FAQ: Ayn Rand's Philosophy of Objectivism Archive-name: objectivism/faq Last-modified: 199

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FAQ: Ayn Rand's Philosophy of Objectivism Archive-name: objectivism/faq Last-modified: 1994/09/16 Here is the current FAQ on Ayn Rand's philosophy of Objectivism. Please note the announcements at the end of the file. Please sent suggestions and corrections to cwalker@zycor.lgc.com Copies of this FAQ and other related information may be found at the following sites via ftp: ftp.uu.net under /usenet/news.answers/objectivism rtfm.mit.edu [18.70.0.209] under /pub/usenet in the *.answers directories ftp.rahul.net under /pub/aradmin/Objectivism/info etext.archive.umich.edu under /pub/Objectivism The document is available in HTML format through WWW (Mosaic, etc) at: <"http://www.rpi.edu/~pier1/phil/obj-faq.html"> Please contact Will Pierce at pier1@rembrandt.its.rpi.edu for more information. Related Information that can be found at the above sites: *Jay Allen's Org File (How did we do without it?-cww) *Dr. Goldberg's Bibliography and Chronology of Rand's works (A Goldmine-cww) Vortex FAQ and IRC (chat) transcripts (ftp.rahul.net) General Bibliography of works related to Objectivism Miscellaneous articles -------------------- CUT HERE --------------------------------------- Frequently Asked Questions Objectivism: The philosophy of Ayn Rand Author: Chris Walker Date: July 15, 1994 Questions Answered ------------------ I. What is the Role of Philosophy in Human life? II. What is Objectivism? III. Who is Ayn Rand? IV. Ayn Rand and Aristotle V. Was Ayn Rand a Conservative or a Libertarian? VI. Where can one find out more about Ayn Rand's ideas? VII. What about other electronic forums where her ideas are discussed? VIII. What about audio and video recordings of Ayn Rand and others? IX. What about campus clubs? Where can I find out how to start my own? X. Bibliography of Published Articles in Academic Journals XI. Reading List on Objectivism XII. Major Objectivist Events XIII. Local Events and Groups XIV. Suggestions and Corrections Acknowledgements ---------------- Based on suggestions from several users of alt.philosophy.objectivism either posted publically or sent to me privately. My thanks to Austin Moseley, Brian Yoder, Magnus Kempe, Jay Allen and many others for their assistance in compiling this file. It was originally composed in March 1993. (12/19/93) Revised bibliography and expanded references to Jay Allen's ORG file available at most of the ftp sites above. (2/2/94) Changed section I to focus more on Ayn Rand's views on philosophy as well as presenting some essentials of her ideas. (6/9/94) Added references to related information. References for Quotes --------------------- "The Ayn Rand Lexicon", edited by Harry Binswanger. Copyright 1986 by Harry Binswanger. Publisher, New American Library "The New Left: The Anti-Industrial Revolution," by Ayn Rand. ARI (Ayn Rand Institute) biography of Ayn Rand Purpose of this FAQ ------------------- The purpose of this FAQ is to provide pointers to the best information on Objectivism that is available. It intentionally does not reference material that misrepresents Objectivism, the philosophy of Ayn Rand. Extensive information on Objectivist organizations and publications may be found in Jay Allen's "Objectivist Resource Guide" posted on the same newsgroups as this FAQ. It is also available at various ftp sites. Disclaimer ---------- Copyright 1994 (C) by Chris Walker except where specified. This is not an official presentation of Ayn Rand's philosophy. The author supports the activities of the Ayn Rand Institute and associated organizations but does not represent these organizations in any way. In my judgement, only those individuals listed in the reading list as Objectivists have demonstrated that they are qualified to present Ayn Rand's ideas accurately with professional quality. REPEAT: the best source for Ayn Rand's ideas is the works of Ayn Rand herself. This must be overstated because Rand is frequently misinterpreted, misattributed and misunderstood. Distribution ------------ This list may be distributed anywhere provided that it is distributed in full and that all of the header information is retained. The bibliography and reading list may be distributed separately provided that appropriate credit is given. Otherwise, no extractions, deletions or modifications may be made. Some quotes are from copyrighted works. Any new version posted on USENET by me supersedes any previous version. As with Jay Allen's list, if any altered versions of this file are being distributed, please notify me at cwalker@zycor.lgc.com or chrisw@wixer.bga.com. Corrections ----------- Please send suggestions and updates to cwalker@zycor.lgc.com QUESTIONS --------- I. What is the Role of Philosophy in Human life? ------------------------------------------------- Ayn Rand had the following to say about the nature of philosophy: "Philosophy is the science that studies the fundamental aspects of the nature of existence. The task of philosophy is to provide man with a comprehensive view of life. This view serves as a base, a frame of reference, for all