Talk:Objectivism (Ayn Rand)/Archive 10

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closely related to Neoconservatism?

Aren't Rand's Objectivism and Neoconservatism rather closely related? It isn't mentioned anywhere in the article. —AldeBaer 00:12, 2 June 2007 (UTC)

I've never seen ANY evidence for a relationship between the two, other than an adversarial one: Leonard Peikoff has been a very strong critic not only of Neoconservatism itself, but of nearly everything connected - as Neoconservatism demonstrably is - with the Platonist philosophy of Leo Strauss. Remember, this is an encyclopedia; everything here must be verifiable. In scholarly disciplines, including philosophy, by reference to primary and scholarly sources. AdamReed 01:31, 2 June 2007 (UTC)
I know, that's why I didn't edit the article. But I'm curious because I remember reading about that connection (via Strauss) somewhere. May have been inspired by Peikoff, I can't really remember where I got this from. Speaking only for myself, I think the connection is more than obvious. —AldeBaer 03:35, 2 June 2007 (UTC)
I think the claim of a connection between the two is made by Lyndon LaRouche and his minions, for whatever that may be worth. —Blanchette 19:45, 2 June 2007 (UTC)
The only relationship I am aware of is the one discussed by Adam Reed. In addition to Peikoff, Brook (president of ARI) has been highly critical of all things neo-con. So has C. Bradley Thompson (Objectivist political philosopher). Endlessmike 888 20:37, 2 June 2007 (UTC)
Neoconservativism is not very closely aligned with Objectivist principles and values; don't be misled by the occasional advocacy of similar political actions. Note that the Wikipedia Neoconservatism article contains no mention of Objectivism. — DAGwyn 22:37, 3 June 2007 (UTC)
No offense, but that means basically nothing. Some articles are owned and whitewashed. Hold on to your seat, but a tiny minority of articles are not even NPOV. I know, it's disgusting and hard to believe, but that's just the way it is. The one thing someone actually leaning towards neoconservatism would do is to clean that article of all negative bias. That, after all, is what neoconservatism is really all about: Fight without mercy. Get rich or die trying. Cut social welfare and medicaid while the number of millionaires is on a constant rise. See, and while I'm non-neocon, my non-absent integrity forbids me to edit that article, what a shame. LaRouche asserts that relationship? I'm fairly sure he is not the only one. But guilt by association is always worth a shot, ain't it? Best regards, —AldeBaer 06:03, 20 June 2007 (UTC)

"Pseudophilosophy of a cult"

"Cult accusations is about the pseudophilosophy behind the cult and its relation to the figureheads." Therefore the section belongs to the Objectivist Movement section where the figureheads and other people involved in the movement are discussed. This article is about the ideas within the context of Philosophy. The section does not belong here.
Yes that belongs, it is one of the few things that indicates that many people out in the world consider objectivism to be a pseudophilosophy and merely a cult. without that you are just presenting a pov which is that objectivism is not those things. --Buridan 19:10, 13 June 2007 (UTC)
The idea that Objectivism is not an actual philosophy is prima facie absurd, and it would add nothing useful to repeat that in the article. (Specific objections may be informative and are already included.) You haven't responded to the valid observation that "cultism" doesn't apply to a canon of ideas as such, which is the sole subject of this article, but rather it applies to the way that people relate to the ideas and to their expositors. As previously noted, the cult accusation does appear in the relevant places. One gets the impression that you are pushing your own POV. — DAGwyn 19:44, 13 June 2007 (UTC)
if it were absurd, it would not be repeatedly cited. the reason we repeat it here is precisely because some people claim it is absurd. those people represent a point of view that presents Objectivism as a meritorious philosophy, when it might according to citation, not be such at all. cultism applies in fact to show that the 'canon' mentioned may merely be nonsense. whether it is or is not, can be worked out in a more solid article, but until the article itself meets some standard that does not promote the merits of the position, it has to be included to show that some think that the position has no merit or so little merit that its sole merit might be based on cult belief instead of philosophical belief. I'd love to get rid of the section, i truly would, but without it the whole business seems a valid philosophical pursuit, and while many might think it is, many think it is not, and we have to be neutral.--Buridan 03:47, 15 June 2007 (UTC)
Merriam-Webster Online gives as the primary relevant definition of "philosophy": "a discipline comprising as its core logic, aesthetics, ethics, metaphysics, and epistemology." Objectivism clearly meets this criterion; therefore, the denial is prima facie absurd. The fact that some claim is repeated does not give it merit. It might be psychologically interesting to investigate why they do so, but that is ceryainly beyond the scope of this article. — DAGwyn
i'm sorry. I think you are very off base here. the definitional constraint is fine, but whether something is or is not 'a philosophy' by one definition is not the question the cult section answers. it answers the question do some people think this is not a philosophy and why. if there are two viewpoints on a topic, x is a and x is not a, then npov says we have to cover both. we don't have to do it particularly well, but we can't just ignore the people that think objectivism is just an attempt to cover a cult with the robes of philosophy. --Buridan 10:12, 16 June 2007 (UTC)
A movement or a group can be a cult, but a philosophical system? That is a category error. The section is plainly incoherent unless "Objectivism" is replaced by "the Objectivist movement." But then it belongs where it was copied from: the Objectivist movement article.

Since the content is already in the article on the Objectivist movement, and there was no response for two days to the proposal (immediately above) to delete it from this article, it is time to do it. AdamReed 01:22, 15 June 2007 (UTC).

it belongs in both, lest a naive reader be confused by reading one and not the other. --Buridan 03:42, 15 June 2007 (UTC)

Buridan: Whether or not Objectivism is a philosophy, at least in the traditional sense of the word, is a valid question, and I know of reputable scholars who have argued the contrary. But tracts directed against the Objectivist movement are not source of relevant evidence on this issue. I was even thinking of adding such a section myself once the rest of the article is cut down to a reasonable size. Instead of posting stuff about the Objectivist movement to the article on the philosophical system, why don't you start on a (verifiable, NPOV) section, with real scholarly refs, on the "Is Objectivism a philosophy" question? AdamReed 04:45, 15 June 2007 (UTC).

because I don't care enough about it to spend time improving the article unnecessarily, i only care enough to make sure it doesn't misrepresent the case in a npov way. currently the rest of the article pretty much makes it appear as a standard and valid philosophical movement, which can be questioned. if the rest of the article and all the new sub-articles were written a bit more skeptically, admitting the disputes and their centrality, i'd certainly see the article as much improved toward wikipedia standards, but i'm not going to do that, all i'm going to do is make sure the whole article doesn't lose its relation to neutrality and the problematic status of what might be a pseudophilosophy tied to a cult.--Buridan 13:19, 15 June 2007 (UTC)

Buridan: I've checked your "sources," and I have not been able to verify your claim that any of the 3 authors you cite actually consider Objectivism a "pseudophilosophy tied to a cult." Sherman makes clear the opposite: that he considers Objectivism a sound philosophy, the best one around. He criticises cultism on Objectivist grounds. The most that I found in the other two is that they sometimes say, for short, "Objectivism," when it is clear from context that they are writing about the Objectivist movement. There are serious scholars who question whether or not Rand's system is a philosophy, but those three do not appear, from the sources cited, to be among them; and in any case their focus, and context, is the movement and not the philosophy. The most that has been verifiably sourced is that some readers will be confused by their use of the word "Objectivism" as a shorthand for the Objectivist movement. In the absence of a verifiable cite from a primary or scholarly source I intend to edit accordingly. AdamReed 16:53, 15 June 2007 (UTC).

