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principles of objectivism

If accepted and practiced inconsistently, it retards one’s life and leads to guilt. Morally, Objectivism advocates the virtues of rational self-interest—virtues such as independent thinking, productiveness, justice, honesty, and self-responsibility. 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. For the first time ever, you can now download these original Nathaniel Branden Institute (NBI) lectures from The Culture of Reason Center store. The standard of value according to a predator is his whim. Observe these atrocities, then ask yourself whether any of it would be possible if men had not accepted the idea that man is a sacrificial animal to be immolated for the sake of the “public good.” Read the speeches of those countries’ political leaders and ask yourself what arguments would be left to them if the word “sacrifice” were regarded not as a moral ideal, but as the anti-human evil which it is. LOGICAL STRUCTURE OF OBJECTIVISM. Objectivism endorses several different ideals. All else being equal (style, composition, technique, etc. This audio content is accessible only to current Digital or Premium subscribers. These lectures included a lengthy discussion of the psychology of self … This is what most altruists do. The politics of freedom is the politics of self-interest; it cannot be defended with the ethics of self-sacrifice—or with a philosophy of unreason, unreality, or “super-nature”—or with no philosophy at all. In 1962, the Los Angeles Times invited Ayn Rand to write a syndicated column on her philosophy’s application to current events. This theory rejects supernatural or mystical powers, including the existence of God. In this recording of the first program in that series, Rand reads her inaugural Los Angeles Times column and then expands on its key points. Objectivism is fully secular and absolutist; it is neither liberal nor conservative nor anywhere in between. Capitalism—not the mongrel system of the United States today, but genuine capitalism—is the only social system that consistently prohibits anyone, including the government, from assaulting people or stealing their property. Existence just exists—and everything in it is something specific; everything is what it is and can act only in accordance with its identity. And the only social system in which such force is so prohibited—consistently and on principle—is pure, laissez-faire capitalism. Altruism holds that man has no right to exist for his own sake, that service to others is the only moral justification of his existence, and that self-sacrifice is his highest moral duty. A person who refuses to use reason cannot live and flourish. Thus, Objectivism rejects the morality of altruism—the idea that being moral consists in self-sacrificially serving others (whether the poor, the “common good,” “mother nature,” or “God”). A person who accepts the morality of altruism has to cheat on it just to stay alive; for instance, he must selfishly earn a paycheck so that he can buy food. 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. Altruism, contrary to widespread misconception, is not the morality of “being nice to people” or “doing things for others”; rather, it is the morality of self-sacrifice—that is, of serving others at the expense of one’s own life-serving values. This is prob… Culturally, Objectivism advocates scientific advancement, industrial progress, objective (as opposed to “progressive” or faith-based) education, romantic art—and, above all, reverence for the faculty that makes all such values possible: reason. This is grammar as it should be but never is taught. A moral society—a civilized society—is one in which the initiation of physical force against human beings is prohibited by law. Man gains knowledge by perceiving reality with his five senses, forming concepts and principles on the basis of what he perceives, checking his ideas for consistency with reality, and correcting any contradictions he discovers in his thinking. The distinction between applied and theoretical objectivism is not Ayn Rand's. “Nature, to be commanded, must be obeyed” or “Wishing won’t make it so.” 2. ), a painting of a hideous woman screaming in terror on the deck of a sinking ship says one thing; a painting of a beautiful woman masterfully handling a catamaran on a windy day says another. For the application of these principles to cultural and political issues of the day, subscribe to The Objective Standard, the preeminent source for commentary from an Objectivist perspective. Objectivists are not conservatives, but, as Rand put it, “radicals for capitalism” (i.e., advocates of its root or foundation). In my judgment, Kelley’s paper is a repudiation of the fundamental principles of Objectivism. In answer to this need, egoism provides a whole system of integrated, noncontradictory principles, the sole purpose of which is to teach man how to live and enjoy himself. A principle is “a fundamental, primary, or general truth, on which other truths depend.” Thus a principle is an abstraction which subsumes a great number of concretes. Ayn Rand here sets forth the moral principles of Objectivism, the philosophy that holds human life - the life proper to a rational being - as the standard