Instead of using "that which promotes my (human) life" as his standard of value, he mistakes "that which I (mindlessly happen to) value" for a standard of value, in contradiction of the fact that, existentially, he is a human and therefore rational organism. "Life and the Theory of Value: The Randian Argument Reconsidered" in, Branden, Nathaniel. Altruism is not good for one’s life. To see the origin of these principles in Rand’s fiction, read The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged. Rand wrote on morality in her works We the Living (1936), Atlas Shrugged (1957) and The Virtue of Selfishness (1964). 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. To live, people must pursue values, not give them up. , Rand characterized Objectivism as "a philosophy for living on earth", based on reality, and intended as a method of defining human nature and the nature of the world in which we live.. And so forth. , The name "Objectivism" derives from the idea that human knowledge and values are objective: they exist and are determined by the nature of reality, to be discovered by one's mind, and are not created by the thoughts one has. If he gives up a value for no gain whatsoever, he is being moral; if he gains something from an action, he is not being moral. In answer to this same need, altruism says: Don’t be selfish; sacrifice your values; give up your needs. Suppose there is an objective principle that says that people within a given society should not act in … 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. Say a kind word about George W. Bush—and you had better take to the hills at once. , Rand argued that consciousness is "the faculty of perceiving that which exists". Human knowledge—all human knowledge—is a product of perceptual observation and logical inference therefrom. In a laissez-faire society, if people want to deal with one another, they may do so only on voluntary terms, by uncoerced agreement. Objectivism maintains that only societies seeking to establish freedom (or free nations) have a right to self-determination. If accepted and practiced inconsistently, it retards one’s life and leads to guilt. Objectivism: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand is a 1991 book by the philosopher Leonard Peikoff, in which the author discusses the ideas of his mentor, Ayn Rand.Peikoff describes it as "the first comprehensive statement" of Rand's philosophy, Objectivism. Persuasion is the method of reason. And the only social system in which such force is so prohibited—consistently and on principle—is pure, laissez-faire capitalism. Whether a sculpture of a ballerina depicting the skill and grace possible to man—or a novel about great industrialists showing the productive achievement possible to man—or a landscape of a countryside portraying the world as open to man’s investigation and enjoyment—or a painting of a dismal, psychedelic pool hall portraying the world as unstable and inhospitable to man—art brings highly abstract convictions to the perceptual level. If an individual chooses not to face facts, not to think, not to produce, and so on—and thus develops a bad character—that is his fault. Objectivism is fully secular and absolutist; it is neither liberal nor conservative nor anywhere in between. Ayn Rand’s philosophy, Objectivism, rejects this false alternative and offers an entirely different view of the world. That measurements must exist is an essential part of the process. Objectivist epistemology maintains that all knowledge is ultimately based on perception. These are both very popular modes of […] 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. This is the basic principle of rational egoism—and the moral foundation for a proper social system.  Rand stated that she chose the name because her preferred term for a philosophy based on the primacy of existence—"existentialism"—had already been taken. Objectivism holds that reality is an absolute—that facts are facts, regardless of anyone’s hopes, fears, or desires. Objectivists are by no means immune to this rage.  Rand opposed anarchism because she considered that putting police and courts on the market is an inherent miscarriage of justice. ", Rand said that existence is the perceptually self-evident fact at the base of all other knowledge, i.e., that "existence exists". According to Rand, "it is only the concept of 'Life' that makes the concept of 'Value' possible", and "the fact that a living entity is, determines what it ought to do". " These rights are specifically understood to be rights to action, not to specific results or objects, and the obligations created by rights are negative in nature: each individual must refrain from violating the rights of others. 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. , Rand rejected "feeling" as sources of knowledge. Like everything in the world, art is something specific; thus, it is both knowable and definable. Whatever form the organism perceives it in, what it perceives—the object of perception—is reality. 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. 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. What is man’s means of knowledge? She considered affirmative action to be an example of legal racism. The only alternative would be that they live without orientation to reality. An emphasis on objects rather than feelings or thoughts in literature or art. Whatever an individual’s choice, however, the fact remains that man is the rational animal; reason is his only means of knowledge and therefore his basic means of survival.  