Mr Reed is correct. I think many Objectivists would have trouble with some of the happenings of the "movement." If we're going to include stuff let's make it clear and worthwhile. I'm sure someone can find something scholarly that can be added if they want to.Ethan a dawe 19:20, 15 June 2007 (UTC)

If I were to delete any mention of cult accusations from the Scientology page by claiming that all of these criticisms were directed only at the movement and church, not at the underlying philosophy and religion, would you be impressed by that line of argument? If you want to constructively improve this section, you have my full support. Removing it entirely would just be POV. ThAtSo 19:47, 15 June 2007 (UTC)

That is a reasonable suggestion, although this article already contains a subsection on Critiques, and the critique that Objectivism contributes to cultism in the Objectivist movement should be a paragraph or subsection in that subsection, not separate. Also a paragraph on the other (unrelated) critique that Objectivism is not a philosophy. ThAtSo: are you willing to bury the hatchet and list, here in Talk, what you think needs to be included? Rather than try to edit the subsection at the end, let's put together something concise (yes this article is already too long) under Critiques, and delete the section at the end when it is agreed on and in place. AdamReed 20:47, 15 June 2007 (UTC).

Actually I had already (re)deleted the cultism section before reading the above. I agree with the suggestion to include relevant paragraphs about whether the philosophy encourages cultism and about whether the philosophy is a philosophy. I have sympathy for the former criticism, and none for the latter, although due to its prevalence it merits addressing. Simply citing the definition (cited a few paragraphs previously) pretty much answers the charge. — DAGwyn 21:39, 15 June 2007 (UTC)
Perhaps what the "pseudophilosophy" text should say is something along these lines: "Although some critics challenge whether Objectivism should be called a "philosophical system," it is unarguably a well-defined body of ideas with specific theories about logic, aesthetics, ethics, metaphysics, and epistemology, the traditional core concerns of the discipline of philosophy." — DAGwyn 21:46, 15 June 2007 (UTC)
And perhaps what the "cultism" text should say is something along these lines: "Although Ayn Rand herself replied to a fan who wrote her offering cult-like allegiance by declaring "A blind follower is precisely what my philosophy condemns and what I reject. Objectivism is not a mystic cult," (copy ref from Ayn Rand article) some observers have accused Objectivism of being just that.(copy refs from Ayn Rand article) Former Objectivist Nathaniel Branden has argued that followers' obsession with Rand herself led to an unhealthy cult of personality within the Objectivist movement."

I don't think that the proposed paragraphs will be encyclopedic enough without actually listing and ref'ing the criticism. I'm ready to work on a ref'd text with substantive discussion, but I have a life too, and getting the refs together will take time. Structurally, each paragraph should start with a synopsis of each category of critique, then name names, then discuss. AdamReed 22:34, 15 June 2007 (UTC).

argue with the rand cite, where she says objectivism.--Buridan 10:08, 16 June 2007 (UTC)

Where she says Objectivism is... what? ThAtSo 13:00, 16 June 2007 (UTC)

where she is responding to objectivism being a cult, not the objectivist movement, which i see no mention of other than where people need to say 'it is not us'. --Buridan 08:47, 17 June 2007 (UTC)

i'm fine with the current version.--Buridan 08:47, 17 June 2007 (UTC)

Is Objectivism a Philosophy?

I've looked through claims that Objectivism is not a philosophy, and all but one pre-date Peikoff's OPAR, and say that it is not a philosophical system because it was never published as a philosophical system. There have been no such criticisms since the publication of OPAR, so I am inclined to leave them out, because they are obsolete. The one exception is Merrill's claim that Objectivism is not a philosophy but rather the starting point of a set of new natural (albeit theoretical) sciences concerned with questions that previously were the exclusive concern of philosophy. I'll need to cite my own work, but it is from a refereed journal (JARS) and definitely not original research for the Wikipedia. Comments? AdamReed 02:02, 17 June 2007 (UTC).

The claim that Objectivism "was never published as a philosophical system" is easily refuted by the most cursory review of the facts, and therefore not worthy of inclusion in an encyclopedia.

"Ayn Rand named her philosophy 'Objectivism.'" - Ayn Rand Institute,

"Until or unless I write a comprehensive treatise on my philosophy, Dr. Peikoff's course is the only authorized presentation of the entire theoretical structure of Objectivism, i.e., the only one that I know of my own knowledge to be fully accurate." - Ayn Rand, quoted at

"Branden: You can define Objectivism as simply "the philosophy formulated by Ayn Rand." Or you can define it as "a philosophy formulated by Ayn Rand that teaches that...etc., etc., etc." What difference does it make? Isn't this pedantry? The truth is, Objectivism is both, depending on context — a proper noun and a concept.

In the real world "Objectivism" stands for a set of ideas formulated by Rand. Once those ideas are published, they acquire a life of their own. They can be accepted by different people to varying degrees. They are intellectual tools, really. Ways to understand the world. It's unrealistic to think one can freeze that philosophy into a static set of concepts and insist that no further implication, derived from the same base, is "Objectivism." We may not call our new thoughts "Objectivism," if we wish to stress that they were not originated by Rand, but we may certainly insist they are entailed or implied by Objectivist premises..." - Nathanial Branden,

The fact that Objectivism is the title of Ayn Rand's philosophy is already recognized in the Wikipedia article on Ayn Rand: "Rand's philosophical system, Objectivism, encompasses positions on metaphysics, epistemology, ethics, politics and aesthetics." -

VisitorTalk 06:01, 20 August 2007 (UTC)

Dammit, we already had this discussion!!

The page titled talk:list of major philosophers/Archive 1 has been deleted. Non-administrators can no longer view it. Hence as a public service, I am pasting here some comments from that page.


This alleged fact is not a fact. "Quite literally no one who seriously studies philosophy"? Bullshit. I suggest that the person who wrote the words above has not investigated and is substituting what he or she wishes for any investigation. Do you want a list of philosophy professors and philosophy graduate students who rank Ayn Rand as the most important of 20th-century philosophers? I could readily supply you with names of 20 such professors (I'll start compiling it). Graduate students would take longer. Telling a readily refutable lie will not help your credibility. Michael Hardy 01:43, 3 Nov 2003 (UTC)

I would submit that the authors and editors of the following works are among those who "seriously stud[y] philosophy":

Encyclopedia of Ethics by Lawrence C. Becker (Routledge 2001), p. 1440.
Concise Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Routledge, 1999).
Philosophy of Education: An Encyclopedia, edited by J. J. Chambliss (Garland 1996), p. 302.

The above list Ayn Rand among philosophers, contrary to the troll's bigotted assertion.

The following professors of philosophy will tell you that Ayn Rand was an important philosopher, contrary to the bigot's assertion:

  • Lisa Dolling (head of the honors program in theology at St. John's University in New York)
  • Tibor Machan, (Stanford University. See his home page at [1].)
  • Douglas Den Uyl (Bellarmine University, Louisville, Kentucky)
  • Douglas Rasmussen (St. John's University, New York)
  • Eric Mack (Tulane University)
  • Aeon Skoble (Bridgewater State College, Massachusetts)
  • Tara Smith (University of Texas at Austin)
  • Lester Hunt (University of Wisconsin, Madison)
  • Randall Dipert (C.S. Peirce Professor of American Philosophy, SUNY Buffalo)
  • Roderick Long (Auburn University)
  • R. Kevin Hill (Northwestern University)
  • Slavoj Zizek (The European Graduate School)
  • Michael Huemer (University of Colorado, Boulder)
  • Jonathan Jacobs (University of Pennsylvania)
  • Wayne Davis (Chair of the Philosophy Department, Georgetown University)
  • Stephen Parrish (Concordia University, Ann Arbor, Michigan)
  • Stephen R. C. Hicks (Rockford College, Illinois)
  • Fred Seddon (University of Pittsburgh? (I'm not sure of this affiliation -- more later))
  • Allan Gotthelf, (University of Pittsburgh), (who is also Secretary of the Ayn Rand Society, an official 'group' of the Eastern Division of the American Philosophical Association).
  • Andrew Bernstein, (Duke University (I'm not sure this one is up to date))
  • Gary Hull, (Duke University)

Michael Hardy 19:46, 3 Nov 2003 (UTC)

By the way, the list above is of course a partial list. And also, one may list professors in other humanities fields than philosophy. I will also take up the anonymous posters challenge to list journal articles. That will take some time, but let's start with this one:

  • Leonard Peikoff, Aristotle's Intuitive Induction, The New Scholasticism, Vol. 59, p. 30-53, 1985.

