Reductio Ad Claritatem

 Posted by on 11 July 2005 at 7:35 am  Uncategorized
Jul 112005

Libertarian philosopher Rod Long often infuriates me, including at various points in this article on Ayn Rand’s legacy. Nonetheless, I found this bit on Ayn Rand’s rhetorical methods quite apt and delightful:

Rand owed much of her success to the power and directness of her writing style. She was a master at what one of my colleagues calls reductio ad claritatem, “reduction to clarity”–i.e., the method of refuting a position by stating it clearly–as when she wrote that “if some men are entitled by right to the products of the work of others, it means that those others are deprived of rights and condemned to slave labor,” or when she summarized the view that human perception is unreliable because limited by the nature of our sensory organs as: “man is blind, because he has eyes–deaf, because he has ears.”

No wonder so many academics hate her! Their views, after all, often cannot withstand the bright light of clear explication.

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