Archive for March, 2011

Ayn Rand and her hatred of Kant

Having read her book, Philosophy: Who Needs It, and knowing a bit about the history of philosophy, I feel compelled to make this post. Throughout the entire book, Rand characterized Kant’s project solely as an “evil” attack upon the reason of human beings. It was a relentless assault which she attempted to justify by citing several sources (I can remember 2 clearly), which were largely uncompelling. Why pick on Kant when he was the one trying to figure out where David Hume and the entire project of Empiricism had gone wrong? If Kant is evil, is she afraid of speaking Hume’s name? Hume had taken Berkeley’s skepticism of the material world further, not only claiming that there is nothing but perception, but saying that there is no sense of “I,” no perceiver to speak of, either, because the “I” cannot be directly experienced (the possibility of there being other perceivers but yourself was already under assault by Berkeley’s time before he inserted his “wonderglue” solution of God). He also denied the concept of causality and was critical of the method of induction (it is justified by a circular argument). What wound Rand think about that?

It seems to me as though Rand is counting on the readers’ ignorance of the history philosophy to pander her opinion which she fails (in my opinion) to justify. Nevertheless, the very beginning and the end of her book was worth the read.

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