Welcome to ARI’s New Fellow Ben Bayer
Last November at ARI’s student conference in Atlanta, #AynRandCon 2016, I heard a riveting panel on psychology, neuroscience, and free will. One of the highlights was a question from the audience on religion and free will — a tough question — that Dr. Ben Bayer, one of the panelists, tackled. Ben’s answer was clarifying and provocative, and invited the audience to explore the issue in depth. Listening to that Q&A, I reflected, it was clear that here was an expert on the topic who was also a skilled teacher.
Back then, Ben was a visiting assistant professor at Loyola University New Orleans. Earlier this month, I’m delighted to report, he joined ARI’s staff as a fellow.
Like other intellectuals on our staff, Ben is an alumnus of ARI’s advanced training programs in Objectivism. I first met Ben, virtually, when we were both taking courses by teleconference at ARI. That was in the late 1990s — before ARI launched the Objectivist Academic Center — and I remember being impressed with him then. Over the years, Ben’s taken part in a number of seminars and workshops that we’ve hosted for Objectivist scholars.
Ben earned his PhD in philosophy from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, has taught at numerous colleges and universities, and has been published in a number of scholarly journals (here’s his bio). If you pick up a copy of Essays on Ayn Rand’s “The Fountainhead,” you’ll find his contribution on Rand’s conception of the spirit of youth. He also contributed a chapter to Concepts and Their Role in Knowledge: Reflections on Objectivist Epistemology, a collection of scholarly essays. And for almost a decade, he was an editor and contributor to The Undercurrent, a student-oriented publication that he co-founded. In his role as an editor there, Ben worked with and mentored a number of young Objectivist writers.
I’m excited that he will now be writing, speaking, and teaching for the Institute. Ben, welcome; it’s great to have you on the team!
P.S. You can hear Ben speak next month at the Objectivist Summer Conference 2017 in Pittsburgh. He will present a talk titled “Being Objective About the News,” which will consider the guidance that Ayn Rand’s theory of knowledge offers for being an objective consumer of the news.