FACTOID # 26: Delaware is the latchkey kid capital of America, with 71.8% of households having both parents in the labor force.
 
 Home   Encyclopedia   Statistics   States A-Z   Flags   Maps   FAQ   About 
   
 
WHAT'S NEW
 

SEARCH ALL

FACTS & STATISTICS    Advanced view

Search encyclopedia, statistics and forums:

 

 

(* = Graphable)

 

 


Encyclopedia > Objectivist philosophy
This article is part of the
Objectivism series

Objectivist philosophy Image File history File linksMetadata AtlasThumb. ...


Important Groups Objectivist movement
Ayn Rand Institute
Nathaniel Branden Institute
The Objectivist Center
The Objectivist movement was a movement to popularize Ayn Rands Objectivist philosophy that began with the founding of the Nathaniel Branden Institute in 1960. ... The Ayn Rand Institute: The Center for the Advancement of Objectivism (ARI) was established in 1985, three years after Ayn Rands death, by Leonard Peikoff, Rands legal and intellectual heir. ... The Nathaniel Branden Institute was an organization founded by Nathaniel Branden in the 1950s to promote Ayn Rands philosophy of Objectivism. ... The Objectivist Center is a think tank in Washington, D.C. dedicated to Objectivism, the philosophy of Ayn Rand. ...


Important Figures
Ayn Rand
Nathaniel Branden
Alan Greenspan
Leonard Peikoff
Harry Binswanger
Peter Schwartz
Yaron Brook
David Kelley
Ayn Rand (IPA: , Ayn rhyming with fine; February 2 [O.S. January 20] 1905 – March 6, 1982), born Alissa Zinovievna Rosenbaum, was a Russian-American author and philosopher best known for developing the philosophy of Objectivism and for writing the novels We the Living, Anthem, The Fountainhead, and Atlas Shrugged. ... Nathaniel Branden is a psychotherapist and author of psychology books and multiple articles on ethical and political philosophy. ... Alan Greenspan The Honorable Alan C. Greenspan, PhD, KBE (b. ... Leonard Peikoff circa 1970 Leonard Peikoff (born in Winnipeg, Manitoba in 1933) is an Objectivist philosopher. ... Harry Binswanger (born in Richmond, Virginia, in 1944) is a philosopher and writer. ... Peter Schwartz is a writer and journalist who follows the Objectivist philosophy of Ayn Rand. ... Dr. Brook Yaron Brook is the current president and executive director of the Ayn Rand Institute. ... David Kelley For the producer of the same name, see David E. Kelley David Kelley (Born 1949 in Cleveland, Ohio) is an American philosopher and writer. ...


Special Topics
Libertarianism
Homosexuality
Since they arose in the late 1950s and early 1960s, Libertarianism and Objectivism have had a close yet sometimes contentious relationship, with Objectivism being a significant influence upon libertarian political philosophies. ... Objectivism is a philosophy created by Ayn Rand, which some gay and lesbian people have been interested in for its celebration of personal freedom and individuality at the expense of government power. ...

Objectivism is the philosophical system developed by Russian-American philosopher and writer Ayn Rand. It encompasses positions on metaphysics, epistemology, ethics, politics, and aesthetics. A Russian-American is a citizen or permanent resident of the United States who has Russian heritage. ... Ayn Rand (IPA: , Ayn rhyming with fine; February 2 [O.S. January 20] 1905 – March 6, 1982), born Alissa Zinovievna Rosenbaum, was a Russian-American author and philosopher best known for developing the philosophy of Objectivism and for writing the novels We the Living, Anthem, The Fountainhead, and Atlas Shrugged. ... To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article or section may require cleanup. ... It has been suggested that this article or section be merged with Knowledge. ... Ethics (from Greek ἦθος meaning custom) is the branch of axiology, one of the four major branches of philosophy, which attempts to understand the nature of morality; to distinguish that which is right from that which is wrong. ... Politics, sometimes defined as the art and science of government[1], is a process by which collective decisions are made within groups. ... To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article or section may require cleanup. ...


In brief, Objectivism holds that there is a mind-independent reality, that individuals are in contact with this reality through sensory perception, that they gain knowledge by processing the data of perception using reason or "non-contradictory identification", that the proper moral purpose of one's life is the pursuit of one's own happiness or "rational self-interest", and that the only social system consistent with such a morality is laissez-faire capitalism. Reason is a term used in philosophy and other human sciences to refer to the higher cognitive faculties of the human mind. ... A moral is a one sentence remark made at the end of many childrens stories that expresses the intended meaning, or the moral message, of the tale. ... People often show that they are happy by smiling. ... Laissez-faire is short for laissez faire, laissez passer, a French phrase meaning to let things alone, let them pass. First used by the eighteenth century Physiocrats as an injunction against government interference with trade, it is now used as a synonym for strict free market economics. ... For other uses, see Capitalism (disambiguation). ...