Rather, it is the only moral social system. Rand's explanation of values presents the proposition that an individual's primary moral obligation is to achieve his own well-being—it is for his life and his self-interest that an individual ought to obey a moral code. 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. If people want to know what is true or good or right, they must observe reality and use logic. Art, according to Objectivism, serves a human cognitive need: it allows human beings to understand concepts as though they were percepts. Objectivism defines "art" as a "selective re-creation of reality according to an artist's metaphysical value-judgments"—that is, according to what the artist believes to be ultimately true and important about the nature of reality and humanity.  Based on this understanding of the role of reason, Objectivists claim that the initiation of physical force against the will of another is immoral, as are indirect initiations of force through threats, fraud, or breach of contract. Answer: "My philosophy, in essence, is the concept of man as a heroic being, with his own happiness as the moral purpose of his life, with productive achievement as his noblest activity, and reason as his only absolute." 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. 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. 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.  The essence of Objectivist ethics is summarized by the oath her Atlas Shrugged character John Galt adhered to: "I swear—by my life and my love of it—that I will never live for the sake of another man, nor ask another man to live for mine. Objectivists are not conservatives, but, as Rand put it, “radicals for capitalism” (i.e., advocates of its root or foundation). Nozick also argues that Rand's solution to David Hume's famous is-ought problem is unsatisfactory. 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. 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. An item of knowledge cannot be "disqualified" by being arrived at by a specific process in a particular form. ", According to Rand, "the term 'measurements omitted' does not mean, in this context, that measurements are regarded as non-existent; it means that measurements exist, but are not specified. ), 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. My philosophy, in essence, is the concept of man as a heroic being, with his own happiness as the moral purpose of his life, with productive achievement as his noblest activity, and reason as his only absolute. ", In Atlas Shrugged, Rand wrote "Man's mind is his basic tool of survival. Faith is faith (i.e., the acceptance of ideas in the absence of evidence); it leads to baseless beliefs; it cannot provide knowledge.  In contrast, historian Jennifer Burns, writing in Goddess of the Market (2009), writes some critics "dismiss Rand as a shallow thinker appealing only to adolescents", although she thinks the critics "miss her significance" as a "gateway drug" to right-wing politics. Secondly, Objectivism is against altruism in the sense of an obligation to sacrifice to others. Imagine that societies have social consciences like a person can have a personal conscience. , The Objectivist theory of perception distinguishes between the form and object. - objectivism says that moral rules apply whether I like it or not- they don't depend on my desires, objectives, interests, etc. If accepted and practiced inconsistently—well, there is no reason to be inconsistent here. Human life requires egoism. Reality is not created or controlled by consciousness. Rand argued that limited intellectual property monopolies being granted to certain inventors and artists on a first-to-file basis are moral because she considered all property as fundamentally intellectual. Hedonism, in other words, under the guise of self-interest, counsels self-destruction. The axiom of existence is conceptualized as differentiating something from nothing, while the law of identity is conceptualized as differentiating one thing from another, i.e., one's first awareness of the law of non-contradiction, another crucial base for the rest of knowledge. Say that Israel is morally superior to the Palestinians—and statistics about Israel’s supposed “atrocities” of the last 2,000 years fly furiously at your head. A concept is already a sort of mental shorthand standing for a large number of concretes, allowing a human being to think indirectly or implicitly of many more such concretes than can be kept explicitly in mind. Ethics. So says altruism. ", Rand argued that concepts are organized hierarchically. or integrated (along with 'cat,' etc., into the concept of 'animal').  British philosopher Ted Honderich notes that he deliberately excluded an article on Rand from The Oxford Companion to Philosophy (Rand is, however, mentioned in the article on popular philosophy by Anthony Quinton). Perceptual error, therefore, is not possible. This fact gives rise to the principle of individual rights, which is the principle of egoism applied to politics. By its nature, the overtly irrational cannot rely on the use of persuasion and must ultimately resort to force to prevail. And Objectivism rejects hedonism—the idea that being moral consists in acting in whatever manner gives one pleasure (or doing whatever one feels like doing). Usually it stems from an artist's sense of life (which is preconceptual and largely emotional).. One unique regular feature in The Objectivist was a series of excerpts “From the ‘Horror File,’” — quotations sent in by readers illustrating the often dreadful state of contemporary ideas and culture.Examples: Epistemology “Some of his [Marshall McLuhan’s] insights are so original that they evade immediate understanding; other paragraphs may forever evade explication. A person’s character is neither inherently bad nor the product of social forces; rather, it is a consequence of his choices. There is a black-and-white difference between trading values for gains and giving up values for nothing.  