Michael Hardy 22:15, 3 Nov 2003 (UTC)

Recalling the dishonest claim again:

"Quite literally no one who seriously studies philosophy anywhere considers Ayn Rand a philosopher. Hunt through the index of any philosophy book or journal you like, and you won't find her name cited; look through the philosophy section af any library, and you won't find books on her. Look through the course syllabi for any philosophy department you want and you won't find them reading anything she wrote."

A scholar at New York University has told me that Ayn Rand has been discussed in the following scholarly journals (contrary to the claim about "any ... journal you like"); I'll try to cite articles on this discussion page as I find the cites:

  • Philosophical Books
  • Review of Metaphysics
  • The Monist
  • The Personalist
  • Social Philosophy and Policy
  • Catholic World
  • American Journal of Economics and Sociology
  • Germano-Salavica: Canadian Journal of Germanic and Slavic Comparative and Interdisciplinary Studies
  • College English
  • University of Windsor Review
  • Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, Psychotherapy: Theory, Research, and Practice, Impact of Science on Society
  • Journal of Popular Culture
  • Cycnos
  • Aristos
  • Harvard Journal of Law & Public Policy
  • The Occasional Review
  • Reason Papers
  • Critical Review
  • Journal of Libertarian Studies
  • The Humanist
  • Commentary
  • Nomos
  • English Journal
  • Journal of Thought
  • Journal of Philosophical Research
  • New University Thought
  • Journal of Business Ethics
  • Library Journal
  • Choice
  • Journal of Canadian Studies
  • Social Justice Review
  • Teaching Philosophy
  • Resources for American Literary Study
  • Policy Review

Contrary to the claim about "any philosophy book ... you like", she is the topic of articles in the following encyclopedias:

  • Encyclopedia of Philosophy
  • Encyclopedia of Ethics
  • Encyclopedia of Libertarianism
  • Encyclopedia of New York State
  • American Authors and Books
  • American Novelists of Today
  • Encyclopedia of World Literature
  • Contemporary Authors
  • Contemporary Literary Criticism
  • Contemporary Novelists
  • A Handbook of American Literature
  • Contemporary Women Philosophers
  • Oxford Companion to American Literature
  • Reader's Encyclopedia of American Literature
  • Twentieth Century Authors

Michael Hardy 20:17, 4 Nov 2003 (UTC)

end of excerpt

I don't think the issue is really whether or not Rand's Objectivism constitutes a philosophy (or philosophical system), but whether the sometimes-heard assertion that it doesn't ought to be addressed in the article. It's obvious to me that the assertion is without merit.. The cultism accusation is a separate issue, and to me doesn't belong in this article, but rather in the (at least) two other articles where it is already mentioned. — DAGwyn 20:41, 18 June 2007 (UTC)

I agree that the assertion that Objectivism is not a philosophy or philosophical system is clearly without merit and should be dropped from the article. Also agree that the "cult" question is an unrelated issue. VisitorTalk 06:02, 20 August 2007 (UTC)

History of cultism

By mentioning Peikoff as the only name connected to cultism in the Objectivist movement, the paragraph in its current form perpetrates a falsehood. Ayn Rand was very aware of incipient cultism, and she forecefully stopped Branden from creating an Objectivist organization. Branden did a four-step: he started a lecture business, turned that lecture business in everything but name into the very organization that Rand tried to stop, appointed himself Ayn Rand's pope, and started excommunicating. Important heretics got an inquisition-style trial from Branden himself; lesser or younger ones got a "Holzer letter" (I got mine in 1965.) As for Peikoff, once he realized that he was imitating Branden and NBI, he resigned as head of ARI. Peikoff's own work got much better once he stopped playing cult leader. Yaron Brook's policy has been to get people to read Rand, not to tell them what to think about her books. He's been donating books left and right, including to classes of professors whose own teaching of Rand is pure invective against her and her ideas. And there has not been an excommunication since, not even when Robert Tracinski started posting deliberately provocative diatribes against Peikoff in public fora. The only cultism I've seen in recent years is from the partisans of... Nathaniel Branden. Something is missing from that paragraph... AdamReed 01:25, 19 June 2007 (UTC).

I got mine in 1965.

What did it say? Do you still have it?

he was imitating Branden and NBI

I had that impression too.

he realized that he was imitating Branden and NBI

David Kelley accused him of being cultish (at great length---a whole (if not so long) book); now you say Peikoff realized it and acted accordingly. Did he actually say so explicitly? What's the story on Peikoff', repentance? I sat through a number of his courses (I wasn't present; I heard them on tape) and from time to time he annoyed me by what seemed like unreasonable impatience with the content of questions and the like. Later I read Nathaniel Branden's confessions book (Judgment Day; I haven't read the revised version that came out years later) and then I thought the problem with Peikoff is he's acting the way Branden said he did during his NBI power trip described in his confessions. As if he'd been well trained by Branden. I think Branden once described Peikoff as a monster that he---Branden---had created. I knew Peikoff had quit as head of ARI, but I assumed that was because he wanted to work on other things, like his "DIM hypothesis" and studying physics, etc. Michael Hardy 01:53, 19 June 2007 (UTC)

Glad you asked (by the way, good to see you here. I had lost track of you when I was busy with the tenure process, and then had no idea where you's gone.) I don't have any connection with ARI. From secondary sources, such as the discussions on Diana Hsie's blog, I understand that his "repentance" was to announce that he had suffered from "rationalism" (peikoff-talk for "ignoring empirical evidence") just like the rationalism of Nathaniel Branden. On the other hand, everything Peikoff predicted in "Fact and Value" has come to pass: Kelley turned his (semi-demi) Objectivist Center into The Institute for (semi-hemi-demi) Objectivist Studies, and then into (no mention of Objectivism) "Atlas Society." As for the Holzer letter, I probably still have it, but I'm not about to try to dig it out of musty papers from 4 decades ago. As I remember it, the lawyerly text said "you made an error in your interpretation of Objectivism." The lawyerly subtext said "heretic, be gone." Back to today: not long ago. Branden's partisans systematically extripated every fact and reference that was not hagiographic of Branden from the Wikipedia page on... Ayn Rand. But of course they denounce cultism, as long as it is not traced to their leader. AdamReed 02:32, 19 June 2007 (UTC).

That is an absolute lie. AdamReed is referring to the editing of the description of the Branden-Rand affair, a substantial amount of which was done by me, and I am far from being a Branden partisan. You can check the Talk:Ayn Rand page to see how AdamReed continually allowed his preconceptions to bias his reading of the article text and his opinion of the motives of the editors. There was no "systematic extirpation" of Branden references. — DAGwyn 14:06, 19 June 2007 (UTC)

Interesting. This goes a long way in explaining Reed's hostility towards Nathaniel. I've never seen anyone twist the facts in this particular direction before, blaming him for the cult of personality around Rand, as if he was somehow responsible for it instead of being yet another victim. The misguided hostility against Kelley is also scary, as is the willful blindness towards Brooks' continuation of Peikoff's policies.