Rand characterizes Objectivism as a philosophy "for living on earth", grounded in reality and aimed at achieving knowledge about the natural world and harmonious, mutually beneficial interactions between human beings. Rand wrote:

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. [1]

Objectivism derives its name from its conception of knowledge and values as "objective", rather than as "intrinsic" or "subjective". According to Rand, neither concepts nor values are "intrinsic" to external reality, nor are they merely "subjective" (by which Rand means "arbitrary" or "created by [one's] feelings, desires, 'intuitions,' or whims"). Rather, valid concepts and values are, as she wrote, "determined by the nature of reality, but to be discovered by man's mind." One cannot change reality by simply wishing it were different. Man must deal with reality by understanding it, accounting for its constraints, and interacting with it in accordance with one's power to effectuate material changes consistent with one's rational desires. According to Objectivism, a subjectivist would hold values as arbitrary, and an 'intrinsicist' would hold values as something unrelated to humans. Template:Wiktionarypar objective Objective may be: Objective lens, an optical element in a camera or microscope. ... This is a disambiguation page — a navigational aid which lists other pages that might otherwise share the same title. ...


"Objectivism" was actually Rand's second choice for the name of her philosophy. Rand said that "existentialism" is the more appropriate term, because her philosophy recognizes both the metaphysical primacy of existence and the ethical goal of maintaining one's own existence. However, Jean-Paul Sartre and other existentialist philosophers had already taken this term for a very different view. Consequently, Rand chose "Objectivism". This article or section may contain original research or unverified claims. ... Jean-Paul Charles Aymard Sartre (June 21, 1905 – April 15, 1980) was a French existentialist philosopher, dramatist, novelist and critic. ...


Rand published most of her non-fiction essays in her own newsletter The Objectivist and earlier in the journal she edited, in which only those who largely agreed with Objectivism were published. She did not publish in conventional academic journals. Much of the non-fiction Objectivist corpus is available only in the form of audio recordings.

Contents


Objectivist principles

Metaphysics: Objective reality

Main article: Objectivist metaphysics All of Objectivism rests on Objectivist metaphysics and Objectivist epistemology: the study of what is and how we know it. ...


The key tenets of the Objectivist metaphysics are captured in three propositions: To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article or section may require cleanup. ...

  • Existence exists.
  • Consciousness exists
  • Existence is Identity.

The axiom "Existence exists" affirms that there is something that exists. This is held to be axiomatic on the account that anyone who denies it has to accept it. For example, to deny that anything exists requires the acceptance that the denial itself exists. That one is able to recognize that something exists leads to the axiom of Consciousness. The axiom of Consciousness affirms that consciousness exists, with consciousness "being the faculty of perceiving that which exists." If one is able to perceive that existence exists, then consciousness must exist. Important in the sequence of this reasoning is that existence is not contingent upon consciousness. Existence does not exist because one is conscious of existence, but rather, one becomes conscious of existence because something exists. Finally, the Law of Identity states that everything that exists has an identity, that is, it has a set of characteristics or properties that define it as what it is (i.e., "A is A"). In logic, the law of identity states that A = A. Any reflexive relation upholds the law of identity; when discussing equality, the fact that A is A is a tautology. ... A is A represents the Law of Identity. ...


In addition to these three basic axioms, Objectivist philosophy affirms the Law of Causality as a corollary of the Law of Identity. The Law of Causality states that things act in accordance with their natures. These propositions are all held in Objectivism to be axiomatic. According to Objectivism, the proof of a proposition's being axiomatic is that it is both (a) self-evident and (b) cannot coherently be denied, because any argument against the proposition would have to suppose its truth. An axiom is a sentence or proposition that is taken for granted as true, and serves as a starting point for deducing other truths. ... In epistemology, a self-evident proposition is one that can be understood only by one who knows that it is true. ...


Epistemology: reason

Main article: Objectivist epistemology Objectivisms epistemology, like the other branches of Objectivism, was present in some form ever since the publication of Atlas Shrugged. ...


Objectivist epistemology distinguishes the manner with which we can individually translate our perceptions, i.e., that which we acquire through our senses, into concepts that we can store in our minds. While we can "know" that there is existence by our perceptions, we can know what exists only by turning percepts into concepts. Objectivists then draw a distinction between valid concepts and poorly formed concepts, or what Rand calls "anti-concepts", by asserting that properly formed concepts must be the product of reason. It has been suggested that this article or section be merged with Knowledge. ... Reason is a term used in philosophy and other human sciences to refer to the higher cognitive faculties of the human mind. ...


