Ayn Rand Society Philosophical Studies is a series of books presenting outstanding recent scholarship on Rand’s philosophy, Objectivism. In addition to the best of the previously unpublished papers and comments (appreciative and critical) presented to the Society at American Philosophical Association meetings, volumes also contain invited papers that push the boundaries of our understanding of Objectivism and its relationship to the dominant contemporary and historical schools of thought in philosophy and allied fields.
Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 2011 – release date: November 28, 2010
Philosopher-novelist Ayn Rand (1905–1982) is a cultural phenomenon. Her books have sold more than 25 million copies, and countless individuals speak of her writings as having significantly influenced their lives. In spite of the popular interest in her ideas, or perhaps because of it, Rand’s work has until recently received little serious attention from academics. Though best known among philosophers for her strong support of egoism in ethics and capitalism in politics, there is an increasingly widespread awareness of both the range and the systematic character of Rand’s philosophic thought. This new series, developed in conjunction with the Ayn Rand Society, an affiliated group of the American Philosophical Association, Eastern Division, seeks a fuller scholarly understanding of this highly original and influential thinker.
The first volume starts not with the metaphysical and epistemological fundamentals of Rand’s thought, but with central aspects of her ethical theory. Though her endorsement of ethical egoism is well-known—one of her most familiar essay collections is The Virtue of Selfishness—the character of her egoism is not. The chapters in this volume address the basis of her egoism in a virtue-centered normative ethics; her account of how moral norms in general are themselves based on a fundamental choice by an agent to value his own life; and how her own approach to the foundations of ethics is to be compared and contrasted with familiar approaches in the analytic ethical tradition. Philosophers interested in the objectivity of value, in the way ethical theory is (and is not) virtue-based, and in acquiring a serious understanding of an egoistic moral theory worthy of attention will find much to consider in this volume, which includes critical responses to several of its main essays.
From the book’s back cover:
James G. Lennox associate editor
Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 2013
Concepts and Their Role in Knowledge offers scholarly analysis of key elements of Ayn Rand’s radically new approach to epistemology. The four essays, by contributors intimately familiar with this area of her work, discuss Rand’s theory of concepts—including its new account of abstraction and essence—and its central role in her epistemology; how that view leads to a distinctive conception of the justification of knowledge; her realist account of perceptual awareness and its role in the acquisition of knowledge; and finally, the implications of that theory for understanding the growth of scientific knowledge. The volume concludes with critical commentary on the essays by distinguished philosophers with differing philosophical viewpoints and the author’s responses to those commentaries.
This is the second book published in Ayn Rand Society Philosophical Studies, which was developed in conjunction with the Ayn Rand Society to offer a fuller scholarly understanding of this highly original and influential thinker. The Ayn Rand Society, an affiliated group of the American Philosophical Association, Eastern Division, seeks to foster scholarly study by philosophers of the philosophical thought and writings of Ayn Rand.
“A landmark set of essays, with comments and responses, exploring the implications of Rand's theories on perception, concept-formation, definition, justification, and conceptual change in science. The publication of this remarkable and engaging volume brings to the attention of professionals a theory of knowledge whose depth, breadth, and nuance may surprise them.”
—Harry Binswanger, Editor, second edition of Ayn Rand’s Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology
“This second volume of Ayn Rand Society Philosophical Studies provides extensive analysis of Ayn Rand’s epistemology, the most important—but perhaps the least well-known—part of her philosophy of Objectivism. Contributed by scholars both sympathetic to and critical of Rand’s approach, these revealing essays address a wide range of topics, including Rand’s unique accounts of concept-formation and objectivity.”
—Darryl Wright, Harvey Mudd College
“By locating Rand’s theory of concepts in both traditional and contemporary debates, this collection offers a textured portrait of her distinctive view while also advancing the debates themselves. The essays are uniformly engaging and incisive, making substantial contributions on such topics as definitions, theory change, and epistemic justification. The crosscurrents in the comments and responses make the issues come alive, and broader applications (such as for value theory) are apparent. Overall, a terrific contribution.”
—Tara A. Smith, University of Texas-Austin