Actually Branden himself has admitted that he was largely the instigator of the "psychologizing", "inquisitions", and "excommunications", although clearly Rand sanctioned that activity, and could be quite temperamental when crossed. — DAGwyn 14:06, 19 June 2007 (UTC)

I am thankful that Reed has shown us just how distorted his worldview is, so that we can use this insight into his mental state to understand the sorts of errors that stem from such blanket partisanship and evasion of reality. In the future, when he tries and fails to be objective, we will know that he is only reacting to his old emotional wounds from being ostracized by the group he felt was so important to him. It's a fine example of what happens when someone puts their self-esteem in the hands of others. ThAtSo 07:30, 19 June 2007 (UTC)

I think that ThAtSo's posting above requires no interpretive comment. As for DAGwyn's "That's an absolute lie," I know of no other explanation for his deletion of the mention of the "counseling" that Rand identified in contemporaneous notes as the proximate cause of her alienation from Branden, or of the source ref to those notes. The resulting paragraph corresponds exactly to Branden's narrative, as endlessmike88 noted in talk. DAGwin would gain credibility if his actual edits were a bit less partisan. Some mention of the fact that Scott was Branden's marital counseling client (Rand's stated reason for telling Branden that she was off-limits) and of the "counseling" would go a long way in that direction. AdamReed 14:52, 19 June 2007 (UTC).

(Note: we're discussing the Ayn Rand article now. The Rand-Branden affair isn't useful to mention in the Objectivism (Ayn Rand) article.) I explained the reason previously, perhaps in an edit summary. To repeat: I don't dispute that there were counseling sessions, etc. I just don't think the too-brief mention of that in the article was wise, because it would confuse the general reader rather than enlighten him, and the amount of necessary additional explanation isn't justified by its importance. My goal (for the Ayn Rand article) is to summarize significant biographical events in a way that conveys clearly the essence, without getting mired in details. The essence of the Rand-Branden affair isn't that there was counseling, but rather that there was an open affair, an affair with another person, and deception about the latter. — DAGwyn 15:08, 21 June 2007 (UTC)
It's clear from anyone involved in a discussion with Objectivists that there are several sides and stories going around. I would suggest that information regarding this be put in the articels on Ayn Rand and Nathaniel Branden with, at most, a pointer here. I can't see the relavence to this article. My personal view on the whole thing is that it doesn't matter from a philosophical standpoint, and will matter even less when Nathaniel Branden and those involved are dead. I could give my considered opinion on who I beleive, but that doesn't add anything to this discussion. I will say that there has been a decided effort to get certain articles in line with either one side or the other. Let's stick to facts that are not contested, or clearly denote both sides when there is confusion. Finally I'd like to note ThatSo's tone here is not one I'd care to be on the receiving end of. Let's keep things civil, on fact, on topic, and npov.Ethan a dawe 16:38, 19 June 2007 (UTC)

So far, you haven't been on receiving end of that particular tone, and there's a reason for that; you haven't been blatently partisan. Now, as much as you say none of this would matter when everyone's dead, that's true about everything. We're alive now and the truth matters to us now. It's possible to separate Objectivism from Rand -- that's something I've been trying very hard to do -- but we do her no service by pretending that the story of her life is unimportant or irrelevant to her very personal philosophy. While Rand lived, Objectivism was whatever she said it was. Now that she's gone, all of these groups are fighting over her legacy. For a "baby Objectivist" trying to figure out what's going on, some insight into the past is essential. ThAtSo 17:34, 19 June 2007 (UTC)

The last round of unexplained changes by Reed reflect his track record of erasing whatever doesn't support his worldview and otherwise adding POV. I reverted them and will revert any changes, by Reed or anyone else, when they violate the non-negotiable NPOV policy of Wikipedia. ThAtSo 19:09, 19 June 2007 (UTC)

Ah yes. ThAtSo, champion deleter of facts and references that happen to be outside his partisan agenda, now poses as a defender of NPOV by imposing even more overlap between already over-long articles. In view of the fact that his historical practice is to get his way by edit wars, and I don't have time for one, I'm leaving that one to whoever cares. AdamReed 21:04, 19 June 2007 (UTC).
ENOUGH! Discuss all changes in talk and bring the facts here before starting an edit war. This constant edit and revision war is ridiculous. I'm sure people who don't like objectivism are laughing their asses off. The truth is the truth. If someone has some to post please do.Ethan a dawe 21:42, 19 June 2007 (UTC)
I agree with Ethan, don't edit war, act in good faith, and stay npov. I'll add that if something is cited, then it is likely there for a reason.--Buridan 21:58, 19 June 2007 (UTC)

ThAtSo wrote:

I've never seen anyone twist the facts in this particular direction before, blaming him for the cult of personality around Rand, as if he was somehow responsible for it instead of being yet another victim.

Read Nathaniel Branden's book Judgment Day. It's pretty much what Branden says there, except he's not so explicit about the moral evaluations. He says he made Objectivism into a movement rather than a only body of writings. That alone could make one presume that he made it into the kind of movement it became. Branden also says in that book that he enjoyed having his students be in fear and awe of him. As a psychologist, he surely knew the tactics for getting that reaction. And he says that when Rand lost her temper, he always defended her and joined her in attacking the person she was angry at. Now consider: Rand was a hothead who lost her patience with people. Branden wanted NBI students to be in fear and awe of him. He always leapt to her defense, attacking the person she was angry at. He knew psychological tactics. What this adds up to is that with her it was emotion and with him it was tactics. The victim would remember that she got angry at him, hence have the impression that she was the one who was building up a cult based on fear and awe. And Branden also states in the book that he deceived her for a long time about their intimate relationship. All this is in Branden's own book. Now I suspect that James Valliant, being a prosecutor, has decided to go beyond saying Branden was guilty of certain things, into saying Branden is evil and worthless, because that's what prosecutors do. But Branden's own book says he was not just "another victim". Michael Hardy 00:33, 15 July 2007 (UTC)

Here's Barbara Branden: "Insofar as Objectivism became like a cult, it was Nathan who did that, not Ayn. [...] He was definitely the one who was keen for creating the cult aspect." That's from Liberty, a few years after the break. Endlessmike 888 00:59, 15 July 2007 (UTC)

Suggestions for Improvement

article structure requires refinement

Influence sub-topic in other disciplines adds little value to understanding the philosophy due to its brevity. A bullet list of facts added ad-hoc is bad content. Ayn Rand asserted that Objectivism was for living life. A paragraph addressing this theme supported by a number of examples (perhaps the current three) would be much better. Perhaps I will write it if the section survives a long time in its current form. Karbinski 14:00, 20 June 2007 (UTC)

article is too long

the article is getting too long and needs pruned. since there are now main pages for most philosophical disciplines, perhaps we can cut some content? however, we shouldn't cut things that are needed to sustain npov.--Buridan 11:30, 13 June 2007 (UTC)

I am in the process of streamlining the organization to reduce redundancy. Once this is done, the next step will be to make the language more concise. Let's defer the "pruning" until then. It would be helpful, before we start pruning, to develop (here in talk) explicit criteria beyond just NPOV - for example, do not remove from the earlier sections material that is referred to in the "Response and Influence" section, or material that pertains to foundational differences between Objectivism and traditional philosophical systems. AdamReed 14:52, 13 June 2007 (UTC)
How about a new article: Objectivism, cultural influence? Such a move would shorten this article nicely without losing too much. Perhaps leaving a paragraph behind based on the monographs section that mentions the new article along with a reference to the bibliography article. Karbinski 00:27, 30 June 2007 (UTC)
how about just cleaning up this one? cleaning up the areas that are redundant with other articles.--Buridan 09:30, 30 June 2007 (UTC)

Criticism : Objectivism section edit

The paragraph that introduces the cult criticism can be shortened to be _only_ an introduction as the topic is covered in detail in another article which is also linked. There is no need to include a defense here as that is also covered in the linked article (that seems to be the purpose of the extended coverage).

