Peikoff’s Tenth Podcast

Leonard Peikoff has released his tenth podcast. My brief summary here is intended to raise interest in the podcast, not serve as a substitute for Peikoff’s comments. Peikoff addresses six questions.

1. Granted that the economy should be free, can real “flesh and blood,” “cunning” men achieve and sustain a free economy? Peikoff answers that the notion of “flesh and blood” as inherently corrupt is a fundamentally mystical, supernaturalist presumption. If “cunning” means tempted to fraud, then many people are in fact honest, and fraud is outlawed under capitalism.

2. What is existence? Peikoff notes that existence is not an attribute of something else; it is that which is.

3. Do great works of art inspire philosophical movements, or is the reverse the case? Peikoff answers that it “works both ways,” but philosophy is primary. For example, Atlas Shrugged “presupposed Ayn Rand’s philosophy.” Yet, even though the nature of a work of art is determined by philosophical ideas, “art is the greatest disseminator of philosophy that there is.”

4. Why is Ayn Rand not taken seriously in some intellectual circles? Peikoff answers that several reasons may be possible. Many people have so automatized such ideas as altruism and the analytic-synthetic dichotomy that Rand’s ideas seem alien.

5. On the other hand, why have Rand’s ideas grown more respectable in some intellectual circles and in the culture at large? Peikoff gives much of the credit to “heroic individuals like Tara Smith and Robert Mayhew… who have distinguished themselves” in academia.

6. Will religious views in the culture and among politicians translate to courts and the law? Peikoff draws an analogy to socialism, which was once also rejected by the courts. Over time, dominant ideas do influence legal systems. “Religion is now in the process of replacing socialism” as a social and legal influence, as Peikoff argues in his forthcoming book about DIM, Disintegration, Integration, and Misintegration.