his actions, mental or physical, psychological or existential. This view tells him the nature of the universe with which he has to deal (metaphysics); the means by which he has to deal with it, i.e., the means of acquiring knowledge (epistemology); the standards by which he is to choose his goals and values, in regard to his own life and character (ethics)--and in regard to society (politics); the means of concretizing this view is given to him by esthetics." "The Chicken's Homecoming," from "The New Left: The Anti-Industrial Revolution," p107 Objectivism is the philosophy of Ayn Rand and is her discovery. It is her answer to the questions posed in these five broad areas regarding the nature of the universe, how man comes to know it, the standards by which he lives and and how to live with others in society. She also addresses the nature of the ideal of moral perfection and the ideal art form in her philosophy of art. II. What is Objectivism? ------------------------ Ayn Rand summarized her philosophy in "The Objectivist Newsletter" in 1962 as 1. Metaphysics: Objective Reality 2. Epistemology: Reason 3. Ethics: Self Interest 4. Politics: Laissez-faire capitalism 5. Aesthetics: Romantic Realism [point 5 was not included in her "standing on one foot" presentation of Objectivism ] 1. Reality exists as an objective absolute--facts are facts, independent of man's feelings, wishes, hopes or fears. 2. Reason (the faculty which identifies and integrates the material provided by man's senses) is man's only means of perceiving reality, his only source of knowledge, his only guide to action, and his basic means of survival. 3. Man--every man--is an end in himself, not the means to the ends of others. He must exist for his own sake, neither sacrificing himself to others nor sacrificing others to himself. The pursuit of his own rational self-interest and of his own happiness is the highest moral purpose of his life. 4. The ideal political-economic system is laissez-faire capitalism. It is a system where men deal with one another, not as victims and executioners, nor as masters and slaves, but as traders, by free, voluntary exchange to mutual benefit. It is a system where no man may obtain any values from others by resorting to physical force, and no man may initiate the use of physical force against others. The government acts only as a policeman that protects man's rights; it uses physical force only in retaliation and only against those who initiate its use, such as criminals and foreign invaders. In a system of full capitalism, there should be (but historically has not yet been) a complete separation of state and economics, in the same way and for the same reasons as the separation of state and church." The Ayn Rand Lexicon (HC) p344 quoted from "Introducing Objectivism," TON, Aug. 1962, 35. Chris Walker's comments: Note: The comments below are not Objectivist material nor should they be treated as such. 1. In short, Objectivism is the philosophy of rational, free men of good character who believe in heroes and the possibility of happiness here on earth. Objectivism sanctions those men and women who live by means of reason, holding that this-worldly success is good and that man is deserving of happiness. Objectivism is *the* philosophy that CAN be practiced and which rewards men of integrity who do so. It does not punish integrity, unlike other philosophies or religious beliefs which claim applicability to this world. Neither altruism nor Christian morality can be practiced consistently as in the first case one becomes a slave and in the second it would be necessary to join a monastery (or a convent). Nor is it possible to practice the secular versions of Christianity in its various guises including Communism, Socialism or any other philosophy which holds the standard of value outside of human life including and especially Environmentalism. All of these are destructive to human life, individual human life. Objectivism is a philosophy that holds the unit of sovereignty in human society to be the individual. An Objectivist takes Ayn Rand's philosophy seriously and practices it to the extent of his knowledge in the pursuit of his rationally chosen values. He uses it to provide guidance for individual choices across the entire span of his life, the alternative being to act on a course of short-ranged action which ultimately means giving up his life to chance. Properly, this requires taking the facts of reality as the ultimate arbiter of his (or her) conclusions. This includes his choice of a career, a particular job, personal relationships and any other purpose to which an Objectivist chooses to devote his efforts. This includes not knowingly advocating ideas, advocates of ideas or men of poor character which repudiate this standard. Thus to label oneself an Objectivist is to take on a great challenge: a challenge to explicitly apply philosophical ideas to the art of living and the responsibility of living up to that challenge. Just as Objectivism had to be discovered, so each person must discover the methods appropriate to his chosen purposes and profession and is ultimately responsible for the success or failure of his actions in pursuing them. Objectivism provides a prerequisite of success--it is a starting point--but it is the individual, you, who must learn to take advantage of knowledge available in our fantastic civilization to succeed, to discover, to create and achieve happiness as a result. 