Objectivists believe that reason can yield knowledge in the sense of certain truths about our world, and rejects philosophical skepticism. Objectivism also rejects faith or "feeling" as a means of attaining knowledge. Although Rand acknowledged the importance of emotion in humans, she maintained that the existence of emotion was part of our reality, not a separate means of achieving awareness of reality. Philosophical skepticism or nihilistic skepticism (UK spelling, scepticism) is the philosophical school of thought in which one critically examines whether the knowledge and perceptions one has are true, and whether or not one can ever be said to have true knowledge. ... The word faith has various uses; its central meaning is similar to belief, trust or confidence, but unlike these terms, faith tends to imply a transpersonal rather than interpersonal relationship – with God or a higher power. ...


Rand was neither a classical empiricist (like Hume or the logical positivists) nor a classical rationalist (like Plato, Descartes, or Frege). She disagreed with the empiricists mainly in that she did not consider the distinction between sensations and perceptions to be meaningful. Thus, she did not believe in the possibility of perceptual error or illusion, only the misunderstanding or improper conceptualization of perceptual data. Neither did she consider the analytic-synthetic distinction to have merit, including the view that there are "truths in virtue of meaning", or that "necessary truths" and mathematical truths are best understood as "truths in virtue of meaning". She similarly denied the existence of a priori knowledge. Rand also considered her ideas distinct from foundationalism, naive realism about perception like Aristotle, or representationalism (i.e., an indirect realist who believes in a "veil of ideas") like Descartes or Locke. Hume is the name of several people and places: David Hume is an 18th century philosopher from Scotland. ... Logical positivism (later referred to as logical empiricism) holds that philosophy should aspire to the same sort of rigor as science. ... Plato ( Greek: Πλάτων, Plátōn, wide, broad-shouldered) (c. ... René Descartes René Descartes (IPA: , March 31, 1596 – February 11, 1650), also known as Cartesius, worked as a philosopher and mathematician. ... Friedrich Ludwig Gottlob Frege Friedrich Ludwig Gottlob Frege (November 8, 1848 - July 26, 1925) was a German mathematician, logician, and philosopher who is regarded as a founder of both modern mathematical logic and analytic philosophy. ... A priori is a Latin phrase meaning from the former or less literally before experience. In much of the modern Western tradition, the term a priori is considered to mean propositional knowledge that can be had without, or prior to, experience. ... ... In philosophy naïve realism is used to describe the belief that physical objects continue to exist when they are no longer perceived. ... Aristotle (Ancient Greek: AristotélÄ“s 384 – March 7, 322 BCE) was an ancient Greek philosopher, a student of Plato and teacher of Alexander the Great. ... Representationalism, or the representational theory of perception, is a philosophical doctrine that in any act of perception, the immediate (direct) object of perception is a sense-datum that represents an external object, which is the mediate (indirect) object of perception. ... René Descartes René Descartes (IPA: , March 31, 1596 – February 11, 1650), also known as Cartesius, worked as a philosopher and mathematician. ... Locke is the name of several places in the United States. ...


Objectivist epistemology, like most other philosophical branches of Objectivism, was first clearly articulated by Rand in Atlas Shrugged. However, it was more fully developed in Rand's 1967 work Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology. Rand considered her epistemology and its basis in reason so central to her philosophy that she remarked, "I am not primarily an advocate of capitalism, but of egoism; and I am not primarily an advocate of egoism, but of reason. If one recognizes the supremacy of reason and applies it consistently, all the rest follows." Atlas Shrugged is a novel by Russian-born writer and philosopher Ayn Rand, first published in 1957 in the USA, and Rands last work of fiction before concentrating her writings exclusively on philosophy. ... Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology, published in 1967, was Ayn Rands attempt to summarize the Objectivist theory of concepts, and to submit her solution to the problem of universals. ... Reason is a term used in philosophy and other human sciences to refer to the higher cognitive faculties of the human mind. ...


Ethics: rational self-interest

Main article: Objectivist ethics The Objectivist ethics is a subset of the Objectivist philosophy formulated by Ayn Rand. ...


If one had to reduce to a sound bite Ayn Rand's ideas on how humans ought to live, one would perhaps choose one statement that she wrote:

"To live, man must hold three things as the supreme and ruling values of his life: Reason, Purpose, Self-Esteem." Reason is a term used in philosophy and other human sciences to refer to the higher cognitive faculties of the human mind. ... Purpose is deliberately thought-through goal-directedness. ... In psychology, self-esteem or self-worth is a persons self-image at an emotional level; circumventing reason and logic. ...