Objectivism and Contemporary Philosophy

Who wrote this section? It is, on a whole, almost entirely false. I'll take it assertion by assertion.

"little dialogue of any scholarly quality has passed between Objectivists and other kinds of philosophers" Hello! This is discussed in the Objectivist Movement article.

"There are several sociological and historial reasons for this, including but not limited to: the promotion of Objectivist philosophy by private organizations rather than academic institutions," The University of Texas isn't an academic institution? What about the University of Pittsburgh. What about the APA? Again, covered in the Objectivist Movement article.

"Additionally, the non-academic history of Objectivist philosophy creates a situation where many non-Objectivist philosophers find themselves talking past their Objectivist counterparts" Says who? That's a bold assertion to make with zero sources. Here is what Geoffrey Sayre-McCord, a well known professor of philosophy at UNC-Chapel Hill had to say about two conferences he attended between Objectivists and analytics: "I found both conferences engaging and interesting. It seemed like ordinary high-powered philosophy." That's from the latest issue of the Chronicle of Higher Education. He goes on to say that he benefited strongly from working with Objectivists.

"Objectivists tend to dismiss analytic philosophy as mere "linguistic analysis" Really? Which ones?

"Naturally, contemporary non-objectivist philosophers counter that much of Objectivism - such as its views on causation, free will, and the mind-body relationship - is false." Who? Where? Is Objectivism ignored by academics, or have they studied it and then rejected it. It can't be both.

"As well, Objectivism is hostile toward continental philosophies" No disagreement there. But how is a reader supposed to know what we are talking about without some citations or quotes?

"Though the volume and quality of the scholarship has improved, the presence of non-partisan evaluators has not." Unsourced evaluation.

"ARI-inspired works tend to eschew academic publication standards" Really? Then explain Tara Smith's CV, or Allan Gotthelf's article in the review of metaphysics, or Darryl Wright's article in Social Policy and Philosophy, or John Lewis's book contract with Princeton University Press, etc.

"Finally, many works critical of Objectivism seem superficial and fail to appreciate the complexity and internal coherence of the philosophy." Which ones?

This section is REALLY bad, especially when all the facts are available in the Objectivist Movement article. There are other problems as well, but this is enough to dismiss it. I'm deleting the whole section. Endlessmike 888 01:09, 13 July 2007 (UTC)

Actually, your summary is way off base, but the point remains that the original poster needs to work on his citations, precisely because his words need defense from the sort of sloppy arguments you're tossing out. Until they provide citations, I'll let your deletion stand. ThAtSo 02:48, 13 July 2007 (UTC)
If you'll explain what you think is "sloppy," that may help a future version of the section. And, btw, I didn't provide an argument. I cited facts that contradict what was written. Endlessmike 888 02:23, 14 July 2007 (UTC)

I'm not really interested in debate for debate's sake. I'll wait for citations, then defend them. ThAtSo 05:05, 14 July 2007 (UTC)


I wasn't sure about the relationship between the Ayn Rand Society and the American Philosophical Society Association and some google searches turned up very little, so I sent an e-mail to the APA. Apparently the ARS is not affiliated with the APA, though they do meet at the same time occasionally (quote from my e-mail: "The Ayn Rand Society is not affiliated with the APA, though they do meet in conjunction with us at some of our meetings.") I'll be removing the mention of the link. WLU 20:39, 24 July 2007 (UTC)

"The Ayn Rand Society, founded in 1987, is an affiliated group with the American Philosophical Association, Eastern Division. Its aim is to foster the scholarly study by philosophers of the philosophical thought and writings of Ayn Rand." From their website. Endlessmike 888 23:32, 24 July 2007 (UTC)
Also, the section you deleted contianed a cite to an APA handbook, listing the ARS. Endlessmike 888 23:35, 24 July 2007 (UTC)
The APA and APS are different. For some reason the article says APS, when it should be APA. I'll fix it. Endlessmike 888 23:37, 24 July 2007 (UTC)

The APS is probably my error when I originally put in the information. The relationship claimed by the ARS with the APA adds credibility to the ARS, which is doubtless why they have it on their website. I've checked the more recent proceedings of the APA and they do indeed have more recent appearances in the same capacity - single sessions of 3 hours, and a booth selling stuff. I'll be updating the link to the most recent version and modifying the wording a bit to hopefully something acceptable to everyone. Feedback please! WLU 12:48, 25 July 2007 (UTC)


If you're a frequent editor of Objectivism-related articles, you may have noticed that the Objectivism box has been changing lately. There are actually two different topics being debated, leading to reversions. The first is about what philosophies should be listed as influenced by Objectivism and the other is about some cosmetic and organizational changes that make the box more compact. Come join us and break the deadlock. ThAtSo 14:47, 7 August 2007 (UTC)

What to include and what to exclude from influence section

Lets look at what we have: Economics / Physical science / Art - all examples of the influence of Objectivist ideas at work

Video Games - as above, the story of Atlas Shrugged is about Objectivist ideas

The article is about Objectivism - so references to things influenced by its ideas are relevant.

References to things that are clearly at odds with Objectivist ideas serve - and I'm sure included for this purpose by bias editors - only to *confuse* the user. Any movement or individual that embraces mysticism clearly rejects Objectivism at the root. Published claims by such individuals or movements are irrelevant. Karbinski 13:37, 13 August 2007 (UTC)

Is this about the LeVay/Satanism thing? That there are two citations for this section, and that Rand (and hence Objectivism) are mentioned explicitly, it seems valid. The references in particular, are more explicit in their discussion of objectivism and Rand than the art and physical science disciplines mentioned in the same section. In particular, the objective science reference for physical sciences just uses the word 'Objective' in the title, with no link to Rand, and given the use of the term 'objective' in the natural sciences, it's hardly a convincing statement that it's linked to Rand-style objectivism - it needs a more solid link to objectivism, and I've commented it out of the page pending said citation. The Aristos link was also iffy - the front page only had a link to Rand via a book being sold; I've linked it to the 'about' page, which mentions Rand more explicitly.
Also, wikipedia is about verifiability, not truth - it is verifiable that LeVay claims Satanism is influenced by Objectivism, though a comment about the truth of his statement is not available. Given this, I think the statement should be replaced in the article. WLU 14:57, 13 August 2007 (UTC)

I'm not questioning the verifiability or the truth of the reference. It is simply not relevant to this article. Person X has, and we can verify it, claimed to have been influenced by a set of ideas he explicitly disagrees with is simply not the stuff of a quality encyclopedic article. As for the veracity of the rest of the section, it can all go - I've commented above that the list presentation is questionable content. Karbinski 17:05, 13 August 2007 (UTC)

I've adjusted the spacing of your comment as per WP:TALK for readability.
I don't see how you can argue it's not relevant - LaVey has stated that his brand of religion is the same as Objectivism. He used the words 'Ayn Rand's philosophy'. That Person X, if notable (and LaVey is) has claimed to be influenced by Objectivism is very encyclopedic. The whole point of the section is non-philosophic arenas where Objectivism has had an impact. Explicitly, this has occurred in economics, satanism, art and video games. If it's verifiable, it's eligible for inclusion. Everything's been verified but the science bit, and all seems noteworthy enough for inclusion. Since there's more than two editors involved, and we've got opposing ideas, the next step would be a RFC. Would you like to take that step? WLU 17:20, 13 August 2007 (UTC)