2. The mark of an Objectivist according to Dr. Leonard Peikoff in "Fact and Value" (TIA, May 1989) is one's approach to values. This includes fundamentally a passionate search for truth and evaluation of every fact of reality. This is done with regard to its relevance to one's life, with the acceptance of all metaphysical facts as they are and the ability to rationally evaluate "man-made" facts such as political institutions and movements. This applies especially to a man's character as man is a "being a self-made soul," ie. you are responsible for what king of person you are. As you judge the character of others so you must do so for your own first and foremost. This includes your own ideas, your method of thinking and your efforts expended to improve yourself. Don't look upon a weakness as an affront but an opportunity for self-improvement and let Objectivism be your guide to finding the answers. If you find that in your sincere efforts Objectivism clashes with the world, check your premises and the methods by which you think. Applying principles apart from reality (rationalism) or thinking without principles (Empiricism) are endemic in modern culture. Treating Objectivism as a substitute for the Bible or as a series of memorized slogans will fail because unreason no matter the content is always destructive to human life. Dr. Peikoff addresses these false thinking methodologies in his course, "Understanding Objectivism." 3. If you find that you disagree with any fundamental idea of Rand's philosophy you should *not* call yourself an Objectivist. A fundamental idea in Rand's philosophy is any idea if omitted or altered would repudiate or undercut Rand's philosophy. Since Objectivism is based upon Rand's observation of the nature of existence, the human mind, man and his life in society and the principles that Rand chose to include in her philosophy were carefully chosen on the basis of the *indispensability* to human life, omitting one means blanking out an entire range of observations that Rand made that acts as a necessary logical link between one part of her philosophy and another. Such a step invalidates your understanding of her philosophy. If your disagreement is rational, you will eventually find that your conclusions will be similar or identical to Objectivism perhaps being even more sophisticated in the long run. Until then, the proper action is to say that you find value in Rand's ideas, but disagree with them. To call yourself an Objectivist in such a case is an act of deception. If you have discovered something better, by all means pursue it and develop it but don't call it Objectivism. [The practice of Objectivism in one's life is equal to its content.] There are those who do persist in calling themselves Objectivists despite strong disagreement on the relationship of facts and values, a fundamental aspect of Rand's philosophy. This is the issue of the relevance of facts of reality to one's life, especially man-made facts. The consequence of holding the view as advocated by Kelley and others is not being willing to evaluate a man's character on the basis of the ideas that he advocates until he demonstrates willful irrationality. *All* facts have value significance and are evaluated as relevant, ie. good or bad, *in the appropriate context.* That is why we normally don't worry about sharks when we're not swimming in the ocean or concerned about the number of leaves on a tree, but each fact could become relevant in some context. With regard to man-made facts, ie. a man's ideas, these must be judged as being not only true or false, but good or evil. A man's ideas are a window to his soul, both in what he thinks and how he thinks. Ignoring these in an individual is bad enough but with regard to an association of individuals, such as a political movement, is even worse. Judgement of another person takes considerable effort, especially if that person has values to offer. However, once the principle of that person's actions is identified, or the actions and beliefs of a collection of individuals, you cannot suddenly make exceptions because you feel like it. 4. Don't confuse Objectivism with other philosophies such as Secular Humanists. They are enemies of freedom and are skeptics, upholding not only relativism in knowledge but also self-sacrifice in morality. II. Who is Ayn Rand? --------------------- Ayn Rand (1905-1982) was a Russian-born American writer. She grew up in St. Petersburg during the Russian Revolution and graduated from the University of Petrograd in 1924. As a child at the age of nine, she had decided that she would become a writer. Being directly exposed to the Soviet system, she rebelled even as a child against the doctrines and practices of that oppressive culture. In 1926, at the age of 21, she went to the United States to become a Hollywood screen writer and married in 1931. She went on to write