The ethics of Objectivism is based on the theory that each person is responsible for achieving his or her own rational self-interest. Rand wrote:

"Man has been called a rational being, but rationality is a matter of choice—and the alternative his nature offers him is: rational being or suicidal animal. Man has to be man—by choice; he has to hold his life as a value—by choice; he has to learn to sustain it—by choice; he has to discover the values it requires and practice his virtues—by choice.

"A code of values accepted by choice is a code of morality."[2]

There is a difference, however, between rational self-interest and what she calls "selfishness without a self" - a state of range-of-the-moment selfishness to promote a self that has no esteem. Thieves, according to her, are not motivated by a desire to live (as the man of production is), but by the desire to live on a sub-human level. Instead of using "that which promotes the concept of human life" as their standard of values, they promote "that which I value" as the standard of value; thus leaving a blank check on what is and isn't moral. The "I value" in that sentence can be replaced with "we value", "he values", or "He values" and still be a blank-check ethics-killer, according to Rand. She is not asking you to believe that either rational selfishness and hedonistic selfishness-without-a-self should be considered good and evil at the same time (as "double-think" may ask) but that the former should be considered good and the latter evil and that there is a "fundamental" difference between them. As a corollary to her embrace of self-interest is the rejection of the ethical doctrine of altruism --which she defines in the sense of August Comte's altruism (he coined the term), as a moral obligation to live for the sake of others. George H. Smith says: "For Comte, altruism is not simple benevolence or charity, but rather the moral and political obligation of the individual to sacrifice his own interests for the sake of a greater social good. It should be noted that Ayn Rand did not oppose helping others in need, provided such actions are voluntary. What she opposed was the use of coercion--that is, the initiation of physical force--in social relationships. The doctrine of altruism, in Rand's view, is evil partially because it serves to justify coercion, especially governmental coercion, in order to benefit some people at the expense of others." [3] The lowercase i redirects here. ... Altruism is an ethical doctrine that holds that individuals have an ethical obligation to help, serve, or benefit others. ... Auguste Comte Auguste Comte (full name Isidore Marie Auguste François Xavier Comte) (January 17 (recorded January 19), 1798 _ September 5, 1857) was a positivist thinker and a founder of the discipline of sociology. ... George H. Smith is a libertarian author. ...


Politics: individual rights and capitalism

The transition from the Objectivist ethics to the Objectivist theory of politics relies on the concept of rights. A "right", according to Objectivism, is a moral principle that both defines and sanctions a human being's freedom of action in a social or societal context. Objectivism holds that only individuals have rights; there is, in the Objectivist view, no such thing as a "collective right" that does not reduce without remainder to a set of individual rights. Furthermore, Objectivism is very specific about the set of "individual rights" that it recognizes; as such, the Objectivist list of individual rights differs significantly from the ones adopted by most governments, for example. For the direction right, see left and right or starboard. ... The examples and perspective in this article or section may not represent a worldwide view. ...


Although Objectivism does not use the term "natural rights", the rights it recognizes are based directly on the nature of human beings as described in its epistemology and ethics. Since human beings must make choices in order to survive as human beings, the basic requirement of a human life is the freedom to make, and act on, one's own independent rational judgment, according to one's self-interest.


Thus, Objectivism contends, the fundamental right of human beings is the right to life. By this phrase Objectivism means the right to act in furtherance of one's own life — not the right to have one's life protected, or to have one's survival guaranteed, by the involuntary effort of other human beings. Indeed, on the Objectivist account, one of the corollaries of the right to life is the right to property which, according to Objectivism, always represents the product of one's own effort; on this view, one person's right to life cannot entail the right to dispose of another's private property, under any circumstances. Under Objectivism, one has the right to transfer one's own property to whomever one wants for whatever reason, but such a transfer is only ethical if it is made under the terms of a trade freely consented to by both parties, in the absence of any form of coercion, each with the expectation that the trade will benefit them. Objectivism holds that human beings have the right to manipulate nature in any way they see fit, as long as it does not infringe on the rights of others. From this, the right to property arises. Coercion is the practice of compelling a person to act by employing threat of harm (usually physical force, sometimes other forms of harm). ... // Use of the term The concept of property or ownership has no single or universally accepted definition. ...


On the Objectivist account, the rights of other human beings are not of direct moral import to the agent who respects them; they acquire their moral purchase through an intermediate step. An Objectivist respects the rights of other human beings out of the recognition of the value to himself or herself of living in a world in which the freedom of action of other rational (or potentially rational) human beings is respected.


According to Objectivism, then, one's respect for the rights of others is founded on the value, to oneself, of other persons as actual or potential trading partners (whether it be trading in a material or emotional sense). Here is where Objectivism's claim about conflicts of interest attains its full significance: on the Objectivist view, it is precisely because there are no such (irresoluble) conflicts that it is possible for human beings to prosper in a rights-respecting society.