Rand advocated the right to legal abortion. The integration is completed and retained by the selection of a perceptual symbol (a word) to designate it. Rand opposed racism and any legal application of racism. Egoism is good for one’s life. The assertions of predators to the effect that they can achieve happiness by sacrificing others are just that: assertions. 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. There is some entity - a personal God or ultimate truths - which exists independently of the religious experience. Several authors have developed and applied Rand's ideas in their own work. ... Why does the objection to ethical objectivism that moral disagreement undermines moral objectivism not a threat to ethical objectivism.  Rand defined an axiom as "a statement that identifies the base of knowledge and of any further statement pertaining to that knowledge, a statement necessarily contained in all others whether any particular speaker chooses to identify it or not. This is how scientists discover facts in their various fields, from the principles of agriculture to the existence of atoms to the structure of DNA; it is how inventors and engineers design life-enhancing machines and devices, from automobiles to heart pumps to MP3 players; it is how businessmen establish ways to produce and deliver goods and services, from refrigerators to movies to wireless Internet access; it is how doctors diagnose and cure (or treat) diseases, from polio to sickle cell anemia to breast cancer; it is how children learn language, math, and manners; it is how philosophers discover the nature of the universe, the nature of man, and the proper principles of morality, politics, and esthetics. Finally, as to the morality of hedonism, just because someone gets pleasure from or feels like doing something does not mean that it is in his best interest to do it. According to this principle, the good is that which supports or promotes an individual’s life; the evil is that which retards or destroys it. Objectivism is the philosophy developed by the author/philosopher Ayn Rand and dramatized in her novels, such as The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged. Simultaneously, the government is required to enforce laws against murder, assault, rape, child abuse, fraud, extortion, copyright infringement, slander, and the like. , Objectivists have also opposed a number of government activities commonly endorsed by both liberals and conservatives, including antitrust laws, the minimum wage, public education, and existing child labor laws.  This appeal has alarmed a number of critics of the philosophy.  Objectivism has been termed "fiercely anti-academic" because of Rand's criticism of contemporary intellectuals. Academic philosophers have generally dismissed Objectivism since Rand first presented it. Many people would think that it has to deal something with the government. An "unprocessed" knowledge would be a knowledge acquired without means of cognition.. "The Analytic-Synthetic Dichotomy". She further said that to be is to be something, that "existence is identity". , Objectivism acknowledges the facts that human beings have limited knowledge, are vulnerable to error, and do not instantly understand all of the implications of their knowledge. [...] It is only a living organism that faces a constant alternative: the issue of life or death". Regarding the topic of ethics, Kelley has argued in works such as Unrugged Individualism (1996) and The Contested Legacy of Ayn Rand (2000) that Objectivists should pay more attention to the virtue of benevolence and place less emphasis on issues of moral sanction. This is not the province of buffoonery; it is the province of genius—and should be recognized and guarded as such.  In collaboration with Peikoff, David Harriman has developed a theory of scientific induction based upon Rand's theory of concepts in The Logical Leap: Induction in Physics (2010).. They need moral principles that are conducive to the goal of living fully and happily. It is the only system that respects and protects individual rights as a matter of unwavering principle.  Rand's former protégé Nathaniel Branden referred to Rand's "especially powerful appeal to the young", while Onkar Ghate of the Ayn Rand Institute said Rand "appeals to the idealism of youth". Genuine happiness comes from identifying and pursuing the long-range material and spiritual requirements of one’s life as set by one’s nature. Rand first expressed Objectivism in her fiction, most notably The Fountainhead (1943) and Atlas Shrugged (1957), and later in non-fiction essays and books. Rand first expressed Objectivism in her fiction, most notably The Fountainhead (1943) and Atlas Shrugged (1957), and later in non-fiction essays and books. Objectivism also rejects the idea that predation—the sacrificing of others for one’s own alleged benefit—can promote one’s life and happiness. 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. Art offers a way out of this dilemma by providing a perceptual, easily grasped means of communicating and thinking about a wide range of abstractions, including one's metaphysical value-judgments. (This is not to say that everyone who calls himself a libertarian is anti-intellectual; rather, it is to say that any attempt to defend liberty while ignoring or denying its intellectual foundations is anti-intellectual.).  