What is relevant to the section is notable people and movements which have been verifiably influenced by Objectivism. LaVey is notable (as far as Wikipedia standards are concerned), and therefore if influence can be verified, it is relevant. The fact that Objectivism influenced LaVey is verifiable. Ergo, LaVey deserves mention.
Your position that there are contradictions in LaVey's position is original research, nothing more. Nietzsche influenced the Nazis despite the two espousing radically different, contradictory philosophies. Skomorokh incite 17:24, 13 August 2007 (UTC)
Also adjusted the spacing of your comments and added (what I think is) the wikilink you were trying for :) Unsourced discussions of the contradictions between positions are indeed OR, but sourced discussions of the contradictions are eligible for inclusion, not a reason to remove the section. If Karbinski has any sources stating that LVS is an incoherent understanding of Objectivism, they should be added to the page. At this point, there appears to be consensus for the inclusion of LaVey. WLU 17:33, 13 August 2007 (UTC)

Wikipedia articles should be articles, not fact dump sites. It is verifiable that as a youth Ayn Rand thought she and Nietzsche shared common ground. Just because this little tid-bit could be added to an article on Nietzsche's philosophy with reliable citations DOES NOT mean it is relevant. It would only be clutter at best and confusing in the worst. It is the same with the reference under discussion. There seems to be consensus that if there is a <ref> tag - something makes good content. How can you argue this contributes to anyone's understanding of Rand's ideas or the criticisms of those ideas? Karbinski 19:45, 13 August 2007 (UTC)

The article isn't about helping people understand Rand's ideas, it's about reporting verifiable information on Objectivism. An explanation of Objectivism should be part of the article, but not everything. Wikipedia is essentially a big fact dump site, ideally one that is well-written, thorough and referenced. If you have a referenced statement that Rand and Nietzsche share common ground, it would be a great addition to the page. It's not clutter to add information about the founder of Objectivism's beliefs regards other philosophers. A ref tag around a reliable source is the essence of good content. We don't explain Rand's ideas, or criticize them - that's original research. But we do report others who have explained or criticized her ideas. WLU 20:29, 13 August 2007 (UTC)
WLU said "Wikipedia is essentially a big fact dump site...". WLU, your statement is objectively false. See: Wikipedia is not an indiscriminate collection of information. Alfred Centauri 20:51, 13 August 2007 (UTC)
My somewhat tongue in cheek comment aside, since the statement in the article is not a FAQ, plot summary, lyric transcription, statistic or news report, but it is a statement made by a notable person about the article's subject, do you think it is suitable? My purpose was to emphasize that we report facts, not truth, and it's a verifiable fact that LaVey stated he founded his religion on Rand's philosophy - objectivism. What makes it a non-indiscriminate piece of information is the relationship between Objectivism and LaVey Satanism. WLU 21:17, 13 August 2007 (UTC)
I believe this fact is much more ironic than it is notable. However, the bottom line is that Wikipedia is a living document and, as is stated right below this edit box, If you don't want your writing to be edited mercilessly or redistributed for profit by others, do not submit it. Regardless of the merits or lack thereof of your argument, if the consensus of the primary editors of this article is that this fact is non-notable (as well as misleading IMHO), then it will be removed - if not now, then later. Alfred Centauri 21:53, 13 August 2007 (UTC)
It's non-notable and misleading. LaVey rejects the whole foundation of Objectivism, and then claims his religion is just Objectivism with some ceremony. That is completely ridiculous. Ethan a dawe 22:04, 13 August 2007 (UTC)
Right now the only person who seems to oppose the addition is Karbinski; myself and Skomorokh appear to support, and you have not put in a clear opinion either way - does this mean you do not feel the infomation is relevant? I think it's sufficiently noteworthy to be included, to the point of moving to a WP:RFC if needed. If the RFC shoots me down, I'll let it rest. WLU 21:58, 13 August 2007 (UTC)
How is it non-notable? LaVey is himself notable, as is his brand of Satanism. LaVey himself does not reject anything, he adds ceremony and ritual - it's the CoS link that states the modifications. How is it misleading? LaVey said it, that's what is being reported. Again, wikipedia is about verifiability, not truth. It doesn't matter if it's true or not, and for us to decide this is original research. LaVey said it, and he's notable. The two together means in my mind, it should be on the page. WLU 22:16, 13 August 2007 (UTC)
WLU, forget the verifiability versus truth argument. Most Wikipedia editors understand this notion very well. Don't you understand that it's irrelevant who opposes the addition at this time? Apparently, you didn't 'get' the thrust of my argument. Ask yourself this question: "Are my edits (or the edits of any other person for that matter) a permanent addition (or subtraction) from Wikipedia?" Forget the RFC and ask yourself if are you prepared to monitor this article from now on and revert the removal of this material at any time in the future? Alfred Centauri 23:49, 13 August 2007 (UTC)
Yes. Verifiability over truth FTW! Aside form that, I don't really get your point - it's not who is in line with policy, it's whoever is most stubborn that gets their edits to stand? That's why we have WP:AIV and the WP:3RR. WLU 01:02, 14 August 2007 (UTC)
<sigh> No, it's that edits never stand and that's the way Wikipedia works by design. Wikipedia is a living document and every Tom, Dick, and Harry that has learned just enough about a subject to think that he is an expert will edit this article and every other article here. Go ahead and make a stand and move to an RFC. Then, check back on this article every so often to see if there is any evidence remaining of all your trouble. Are you starting to get the picture now? Alfred Centauri 03:08, 14 August 2007 (UTC)
Um, I was just planning on leaving the page on my watchlist. And if an anon IP deletes the section, I'd revert with the single click of a mouse. It's a risk I'm willing to take. WLU 05:23, 14 August 2007 (UTC)

As long as we are counting editors to claim consensus, Ethan a dawe agrees with me above - current count 50/50 split - so lay off the consensus angle.

As for the claim that this is supposed to be a dump site for facts, and at the same time well written - is a serious mistaken belief. Wikipedia (Encylopedias in general) has a structure: it is broken down by TOPIC. A well written article addresses its TOPIC. The topic of this article is the ideas contained with Ayn Rand's philosophy, one in the same as Objectivism. There is another article on LeVay Satanism where the topic is that set of ideas - here it would be relevant to include the references LeVay made to Ayn Rand's philosophy. Karbinski 14:17, 14 August 2007 (UTC)

btw, Nietzsche and Ayn Rand do NOT share common ground (according to the verifiable source), she thought they did in her *youth*, and (from another verifiable source) she did not consider herself a Philospher until she was 40 years of age. In no way would this bit of trivia 'contribute' to an article on the topic of Nietzshe's ideas Karbinski 14:22, 14 August 2007 (UTC)

Verifiability, not truth - if a reliable source says that X notable person said they shared a common ground with Y notable person, but another source says that this relationship is bogus, report both.

Or report neither if they contribute nothing to the topic of the report. I'll reiterate that neither the truth or verifiability are at question or issue here. Karbinski 13:00, 15 August 2007 (UTC)

Some sources that link Rand and LaVey:
I'm not saying the page should report the relationship favourably or unfavourably, just that LaVey is sufficiently noteworthy to have the link between the two mentioned. If a reference points out that the relationship is bogus, so much the better. Also, consensus is not just the editors of the page, it's the wikicommunity at large. That's what the RFC is for. Since you've just removed the information, I'll go ahead and make the RFC. WLU 14:41, 14 August 2007 (UTC)

I am not saying the relationship does not exist, it is clearly verifiable. What of it? It is ridiculous, while reporting on the topic of ideas x / y / z, to report that notable person A - whom holds the ideas ~x / ~y / ~z - claims to have been influenced by ideas x / y / z (that the notable person made the claim is, of course, verifiable). It is a biographical fact of notable person A and has nothing, I repeat nothing, to do with ideas x / y / z. Karbinski 13:00, 15 August 2007 (UTC)

Request for Comment: Influence of Objectivism in other areas

This is a dispute about whether specific sub-sections (below) should be included in the page; the overall section discusses the impact of objectivism in various areas of culture and academia.


