments from them. And here’s the kicker: the witnesses, under normal circumstances, … Continue reading

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That’s a Huge Weltanschauung You’ve Got There, Thomas Jefferson! Does It Ever Get in Your Way?

What’s your Weltanschauung—your worldview? In other words, what do you think you know about the world (your metaphysics)? How do you think you know it (your epistemology)? What ought you be doing and valuing as an individual (your ethical and … Continue reading

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Five Recent Films I Like

Here’s the list: The Social Network. The story of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg’s extraordinary career rise. It will probably win the Academy Award for Best Picture—and it probably should. True Grit. My personal favorite in this list. Perhaps because I … Continue reading

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Free Will Objectivism Fail: Two Mathematicians Demonstrate that Ayn Rand’s Philosophy is Incoherent

At ScienceNews.org is a troubling piece reporting that two highly acclaimed Princeton mathematicians, John Conway and Simon Kochen, have mathematically demonstrated the following: if humans can actually choose what to observe (or not observe) in a particular sort of physics experiment involving particle spin, then the … Continue reading

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A Stomp is Not an Argument: Rand Paul Supporters Tear a Wig off a Woman, Drag Her to the Ground, Then One of The Crowd Stomps on Her Head

Rand Paul supporters show their respect for Western liberal democracy, freedom of expression, and a woman’s right to approach Rand Paul: Message: Total message control. Don’t ever, ever approach Rand Paul. Ever. ——————- UPDATE: Here’s the unedited AP clip of the … Continue reading

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Why Do Super Brainiacs Drink More Alcohol Than the Rest of Us?

It appears that super smart people tend to be bigger consumers of alcohol than average and dull people, and Andrew Sullivan has an armchair theory for why this is the case: It’s what Oakeshott called “the ordeal of consciousness.” When you have … Continue reading

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The soccer ball and the witch doctor

In Spiegel this weekend there was a report on witch doctors in Africa messing with soccer games. A taste: “They bend the lines, bewitch the ball, befuddle the referees (and) paralyze goal keepers,” Bartholomäus Grill, the Africa correspondent for weekly newspaper Die … Continue reading

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Thinking about Nietzsche: does truth matter?

One thing that the religious fundamentalist and the secular scientist agree on is this: what is actually true matters. Or, as they say on the X Files, “The truth is out there.” I’m not interested in denying that the world really … Continue reading

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Would Friedrich Nietzsche have admired Ayn Rand?

Nietzsche scholar Brian Leiter has a rather strong opinion about this: This typically idiotic remark in a recent NY Times book review caught my attention: “Rand’s inclusion of businessmen in the ranks of the Übermenschen helps to explain her appeal to free-marketeers … Continue reading

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