Talk:Ayn Rand

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Good article Ayn Rand has been listed as one of the Philosophy and religion good articles under the good article criteria. If you can improve it further, please do so. If it no longer meets these criteria, you can reassess it.

Possible vandalism in the news[edit]

This article may have been vandalized; see this. Bearian (talk) 22:04, 6 August 2014 (UTC)

There's no vandalism involved, just blogger ignorance. The wording in question was the subject of a lengthy debate, largely driven by an editor (later banned for his abusive editing across numerous articles) who insisted on including that word, which had not been used previously. It was removed after an RFC came down against it. The blogger presumably looked at the article during the few months this debate played out, then again after, but never read the Talk page or learned anything substantial about the history of the article. --RL0919 (talk) 11:03, 14 August 2014 (UTC)

Clarification tag[edit]

On 19 July 2014, @Medeis: placed a "Clarification needed" tag at the end of the following sentence: 'For example, Mother Jones remarked that "Rand's particular genius has always been her ability to turn upside down traditional hierarchies and recast the wealthy, the talented, and the powerful as the oppressed", while The Nation alleged similarities between the "moral syntax of Randianism" and fascism.' The edit summary said, "oddly formulated statement could use clarifying". The criticisms are quoted from magazine articles cited inline, which are available online to be read in full for context, so I think the clarification request could use some clarification of its own. What specifically is unclear? --RL0919 (talk) 20:12, 18 August 2014 (UTC)

Thanks,User:RL0919. My main problem is with the run-on nature of it. My brain crashes before the end of the first sentence, and I have to reboot every time. I Would suggest something like: MJ notes Rand's "particular genius" in turning traditional hierarchies upside down. It is entirely unclear what the alleged similarities between the "moral syntax of Randianism" are outside their editorializing. We can certainly retain the intellectual left's criticisms, but I suggest doing it without making it look like something out of a random text generator would be more hopeful for most readers. And a specific quote of something they say is fascist that she actually said would help. Is her non-initiaton of force principle objectionable? Her oath not to expect others to sacrifice themselves on your behalf? There might be fertile ground with the notion that gays are basically mentally ill (NOT her words) or her idea that Europeans were entitled to seize indigenous land when the natives hand't formulated the concept (to her satisfaction) of property rights. Verifiable specifics in her words or criticism or her actual words would be great. Those two things might be called fascist, or widely criticized ignorance. μηδείς (talk) 21:33, 18 August 2014 (UTC)

John Hodgman Revert[edit]

I added a quote from author and actor John Hodgman concerning Rand. The statement was from an article which discusses a stand-up routine in which he channels Rand. Hodgman is a notable author and performer, and the section of the article presents popular reception of Rand. This text should be restored to the article, as it enhances the content of this section and provides additional perspective on the popular reaction and representation of Rand and her work. SPECIFICO talk 16:15, 8 October 2014 (UTC)

Doesn't sound like comedy. It sounds like a partisan rant against Rand. It adds nothing to the article, other than that he apparently does not like Rand in the least. Undue weight for this article. It is also a primary source. Arzel (talk) 16:53, 8 October 2014 (UTC)
Who said anything about comedy? This section of the article is about popular reaction. The Hodgman bit is like the other content in the section. The quote is from a book written by Spivack in which she quotes Hodgman, so it is not a primary source. I have no opinion as to Hodgman's view, but he is a notable person who gets lots of TV coverage, whose books have been published repeatedly, and who does one-man shows all over the USA. He typifies one strain of reaction to Rand -- a reaction which for better or worse, is part of her legacy. SPECIFICO talk 16:59, 8 October 2014 (UTC)
For those who don't know, John Hodgman is the guy famous for personifying the slow and nerdy PC in the Mac vs PC commercials of the turn of the century. His article mentions nothing about Rand--that's where descriptions of his acts should go, not here. μηδείς (talk) 17:40, 8 October 2014 (UTC)
Be careful you don't mischaracterize Hodgman's career, notability, etc. per BLP. It's hardly accurate to single out a single activity of his from years ago. Thanks. SPECIFICO talk 18:34, 8 October 2014 (UTC)
This is from a first-person account by Hodgman that has been collected into a book of such accounts edited by Spivack. It is not an article written by Spivack. It's also worth noting that Hodgman is a humorist describing his stand-up act, which taints any comment in his account as possibly being less than serious. So on that ground alone it is a poor choice of source. And even if totally serious, I'm not clear on how this quote fits into the Popular Interest section. Hodgman does not comment on popular interest in Rand or the popular perception of her. (In contrast, the quote immediately before where this was placed is from a journalist describing how Rand is treated in popular media.) If it were from a review, it might go in the Reviews section, but it isn't. If he were an academic it might go in the Academic Reaction section, but he's not. We don't really have a section for Random People Comment on Rand. --RL0919 (talk) 02:47, 9 October 2014 (UTC)