Objectivist political theory therefore defends capitalism as the ideal form of human society. Objectivism reserves the name "capitalism" for full laissez-faire capitalism — i.e., a society in which individual rights are consistently respected and in which all property is (therefore) privately owned. Any system short of this is regarded by Objectivists as a "mixed economy" consisting of certain aspects of capitalism and its opposite (usually called socialism or statism),[1] with pure socialism and/or tyranny at the opposite extreme. For other uses, see Capitalism (disambiguation). ... Laissez-faire is short for laissez faire, laissez passer, a French phrase meaning to let things alone, let them pass. First used by the eighteenth century Physiocrats as an injunction against government interference with trade, it is now used as a synonym for strict free market economics. ... Socialism refers to a broad array of doctrines, and may also refer to political movements that aspire to put these doctrines into practice. ... Statism is a term that is used in a variety of disciplines (economics, sociology, education policy etc) to describe a system that involves a significant interventionist role for the state in economic or social affairs. ...


Far from regarding capitalism as a dog-eat-dog pattern of social organization, Objectivism regards it as a beneficent system in which the innovations of the most creative benefit everyone else in the society at no loss to anyone. Indeed, Objectivism values creative achievement itself and regards capitalism as the only kind of society in which it can flourish.


A society is, by Objectivist standards, moral to the extent that individuals are free to pursue their goals. This freedom requires that human relationships of all forms be voluntary (which, in the Objectivist view, means that they must not involve the use of physical force), mutual consent being the defining characteristic of a free society. Thus the proper role of institutions of governance is limited to using force in retaliation against those who initiate its use — i.e., against criminals and foreign aggressors. Economically, people are free to produce and exchange as they see fit, with as complete a separation of state and economics as of state and church. The separation of church and state is a political doctrine which states that the institutions of the state or national government should be kept separate from those of religious institutions. ...


Libertarianism

The libertarian Reason Magazine dedicated an issue to Ayn Rand's influence one hundred years after her birth.
The libertarian Reason Magazine dedicated an issue to Ayn Rand's influence one hundred years after her birth.

Main article: Libertarianism and Objectivism Image File history File links Ayn Rand cover for Reason Magazine. ... Image File history File links Ayn Rand cover for Reason Magazine. ... Since they arose in the late 1950s and early 1960s, Libertarianism and Objectivism have had a close yet sometimes contentious relationship, with Objectivism being a significant influence upon libertarian political philosophies. ...


Libertarianism and Objectivism have a complex relationship. Though they share many of the same political goals, Objectivists see some libertarians as plagiarists of their ideas "with the teeth pulled out of them,"[1] whereas some libertarians see Objectivists as dogmatic, unrealistic, and uncompromising. Ayn Rand herself despised libertarianism. In Ayn Rand's own words, Libertarianism is a political philosophy[1] advocating that individuals should be free to do whatever they wish with their person or property, as long as they do not infringe on the same liberty of others. ...


"Above all, do not join the wrong ideological groups or movements, in order to 'do something.' By 'ideological' (in this context), I mean groups or movements proclaiming some vaguely generalized, undefined (and, usually, contradictory) political goals. (E.g., the Conservative Party, which subordinates reason to faith, and substitutes theocracy for capitalism; or the 'libertarian' hippies, who subordinate reason to whims, and substitute anarchism for capitalism.) To join such groups means to reverse the philosophical hierarchy and to sell out fundamental principles for the sake of some superficial political action which is bound to fail. It means that you help the defeat of your ideas and the victory of your enemies." [Ayn Rand, "What Can One Do?" Philosophy: Who Needs It], and "For the record, I shall repeat what I have said many times before: I do not join or endorse any political group or movement. More specifically, I disapprove of, disagree with and have no connection with, the latest aberration of some conservatives, the so-called 'hippies of the right,' who attempt to snare the younger or more careless ones of my readers by claiming simultaneously to be followers of my philosophy and advocates of anarchism. Anyone offering such a combination confesses his inability to understand either. Anarchism is the most irrational, anti-intellectual notion ever spun by the concrete-bound, context-dropping, whim-worshiping fringe of the collectivist movement, where it properly belongs." [Ayn Rand, "Brief Summary," The Objectivist, September 1971].