not only several screen plays but eventually several novels including the "We the Living" (1936), the best-selling "The Fountainhead (1943)" and "Atlas Shrugged (1957)". Ayn Rand considered her novels to belong to the school of art known as Romanticism as opposed to Naturalism. Additional works include a novelette called "Anthem" and several plays including "Night of January 16th." "'The Fountainhead', the story of an intransigent creator who refuses to surrender his integrity or his intellectual independence to a world of second-handers was published in 1943--after having been rejected by twelve publishers. It brought Ayn Rand international fame. With the publication of 'Atlas Shrugged' in 1957, Ayn Rand's position in history -- both as novelist and philosopher -- was established. 'Atlas Shrugged' tells the story of what happens to the world when its most intelligent and productive members, the men of the mind, go on strike against the creed of self-immolation. This novel challenges at the root the altruist and philosophical ideas of the 2000-year-old Judeo-Christian tradition." (Ayn Rand Institute information packet) Subsequent to "Atlas Shrugged", she published several newsletters including "The Objectivist Newsletter (1962-1965)", "The Objectivist (1966-1971)", and "The Ayn Rand Letter (1971-1976)" All of these newsletters are still available in print. In the last 20 years of her life, she published several non-fiction works including "Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal (1966)", "Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology (1979)", "The Virtue of Selfishness (1964)", "For the New Intellectual (1961)", "The Romantic Manifesto (1969)", and "The New Left: The Anti-Industrial Revolution (1971)" In addition, she appeared on radio and television talk shows, wrote editorials in such newspapers as the "LA Times", spoke to enthusiastic audiences at events sponsored by such institutions as "The Ford Hall Forum" in Boston, and taught and helped teach courses on her philosophy and romantic fiction. After her death, the seminal "Philosophy: Who Needs It (1982)", "The Early Ayn Rand", and "The Ayn Rand Column" were published by her intellectual heir, executor, and closest associate Dr. Leonard Peikoff. Ayn Rand is buried in a cemetery near Valhalla, New York. There is some biographical information in the now out-of-print "Who is Ayn Rand?" written in the early sixties. I cannot recommend any subsequent biographical works from the authors of this book as they were written after Ayn Rand's death so she could not answer their assertions. Moreover, the authors are openly hostile to Rand and make allegations on Rand's character of which the majority cannot be verified independently. III. Ayn Rand's Debt to Aristotle ---------------------------------- "The only philosophical debt I can acknowledge is to Aristotle. I most emphatically disagree with a great many parts of his philosophy--but his definition of the laws of logic and of the means of human knowledge is so great an achievement that his errors are irrelevant by comparison." "About the Author," Appendix to "Atlas Shrugged" quoted from "The Ayn Rand Lexicon", p344 IV. Ayn Rand on Aristotle -------------------------- "Aristotle's philosophy was the intellect's Declaration of Independence. Aristotle, the father of logic, should be given the title of the world's first intellectual, in the purest and noblest sense of that word. No matter what remnants of Platonism did exist in Aristotle's system, his incomparable achievement lay in the fact that he defined the basic principles of a rational view of existence and of man's consciousness: that there is only one reality, the one which man perceives--that it exists as an objective absolute (which means: independently of the consciousness, the wishes or the feelings of any perceiver)--that the task of man's consciousness is to perceive, not to create, reality--that abstractions are man's method of integrating his sensory material--that man's mind is his only tool of knowledge--that A is A. If we consider the fact that to this day everything that makes us civilized beings, every rational value that we possess -- including the birth of science, the industrial revolution, the creation of the United States, even of the structure of our language -- is the result of Aristotle's influence, of the degree to which, explicitly or implicitly, men accepted his epistemological principles, we would have to say: never have so many owed so much to one man." Quoted from "For the New Intellectual, HC(20),pb(22)" from "The Ayn Rand Lexicon", p35 V. Was Ayn Rand a Conservative or a Libertarian? ------------------------------------------------- "The "libertarians"...plagiarize Ayn Rand's principle that no man may initiate the use of physical force, and treat it as a mystically revealed, out-of-context absolute.... In the philosophical battle for a free society, the one crucial connection to be upheld is that between capitalism and reason. The religious conservatives are seeking to tie capitalism to mysticism; the "libertarians" are tying capitalism to the whim-worshiping subjectivism and chaos of anarchy. To