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No, it's one of America's chief contributions to propaganda.
As a professional philosopher, I have to admit that in one sense "philosophy" is defined by what philosophers do and the popularity of a philosopher over time is a significant criterion in assessing influence in the discipline.Based on these criteria, Ayn Rand is stacking up points for being considered as a chief representative American philosopher of the 20th century, in spite of the fact that see was not an academic. Actually, relative few philosophers prominent in the history of philosophy were academics. Even recently, a good many philosopher have not been primarily academics. R. Buckminster Fuller, an architect and inventor, is considered a significant American philosopher of the 20th century, too, and like Rand, his work has had more influence on the culture than most academics.So I would agree with Weiss that Ayn Rand cannot be dismissed lightly in light of her pervasive and growing influence on American culture and even major institutions.The history of philosophy is an extended debate, however, rather than scientific or dogmatic, since it is largely concerned with norms and criteria . There are pluses and minuses in virtually all expressions of thought. The purpose of debate is bring these out and air them. So Weiss is correct in asserting that Rand's Objectivism deserves serious consideration as a contender for position in American philosophy, in that it deals with perennial issues in philosophy in a particularly American way. Objectivism is attractive to many Americans because they resonate with the ideas expressed.This resonance transcends philosophy and becomes a matter of interest to other fields such as psychology, sociology, political science, and economics as well. It is also a matter of interest to historians, in that Objectivism has already exerted a perceptible influence on American culture.This should not be construed as any sort of endorsement of Objectivism, just an agreement with Weiss's assertion that it cannot be brushed off, as many are wont to do.
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