I propose that rather than having a section on "influence of objectivism in other areas," instead, discuss the influence of each major component of objectivism in the discussion of that component. For example, in the section on Objectivist aesthetics, include a subsection about the influence of Objectivist aesthetics. VisitorTalk 21:21, 18 August 2007 (UTC)

Objectivism isn't a collection of disconnected components, but an integrated world view. Some of the cited applications mentioned multiple components being applied, which makes such a split problematic. In particular, Objectivism has a definite position on government involvement in the arts, in science, and in economics, quite apart from its theories in the individual disciplines. — DAGwyn 02:22, 5 September 2007 (UTC)

In other areas


One of the goals of economist George Reisman's Capitalism: A Treatise on Economics is to place Austrian economics on a foundation of Objectivist epistemology and Objectivist politics.[1]

Physical science

There have been efforts to apply Objectivism to the philosophy of physical science, in terms of ontology and epistemology, as well as ethical and political philosophy.[2]


The online art and philosophy of art review Aristos claims that it "owes much to the philosopher-novelist Ayn Rand".[3] In addition, fantasy author Terry Goodkind has incorporated Objectivist philosophy into his series of novels.[4][5]

Video games

See also: Influence of Ayn Rand in popular culture

According to project director Ken Levine, BioShock, a video game in development by Irrational Games, will include many references to Objectivism, and its story will largely mirror Ayn Rand's novel Atlas Shrugged. [6]


LaVeyan Satanism, according to its originator, Anton LaVey, is "...just Ayn Rand's philosophy, with ceremony and ritual added".[7] The Church of Satan has clarified this in an essay explaining that, while LaVey was heavily inspired by Rand's ethics, he adapted the original philosophy and replaced her metaphysics with pragmatism and epistemology with mysticism.[8]


  1. ^ Reisman, George (1996). Capitalism: A Treatise on Economics. Ottawa, Illinois: Jameson Books. 
  2. ^ "Objective Science". Retrieved 2007-06-18. 
  3. ^ Torres, L. "About Aristos". Retrieved 2007-08-13.  Unknown parameter |coauthors= ignored (|author= suggested) (help)
  4. ^ Goodkind, Terry. "The Philosophy of Terry Goodkind". Retrieved 2008-08-13. 
  5. ^ Perry, William E. "The Randian Fantasies of Terry Goodkind". The Atlas Society and its Objectivist Center. Retrieved 2008-08-13. 
  6. ^ "Bioshock - Gamers With Jobs". Retrieved 2007-06-28. 
  7. ^ Ellis, Bill (2000). Raising the Devil: Satanism, New Religions, and the Media. Lexington, KY: The University Press of Kentucky. , p. 180
  8. ^ "Satanism and Objectivism". Retrieved 2007-08-08. 

RFC section

Statements by editors previously involved in dispute

  • The information was removed from the page, citing WP:NOT#INFO. I don't see it as a collection of trivia, but rather a listing of areas where Objectivism has impacted other areas of culture and academics following Rand's death. It's not a collection of FAQs, it's not a plot summary, it's not a lyrics database, it's not a list of statistics, and it's not news reports, the five sections cited in WP:NOT, though that particular section is obviously not comprehensive. Each section (barring physical science) has references and wikilinks to other areas of wikipedia, pages which are sufficiently notable to merit their own pages. Further, most of the pages are non-stubs, and referenced. I think that all sections barring the physical sciences one have a place on the page. WLU 14:51, 14 August 2007 (UTC)
  • The information was removed from the page for quality reasons as well (which where posted on the talk page for discussion). After posting my concerns, I let the section stand, with hopes that I or another editor would be able to leverage the content for future writing. However, I find the latest new entries on the list to be frivolous to ridiculous (not original research, but rather the kind of judgements editors need to make to produce quality articles) and will not be utilizing this list whatsoever. As well, it has been almost two months since I brought the quality issue to discussion. Therefore, I removed the list as per my original intention to maintain the quality of the article. Karbinski 15:07, 14 August 2007 (UTC)

RE: facts merit mention - I would fully support a contribution to the article detailing a verifiable relationship between the value of Objectivism and influences outside of philosophy that was well written in prose. I would expect any such content to report on the article's topic and not list biographical facts about ridicously related notable persons and other such trivia (verifiable or otherwise). Karbinski 13:12, 15 August 2007 (UTC) (formatting?)

  • (Note: I am not an editor in this dispute but I have left some general Wikipedia related comments for WLU on this talk page.) Objections to the length of this article have already been raised on the talk page. The removed section, in its current form, is little more than a few 'notable' quotes (a type of trivia) that arguably adds little to no useful information to the article. Alfred Centauri 15:24, 14 August 2007 (UTC)


  • Unlike the vast majority of "philosophies", Objectivism specifically addresses what is required for proper human living, and thus its applications in such areas are important. All the cited sections, including the "objective science" one, are definitely Objectivism-inspired (more so than LaVey's Satanism actually is) and thus merit mention. — DAGwyn 18:24, 14 August 2007 (UTC)
  • All philosophies claim to address what is required for all aspects of human living. This does not mean that an encyclopaedia article should not feature only those aspects of the philosophy's teachings/influence that are notable and encyclopaedic. Frankly, the section needs drastic paring down. Hornplease 21:33, 15 August 2007 (UTC)

Response to RFC

So... there seem to be two essentially polar opposite claims regarding the RFC. Do we wait further? Or how do people feel if all the sections were rolled together into a single prose paragraph that basically said 'Objectivism has been cited as impacting x, x, x, x and x'? WLU 18:27, 16 August 2007 (UTC)

  • I would propose the standard for inclusion be 'interest to the user' and that the standard of what may be interesting to be 'how the ideas of Ayn Rand's philosophy have impacted x'. A list in paragraph form is still just a list. Instead one would have to have enough verifiable 'meat' to show how idea a has impacted x's work/life <ref> x </ref>. The number of celebrities we could list as having claimed being influenced by Ayn Rand is quite large (assuming we could find the media references), but that notable person x claims to have been influenced is not very interesting. What would be interesting is that notable person y did or is doing something based on idea a of Objectivism. Karbinski 00:47, 17 August 2007 (UTC)
  • I suggest we give the RFC a couple more days. If nothing much more comes from it, we can proceed as WLU suggests inside the Cultural impact section excluding the video game and satanism references (these are, respectively, the frivolous and ridiculous entries). It really is not a loss, both factoids have articles where they are or would be very pertinent (the book Atlas Shrugged is the article I'm thinking of for the video game). Karbinski 00:47, 17 August 2007 (UTC)

Agreed, give it a couple more days and then we'll see as right now we still have some unresolved fundamental disagreements. Perhaps a specific RFC just on those two items, but let's see what happens. WLU

WLU, and Karbinski: I find it interesting that the Church of Satan claims to be influenced by Objectivism (and even that it is rumoured that Brad Pitt is a Rand fan) but my question is: do such claims rise to the level of being relevant to the (core) Objectivism article? Perhaps another article with a stub pointing to it from here is in order. Alfred Centauri 22:06, 18 August 2007 (UTC)

RFC Conclusion

  • A paragraph outlining the influence of Objectivist ideas outside of Philosophy is welcome in the Cultural impact section, even if it is not much more than a wrapper for the previous list. Lack of participation in this RFC leaves us little to go on. Thanks to Alfred, DAG, and Horn for their input. Karbinski 13:48, 20 August 2007 (UTC)
Will the RFC tag be removed at this point, and this page dropped from VisitorTalk 15:24, 26 August 2007 (UTC)

9/4/07 - request for article adjustment

I had made this entry the other day, as the second paragraph to the article;

The capitalized term "Objectivism" does not appear in Websters or Oxford Dictionaries, The Stanford Dictionary of Philosophy, or the Encyclopedia Britanica. The lower case term appears in all these, and applies to a much broader set of beliefs then set forth by Rand, and is described as "any of various theories asserting the validity of objective phenomena over subjective experience; especially : REALISM"

