So anyway, this person Tibor Machan chimes in to this discussion, and says,
I have been impressed and influenced by Rand and have done reasonably well in the discipline and find the effort to purge her disgusting--how many thinkers I might purge if I just went by me gut reactions, like that commentator appears to have done! (Habermas, Derrida, Lyotard (?), Parfit, and a whole bunch of funsterists/sophists posing as serious philosophers. Give me a break. Let a million flowers bloom and ignore the snooty bunch!
The funny thing is, I kind of agree with this, overall. I side with the commenters who think the SEP ought to cast its net widely, in case I ever need a quick, accurate overview of otherwise worthless "philosophical" set of ideas. But then there's this weird inclusion of Derek Parfit, whom I did not realize had much in common with Habermas, Derrida, or Lyotard. Hmmmm.
It didn't take long for an anonymous commentator to come to Parfit's defense:
Judging by his comment above, Tibor Machan appears to think that Ayn Rand is vastly superior to a number of other philosophers, including - of all people - Derek Parfit. At the very least, he suggests that the case for excluding Rand from the SEP is *on par* with the case for excluding the work of Parfit (!).
This is not the place to discuss the merits of Professor Parfit's writings. I will simply note that Machan's assessment of the relative merits of Parfit's work and Ayn Rand's work is surely the the most bizarre and preposterous claim that has ever been made on this blog.
So Tibor Machan replies:
So I read that "Machan's assessment of the relative merits of Parfit's work and Ayn Rand's work is surely the the most bizarre and preposterous claim that has ever been made on this blog." We are to take this on faith, I assume. Well, I have studied Parfit's work--Reasons and Persons, in particular--and it is pure funsterism, sophistry: Because something is logically not inconceivable (that, say, we are all nations or teams, not individuals), it becomes a serious philosophical thesis. Give me a break. Just because someone is clever it doesn't make him or her philosophically astute! (At least is looks match his style!)
I don't know about you, but I found this exchange to be extremely fun. Say what you want, Atlas Shrugged is not philosophically on a par with Reasons and Persons. And if the main, representative thesis you took away from R&P is that "Because something is logically not inconceivable..., it becomes a serious philosophical thesis," then you were not "studying" it (as Mark Silcox points out in a later comment). And luckily for us all, Ayn Rand and her writing style are extremely sexually attractive. Also, what is funsterism? I googled it, but Google thought I was spelling it wrong.