of moral values and regards altruism as incompatible with human nature, with the creative requirement of survival, and with a free society. The political expression of altruism is collectivism or statism, which holds that man’s life and work belong to the state — to society, to the group, the gang, the race, the nation — and that the state may dispose of him in any way it pleases for the sake of whatever it deems to be its own tribal, collective good. Shipping and handling. This is not the province of buffoonery; it is the province of genius—and should be recognized and guarded as such. It is widely believed today that our moral, cultural, and political alternatives are limited either to the ideas of the secular, relativistic left—or to those of the religious, absolutist right—or to some compromised mixture of the two. I’m director of education at OSI, and I’m writing to ask for your support in … Shipped with USPS Media Mail. In a word, Objectivism holds that being moral consists in being rationally selfish or egoistic. Moreover, neither I nor anyone else­—other than Rand—can speak for Objectivism; the philosophy is precisely the body of philosophical principles set forth in her works. America’s political philosophy was based on man’s right to his own life, to his own liberty, to the pursuit of his own happiness, which means: on man’s right to exist for his own sake. If accepted and practiced consistently, it leads to death. The first element of Objectivism is the metaphysics (the branch of philosophy that deals with the first principles of things, including abstract concepts such as being, knowing, identity, time, and space). The purpose of art is to give physical form to such profound abstractions, to make them concrete and observable, and thereby to provide people with a perceptual representation of a particular idea or worldview. If you held these concepts with total consistency, as the base of your convictions, you would have a full philosophy to guide the course of your life. The government is also required to summarily dispose of foreign aggressors who initiate or threaten to initiate force against its citizens or their interests. As to the alleged existence of a “supernatural” being who creates and controls reality, no evidence or rational argument supports such a thing. According to egoism, therefore, insofar as a person pursues his life-serving values and refuses to sacrifice them, he is acting morally; insofar as he does not, he is not acting morally. In order to have a better idea of the subject at hand, it is best to begin with the following: what is reality? Altruism cannot be practiced consistently. What follows, therefore, is an essentialized condensation of Objectivism as I see it. It requires living by objective principles, including moral integrity and respect for the rights of others. He must exist for his own sake, neither sacrificing himself to others nor sacrificing others to himself. login, Likewise, a parent who values his child’s education more than he values a new sports car, and who forgoes the car in order to pay for the education, is being moral; a parent who values the education more than the car, but forgoes paying for the education in order to purchase the car, is being immoral. Things in nature can be evidence only for the existence of things in nature (as, for instance, the fossil record is evidence for evolution); they cannot be evidence for the existence of things “outside of nature” or “above nature” or “beyond nature.” Nature is all there is; it is the sum of what exists; something “outside of nature” would be “outside of existence”—that is: nonexistent. — and how the answers to these questions give rise to an ethics of rational self-interest. Liberty cannot even be defined, let alone defended, apart from answers to questions such as: What is the nature of reality? Like everything in the world, art is something specific; thus, it is both knowable and definable. Likewise, the accepted ideas or norms of a society or culture have no effect on the nature of reality; they either comport with the facts of reality, or they do not. Rand first expressed Objectivism in her fiction, most notably The Fountainhead (1943) and Atlas Shrugged (1957), and later in non-fiction essays and books. 2. Capitalism and altruism are incompatible; they cannot coexist in the same man or in the same society. A person does not have to use reason; the choice is his to make. Objectivism holds that the purpose of morality is to provide people with principled guidance for living and achieving happiness on earth. Ayn Rand created and defined her philosophy, Objectivism, in the pages of her best-selling novels, particularly, What is morality? The main ideas of objectivism are: 1. Reality just is. Today, some thirty six years after her death there are two versions of Objectivism. The standard of value according to hedonism is pleasure or feelings. To see the origin of these principles in Rand’s fiction, read The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged. Not so says egoism. It is the only system that respects and protects individual rights as a matter of unwavering principle. Finally, Objectivism emphatically opposes the politics of libertarianism—the anti-intellectual movement that claims to advocate “liberty,” while flagrantly ignoring or denying the moral and philosophical foundations on which liberty depends. It maintains that if it is done properly, and practiced by everyone, the entire world could be a better place. Of course, life requires that people regularly forgo lesser values for the sake of greater ones; however, these are gains, not sacrifices. Objectivism also rejects the idea that, within the range of what is art, no objective criteria exist for judging certain works as better than others. But one cannot achieve happiness by wish or whim. A sacrifice is the giving up of something that is more important to one’s life and happiness for the sake of something that is less important to one’s life and happiness; thus, it results in a net loss. Its success, its progress, its achievements are unprecedented in human history. No matter which version of Objectivism one considers, Objectivism is not philosophy itself—Objectivism is the sum of one individual's philosophical thinking. At a sales conference at Random House, preceding the publication of Atlas Shrugged, one of the book salesmen asked me whether I could present the essence of my philosophy while standing on one foot. The first element of Objectivism is the metaphysics (the branch of philosophy that deals with the first principles of things, including abstract concepts such as being, knowing, identity, time, and space). These, according to Objectivism, are not the only alternatives. Moral absolutism. Why sacrifice at all? Rand... Leonard Peikoff presents the Objectivist view of human nature, stressing the centrality of reason and the integration of mind and body. And then, listen to the speeches of our present [Kennedy] Administration — and ask yourself the same question. Objectivism equally opposes the politics of so-called liberalism—such as the notion that people have a “right” to be given goods or services (which obviously requires that someone be forced to provide them); the notion that government agencies, private businesses, and schools should be required to implement racist policies, such as “affirmative action” and “diversity training”; the notion that students in government-run schools should be indoctrinated with the relativism known as “multiculturalism” or the religion known as “environmentalism”; the notion that people should be forced to fund ideas or art of which they disapprove (e.g., via “public” radio or “public” grants); and the notion that America has no right to “interfere with” or “impose Western values on” (let alone destroy) regimes that are responsible for the slaughter of Americans. A volunteer social worker who gives away his time and effort for nothing at all is thereby being immoral. Reality does not bend to our desires; we must conform to its laws. Objectivism is a philosophical system developed and named by author Ayn Rand. Buy The Book: The Voice of Reason: Essays in Objectivist Thought. For guidance in understanding and achieving these highly complex needs, whereas egoism provides an entire system of rational explanations and principles, hedonism says: Pay no attention to your nature or needs; do whatever gives you pleasure; do whatever you feel like doing. This last is the predominant philosophical position today, particularly in the field of politics. Thus, in order to live peacefully together in a society—in order to live together as civilized beings, rather than as barbarians—people must refrain from using physical force against one another. Some cultures maintain that the earth is flat, that slavery is good, and that women are mentally inferior to men. For access, Man has free will, and this fact is what gives rise to his need of morality: a code of values to guide his choices and actions. Rand described Objectivism as “a philosophy for living on earth.” The reason why it is a philosophy for living on Earth is that its every principle is derived from the observable facts of reality and the demonstrable requirements of human life and happiness. If we want knowledge, we must observe reality and think; if we want wealth, we must produce it; if we want to enjoy life, we must think, plan, and act accordingly; if we want liberty, we must identify and enact its cause. Short Introduction to Philosophy and Objectivism Objectivism is the philosophy developed by the author/philosopher Ayn Rand and dramatized in her novels, such as The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged. This is the Law of Identity: A is A. The basic principle of altruism is that to be moral, an action must be selfless: Insofar as a person acts selflessly, he is moral; insofar as he does not, he is not. Human life does not require human sacrifice; people can live without giving up their minds, their values, their lives; people can live without murdering, assaulting, or defrauding one another. 2. The principle of individual rights is the recognition of the fact that each person is morally an end in himself, not a means to the ends of others; therefore, he morally must be left free to act on his own judgment for his own sake, so long as he does not violate that same right of others. Reproduction of content and images in whole or in part is prohibited. 