According to Reason editor Nick Gillespie in the magazine's March 2005 issue focusing on Objectivism's influence, Ayn Rand is "one of the most important figures in the libertarian movement... A century after her birth and more than a decade after her death, Rand remains one of the best-selling and most widely influential figures in American thought and culture" in general and in libertarianism in particular. In the same issue, Cathy Young says that "Libertarianism, the movement most closely connected to Rand’s ideas, is less an offspring than a rebel stepchild."[2] The libertarian Reason Magazine dedicated an issue to Ayn Rands influence one hundred years after her birth. ... Nick Gillespie has been the Editor-in-Chief of Reason magazine since 2000. ... 2005 (MMV) was a common year starting on Saturday of the Gregorian calendar. ... Ayn Rand (IPA: , Ayn rhyming with fine; February 2 [O.S. January 20] 1905 – March 6, 1982), born Alissa Zinovievna Rosenbaum, was a Russian-American author and philosopher best known for developing the philosophy of Objectivism and for writing the novels We the Living, Anthem, The Fountainhead, and Atlas Shrugged. ... Cathy Young (Ekaterina Jung) was born in the Soviet Union in 1963 but emigrated to the United States in 1980 at the age of 17. ...


Aesthetics: Romantic Realism

The Objectivist theory of art flows fairly directly from its epistemology, by way of "psycho-epistemology" (Objectivism's term for the study of human cognition as it involves interactions between the conscious and the subconscious mind). Art, according to Objectivism, serves a human cognitive need: it allows human beings to grasp concepts as though they were percepts. Venus de Milo exhibited in the Louvre museum, France. ...


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. In this respect Objectivism regards art as a way of presenting abstractions concretely, in perceptual form.


The human need for art, on this view, stems from the need for cognitive economy. 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 held explicitly in mind. But a human being cannot hold indefinitely many concepts explicitly in mind either — and yet, on the Objectivist view, needs a comprehensive conceptual framework in order to provide guidance in life.


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. Its function is thus similar to that of language, which uses concrete words to represent concepts.


Objectivism regards art as the only really effective way to communicate a moral or ethical ideal. Objectivism does not, however, regard art as propagandistic: even though art involves moral values and ideals, its purpose is not to educate, only to show or project.


Moreover, art need not be, and often is not, the outcome of a full-blown, explicit philosophy. Usually it stems from an artist's sense of life (which is preconceptual and largely emotional), and its appeal is similar to the viewer's or listener's sense of life.


Generally Objectivism favors an esthetic of Romantic Realism, which on its Objectivist definition is a category of art treating the existence of human volition as true and important. In this sense, for Objectivism, Romantic Realism is the school of art that takes values seriously, regards human reason as efficacious, and projects human ideals as achievable. Objectivism contrasts such Romantic Realism with Naturalism, which it regards as a category of art that denies or downplays the role of human volition in the achievement of values. The painting by Nick Gaetano used as the cover of a later edition of Ayn Rands novel The Fountainhead Romantic Realism is an aesthetic term that usually refers to art that deals with the themes of volition and value while also acknowledging objective reality and the importance of technique. ... Naturalism in art refers to the depiction of realistic objects in a natural setting. ...


The term romanticism, however, is often affiliated with emotionalism, which Objectivism is completely opposed to (though Objectivism seems to hold romanticism as more emotional [in the sense of merely being related to emotions] than most forms of art, and as less emotionalist i.e. relating to the use of emotions for decision-making.) Many romantic artists, in fact, were subjectivists and/or socialists. Most Objectivists who are also artists ascribe to what they call Romantic Realism, which is what Ayn Rand labeled her own work. // What is it? Emotionalism has been mentioned in many books, movies, and plays. ... Socialism is any economic system in which the means of production are owned and controlled collectively or a political philosophy advocating such a system. ... The painting by Nick Gaetano used as the cover of a later edition of Ayn Rands novel The Fountainhead Romantic Realism is an aesthetic term that usually refers to art that deals with the themes of volition and value while also acknowledging objective reality and the importance of technique. ... Ayn Rand (IPA: , Ayn rhyming with fine; February 2 [O.S. January 20] 1905 – March 6, 1982), born Alissa Zinovievna Rosenbaum, was a Russian-American author and philosopher best known for developing the philosophy of Objectivism and for writing the novels We the Living, Anthem, The Fountainhead, and Atlas Shrugged. ...


Objectivists sometimes use the term Byronic to label the sorts of romanticism with which they disagree. Lord Byron, Anglo-Scottish poet George Gordon Byron (later George Gordon Noel) 6th Baron Byron of Rochdale (January 22, 1788–April 19, 1824) was an Anglo-Scottish poet and a leading figure in Romanticism. ...


Academic Response to Objectivist philosophy

Although many academics ignore Objectivism, some academics have written on aspects of Objectivist philosophy in academic journals.


