The Free Radical Online - Perigo vs. Nola

Round Five: Robert Nola Responds

Unlike Perigo who has control over his magazine I have no control over the academic programme of the Philosophy Department. In any case the 1999 Arts Faculty programme has been decided. But, Lindsay, apply with a CV that can be measured against philosophy at Berkeley or Edinburgh, departments against which we are being benchmarked. From evidence based on our exchanges about logic your chances of teaching philosophy in any of these places would be slim.

In the previous reply I have sketched three grounds why Rand's formula 'A is A' can not underpin logical inference. In rational discussions common in mathematics, science and philosophy such arguments would be carefully assessed; where found correct the original bodies of belief from which they emerged would be modified or abandoned. Perigo offers no such reassessment, discusses no principle of reasoning (nor the idea of validity), and modifies or abandons none of Rand's idiosyncratic view of logic. Instead all I can find is much abuse ('hocus pocus', 'garbage' 'nonsense', etc.) directed at what he fails to understand about the last 150 years of logic.

As his magazine and 'talk-back' programmes show, Perigo is no stranger to the argy-bargy of common rows and disputes in which abuse of one's opponents is common. But such argy-bargy is a far cry from, and is not to be confused with, rational argumentation based on logic and evidence that typifies the search for truth over falsity in mathematics, science and philosophy. Earlier I compared the attitude of followers of Rand to that of a cult. The way her followers attack anyone who dares criticise her doctrines smacks of cultism.

As I said at the end of my first reply, even if Rand's basic doctrines are false, that would not preclude, as logic shows, their having some truth. I leave it to enlightened rational readers to decide whether I have made a case for questioning some of Rand's views. But for those who have never studied, or fail to understand, modern logic and who only respond with abuse, of course I can have no case.

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