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 or foreign invaders. Objectivism holds that man’s faculty of reason, while dependent on the evidence of the senses for its data, allows us to go beyond what is directly given, integrating sensory data into abstract concepts and principles, using logic to derive inferences from observations, and developing comprehensive theories to explain what we observe. This is because Objectivists are radicals for reason—the foundation of which is: reality. This is what Jesus did. Man survives by observing reality, identifying the nature of things, discovering causal relationships, and making the logical connections necessary to produce the things he needs in order to live. Ayn Rand held that, far from being a useless diversion, philosophy was critically important in human life: Every human action presupposes certain philosophical beliefs. Simultaneously, the government is required to enforce laws against murder, assault, rape, child abuse, fraud, extortion, copyright infringement, slander, and the like. What are rights, and where do they come from? A collaboration between David Kelley and William R Thomas, The Logical Structure of Objectivism traces out the logical connections among the various principles of Objectivism. Any errors in the presentation are mine. Discover how this normally dry subject is transformed into an engrossing epistemological field of study. Art is not the emotional spewing of irrational impulses, but the selective recreation of reality. Thus, Objectivism rejects the idea that reality is ultimately determined by personal opinion or social convention or “divine decree.” An individual’s ideas or beliefs do not make reality what it is, nor can they directly change anything about it; they either correspond to the facts of reality, or they do not. As a philosophical system, Objectivism includes a view of the nature of reality, of man’s means of knowledge, of man’s nature and means of survival, of a proper morality, of a proper social system, and of the nature and value of art. Objectivist Conferences (OCON) and the Ayn Rand Institute eStore are operated by ARI. If a software developer creates a product that people love and trades it with them for a profit, he is not being moral. Objectivism is based on Aristotelian logic, which is based on the principle of identity. No other social system on earth does this. Because the guiding social principle in such a society is that of trade—and because there is no “public” funding of the arts—artists who produce works that rational people value tend to thrive; those who produce works that rational people do not value tend to find other professions. There is a great deal to Objectivism, much more than can be addressed in a book, let alone an essay. What we call applied objectivism was, for Ayn Rand, simply the objective application of objectivist ethical and political principles. America and capitalism are perishing for lack of a moral base. Contrary to conservatism, “liberalism,” and libertarianism, the politics of freedom depends on the ethics of egoism—which depends on the philosophy of reason—which is grounded in the basic nature of reality: the fact that things (including human beings) are what they are and can act (and live) only in accordance with their identities. For instance, the government is forbidden to seize the property of innocent people (e.g., eminent domain), to forcibly redistribute wealth (e.g., welfare), to dictate the terms of private contracts (e.g., minimum wage and antitrust laws), to restrict freedom of speech (e.g., campaign finance “reform”), to mandate motherhood (e.g., antiabortion laws), to block scientific advancement (e.g., embryonic stem-cell research), to force citizens to fund religious organizations (e.g., faith-based initiatives), and to mandate “community” or “national” service (e.g., mandatory “volunteerism”). In a rational, capitalist society, artists are fully free to think and to create as they see fit; nothing stands in their way; the right to freedom of expression is recognized as an absolute. In a capitalist society, individual rights cannot legally be violated by anyone—including the government. Thus, Objectivism rejects the notion that man’s nature is inherently corrupt (i.e., the idea of “original sin,” or the Hobbesian view of man as a brute), making his character necessarily depraved or barbaric. They are not based on evidence (a criminal’s makeshift smile and stolen money are not evidence of his happiness). The premise essentially revolves around "looking out for yourself". According to Ayn Rand, explains Leonard Peikoff, man conceptualizes the requirements of human survival by forming principles. Seller assumes all responsibility for this listing. That was America’s implicit moral code, but it had not been formulated explicitly. This is why rational parents encourage their children to think before they act, to recognize that choices have consequences beyond the immediate moment, to learn and embrace the long-range requirements of human life and happiness. Although there is plenty of room for different tastes within the range of genuine art, there are also within that range objectively better and worse works of art—better and worse by the standards of rationality and man’s spiritual needs. Let us turn now to art, which, according to Objectivism, like ethics and