cooperate with either group is to betray capitalism, reason, and one's own future." Binswanger, "The Ayn Rand Lexicon", p254 from "Q & A Department: - Anarchism," "The Objectivist Forum", Aug. 1981, 12. Though some thinkers discussed the relationship of force and rights, it does not change the fact that Rand made the evil of the initiation of force and its relationship to man's means of survival--reason-- clear and explicit. The definitive answer to this question is provided by the article, "Libertarianism: The Perversion of Liberty" by Peter Schwartz. This tract and a revised version which appears in "The Voice of Reason: Essays on Objectivist Thought" are available at Second Renaissance Books. (address below) ----- A note: Common cause for freedom cannot be made with Conservative or Libertarian groups. Conservatives observe and complain about the rampant moral relativism taking over the world, but offer in its place a return to Judeo-Christian values and "The Bible." Libertarians make many statements which appear to be pro-freedom, but the arguments that they have to offer for justification amount to "do your own thing." In my opinion, based on my personal investigations of such groups, many of the individuals participating in these movements are sincere. The fundamental failing of such people in the United States is that most do not understand the concept of proof and often intersperse true and often brilliant insights with other claims that fail to withstand even casual criticism. Moreover, many cases made by Conservatives are interspersed with statements that are so fantastic as to be unbelievable, even if they were true, yet are not given the extraordinary proof that they require. Hence, to use any such materials in building your case for freedom must be done with caution. Rand herself addressed this very same issue in the article "What Can One Do?" I suggest that you read this article which is published in her non-fiction. Clearly then, on avowedly religious mailing lists, libertarian lists, or conspiracy lists, it weakens your case for Objectivism to engage in philosophical debates there. I have found some valuable information on some of these groups, but the risk of sanction makes participation undesirable at best. To debate Objectivism on these lists trivializes your position and only teaches such people techniques to use against other rational individuals in the future. Posting on other lists including alt.philosophy.objectivism or other philosophy lists requires caution. Before plunging into a discussion of a serious philosophical topic or current event, make sure that the people involved are truly seeking answers. Some people simply like to provoke discussions and won't take responsibility to see that their questions and answers are based on fact and are reasoned according to the rules of logic. I find such efforts to be wasted. VI. Where can one find out more about Ayn Rand's ideas? -------------------------------------------------------- Ayn Rand's books and the most important works of the advocates of her philosophy, especially "Objectivism: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand" by Leonard Peikoff and "The Ayn Rand Lexicon" by Harry Binswanger can be found in most metropolitan bookstores or can be ordered from the publisher or from Second Renaissance Books. The most complete collection of the works of major interpreters of Objectivism and of works which support the values of reason, individual achievement, and individual rights and capitalism may be found at: Second Renaissance Books P.O. Box 4625 Oceanside, CA 92052 For information, call 619-757-6149, or fax 619-757-1723. For free information on Ayn Rand's ideas including the following pamphlets: "Playboy's Interview with Ayn Rand" "Philosophy of Objectivism: A Brief Summary" by Leonard Peikoff "Man's Rights and the Nature of Government" by Ayn Rand "Philosophy: Who Needs It?" by Ayn Rand before West Point and many more, please contact: The Ayn Rand Institute 4640 Admiralty Way, Suite 715 Marina del Rey, CA 90292 Additional sources of information about Objectivism: The Jefferson School (TJS) (Offers weekend and two week summer seminars) P.O. Box 2934 Laguna Hills, CA 92654 Conceptual Conferences P.O. Box 339 New York, NY 10040 The Intellectual Activist (Publication of articles, reviews, current events) P.O. Box 262 Lincroft, NJ 07738 Second Renaissance Conferences 130 Federal Road, Suite 56 Danbury, CT 06811 VII. What about other electronic forums where her ideas are discussed? ----------------------------------------------------------------------- There are several private e-mail discussion groups on which Ayn Rand's ideas are discussed. One such group is the Objectivism Study Group, a commercial mailing list for serious students of Objectivism. It is moderated by the publisher of "The Intellectual Activist", Bob Stubblefield. Please send a message to "info-osg@osg.com" to receive a contract and application form. Another mailing list that I can sanction is Mark Gardner's Vortex mailing list. You can find more information under /pub/aradmin/Objectivism/info in the file vortex-faq.txt. Other public discussions on Ayn Rand's