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John Hospers

 
 

John Hospers
(June 9, 1918 – June 12, 2011)
 was an American philosopher and politician.
In 1972 he became the first presidential candidate
of the Libertarian Party.

Hospers' books include:
Meaning and Truth in the Arts (1946),
Introductory Readings in Aesthetics (1969),
Artistic Expression (1971),
Libertarianism – A Political Philosophy for Tomorrow (1971),
Understanding the Arts (1982),
Law and the Market (1985),
Human Conduct (now in its 3rd edition, 1995),
and
An Introduction to Philosophical Analysis
(now in the 4th edition, 1996).
 

Born in Pella, Iowa, Hospers graduated from Central College. Hospers earned advanced degrees from the University of Iowa and Columbia University. He conducted research, wrote, and taught in areas of philosophy, including aesthetics and ethics. He taught philosophy at Brooklyn College and at the University of Southern California, where for many years he was chairman of the philosophy department and professor emeritus.
Friendship with Ayn Rand:During the period he taught philosophy at Brooklyn College, Hospers was much interested in Objectivism. He appeared on radio shows with Ayn Rand, and devoted considerable attention to her ideas in his ethics textbook Human Conduct.
According to Rand's biographer, Barbara Branden, Hospers met Rand when she addressed the student body at Brooklyn College. They became friends, and had lengthy philosophical conversations. Rand's discussions with Hospers contributed to her decision to write nonfiction. Hospers read Atlas Shrugged (1957), which he considered an aesthetic triumph. Hospers also became convinced of the validity of Rand's moral and political views, but disagreed with her about issues of epistemology, the subject of their extensive correspondence. Rand broke with Hospers after he criticized her talk on "Art as Sense of Life," before the American Society of Aesthetics at Harvard.
In 2002, an hour-long video about Hospers' life, work, and philosophy was released by the Liberty Fund of Indianapolis, as part of its Classics of Liberty series.
He was editor of three anthologies, and contributed to books edited by others. He wrote more than 100 articles in various scholarly and popular journals. Hospers was editor of The Personalist (1968–1982) and The Monist (1982–1992), and was a senior editor at Liberty magazine.
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“The tyranny of a majority can be just as cruel
as the tyranny of a single dictator,
depending on the degree
of enlightenment or stupidity of the voting majority.”
                                           --John Hospers, Libertarianism: A Political Philosophy for Tomorrow

 

“Beware: the Government Is Armed and Dangerous.”
                                             --John Hospers, Libertarianism: A Political Philosophy for Tomorrow

 

“If each human being is to have liberty,
he cannot also have the liberty
to deprive others of their liberty.”
                --John Hospers, Libertarianism: A Political Philosophy for Tomorrow


 

“Democracy is essentially government by the majority,
and a majority may be
stupid, unenlightened, foolish, misled, and corrupt.”
                                
  --John Hospers, Libertarianism: A Political Philosophy for Tomorrow