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The BB&T Chair for the Study of Objectivism 5122328249

About the Chair Holder

Tara Smith
Tara Smith has been a Professor of Philosophy at the University since the fall of 1989.   She specializes in moral, legal and political philosophy.   Her current research focuses on philosophy of law, where she is completing a book tentatively titled Taking the Law Seriously: Judicial Review in an Objective Legal System.   She is also working on issues concerning the pyschology of ethical egoism, the way that a personal "sense of life" can illuminate the nature of vaiue, and the value of sport.

Teaching, Current and Recent

Spring 2014: 347 Philosophy of Law

 Fall of 2013: TC302 Art, Sport, & the Meaning of Life

Among past courses:

  • PHL 347 - Philosophy of Law
  • PHL 387 - Legal Authority: Its Foundations & Its Exercise in the Judiciary
  • PHL 387 - Judicial Interpretation & the Rule of Law
  • PHL 354 - Ethics of War
  • TC302 - Values in the Philosophy & Fiction of Ayn Rand
  • PHL 610Q - Problems of Knowledge & Valuation
  • TC 301 - Justice - Political, Personal, & Legal
  • TC 301 - Early American Legal & Political Philosophy
  • PHL 342 - Political Philosophy: Rights & Freedom
  • PHL 387 - Virtue Ethics & Naturalism
  • PHL 375M - Objectivism – The Philosophy of Ayn Rand
  • PHL 375M - Recent Ethical Theories
  • PHL 318 - Introduction to Ethics
  • PHL 318K - Introduction to Political Philosophy

Books

  • Ayn Rand’s Normative Ethics – The Virtuous Egoist, Cambridge University Press, 2006.
  • Viable Values: A Study of Life as the Root and Reward of Morality, Rowman & Littlefield, 2000.
  • Moral Rights and Political Freedom, Rowman & Littlefield, 1995.

Upcoming Talks

  • Something to Behold: On the Spiritual Value of Art and Sport
  • What Are We Cheering?  Sport & the Value of Valuing

Recent Talks

  • June 10, 2014 - The Practical Need for Legal Ideals - Austin Federalist Society Lawyer's Chapter
  • May 2014 - Constitutionalism: the Backbone of Objective Law - Oslo, Norway
  • May 2014 - The Virtuous Egoist: The Happy Man - Stockholm, Sweden

Select Articles

On Law

  • "Originalism, Vintage or Nouveau: He Said, She Said Law,"  Fordham Law Review, volume 82, Fall 2013, pp. 619-639.
  • "Neutrality Isn't Neutral: On the Value-Neutrality of the Rule of Law," Washington University Jurisprudence Review, 2011, Volume 4, Number 1, pp 50 - 88.
  • “Reckless Caution: The Perils of Judicial Minimalism, NYU Journal of Law & Liberty 5, no. 2, 2010, pp. 347-393.
  • "Originalism's Misplaced Fidelity: 'Original' Meaning is Not Objective," Constitutional Commentary 26, no. 1 (2009), pp. 1-57.
  • “Why Originalism Won’t Die – Common Mistakes in Competing Theories of Judicial Interpretation,” Duke Journal of Constitutional Law & Public Policy 2, 2007, pp. 159-215.
  • "Humanity's Darkest Evil: The Lethal Destructiveness of Non-Objective Law," Essays on Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged, ed. Robert Mayhew, New York: Lexington Books, 2009, pp. 335-361.

On Value and Virtue

  • “Responses to Critics of Ayn Rand’s Normative Ethics – The Virtuous Egoist,” Ayn Rand Society Philosophical Studies, University of Pittsburgh Press, 2011, pp. 126-130, 143-148, 158-163.
  • "The Importance of the Subject in Objective Morality: Distinguishing Objective from Intrinsic Value," Social Philosophy & Policy 25, no. 1, 2008, pp. 126-148.
  • “‘Social’ Objectivity and the Objectivity of Value,” Science, Values, and Objectivity, eds. Peter Machamer& Gereon Walters, Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 2004, pp. 143-171.
  • “Egoistic Friendship,” American Philosophical Quarterly 42 (Oct. 2005), pp. 263-277.
  • “Morality Without the Wink: A Defense of Moral Perfection,” Journal of Philosophical Research 29 (2004) pp. 315-331.
  • “The Metaphysical Case for Honesty,” Journal of Value Inquiry 37, no. 4 (2003), pp. 517-531.
  • "Justice as a Personal Virtue," Social Theory and Practice 25, no. 3 (fall 1999), pp. 361-384.
  • "Intrinsic Value: Look-Say Ethics," Journal of Value Inquiry 32, no. 4 (December 1998), pp. 539-553.
  • "The Practice of Pride," Social Philosophy & Policy 15, no. 1 (January 1998), pp. 71-90.
  • "Tolerance & Forgiveness: Virtues or Vices?" Journal of Applied Philosophy 14, no. 1 (1997), pp. 31-41.
  • "Reconsidering Zero-Sum Value: It's How You Play the Game," Journal of Social Philosophy 28, no. 2 (Fall 1997), pp. 128-139.
  • "Why do I Love Thee? A Response to Nozick's Account of Romantic Love," Southwest Philosophy Review 7, 1 (January 1991), pp. 47-57.
  • "Moral Realism: Blackburn's Response to the Frege Objection," The Southern Journal of Philosophy XXV, 2 (Summer 1987), pp. 221-228.

On Individual Rights

  • "Rights, Wrongs, & Aristotelian Egoism: Illuminating the Rights/Care Dichotomy," Journal of Social Philosophy 29, no. 2 (Fall 1998), pp. 5-14.
  • "Rights Conflicts: The Undoing of Rights," Journal of Social Philosophy 26, 2 (Fall 1995), pp. 141-158.
  • "Rights, Friends, & Egoism," Journal of Philosophy XC, 3 (March 1993), pp. 144-148.
  • "On Deriving Rights to Goods from Rights to Freedom," Law & Philosophy 11 (Winter 1992), pp. 217-234.
  • "Why a Teleological Defense of Rights Needn't Yield Welfare Rights," Journal of Social Philosophy XXIII, 3 (Winter 1992), pp. 35-50.

On Ayn Rand’s Fiction

  • "No Tributes to Caesar: Good or Evil in Atlas Shrugged," Essays on Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged, ed. Robert Mayhew, New York: Lexington Books, 2009, pp. 275-298.
  • “Unborrowed Vision: Independence and Egoism in The Fountainhead,” Essays on Ayn Rand’s The Fountainhead, ed. Robert Mayhew, New York: Lexington Books, 2007.
  • “Forbidding Life to Those Still Living,” Essays on Ayn Rand’s We the Living, ed. Robert Mayhew, New York: Lexington Books, 2004, pp. 317-334.
  • (Also “Humanity's Darkest Evil,” listed above under law)
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