ideas occur on sci.philosophy.meta, talk.philosophy.misc, sci.philosophy.tech and more. Since most of these groups are unmoderated, it is up to the reader to decide if a posting which is critical of Rand's ideas is basing this criticism on fact or is based on an irrational premise or hasty generalization. [see disclaimer] Please consult Jay Allen's ORG file for information on how to join the Internet Relay Chat discussion in the forum #AynRand which is moderated by Mark J. Gardner. VIII. What about audio and video recordings of Ayn Rand and others? ------------------------------------------------------------------- Ayn Rand appeared on several TV shows including the Tonight Show, Donahue, and others. She spoke before West Point, before businessmen and the aforementioned Ford Hall Forum. The majority of her extant recordings as well as those by other prominent Objectivists is available at Second Renaissance Books. IX. What about campus clubs? Where can I find out how to start my own? ------------------------------------------------------------------------ An extensive list of campus clubs can be found in Jay Allen's Objectivist Resource Guide. The Ayn Rand Institute now supports more than 60 campus clubs throughout the United States and Canada. To quote from the ARI Campus Club Manual, "Campus clubs operate independently of ARI. We do not officially endorse or sanction any clubs. We provide assistance to those in harmony with the principles described in our Intellectual Charter. Our role is solely that of helper as we work together to achieve our common goal: the advancement of Objectivism" (p. ii) Please contact the ARI at the following address: The Ayn Rand Institute 4640 Admiralty Way, Suite 715 Marina del Rey, CA 90292 X. Bibliography of Published Articles in Academic Journals ------------------------------------------------------------- This bibliography of works by individuals of whom I am certain are in agreement with the fundamental principles of Ayn Rand's philosophy. This bibliography contains works in academic journals, magazines or collections of articles. Other Objectivist works are referred to in the "Reading List on Objectivism." This includes a bibliography posted last year on alt.philosophy.objectivism. An excellent source for other Objectivist works is to consult the book catalog from Second Renaissance Books. ARTICLES IN ACADEMIC JOURNALS Author: Harry Binswanger Title: Volition as Cognitive Self-Regulation Journal: Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes 1991, 50, 154-178 Author: Harry Binswanger Title: Life-based Teleology and the Foundations of Ethics Journal: The Monist, 1992, Author: Allan Gotthelf Title: Aristotle's Conception of Final Causality Journal: The Review of Metaphysics, 1977, 30, 226-254 Author: George Reisman Title: Getting Parallels Straight Journal: Reason, June 1983 Author: John Ridpath Title: Ayn Rand's Novels: Art or Tracts Journal: The American Journal of Economics and Sociology, 1976, 35, 211-17 Leonard Peikoff: 'Platonism's Inference from Logic to God', in 'International Studies in Philosophy', Vol. 16, p. 25-34, 1984. Leonard Peikoff: 'Aristotle's Intuitive Induction', in 'The New Scholasticism', Vol. 59, p. 30-53, 1985. Edwin Locke: 'The Contradiction of Epiphenomenalism', in 'British Journal of Psychology', Vol. 57, p. 203-204, 1966. Robert Mayhew: 'Aristotle on Property', in 'Review of Metaphysics', Vol. 46, p. 803-831, 1993. Allan Gotthelf: 'The Place of the Good in Aristotle's Natural Teleology', in 'The Proceedings of the Boston Colloquium on Ancient Philosophy', Vol. 4, p. 113-139, 1988. Tara Smith: 'Why a Teleological Defense of Rights Needn't Yield Welfare Rights', in 'The Journal of Social Philosophy', Vol. 23 (3), p. 35-50, 1992. Tara Smith: 'Rights, Friends, and Egoism', in 'The Journal of Philosophy', Vol. 90 (3), p. 144-148, 1993. Tara Smith: 'On Deriving Rights to Goods from Rights to Freedom', in 'Law and Philosophy', Vol. 11 (3), p. 217-234, 1992. Tara Smith: 'Why Do I Love Thee? - A Response to Nozick's Account of Romantic Love', in 'Southwest Philosophy Review', p. 47-57, 1991. Tara Smith: 'Moral Realism: Blackburn's Response to the Frege Objection', in 'The Southern Journal of Philosophy', Vol. 25, p. 221-228, 1987. ARTICLES IN MAGAZINES Author: Leonard Peikoff Title: Atlas Shrieked Journal: Esquire, October, 1962 Author: Michael S. Berliner Title: Capitalism and Selfishness Journal: Commentary, March 1987 Author: Cynthia Peikoff Title: Capitalism and Selfishness Journal: Commentary, March 1987 Authors: Arthur Mode, Mike Berliner Title: Ayn Rand (Replies to Herbert) Journal: Book World Ayn Rand: 'A Screen Guide For Americans', Plain Talk, Nov. 1947. Ayn Rand: 'JFK- High Class Beatnik?', Human Events, Sept. 1960. Ayn Rand: 'The New Left Represents an Intellectual Vacuum', New York Times Magazine, 17th of May 1970. Edwin Locke: 'The Virtue of Selfishness', American Psychologist, Vol. 43 (6), p. 481, 1988. Michael Berliner: 'Capitalism and Selfishness', Commentary, March 1987. John Ridpath: 'Ayn Rand's Novels: Art or Tracts', The American Journal of Economics and Sociology, Vol. 35, p. 211-217, 1976. Jerry Kirkpatrick, 'Ayn