It was undone, and I got this note;

Hello, I reverted your recent additions to the Objectivism article. The discussion about whether Objectivism is a philosophy and how the term Objectivism is used has been had several times. You can see this in the talk archives of the Objectivism article. If you wish to discuss this more or feel your changes are correct then please read the talk archives and discuse those changes on the talk page. Thanks! Ethan a dawe 12:32, 1 September 2007 (UTC)

Please note, it was not my goal to debate if Objectivism is a philosophy, etc... My goal was to highlight that "Objectivism" does not appear in dictionaries as a word. objectivism does, the more general term. I think it is important to point out to people that objectivism is a word, they will find in the dictionary, and it is a more general term. That Objectivism is not considered a word by the dictionary folks. The goal being to have people clearly understand that objectivism is not Objectivism, and understand the meaning of both terms as the proceed with the article. It took me a few days of looking in dictionaries, and talking to people to understand this. And it was only after a few days that I realized that Objectivism as used by the adherents to Rand, is not actually a word found in the dictionary. This info at the very top of the article will help save others time. That is why I stopped by wikipedia, and took the time to make the entry.

However you decide to rewrite that paragraph, I recommend, that right up at the top of the article I would clearly state that objectivism the general term and Objectivism the Rand specific term mean different things, and you will not find the word Objectivism (the rand term) dictionaries. Webulite 05:36, 4 September 2007 (UTC)

This is an encyclopedia, not a dictionary. The very top of the article has a link to the appropriate page for resolving ambiguity. I don't think there is anything more required of a encyclopedic entry on wikipedia. Nor do I think this article will be improved by spelling out that wikipedia is not a dictionary in the opening paragraph. Karbinski 14:00, 4 September 2007 (UTC)
I agree with Karbinski's comments. It also says something about the quality of a dictionary if it doesn't include a definition for the name of a popular philosophical movement that has had substantial influence; perhaps you should inform the dictionary editors. — DAGwyn 15:01, 4 September 2007 (UTC)
let's be clear... almost all encyclopedia articles start with a definition of some sort. objectivism is a popular ideology currently, perhaps in 50-100 years people will universally think it is a philosophy, let's hope not. as for it's influence, that's always in dispute... i mean... there are quite a few other phenomena that are copresent with objectivism and objectivist ideology, whose to say which is the real influence. in other words, don't promote the non-neutral please. but i think the reference at the top of the page is also fine.--Buridan 13:00, 5 September 2007 (UTC)

09/14/07 Removing sentence that Ayn Rand did not publish in "conventional ..."

The sentence is biased original research that serves a POV purpose. Article quality should be the goal here. What is meant by conventional academic journals during Ayn Rand's lifetime is a research topic in its own right. This is the simplest case of WP:OR I've ever seen. Karbinski 13:16, 14 September 2007 (UTC)

As well, even a user who does know what is meant by "conventional academic journals during Ayn Rand's lifetime" will see that none are listed - the sentence is redundant in any case. Karbinski 13:27, 14 September 2007 (UTC)

The sentence is actually serving NPOV, not POV. without it people might confuse her work with academic work. granted, we could just remove the word conventional and it would be clearer. you also can't cite a lack of appearance, but you can document a lack of appearance. maybe we can find something more pertinent that actually explains that she could not get her work accepted, or perhaps we should just stick with the neutral statement that it did not appear? --Buridan 16:50, 14 September 2007 (UTC)

But you just reinforced the argument that it is POV. Rand neither tried nor wanted to get her work accepted by academic journals. She had a very low opinion of the state of academic philosophy and academic economics at the time, and from her point of view and my own experience in academia in the 1960s and 1970s her opinion was justified by the actual situation that then prevailed. It is probable that had she attempted to get published in such journals, her submissions would have been rejected, not because of lack of clarity, quality, or relevance, but because of disagreement with the ideas dominating that subculture. Therefore the lack of publication in such journals is not indicative of what the naive reader would assume by its mention in the article. — DAGwyn 18:07, 14 September 2007 (UTC)
if you wanted to put the "Rand neither tried nor wanted to get her work accepted by academic journals." in the article in place of what is there. i would see that as a reasonable approximation. umm, see there you go thinking that she was clear, writing of some quality or relevant. there is no consensus in philosophy that those words represent her work. however, lack of publication in those journals is indicative of one significant aspect and that was she was not recognized as a professional philosopher by peer philosophers of her day. in the current writing it is unclear about who thought she was of merit and who did not. all that tends to pop up is the perpetuation of people seeing her work as having merit, which is why we need something that balances that and thus provides a neutral article. --Buridan 19:00, 14 September 2007 (UTC)
I didn't claim that her (nonexistent) academic journal articles were clear, relevant, and of high quality. What I said was that lack of those qualities, which would be legitimate reasons for rejection by academic journals, would most likely be assumed by the general reader, for some formulations of the sentence in question. That would be misleading, and so there would have to be additional explanation about the reasons for this factoid, which would be out of place in the context in question. — DAGwyn 15:08, 17 September 2007 (UTC)

Buridan: you are clearly pushing a POV into an otherwise dry and factual NPOV paragraph of how she published her works. It is clearly covered in this article that she was not accepted by academics - with verifiable content - in the criticism section already. This article is about Objectivism, that there exists people that think Objectivism has no merit as a philosophy is not relevant - except for under the criticism section sourced from notable critics and verifiable via reliable sources. From user Buridan: "... every single journal where should have appeared ..." - *should* according to who? (answer: POV editor) - who researched such a list of journals? (answer: originator) Karbinski 19:14, 14 September 2007 (UTC)

no, the answer of to whom in this case is just .... 'all'... one doesn't have to select karbie, it is all. it isn't pov because it is just a brute fact. her work does not appear where one would expect someone claiming to do philosophy to appear. her work was not submitted is the argument, to which we then say, ok do we have proof of that either, no. so we still have the brute fact of it did not appear. how is that pov? the pov is when there is something edited out that removes a critique of her work that is pertinent in a specific section. --Buridan 20:32, 14 September 2007 (UTC)

There are plenty of non-original research critiques in the criticism section - some of which explicitly state Objectivism was not accepted by academia. The sentence's only purpose is to inject POV into the summary - the paragraph is NPOV without it, it gives us brute facts. The sentence packages a number of unanswered questions: did she try? *what* were these journals? what merit did these journals have? what is Objectivism (this is early in the article)? ... Even if you found a source in a conventional academic journal it would belong in the criticism section - where the point is already made. Karbinski 22:00, 14 September 2007 (UTC) again, the only pov being put in is in the deletion. you have brute facts, you add a brute fact... no worries. you delete a brute fact, what for? --Buridan 23:53, 14 September 2007 (UTC)

The fact that user Buridan is trying to say so much about Ayn Rand as a scholar in this short little snippet is why it is POV. In the context of the paragraph, we have fact, fact, fact, and huh? what does that mean? -- why she didn't publish in certain journals is a topic in its own right, and just having the snippet out-of-context achieves what POV editor wants - distortion. See above - a brute fact does not leave so many open questions.

  • I am saying too much - anything that imports what is meant by "conventional journals" during Ayn Rand's writing career is research, if its not verifiable by a reliable source it has no place in Wikipedia as per OR. As well, any argument by notable critics that she was not a scholar belongs in the criticism section - again OR has no place there either. Karbinski 13:57, 17 September 2007 (UTC)

As for anonymous edit, the reference given does not verify what the sentence reports. Karbinski 13:57, 17 September 2007 (UTC)

While I didn't strongly object to the sentence which was just removed, it should be noted that the lack of such publication is easily inferred anyway from the text that remains. — DAGwyn 15:08, 17 September 2007 (UTC)