To John Hospers [Letter 462]

Item Reference Code: 141_HO3_010_001

Date(s) of creation

March 15, 1961


John Hospers


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36 East 36th St.
New York 16, N.Y.

March 15, 1961

Dear John:

This is a hurried note in answer to your letter of March 7. I want to answer you before I vanish into the job of preparing a talk I am to give at the Ford Hall Forum in Boston, on March 26th.

I am glad that you liked my paper on “Objectivist Ethics” and am looking forward to your detailed comment, when and as your time permits. But this paper does not interfere with your writing an article on my ethics, if you still wish to do it. I had no immediate plans to publish my paper (and, to my knowledge, the Wisconsin Symposium did not plan to publish their proceedings, but merely to mimeograph them for the students of the University of Wisconsin). If you wish to write that article, I will be glad to withhold my paper from publication, until after your article has appeared, and you are welcome to quote any passage from this paper that you may find of value. As I told you last summer, I will be glad to help you with your article, and would appreciate it very much if you would let me check it for accuracy of the summary of my views.

I would much prefer to see Objectivism presented to the philosophical profession by you, rather than by myself—for the obvious reason that a presentation by you would lend it more objectivity in the eyes of the readers. This does not mean, of course, that I expect you to endorse Objectivism nor to announce yourself as agreeing with it; what I would find extremely important and valuable would be an objective, precise, impartial presentation of my ideas—and as to the comments on them, that would be entirely up to you.

I was delighted, for the same reasons, to hear that you are considering the idea of presenting an outline of Objectivism to the organization of professors of philosophy in Southern California. Please do so, with my “blessing” and enthusiastic support. I would ask you only that you let

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me check the summary for accuracy—it is our differences on epistemology that would disturb me in this connection, since I have never presented my epistemological theory to you in full, consecutive, organized detail.

I would be happy to see you do it, for personal reasons as well: I believe that if you undertook a systematic presentation of Objectivism, it would help to clarify an enormous amount of confusion between us.

Thank you for your comments on Nathan’s Lectures 12-14. Yes, of course, both he and I are very much interested in receiving all of your comments on the lectures. I will not attempt to answer your questions on economics right now (I still have a back-log of your questions I have not yet answered)—but I will answer all of them, as time permits.

You have probably received the copy of FOR THE NEW INTELLECTUAL, which I sent you. Needless to say, I am very interested to hear your reaction—and I am looking forward to the publication of your book on ethics.

No, I have not heard from Professor Idzerda in regard to my speaking to the Aesthetic Society. But regardless of his decision in the matter, I deeply appreciate the fact that you suggested it to him.

I have not seen Professor Lean for some weeks (due, in part, to my absence from New York), but we have a date to meet this week. I am sorry that I have no extra copies of my paper on Objectivist Ethics, but I will be glad to lend him my copy.