Rand's Objectivist Ethics as the Foundation of Business Ethics', p. 67-88, in 'Business Ethics and Common Sense', ed. Robert W. McGee, Quorum Books, 1992. E ARTICLES (OR CHAPTERS) IN BOOKS Author: George Reisman Title: Classical Economics Versus The Exploitation Theory Book: Essays in Honor of F. A. Hayek, 1984 Author: George Reisman Title: Freedom of Opportunity, Not Equality of Opportunity Book: Essays in Honor of Hans Sennholz, 1992 Author: George Reisman Title: The Toxicity of Environmentalism Book: Rational Readings on Environmental Concerns, Edited by Jay Lehr Author: Richard Sanford Title: Being verified Book: Rational Readings on Environmental Concerns, Edited by Jay Lehr XI. Reading List on Objectivism --------------------------------- This is my reading list for learning Objectivism. All works listed are by Ayn Rand unless specified otherwise. In addition, I list some other works recommended in the past by Objectivists to broaden your study. Credit goes to Austin Moseley for his suggestions and thanks to everyone else for their corrections and assistance. For those who have little or no familiarity with philosophy, the best introduction to Objectivism is through Ayn Rand's fiction. Ayn Rand was primarily a novelist. In order to write the novels about the kind of men worth writing about who could and should exist in the world, she developed Objectivism to support it. This philosophy of hero worship captures the spirit of youth and its concomitant love of life. A note on selection. I have freely borrowed from the reading list in the Second Renaissance Books catalog and from other sources. My general criterion is to point people to works whose writers provide models of rational discourse and will enable readers to find the same spirit in whatever works they encounter on their own. Ayn Rand's Novels ----------------- "We The Living" -- Ayn Rand considered this novel to be the ideal Romantic novel. This novel is about the destruction of the human spirit under dictatorships. The specifics are the Soviet dictatorship, but it addresses all such societies. It was made into a movie in Fascist Italy without permission and when the authorities finally realized its anti-authoritarian message, the movie was banned. "The Fountainhead" -- The leitmotif of this novel is independence, of the worship of man as heroic creator of values through means of the use of his own mind. Howard Roark is the hero who remains true to himself in the entire novel, never allowing his work to be compromised no matter the temptation. He wins. "Atlas Shrugged" --This is Ayn Rand's 'magnum opus', a great novel beyond ordinary greatness. It is a novel of the role of man's mind in civilization, of its enslavement to the looters who refuse to use their own mind to produce the values they need to live. The plot is in answer to the question, "What if the men of the mind were to go on strike?" Read it and find out. "Anthem" -- This is a novel of the rediscovery of the most important word in all of human life, without which, true human existence is impossible. Introductory Philosophical Works by Ayn Rand -------------------------------------------- These works present basic aspects of Objectivism and discuss the value of philosophy. They also address the most important issues of philosophy for everyday life. "Philosophy: Who Needs It?", edited by Leonard Peikoff "For the New Intellectual" Basic Philosophical Essays by Ayn Rand -------------------------------------- "The Virtue of Selfishness: A New Concept of Egoism" "Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal" "The New Left: The Anti-Industrial Revolution" "The Romantic Manifesto" Introductory and Intermediate Objectivist Works ----------------------------------------------- These works are intended for those who already know the basic principles of Ayn Rand's ideas and are ready to flesh out their knowledge. "The Ayn Rand Lexicon" by Harry Binswanger "Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology" by Ayn Rand "Objectivism: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand" by Leonard Peikoff "The Ominous Parallels" by Leonard Peikoff "The Voice of Reason: Essays in Objectivist Thought" by Leonard Peikoff Study Aids ---------- "A Study Guide to Leonard Peikoff's Objectivism: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand" by Gary Hull (Highly Recommended) Recommended Courses/Lectures by Leonard Peikoff ----------------------------------------------- These courses and taped lectures are currently for sale from Second Renaissance Books. Having heard the majority of these courses, I believe that they are of superior quality. Objectivism courses: "The Philosophy of Objectivism" -- 12 lecture introductory course presented in 1976 with Ayn Rand in the Q&A "Understanding Objectivism" -- 12 Lecture course. This is his best course to my knowledge. "Objectivism: The State of the Art" -- 6 lecture course "Objectivism: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand" -- 15 lecture advanced course 1-6 (1990), 7-15 (1991) "Certainty and Happiness"--achieving success in thought and action Grammar, Rhetoric and Logic: (This is the trivium of classical heritage) "The