Are discretionary sanctions here still needed?[edit]

An uninvolved editor has asked the Arbitration Committee to review whether the discretionary sanctions are still required in this topic area, and to repeal them if they are not. If you have any opinions on this matter, please comment at Wikipedia:Arbitration/Requests/Clarification and Amendment#Amendment request: Ayn Rand, Monty Hall problem, Longevity, Cold fusion 2, Tree shaping, Gibraltar. Thanks, Thryduulf (talk) 11:57, 14 November 2014 (UTC)

Should she be described firstly as a novelist or a philosopher?[edit]

Consensus support describing her first as a novelist.--v/r - TP 18:40, 18 November 2014 (UTC)

The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

It seems more appropriate that she be described as a "philosopher, novelist, etc." rather than as a "novelist, philosopher, etc". Seeing as her written work revolves around her philosophy, one can reasonably conclude that the development of the philosophy came before the writing of the novels. The thing about her that the majority of people remember most is her philosophy, so it seems more logical to have her described firstly as a philosopher. Reverse polish (talk) 16:53, 16 November 2014 (UTC)

Thank you for your comments - the original text re Ayn Rand as a novelist first seems more appropriate - several relevant earlier discussions may apply - including => "Talk:Ayn Rand/Archive 45#Is Atlas Shruged best described as a "love story" in wikipedia" - as well as - perhaps - a relevant reference in the "National Review" - hope this helps in some way - in any case - Enjoy! :) Drbogdan (talk) 17:31, 16 November 2014 (UTC)
Philosophy can mean "a discipline comprising as its core logic, aesthetics, ethics, metaphysics, and epistemology" or "the most basic beliefs, concepts, and attitudes of an individual or group". (Merriam-Webster) Some editors have argued that Rand should be described as a philosopher because some of her lesser known writings met the first definition, even though they have been universally ignored. The novels represent her philosophy in the second sense. (For example, they provide a clear message of individualism, but not a lot about epistemology.) But the same could be said of most writers - their writings represent how they see the world. TFD (talk) 17:49, 16 November 2014 (UTC)
So what exactly differentiates a "philosopher" from a "writer"? If the primary motive behind Rand's writing was to endorse her philosophy, then why is she considered a writer first and philosopher second? Would a famous pastor be considered an "orator" first and a "religious leader" second? Reverse polish (talk) 20:18, 16 November 2014 (UTC)
Philosophers write about philosophy, that is to say, logic, aesthetics, ethics, metaphysics, and epistemology. As for pastors, C. S. Lewis' article lists him first as a novelist, because he is better known for his Narnia series than for his pastoral work, These books revolve around her philosophy, too, and one can reasonably conclude that the development of the philosophy came before the writing of the novels. And of course we do not call pastors who orate "philosophers", even though they are talking about their personal philosophies. TFD (talk) 20:36, 16 November 2014 (UTC)
So what would be an example of an individual who was a philosopher first and a writer second? Also, C.S. Lewis is not predominantly known for his philosophy, he is known for his novels. Rand is known predominantly for her philosophy. Again, if the primary motive behind Rand's writing was to endorse her philosophy, then why is she considered a writer first and philosopher second? This is the third time I have brought up this point, and it has not been addressed. Reverse polish (talk) 22:43, 16 November 2014 (UTC)
You evidently have never studied philosophy or you would not have said that. How does she resolve the mind-body problem, causation, etc., in her novels? Has anyone tried to make the Prolegomena to any Future Metaphysics or Word and Object into works of fiction or motion pictures?" OTOH, what difference is there between her books and any other books that reflect a writer's view of the world? You are not using the term "philosophy" in the way it is normally understood. TFD (talk) 23:33, 16 November 2014 (UTC)
I never proclaimed to have studied philosophy. I've never even read any of Rand's books. I'm just interested in biographies, and I found it puzzling that the creator of a whole philosophy would not be described firstly as a philosopher. Rand's philosophy addresses specific academic topics in philosophy, so that would be the difference between her books and any regular novelists' books. According to your own words, "philosophers write about philosophy, that is to say, logic, aesthetics, ethics, metaphysics, and epistemology", and all of these topics are discussed in her work. I'll ask this question again, since you did not answer it the first time: what would be an example of an individual who was a philosopher first and a writer second? Reverse polish (talk) 00:55, 17 November 2014 (UTC)
  • This has been beaten to death, see the archives. Someone who claims not to have even read Rand starting this debate is just shaking up a bottle of soda he expects someone else to drink. She studied philosophy at University, but says she had decided to be a writer at age 9. She had success first as a playwright, screenplay writer, and novelist, but spent the last 25 years of her life writing and lecturing almost exclusively on philosophy. I think novelist philospher sounds more natural. In any case, changing the order will not be worth the blood, sweat and tears that will be shed in accomplishing it, and we will simply have the same argument to reerse the order again in six months. μηδείς (talk) 02:20, 17 November 2014 (UTC)
"What would be an example of an individual who was a philosopher first and a writer second?" -- And, of course, this question was once again left unanswered. You do not need to have read Rand to figure out that it is extremely questionable to give secondary importance to the philosophy that she created, which is the main thing she is remembered for. Someone who claims to be well-versed in philosophy should perhaps try to understand a person's arguments before being immediately dismissive. Reverse polish (talk) 02:47, 17 November 2014 (UTC)
She is not remembered for her philosophy. TFD (talk) 05:24, 17 November 2014 (UTC)
The only reason I knew who she was in the first place was because of her philosophy. "What would be an example of an individual who was a philosopher first and a writer second?" This is the FIFTH time I'm asking this question. You would think that "philosophy experts" would be able to answer a simple question... Reverse polish (talk) 10:54, 17 November 2014 (UTC)
Also, notice how I made valid points about Rand writing about philosophy, therefore making her a philosopher according to your own definition, and you avoided addressing that argument too. That is very telling... Reverse polish (talk) 10:45, 17 November 2014 (UTC)
It is frustrating that my questions and points are being ignored, when we are supposed to be having a discussion. Reverse polish (talk) 11:23, 17 November 2014 (UTC)