Rand summarizes: If [man] chooses to live, a rational ethics will tell him what principles of action are required to implement his choice.  Leonard Peikoff, a professional philosopher and Rand's designated intellectual heir, later gave it a more formal structure. the view that moral objectivism is false. David Sidorsky, a professor of moral and political philosophy at Columbia University, writes that Rand’s work is “outside the mainstream” and is more of an ideology than a comprehensive philosophy. The sole purpose of the government in such a system is to protect the individual rights of its citizens by means of the police (to deal with domestic criminals), the military (to deal with foreign aggressors), and the courts of law (to adjudicate disputes). If a software developer creates a product that people love and trades it with them for a profit, he is not being moral. Insofar as a person chooses to use reason, he is able to identify and pursue the things he needs for survival and happiness—things such as knowledge, food, shelter, medical care, art, recreation, romance, and freedom. "Emotions are not tools of cognition. Thus, Objectivism rejects the idea that art is whatever any self-proclaimed or allegedly “accomplished” artist happens to slap together or place in a gallery. It is proof that they are axioms, that they are at the base of knowledge and thus inescapable. 2. All else being equal (style, composition, technique, etc.  Chris Matthew Sciabarra discusses Rand's ideas and theorizes about their intellectual origins in Ayn Rand: The Russian Radical (1995). This identity does not depend on how people think about it or talk about it. Why sacrifice at all? Thinking requires a state of full, focused awareness. Academic philosophers have mostly ignored or rejected Rand's philosophy. Objectivism is broader than the ideas of individualism and selfishness. Some scholars have emphasized applying Objectivism to more specific areas. 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. For example, optical illusions are errors in the conceptual identification of what is seen, not errors of sight itself. And because human beings are individuals, each with his own body, his own mind, his own life, this standard pertains to human beings as individuals (not as cogs in a utilitarian collective). They are not based on evidence (a criminal’s makeshift smile and stolen money are not evidence of his happiness). There is a world independent of our minds to which our thinking must correspond if our ideas are to be true and therefore of practical use in living our lives, pursuing our values, and protecting our rights.Thus, Objectivism rejects the idea that reality is ultimately determined by personal opinion or social convention or “divine decre…  Rand defined "reason" as "the faculty that identifies and integrates the material provided by man's senses". " As Objectivist philosopher Leonard Peikoff argued, Rand's argument for axioms "is not a proof that the axioms of existence, consciousness, and identity are true.  Arguing against Kelley, Peikoff characterized Objectivism as a "closed system" that is not subject to change. She argued that concepts are formed by a process of measurement omission. Subjectivism says that the moral values are dependent on a human or divine will, that they can change from one situation to another. Nor is there any rational justification for sacrificing others, which is why no one has ever provided one of these, either. 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. Nor can human sacrifice promote human life or happiness; it can lead only to suffering and death. That is, to be is to be "an entity of a specific nature made of specific attributes". According to Rand, "man's mind will not function at the point of a gun". , Academic philosophers have generally dismissed Objectivism since Rand first presented it. If they want to receive goods or services from others, they may offer to exchange value for value to mutual benefit; however, they may not seek to gain any value from others by means of physical force. It says … objectivism 1. any of various philosophical theories stressing the external or objective elements of cognition. One Rand biographer says most people who read Rand's works for the first time do it in their "formative years". What is the nature of the good? Rand argued that neither is possible because the senses provide the material of knowledge while conceptual processing is also needed to establish knowable propositions. A "whim-worshiper" or "hedonist", according to Rand, is not motivated by a desire to live his own human life, but by a wish to live on a sub-human level. Existence just exists—and everything in it is something specific; everything is what it is and can act only in accordance with its identity. Reason is the means by which everyone learns about the world, himself, and his needs. If accepted and practiced consistently, it leads to a life of happiness. It recognizes and upholds the secular (this-worldly) source and nature of moral principles and the secular moral foundations of a fully free, fully civilized society. Question: What is Objectivism?. The philosopher John Hospers, who was influenced by Rand and shared her moral and political opinions, disagreed with her concerning issues of epistemology.  Rand believed that rational egoism is the logical consequence of humans following evidence to its logical conclusion. She said that the former is good, and the latter bad, and that there is a fundamental difference between them. Liberty cannot even be defined, let alone defended, apart from answers to questions such as: What is the nature of reality? 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