Two of the central questions in philosophy are: What are the foundations of knowledge? and What is the nature of human well-being? Ayn Rand regarded herself as a follower of Aristotle. I argue, however, that in answering the above two questions she unfortunately deviated from Aristotle in ways that subverted her own philosophical intentions. In particular, I maintain that Rand's rejection of Aristotle's coherentist, testimony-based epistemology in favor of her own version of foundationalist empiricism both opens the door to a corrosive skepticism that she rightly wishes to avoid, and forces her into defending an instrumental survival-oriented conception of the relation of morality to self-interest, even though a constitutive, flourishing-oriented relation along Aristotelian lines would more closely match her basic ethical insights. Hence Rand's admirers may still have something to learn from Aristotle, their "teacher's first teacher." I invite readers to visit my website: geocities.com/BerserkRL Roderick T. Long
Roderick T. Long is a professor of philosophy at Auburn University, as well as Editor of the Free Nation Foundation's journal Formulations. His principal research interests are moral psychology, Greek philosophy, and libertarian thought.