From the introduction: " Ayn Rand and Friedrich Hayek were two of the most important and influential theorists of a free society from the mid-twentieth century onward. Yet they defended the free society from radically different philosophical standpoints. Both were systematic thinkers whose defense of capitalism was rooted in more fundamental issues, and they differed systematically on a wide range of those issues, from metaphysics and epistemology to ethics and political philosophy. In this article, I will discuss the radical difference in their respective views about the nature and power of reason, focusing more narrowly on their respective views about a core issue in epistemology: the nature of abstractions—that is, our concepts for general kinds of things and their common attributes, and the abstract principles and rules that we form with our concepts."
Click here to read the full text of Rand versus Hayek on Abstraction .
David Kelley is the founder and executive director of The Atlas Society. He earned his PhD in philosophy from Princeton University in 1975, and later taught cognitive science and philosophy at Vassar College and Brandeis University. His articles on social issues and public policy have appeared in Harpers, The Sciences, Reason, Harvard Business Review, The Freeman, and elsewhere. His books include Unrugged Individualism:The Selfish Basis of Benevolence , T he Contested Legacy of Ayn Rand , The Evidence of the Senses, A Life of One's Own: Individual Rights and the Welfare State , and The Art of Reasoning , one of the most widely used logic textbooks in the country. (Note: The fourth edition of The Art of Reasoning has been completed and is scheduled to be published in 2012.)