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Better philosophers than Ayn Rand had some problems with this

Reader comment on item: Crisis in Turkey
in response to reader comment: A rational standard for morality

Submitted by Peter Herz (United States), Apr 30, 2010 at 22:48

Dr. Whaley, the Wiener Kreise of the 1930's tried manfully to center all knowledge and praxis on logic and empirical science. They ended up with Joseph Schaechter and Moritz Schlick crying in despair that there was no way to get from the empirical "is" to the ethical "ought". Schaechter sobbed as the Nazis marched into town that there was no Socratic man to confront the horrors of the age--yet in _Gorgias_, Socrates, that father of the Western rationalist tradition, when taunted by a young twerp named Callicles that the tyrant is the happiest of men, falls back on affirming a judgment after death. Hence, I'm not so sure that our species can make "science" (which, when I was a kid, told us that homosexuality was an illness and now tells us it is something beautiful; and promised us in 1970 that we would freeze to death but now promises us that we will scorch--to take two examples), with all its tentativeness, as a substitute for religion.

Ayn Rand appears deep only because she was up against the [social]' democrats of post-New Deal America--a tribe that, like the River Platte, is six inches deep and a mile wide at the mouth. Ayn Rand, however, appears profound because she was nine inches deep!

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