AYN RAND:THE RUSSIAN RADICAL

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PUBLISHED REVIEWS

THE ROUNDTABLE, IOS JOURNAL (APRIL 1996)

The Roundtable features an exchange on Sciabarra's book that includes Sciabarra's reply to James Lennox, and comments from Robert L. Campbell, John Enright, David Ross, Nathaniel Branden, Michelle M. Kamhi, Louis Torres, David Kelley, and James G. Lennox.


In the Roundtable, Robert L. Campbell criticizes Lennox for discounting Rand's recollections of her interactions with Lossky in Sciabarra's assessment of the historical record.

John Enright argues that Rand was certainly aware of "other 'dialectical' philosophies" in Marxism and Nietzscheanism, and he believes "that Prof. Sciabarra is onto something legitimate." He does raise the issue, however, that the "stolen concept" might be used as a "counter-dialectical tool."

David Ross raises the issue that Sciabarra is "clearly ... wrong" in certain of his epistemological formulations of Rand's position. He also believes that Sciabarra has not provided definitions of "transcendence" or "dialectic."

Nathaniel Branden (both here and in Reason, May 1996) praises Rand for bringing "Ayn Rand into the history of philosophy as no one else has ever done," and he argues that "a review that does not at minimum, acknowledge this fact does the readers of this publication a profound disservice."

Michelle M. Kamhi and Louis Torres lament Lennox's "sarcastic tone" in his original review, and they wonder if this was indicative of the official position of IOS on Sciabarra's book.

David Kelley argues that IOS takes no official position, but that "a positive reception [for any book or idea] has to be earned." He agrees with Ross and Lennox that some of Sciabarra's formulations are "imprecise" and "far-fetched," and that Part II of Russian Radical is marred by Sciabarra's "dialectical" analysis. But he praises Part 3 as "more valuable" because the dialectical "analysis is less intrusive here." He concludes that in Part 3, "Sciabarra has done Objectivism a service by providing the first systematic analysis of Rand's political and cultural commentary," and that Russian Radical is "a valuable first word" on all of these subjects.

James Lennox criticizes Sciabarra in much the same vein as his original review and denies being "sarcastic" for this "would have been disingenuous and, frankly, disrespectful." The substance of Lennox's critique here, is discussed at length in Sciabarra's unpublished response to Lennox and The IOS Roundtable.


Sciabarra Contributes to the Roundtable Click here to view the Author's response

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