It is fair to say that, of people who are familiar with Objectivism, reactions are rarely neutral. Indeed, it is almost impossible to be neutral, because Objectivism holds itself to be both factually valid and systematically coherent - i.e., one either agrees with it fully or not at all. Rand's beliefs are often supported with great passion or derided with great disgust, with little in between. The general reaction of academia has been in the latter category, to the point where Objectivism is often not taken as a serious contribution to the field and therefore worthy of little more than dismissal. Critics in academia often conclude that many of the specific stances are demonstrably false rehashes of old errors, and even where the belief system happens to endorse true conclusions, it does so on a fallacious basis. For example, Robert Nozick, a prominent libertarian philosopher, largely agrees with Rand on libertarian issues but does not find her basis convincing. Robert Nozick (November 16, 1938 – January 23, 2002) was an American philosopher and Pellegrino University Professor at Harvard University. ...


Academic institutional support for Objectivism has increased in recent years. Cambridge University Press is publishing Tara Smith's The Virtuous Egoist: Ayn Rand's Normative Ethics. There are or have been Objectivist programs and fellowships at the University of Pittsburgh (Dept. of History and Philosophy of Science), University of Texas at Austin, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the University of Arizona and several other universities. And there are some 50 members of The Ayn Rand Society, a group affiliated with the American Philosophical Society, Eastern Division. Leonard Peikoff, Ayn Rand's legal heir, published a comprehensive presentation of Objectivism entitled Objectivism: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand. Other works have been directed at academic audiences, such as Viable Values by Tara Smith, The Evidence of the Senses by David Kelley, and The Biological Basis of Teleological Concepts by Harry Binswanger. An academic journal, the Journal of Ayn Rand Studies has been publishing interdisciplinary scholarly essays on Rand and Objectivism since 1999. Whether this new scholarship and institutional support will result in a dialogue between mainstream academic philosophy and Objectivism remains to be seen. The University of Pittsburgh is a state-related, doctoral/research university in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. ... The University of Texas at Austin, often called UT or Texas, is the flagship institution of the University of Texas System. ... The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is a public, coeducational, research university located in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, United States. ... The University of Arizona (UA or U of A) is a land-grant and space-grant public institution of higher education and research located in Tucson, Arizona. ... Objectivism: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand, (ISBN 0-452-01101-9) is a book by Dr. Leonard Peikoff, which he claims is the first comprehensive statement of the philosophy of Objectivism. ...


For detailed summaries of specific responses to Objectivism, see bibliography of work on Objectivism. Ayn Rand and Objectivism have been the subject of a wealth of literature, both in favor of Objectivist ideals and against it. ...


Criticism of Objectivism

Rand's ideas have gathered emphatic criticism from many fronts. In fact, some critics refuse to even use the terms "Objectivism" and "Reason" with regard to her ideas because they feel that this would amount to agreeing to a biased framing of the issue, in that they question whether Rand's philosophy was in fact objective and rational. As a result, they sometimes use "Randian" or "Randist", which emphasizes their belief that the ties between the ideas and their originator are so strong that following Rand's philosophy amounts to merely following her. As can be shown by this article itself, it can be difficult to separate Rand and Objectivism, though Objectivism and its dissidents would disagree on why. A standard insult used against supporters of Objectivism is randroid, alluding to the ostensibly robotic devotion of her followers. Randroid is a pejorative term for some or all followers of Ayn Rands philosophy of Objectivism. ...


Some (such as Michael Shermer) see the philosophy as being a cult or having a cult-like mentality. Shermer stresses how members of the orthodox movement are expected to consider Ayn Rand "the greatest human being to ever live" and look at anyone that disagrees with Rand as "irrational." They consider this the opposite of an individualist philosophy and, ironically, similar to a collectivist one. Objectivists often respond to this by saying either that a) the claims are exaggerated, b) the cult-like practices were (unfortunately) irrational but do not disprove the philosophy, or c) such statements are justified because one's confidence in Rand is (or should be) based on reason and one's own individual, reality-oriented values. The defense is often a combination of (a) and (c). Rand herself saw some of this and, likely with irony, called her inner circle "The Collective". Michael Shermer (born 1954) is a science writer, historian of science, founder of The Skeptics Society, and editor of its magazine Skeptic, which is largely devoted to investigating pseudoscientific and supernatural claims. ... In religion and sociology, a cult is a cohesive group of people (often a relatively small and recently founded religious movement) devoted to beliefs or practices that the surrounding culture or society considers to be far outside the mainstream. ... Ayn Rand (IPA: , Ayn rhyming with fine; February 2 [O.S. January 20] 1905 – March 6, 1982), born Alissa Zinovievna Rosenbaum, was a Russian-American author and philosopher best known for developing the philosophy of Objectivism and for writing the novels We the Living, Anthem, The Fountainhead, and Atlas Shrugged. ... For judgements of value about collectivism and individualism, see individualism and collectivism. ... Collectivism, in general, is a term used to describe a theoretical or practical emphasis on the group, as opposed to (and seen by many of its opponents to be at the expense of) the individual. ... The Collective was a group of men and women who were close confidants, students, and proponents of Ayn Rand and her theories of Objectivist philosophy during the 50s and 60s. ...