Philosophy of Education" -- 5 lecture course "Introduction to Logic" -- 10 lecture course "Principles of Grammar" -- 8 lecture course "Objective Communication" -- 10 lecture course (Principles of Communication, Writing, Speaking, Arguing) Ayn Rand in Q&A on lecture 1 Polemical Presentations: "The American School: Why Johnny Can't Think" "Medicine: The Death of a Profession" "Assault from the Ivory Tower" "Religion vs. America" "The Ominous Parallels" "Some Notes about Tomorrow" "Philosophy and the Real World Out There" Misc: "My Thirty Years with Ayn Rand: An Intellectual Memoir" Important Polemnical Essays --------------------------- "Libertarianism: The Perversion of Liberty" by Peter Schwartz "The Toxicity of Environmentalism" by George Reisman "Education and the Racist Road to Barbarism" by George Reisman OTHER WORKS TO EXPAND YOUR HORIZONS ----------------------------------- These works have been recommended in the past by Objectivists or I have found them valuable in my own personal studies. Philosophy ---------- "The Basic Works of Aristotle" by Richard McKeon "Aristotle" by John Hermann Randall, Jr. "A History of Western Philosophy" by W.T. Jones (in 5 volumes) "Philosophical Issues in Aristotle's Biology" edited by Allan Gotthelf and James G. Lennox. "Religion vs Man" by John Ridpath (2 lecture course) "A History of Philosophy", Wilhelm Windelband, 2 vols., New York: Harper Torchbooks. (This book is out of print but it sometimes reappears in used book stores) Economics --------- "The Government Against the Economy" by George Reisman "Economics in One Lesson" by Henry Hazlitt "Socialism" by Ludwig von Mises "Human Action" by Ludwig von Mises "Introduction to Pro-Capitalist 'Macroeconomics'" -- 6 lecture course "Economic Sophisms" by Frederic Bastiat "Economic Harmonies" by Frederic Bastiat "Planning for Freedom" by Ludwig von Mises History ------- "Modern Times" by Paul Johnson "History of Christianity" by Paul Johnson "Birth of the Modern" by Paul Johnson "The Discoverers" by Daniel Boorstin "The Creators" by Daniel Boorstin "The Story of Civilization" by Will and Ariel Durant "How the West Grew Rich" by Nathan Rosenberg and L.E. Birdzell "John Locke's Political Philosophy" by Harry Binswanger -- 3 lecture course Science ------- "The Beginnings of Western Science" David C. Lindberg "Flim-Flam" by James Randi Environmentalism ---------------- "Rational Readings on Environmental Concerns" edited by Jay H. Lehr "Trashing the Planet" by Dixie Lee Ray "Environmental Overkill" by Dixie Lee Ray "Toxic Terror" by Elizabeth Whelan "Panic in The Pantry" by Elizabeth Whelan and Fredrick J. Stare Politics -------- "The Law" by Frederic Bastiat "Second Treatise on Civil Government" by John Locke XII. Major Objectivist Events ------------------------------ -The Ford Hall Forum has hosted Leonard Peikoff as a guest speaker. The last appearance was on Nov. 7, 1993 on the topic "Modernism and Madness" which addressed the "astonishing similarity between modern art and schizophrenia." Ford Hall Forum can be reached at (617)-373-5800 for schedules and for information on how to make donations. -Second Renaissance Conferences will hold a two week summer conference in July 1994. It will take place in Secaucus, NJ. The title of the conference is "Ideas for the Rational Mind." Leonard Peikoff will be the principal lecturer on the topic of "Reading and Writing" with six other lectures included with the conference package. There are over sixteen optional lecture courses additionally. For more information, write to Second Renaissance Conferences 130 Federal Road, Suite 56 Danbury, CT 06811 XIII. Local Events and Groups ------------------------------ The most complete list of local groups may be found on Jay Allen's list. -The next Hill Country Objectivist Association conference will be held on October 21-23 1994 at the Holiday Inn Town Lake Hotel in Austin, TX. There will be papers, workshops, art exhibits and evening events. The cost is $64 for students and $109 at the door. This conference has proven itself over the years to be well-organized and fun. Come check it out if you can. For contact information, price schedule and fees, write to Hill Country Objectivist Association 4815 W. Braker Lane, Suite 502-112 Austin, Texas 78759 (512)-282-5528 -The Austin Objectivist Society (TAOS) holds monthly meetings on the third Sunday night of each month. "The purpose of The Austin Objectivist Society" is to promote the understanding and increased awareness of the Objectivist philosophy through educational activities in the Austin metropolitan area." It publishes the "GoodPremises" newsletter, not to be confused with a newsletter of a similar name out of Chicago, on a monthly basis. For membership information, please write to: The Austin Objectivist Society 12300 Painted Bunting Austin, TX 78726 The Second Renaissance Conferences conference is this weekend! XIV. Suggestions and Corrections --------------------------------- Please direct your suggestions, complaints, praise, and updates for this FAQ to Chris Walker, cwalker@zycor.lgc.com -- Chris Walker cwalker@zycor.lgc.com

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