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Objectivists

For those who admire the philosophy of the great novelist Ayn Rand.

Members: 42
Latest Activity: Jan 17, 2013

Objectivism

"Formally, I call it Objectivism, but informally I call it a philosophy for living on earth." - Ayn Rand, 1974, speaking at the year's West Point graduation

Today, in modern publishings, there are brief entries and outlines that summarize both her novels and her philosophy. Here I have merely followed suit, only much, much more briefly.

Her four fiction works are: "Atlas Shrugged" (1957), "The Fountainhead" (1943), "Anthem" (1938), and "We the Living" (1936). No summaries here. Go read them.

The philosophy of Objectivism, founded by Ayn Rand, is intricately displayed by separate, individual branches of philosophy: metaphysics, epistemology, ethics, and politics. Please excuse me for merely copying down the outline in her books.

1. Metaphysics: "Reality, the external world, exists independent of man's consciousness, independent of any observer's knowledge, beliefs, feelings, desires or fears. This means that A is A, that facts are facts, that things are what they are--and that the task of man's consciousness is to perceive reality, not to create or invent it." Thus Objectivism rejects any belief in the supernatural--and any claim that individuals or groups create their own reality.

2. Epistemology: "Man's reason is fully competent to know the facts of reality. Reason, the conceptual faculty, is the faculty that identifies and integrates the material provided by man's senses. Reason is man's only means of acquiring knowledge." Thus Objectivism rejects mysticism (any acceptance of faith or feeling as a means of knowledge), and it rejects skepticism (the claim that certainty or knowledge is impossible).

3. Human Nature: Man is a rational being. Reason, as man's only means of knowledge, is his basic means of survival. But the exercise of reason depends on each individual's choice. "Man is a being of volitional consciousness." "That which you call your soul or spirit is your consciousness, and that which you call 'free will' is your mind's freedom to think or not, the only will you have, your only freedom. [This is] the choice that controls all the choices you make and determines your life and character." Thus Objectivism rejects any form of determinism, the belief that man is a victim of forces beyond his control (such as God, fate, upbringing, genes or economic conditions).

4. Ethics: "Reason is man's only proper judge of values and his only proper guide to action. The proper standard of ethics is: man's survival qua man--i.e., that which is required by man's nature for his survival as a rational being (not his momentary physical survival as a mindless brute). Rationality is man's basic virtue, and his three fundamentals are: reason, purpose, self-esteem. Man--every man--is an end in himself, not a means to the ends of others; he must live for his own sake, neither sacrificing himself to others nor sacrificing others to himself; he must work for his rational self-interest, with the achievement of his own happiness as the highest moral purpose of his life." Thus Objectivism rejects any form of altruism--the claim that morality consists in living for others or for society.

5. Politics: "The basic social principle of the Objectivist ethics is that no man has the right to seek values from others by means of physical force--i.e., no man or group has the right to initiate the use of physical force against others. Men have the right to use force only in self-defense and only against those who initiate its use. Men must deal with one another as traders, giving value for value, by free, mutual consent to mutual benefit. The only social system that bars physical force from human relationships is laissez-faire capitalism. Capitalism is a system based on the recognition of individual rights, including property rights, in which the only function of the government is to protect individual rights, i.e., to protect men from those who initiate the use of physical force." Thus Objectivism rejects any form of collectivism, such as fascism or socialism. It also rejects the current "mixed economy" notion that the government should regulate the economy and redistribute wealth.

6. Esthetics: "Art is a selective re-creation of reality according to an artist's metaphysical value-judgments." The purpose of art is to concretize the artist's fundamental view of existence. Ayn Rand described her own approach to art as "Romantic Realism": "I am a Romantic in the sense that I present men as they ought to be. I am Realistic in the sense that I place them here and now and on this earth." The goal of Ayn Rand's novels is not didactic but artistic: the projection of an ideal man: "My purpose, first cause and prime mover is the portrayal of Howard Roark or John Galt or Hank Rearden or Francisco d'Anconia as an end in himself--not as a means to any further end."

Discussion Forum

Moses Did Not Believe in Eternal Life

Started by Brian. Last reply by Brian Apr 16, 2011. 1 Reply

Religion vs. science

Started by Brian. Last reply by Brian Jan 8, 2011. 1 Reply

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You need to be a member of Objectivists to add comments!

Comment by Bill H on March 20, 2012 at 11:05am

Glad that this group exists. Maybe we can become more active.

Comment by Curtis Edward Clark on November 18, 2009 at 10:52pm
One good way of stretching your Objectivist understandings, is to answer people's general philosophy questions in a forum where you can take your time to research , if need be, and write a coherent statement. I prefer this over one on one, face to face, because I get so passionate when I'm speaking people think I'm aggressively arguing when I'm really just----passionate! Then it turns into a real argument.

So I regularly use Yahoo Answers http://answers.yahoo.com/ It makes me stretch my thinking abilities and come up with answers to questions that Ayn Rand never had to answer---or perhaps never sought to answer.

I'll tell you, kids these days can ask the dumbest questions. But some of them can think of the most extraordinarily difficult premises that require some deep thinking. I'm addicted to YA.
Comment by Ian on November 8, 2009 at 3:44pm
In that brief excerpt of "Ayn Rand and the World She Made" just read, I hate the fact that, even though I know that I'm gonna despise this author for those scattered little comments on Ayn Rand's arrogance and individualism, I was interested in what the author found in research. I just wish somebody else had done it.
Comment by A Former Member on November 2, 2009 at 3:58pm
Ayn Rand's Conservative Call Echoes Today

n Franklin Delano Roosevelt's New Deal policies, Ayn Rand saw the makings of a fascist nation. The author of a new biography of the conservative icon says Rand would have seen Obama's stimulus plan, bank bailout program and health care initiative as "a gigantic power grab."

"She would have been horrified," Anne Heller tells All Things Considered host Guy Raz. Heller's new book is titled Ayn Rand and the World She Made.

Read or listen to here.
Comment by joshua lipana on September 17, 2009 at 4:58pm
Nice to see Objectivism present here.
Comment by Greg B. on June 23, 2009 at 7:11pm
I'll put my name down here, more as an admirer of objectivism than an objectivist myself, except perhaps in the wider sense in which you might say that Popper is an objectivist along with David Kelly and Ayn Rand.
Comment by Cameron Mottus on March 31, 2009 at 8:11pm
Hey Mates,
Good to see some other Objectivists in here. How did you guys become Objectivist?
Comment by Jeremy on January 21, 2009 at 10:27pm
I just put an ayn rand video page up on my site recently.
www.deliveredfromdogma.com and click ayn rand on the right hand side.

Or, go directly to http://web.me.com/jeremyawhitman/Video/Rand/AynRandVideo.html

I'm having some trouble with masking, so I don't have a direct deliveredfromdogma address for it, because I'm hosting through my mobileme account, but bought the domain from godaddy.
Comment by Splurgen on January 17, 2009 at 1:57am
I lived life by these rules, I didn't know it was considered objectivism until I read it here. This was probably the best summary of the philosophy I read so far. It conveyed the message so far. I own all of Rand's books, they are beyond amazing.
Comment by Onotheo on January 7, 2009 at 3:03am
Still a student of Objectivism. From what I know, I cannot call myself an Objectivist until I have an intimate knowledge of it and be able to defend it in a debate. I insist otherwise of giving myself the epithet till I've proven I shouldn't :D
 

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