FWIW - According to the Encyclopædia Britannica, Rand was a "Russian-born American writer" and failed to gain acceptance among academic philosophers "due to the fictional form in which the best-known statements of her philosophy appeared, which necessarily rendered them imprecise by professional standards." - in any case - the following may apply => WP:ONEAGAINSTMANY - hope this helps in some way - Enjoy! :) Drbogdan (talk) 14:07, 17 November 2014 (UTC)

Abstract arguments about how philosophy is defined, etc., should take a back seat to what independent reliable sources say. The sources are clear enough here -- although there are many that call her a philosopher (which is why we include that in her description), there are many more that call her a novelist. --RL0919 (talk) 14:58, 17 November 2014 (UTC)
  • The purpose of a talk page is improving the article, not debating the subject, things in general, or eductaing someone unfamiliar with the topic. I suggest this thread be closed on that basis. μηδείς (talk) 18:36, 18 November 2014 (UTC)
Medeis is right; Rand should be described first as a novelist, then a philosopher. ImprovingWiki (talk) 08:29, 18 November 2014 (UTC)

The discussion above is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.


Citizenship ?[edit]

Currently our article seems to say she arrived from Russia on a tourist visa but decided to stay and got US citizenship. It's usually not that simple, though. Did she defect and request asylum ? If not, I'd expect her to have been deported when her tourist visa expired. StuRat (talk) 19:08, 29 December 2014 (UTC)

She received several visa extensions (Heller suggests her movie industry contacts probably helped her with this), and when those ran out, she married an American citizen, which fast-tracked her to citizenship. Keep in mind that this was over 80 years ago, and immigration was not handled exactly the same as it is now. For instance, I don't think political asylum existed in US law in the 1920s. --RL0919 (talk) 19:49, 29 December 2014 (UTC)
Thanks. Shouldn't this info be added to the article ? StuRat (talk) 19:56, 29 December 2014 (UTC)
Added a bit. --RL0919 (talk) 00:01, 30 December 2014 (UTC)
Thanks ! StuRat (talk) 00:44, 30 December 2014 (UTC)