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Check Your Premises: Professional Academic Philosophers Explore Ayn Rand’s Ideas

Check Your Premises is the blog of The Ayn Rand Society, a professional group affiliated with the American Philosophical Association Eastern Division.

According to Professor Ben Bayer the blog’s editor:

I will work to allow the contributors to this blog—all professional philosophers or aspiring professional philosophers—to share their own scholarship on Rand and their observations about the relevance of her ideas to contemporary philosophical debates. Some of these philosophers have already contributed to the rising tide of secondary literature on Rand in the last decade; others of us aspire to contribute in the future.

In either case, we are especially eager to raise awareness among philosophers about the actual content of Rand’s ideas. All too often, both philosophical and popular sources misrepresent and caricature Rand’s views. We seek to combat these inaccuracies whenever they appear in venues of note. At the same time, this blog will not shy away from considering fair-minded criticisms of Rand’s ideas.

The name of this blog traces back to the words of Francisco d’Anconia in Ayn Rand’s novel Atlas Shrugged: “Contradictions do not exist. Whenever you think that you are facing a contradiction, check your premises.” “Check your premises” would eventually become Rand’s motto as a cultural and political critic. In the 1960s, she ran a regular column in her periodicals by the same name.

Rand’s motto expressed her conviction that our actions are motivated, ultimately, by the implicit or explicit philosophical principles she thought we all hold. In her view, whether we form these premises on our own or accept them uncritically from others, it is the task of philosophy to check the truth of these premises and integrate them into a comprehensive view of reality. Rand thought everyone needs such a comprehensive view to flourish.

I presume that all who post to this blog, whether they agree with Rand or not, will share this overall attitude toward philosophy.

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