PadmaVonSamba wrote:Thank you.
For the sake of this discussion, I only want to discuss two central tenets of objectivism, that :
1.'reality' is independent of consciousness, meaning (I assume) that a universe exists whether one is there to witness it or not. For example, the moon existed before there were beings on Earth who could observe it. (for the record, the objectivist argument also includes logical inference. For example, astronomers can refer to the existence of planets that they cannot detect observe, because they can detect gravitational impact on nearby planets that are observable, thus a reasonable assertion is that another planet must be there causing what is referred to as wobble).
2. The sense perception that human beings have is sufficient to perceive reality. The inference here is that, for example, until the realm of hungry ghosts can be verified buy our senses, there is no reason to assume it exists. How would this compare with the Buddha's advice to not believe anything merely because someone has said it was true, but to test it our for oneself?
I am not so much interested in Ayn Rand's reputation itself, merely in the objectivist argument compared with the view that many Buddhists have, which is that what we refer to as "reality" is essentially a construct of, or projection of the mind.
The so-called philosophy of Objectivism is undergoing a renaissance and expansion due to a perception that it is complimentary to current policies of "austerity". Even before that, however, it had grown to a body of writing that goes well beyond Rand, so her reputation really isn't useful to refutation of Objectivism.
I knew there were some proposals that Objectivism is fully compatible with Buddhist philosophy, but until I did a search on it, I wasn't aware that there are a LOT of such proposals. Further, reading some convinced me that there actually are some parallels in some areas. Not the least of which is the Objectivists seem to take a type of modified Prasaṅga approach to defending their positions.
So, Nāgārjuna does naturally come to mind when wanting to refute Objectivism, along with Candrakīrti. That 'match', however, would likely end in a draw. It seems, then, that leaves the old philosophical debate between realism and idealism, to which about the only refutation is some form of epistemological pragmatism. For example:
"When a tree falls in the forest and there is no one to hear, does it make a sound?"
Realist: Of course. Just because no one hears it doesn't mean there is no sound.
Idealist: Without an hearer to perceive the sound, there is no sound.
Pragmatist: If there's no one to hear it, what difference does it make if there is a sound or not?
As for your #2 above, "The sense perception that human beings have is sufficient to perceive reality", it would seem the refutation of that would be to point out that this position also rejects science, then, as science uses all manner of tools to aid the senses. (However, one can argue that such tools are merely extensions of the senses and are not 'extrasensory').
In any case, I did find at least one (and know there are others) site that covers several bases in respect to Objectivism: Criticisms of Objectivism
That site points to this paper, which makes some good points: Objectivist Epistemology: Strengths and Weaknesses
Which, in turn, points to this paper, which goes a bit further: Foundationalism, Skepticism, Coherentism
See what you think of those, PadmaVonSamba. If I run across anything futher, I'll return...