Which brings us to the second reason for critiquing her epistemology: it represents—in a rather threadbare and skeletal form—the culmination of a number of trends in nineteenth- and twentieth-century philosophy, of which Rand was a good deal more representative than she thought. In particular, as surely as any positivist, Rand excoriated speculative metaphysics and theology (and indeed hardly bothered distinguishing between them), and attempted to give an account of reason that neither depended on any such woolly theorizing nor entailed anything much about the nature of reality. Quite apart from any desire to topple Rand from her pedestal, her work provides a chance to see where these trends lead in a fairly “pure” form without having to dig too hard to expose their difficulties; whatever her other vices, she at least wrote clearly enough to be found out. And as we shall see, she regarded herself as reacting against certain of these trends, while nevertheless buying wholesale into most of their basic premises; she was simply unaware of doing so, because she was not a particularly competent philosopher.
- Scott Ryan, Objectivism and the Corruption of Rationality