In response to Robert Hartford's criticisms of his Spring 2006 Journal of Ayn Rand Studies essay, "Rand and Choice," Machan reiterates the main point: Prior to the choice to live/think, a human being cannot be aware of any principle of ethics. So the choice to live/think cannot rest on such a principle. Only once that choice has been made—however incrementally, gradually, by fits and starts—can one be rationally expected to live a principled life.

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