Washington Metro Objectivism Discussion (WMOD) September 1996 Meeting General Discussion The September 18 meeting of WMOD will throw the floor open for general discussion. Some members have expressed interest in discussing the Objectivist meetings this summer, and we invite short presentations on your favorite talk. Of course we would like to hear opinions on the Washington Post article on Ayn Rand, the Libertarian Party convention, Harry Brown's chances, etc. We can also discuss plans for future meetings and the WMOD web site: http:/www.infiltec.com/wmod.htm Washington Post Article On August 25, the Washington Post ran a 3,900-word cover story on Ayn Rand by William Powers in its Style section entitled "Ayn Rand Was Wrong: It Turns Out There Is an Afterlife After All. Fourteen Years After Her Death, Her Cult of Self Is alive and Well." The generally positive article is available on the Web at http://wp1.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/WPlate/1996-08/25/063L- 082596-idx.html, or you can log onto the Post Site at http://wp1.washingtonpost.com/ and search for "Ayn Rand". New Reisman Book The long awaited Reisman book on economics, rumored in some Objectivist circles to be a magnum opus on the subject, was scheduled to be published in May, but Laissez Faire Books reports that due to last-minute changes by the author, it will actually come out in November, and it will be on the cover of the LF Book Catalog for December. "Capitalism: A Treatise on Economics" will be published by Jameson Books at $95, but LFB will offer it for about $60. The LFB web site at http://www.lfb.org/. New Course on Objectivism WMOD received the following announcement but has not heard the tapes or seen any review of the course: AYN RAND'S ETHICAL AND POLITICAL THEORY: A CRITICAL INTRODUCTION A Six-Week Seminar on 12 cassette tapes Presented by George H. Smith I: Ayn Rand and the History of Ideas II: Value Theory and the Foundation of Ethics III: Rational Egoism IV: The Application of Ethical Theory V: The Theory of Rights VI: The Theory of Government **A Personal Note from George H. Smith** I began reading Ayn Rand over thirty years ago and have discussed her ideas in academic seminars for nearly two decades. My first book, "Atheism: The Case Against God" (1974), relies heavily on Rand's approach to epistemology and ethics. My second book, "Atheism, Ayn Rand and Other Heresies" (1991), contains numerous articles about Rand, her relationship to other philosophers, and the subculture she inspired. These tapes are not a mere summary or exposition of Ayn Rand's moral and political theories. Each seminar is linked to a specific reading assignment (mostly from "The Virtue of Selfishness" ), and I assume that participants already have a basic understanding of Ayn Rand's approach. As I point out repeatedly during these seminars, Ayn Rand is a remarkably clear writer, and there is little point in paraphrasing her arguments for an audience that has already read them. When I do summarize the reading material, it is usually because I wish to highlight an important point, compare her to another philosopher, or point out an ambiguity or other problem in her argument. My primary purpose is to place Rand's ideas in a broader historical context, comparing them to the theories of Aristotle, Epicurus, the Stoics, Thomas Aquinas, Thomas Hobbes, John Locke, David Hume, Adam Smith, Immanuel Kant, and others. Thus some of the seminars are essentially historical overviews of philosophical theories about happiness, self-interest, rights, etc. This provides a framework for a comparative assessment of Ayn Rand with other philosophers and the problems they addressed. Each seminar consists of two parts. The first part (approximately 60 minutes) consists of my overview of the subject matter. The second part (60 minutes) is a free and open exchange with the fifteen seminar participants, many of whom have an extensive background in Objectivism. Many interesting issues are raised during these discussions, and I think you will find them of great value. This was not a congregation of true believers The general tone is sympathetic but critical throughout. I tried to conduct these seminars in the true spirit of philosophical inquiry. My major disagreements with Rand pertain to her interpretation of other philosophers and her presentation of intellectual history (especially in "For the New Intellectual.") I am in substantial agreement with many of her philosophical views, but even here I try to offer possible objection to her arguments. When I am uncertain of something, I say so. In a few instances, comments from seminar participants caused me to change my interpretation or to adopt a different perspective. In short, if you are looking for an orthodox catechism of Ayn Rand's moral and political theory, these tapes are not for you. If, however, you believe that Rand's views are strong enough to stand on their own without protection from a team of intellectual bodyguards, I think there is much in these tapes that you will find of interest. ORDERING INFORMATION: 12 cassette set, 12 hours Cost $90 plus shipping/handling, $5 parcel post or $7.50 UPS from Resources for Independent Thinking Phone: 510/601-9450 Fax: 510/547-7140 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org June's "Conversation With Jack Wheeler" The June 19 meeting of WMOD featured a talk on the Objectivist adventurer and philosopher Jack Wheeler. Over 35 attendees were treated to Jack's talk on the contemporary political economy, plus an analysis of Rand's Aristotelian roots. A spirited question and answer session followed. Thanks to Jack and his wife Rebel for staying to answer questions until the restaurant closed at 10:30 pm. A full electronic version of the interview with Jack Wheeler that appears in the May issue of "Full Context" can be found on the Web at http://www.rust.net/~fc/wheeler.htm. You can download an ASCII version of the same from the "Full Context" home page at http://www.rust.net/~fc/. When and Where is the WMOD Meeting? Join us on Wednesday 9/18. You can either join us for dinner at 7 pm and/or for the discussion at 8:15 pm at the Fortune Chinese Restaurant at Baileys Xroads, VA on Route 7 between 7 Corners and Columbia Pike (5900 Leesburg Pike 703/998-8888). You can take METRO to the West Falls Church stop and then take METRO buses 29A or 29B East on Route 7 toward Baileys Xroads. The Fortune is on this route. After the meeting we can give you a ride back to a METRO station. WMOD has arranged for a $15 fixed price dinner (including tax and tip). Or you can order from the menu. Please RSVP to WMOD (703) 820-7696 before noon Wednesday 9/18 so that we can tell the restaurant how many tables to set up. CALENDAR Future of Freedom Foundation "Vienna Coffee Club Talks" at the Sheraton Premier, 8661 Leesburg Pike (Rt 7 at Dulles Tollway), 6 p.m. dinner, 7:30 p.m. talk, RSVP to 703/934- 6101. * September 26: James Bovard, author of "How the Government Screws You from A to Z" and "Lost Rights: The Destruction of American Liberty" will talk on "The Nature of the State: Giving Benefits and Breaking Legs" WMOD Contact Information The WMOD newsletter is $10/yr, email newsletter is free. Contact: Dave Saum WMOD PO Box 8007 Falls Church, VA 22041 Email: DSaum at infiltec.com, Phone: 703/820-7696, FAX: 703/671-9350 Web: http//www.infiltec.com/wmod.htm ----------- "Sapere aude" (dare to know) -------------------
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