INTERVIEWS AND NOTICES
NAVIGATOR 3, no. 1 (January 2000): 10-15.
"The Annus Mirabilis of Chris Matthew Sciabarra"
In this six-page cover story (with three featured photographs), Donway observes that 1999 was a "landmark [year] for Ayn Rand and her philosophy." At the center of Feminist Interpretations of Ayn Rand, stories in The Chronicle of Higher Education and Lingua Franca, and the new Journal of Ayn Rand Studies, has been Chris Matthew Sciabarra. The article tells "his story" -- from the early years to his years at New York University.
Of Ayn Rand: The Russian Radical, Donway observes: In August 1995, Penn State Press released "a work of intellectual history and philosophical interpretation that stunned the Objectivist movement . . . To paraphrase what one scientist said upon reading Fritjof Capra's Tao of Physics, 'It was as though you had stepped into a familiar street only to find that all the houses had been painted mauve.' " Donway describes the ensuing controversy over Russian Radical, including a retelling of the exchanges between James Lennox and the "unfailingly polite" Chris Sciabarra in the pages of IOS Journal.
"'First the Trinity, and now the Atonement. That man is born to trouble, as the sparks fly upward.' So says Giles de Vannes of Peter Abelard, in Helen Waddell's novel about the twelfth-century philosopher. An Objectivist might say the same of Chris Sciabarra." The article then discusses how Sciabarra parlayed the successes of Russian Radical into a series of other triumphs. In addition to his 1999 contributions, Sciabarra looks forward to the publication of Total Freedom. Donway quotes Sciabarra: " 'I believe that my own reclamation of dialectics [in Total Freedom], which requires a vast rereading of intellectual history, will help to contextualize my work on Rand in a way that may lead some to first appreciate what I was trying to accomplish.' Perhaps. But some will doubtless want to dispute again what Sciabarra is arguing. . . . [Sciabarra continues:] 'I think that 'to go hunting where the methodological ducks are' is not the only strategy, but it is always a useful strategy, especially if one argues, like me, that it is possible to use certain conventional terms in ways that thoroughly undermine their conventional meanings.' Let the debates continue."
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