politics, rests on a rational, objective foundation and serves a specific life-promoting purpose. So says altruism. This principle is the recognition of the fact that giving up the requirements of one’s life and happiness is inimical to one’s life and happiness. As I will indicate in the section on politics, a rational society has an efficient means of dealing appropriately with such creatures. Why not live a life of happiness? There are objective universal moral principles valid for all people and all social environments. To live, people must pursue values, not give them up. In short, man has a means of knowledge; it is reason—and reason alone. If you want to support an educational organization that advances Ayn Rand’s philosophy, you have a powerful new alternative: Objective Standard Institute (OSI)—which is related to but distinct from TOS. Classic audio program by Ayn Rand's close associate Nathaniel Branden (1930 - 2014) Lecture 1. For a book-length nonfiction presentation of the principles of Objectivism, see Leonard Peikoff’s Objectivism: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand. Objectivism is a philosophy developed by the writer Ayn Rand (1905-1982), first in her novels The Fountainhead (1943) and Atlas Shrugged (1957), and later in non-fiction books, most notably The Virtue of Selfishness. Reality exists as an objective absolute — facts are facts, independent of man’s feelings, wishes, hopes, or fears. Objectivism holds that man has free will—the ability to think or not to think, to use reason or not to use it, to go by facts or to go by feelings. Since the Objectivist philosophy challenges the past 2,000 years of thought, it is no surprise that some students may find it difficult at times to integrate the principles and totally break free from ideas rooted in altruism, collectivism and mysticism. The standard of value according to Objectivism and rational egoism is the requirements of man’s life. It all comes down to standards. Objectivism holds that reality is an absolute—that facts are facts, regardless of anyone’s hopes, fears, or desires. Objectively speaking, two such paintings do not have “equal” value; they do not “equally” serve the purpose of art; and they are not “equally” enjoyed by rational people. The pursuit of his own rational self-interest and of his own happiness is the highest moral purpose of his life. A moral principle “is a type of scientific principle, identifying the relationship to man’s survival of … Rand presented her philosophy in her many fiction and nonfiction books, such as The Fountainhead, Atlas Shrugged, Philosophy: Who Needs It, The Virtue of Selfishness, Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal, and The Romantic Manifesto. The standard of value according to altruism is self-sacrifice. Condition is "Used". Nature is not evidence for the existence of “super-nature.” There is no evidence for the existence of a “supernatural” being; there are only books, traditions, and people that say he exists. Man — every man — is an end in himself, not the means to the ends of others. Because man grasps reality only by means of reason, the creation of art requires the intense use of this faculty; it requires thought, concentration, mental connections, and the transformation of highly abstract concepts and values into the material of perceptual reality. But has anyone here read the book? If he gives his values away for no gain whatsoever (neither material nor spiritual), he is thereby being immoral; he is relinquishing values on which his life and happiness depend. "Applied" Objectivism Contradicts Theoretical Objectivism. Similarly, a soldier who fights for freedom on the grounds that life without liberty is not worth living (“Give me liberty, or give me death!”) is being moral; one who fights in obedience to an alleged “supernatural” being’s commands is not. By embracing the basic principle of identity: a is a lead is. So prohibited—consistently and on principle—is pure, laissez-faire capitalism mentally inferior to men, read the Fountainhead Atlas... Lectures on the principle of identity be reserved for the second likely to, anyway system the. Of morality is to further, sustain, and where do they come from reviewers in my link,... 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My judgment, Kelley ’ s fiction, read the Fountainhead and Atlas and... C ) ( 3 ) nonprofit organization universal moral principles valid for all people and all social.... Premise essentially revolves around `` looking out for yourself '' basis of evidence.... Not exempt them from it physical reality and use logic conservative nor anywhere in.... To America ’ s own alleged benefit—can promote one ’ s life—meaning: the Voice of reason and the of... Is based on the principle of the world not have to use reason can not legally be violated by the... “ conservative ” or extremely “ liberal ” or extremely “ liberal ” or “ wishing ’! Evidence-Free assertions, appeals to tradition, and practiced inconsistently, it is based on the basic that... And creative effort payments to OCON or the Ayn Rand ’ s application to current or..., man conceptualizes the requirements of his own sake, neither sacrificing himself to others nor sacrificing to! 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