Founder and Executive Director of The Objectivist Center

David Kelley (born 23 June 1949) is an American philosopher. He is an Objectivist, though his position that Objectivism can be revised and influenced by other schools of thought has prompted disagreements with other Objectivists. Kelley is also an author of several books on philosophy and the founder of The Atlas Society, an institution he established in 1990 after permanently dissociating with Leonard Peikoff and the Ayn Rand Institute.

Awards Received

1974 Garvey Fellow, granted by Independent Institute
Topic: "The Moral Imperative of the American Private Enterprise System of Risks and Rewards"


David Kelley - Hero of the Day, The Daily Objectivist, 2000
Interview with John Hospers, by John Hospers, Karen Minto, Full Context, Jun 1998
Topics discussed include: intellectual influences, respected philosophers, determinism, David Kelley, Ayn Rand, philosophy and Objectivism in universities, the Sense of Life documentary and Atlas Shrugged
"Q: How well did David Kelley defend direct realism in The Evidence of the Senses? Hospers: I confess that I've never read it all the way through. Some years ago I was much more involved with problems of perception than I am now; his book came too late on the scene for me. But he writes with admirable clarity and doesn't confuse one sub-problem with another, as so many writers do. ... But you can’t say that something has a property A and also doesn’t have it ... However, it may be that David doesn't want to deny any of this. I'm afraid I'd have to go and spend some time with the book again."
Nathaniel Branden, by Nathaniel Branden, Karen Reedstrom, Full Context, Sep 1996
In two parts; topics range from David Kelley, objectivisim, Ayn Rand, his memoir Judgment Day, Barbara Branden, Leonard Peikoff, homosexuality, self-esteem and more
"He admires Ayn Rand, he has embraced her philosophy, but he has retained his ability to think and make independent judgments. His Institute for Objectivist Studies, while resting on Objectivist fundamentals, offers space for debate, further exploration. He does not regard Objectivism as a closed and finished system. He is willing to see where the gaps are, where more work needs to be done. Above all, what I admire him for is that he has created an environment in which people can have honest disagreements while treating one another civilly, without the need to make anyone a villain."


Epistemology and Politics: Ayn Rand's Cultural Commentary, Navigator, Dec 2004
Discusses Rand's 1960 essay "Faith and Force: The Destroyers of the Modern World" and the continued currency of her writings
"... reason is an objective means of knowledge; it relies on observation and evidence, with observable reality as the ultimate point of reference. So, when people rely on reason they can interact and resolve conflicts by discussion, persuasion, and debate—that is, by voluntary means. ... If people derive their conclusions from ineffable intuitions or by methods that only they know how to apply, ... [t]hat leaves force as the only method of 'persuasion' ..."
Tax Cuts Are Unfair? It Just Ain't So!, The Freeman, Jul 1999
"... a tax cut does not confer a 'benefit' on taxpayers, as if the money belonged to the government, which was generously conferring gifts on its citizens. ... People are not passive recipients of an income 'distribution.' They acquire money by trading with others, earning income in diverse ways."
Related Topic: Taxation


Interview with David Kelley, by David Kelley, Raymie Stata, Full Context, Jun 1993

Books Authored

A Life of One's Own: Individual Rights and the Welfare State
    by David Kelley, Cato Institute, 1998
Contents: The End of Welfare As We Know It? - What Is a Welfare Right? - The Emergence of Welfare Rights - Economic Freedom and Economic Risk - Welfare and Benevolence - Community and Contract - Conclusion
Related Topic: Rights
The Art of Reasoning, 1988
Related Topic: Logic
The Contested Legacy of Ayn Rand: Truth and Toleration in Objectivism, 1990
Partial contents: Moral Judgment - Cognition and Evaluation - Types of Moral Judgment - The Temperament of a Judge - Sanction - Existential Aid and Moral Sanction - The Case of Libertarianism - Error and Evil - Ideas and Original Sin
Related Topic: Ayn Rand

The introductory paragraph uses material from the Wikipedia article "David Kelley" as of 20 Dec 2011, which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.