Like other things associated with Rand, this topic is fiercely debated. The cult accusation is probably the most common attack on Rand and her philosophy, somewhat edging out dismissals of her as an 'intellectual light-weight' (based on her limited academic qualification in philosophy and the claim that most of her followers didn't have an interest in, or knowledge of, philosophy until reading her work). Rand's defenders assert that the cult accusation distracts people from actually analyzing the philosophy itself. To this, Rand's critics reply with a denial of there being any cohesive philosophy to study, considering it instead a collection of reactions by Rand against popular ideas she opposed. This characterization of Objectivism as a lowbrow anti-philosophy is particularly common among those with academic backgrounds in philosophy. Sociologically, this type of response is observed in analogous situations from across the arts and sciences. Objectivists, in their defense, equate this not with rational criticism, but with Objectivism's radical difference with contemporary philosophy.


It should be noted that being critical of Rand does not, according to many, mean disagreeing with her on every point. If anything, those most critical often agree with her on a number of points, which makes them particularly bothered by both the path she takes to arrive at these conclusions and the other conclusions that they feel she gets entirely wrong. Fundamentally, Rand's philosophy is considered an all-or-nothing proposition, yet many people only agree with parts. It is not uncommon for those who agree with her on either the matter of reason and atheism or libertarianism and egoism to disagree strongly on the other.


Criticism of Ayn Rand’s reading of the history of philosophy

Rand regarded her philosophical efforts as the beginning of the correction of a deeply troubled world, and she believed that the world has gotten into its present troubled state largely through the uncritical acceptance, by both intellectuals and others, of traditional philosophy.


Especially in the title essay of her early work, For the New Intellectual, Rand levels serious criticisms of canonical historical philosophers, especially Plato, David Hume, Immanuel Kant, G. W. F. Hegel, Karl Marx, Friedrich Nietzsche, and Herbert Spencer. In her later book, Philosophy: Who Needs It, she repeats and enlarges upon her criticisms of Kant, and she also accuses famed Harvard political theorist John Rawls of gross philosophical errors. Some have accused Rand of misinterpreting the works of these philosophers (see, e.g., Ayn Rand, Objectivists, and the History of Philosophy by Fred Seddon) -- or of failing to read them at all, and deriving her misconceptions second hand. Plato ( Greek: Πλάτων, Plátōn, wide, broad-shouldered) (c. ... David Hume (April 26, 1711 – August 25, 1776)[1] was a Scottish philosopher, economist, and historian who was one of the most important figures of the Scottish Enlightenment. ... Immanuel Kant (22 April 1724 – 12 February 1804), was a German philosopher from Königsberg (now Kaliningrad) in East Prussia. ... Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel (August 27, 1770 - November 14, 1831) was a German philosopher born in Stuttgart, Württemberg, in present-day southwest Germany. ... Karl Heinrich Marx (May 5, 1818, Trier, Germany – March 14, 1883, London) was an immensely influential German philosopher, political economist, and revolutionary. ... Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche (IPA:) (October 15, 1844 – August 25, 1900), a German philologist and philosopher, produced critiques of contemporary culture, religion, and philosophy centered around a basic question regarding the positive and negative attitudes toward life of various systems of morality. ... Herbert Spencer. ... John Rawls (February 21, 1921 – November 24, 2002) was an American philosopher, a professor of political philosophy at Harvard University and author of A Theory of Justice (1971), Political Liberalism, Justice as Fairness: A Restatement, and The Law of Peoples. ...


Rand's interpretation and criticism of the views of Immanuel Kant, in particular, have sparked considerable controversy.


Many critics take issue with Rand's interpretation of Kant's metaphysics: like early critics of Kant, Rand interprets Kant as an empirical idealist. It is a long-standing question of Kant scholarship whether this interpretation is correct; in the second edition of the Critique of Pure Reason, Kant claimed that his transcendental idealism was different from empirical idealism. Contemporary philosophers such as Jonathan Bennett, James van Cleve, and Rae Langton continue to debate this issue. Jonathan F. Bennett (born 1930, New Zealand) is a British philosopher of language and metaphysics, and a historian of early modern philosophy. ...


Other critics focus on Rand's reading of Kant's ethical philosophy. Rand holds that Kantian ethics improperly takes self-interest out of ethics: "What Kant propounded was full, total, abject selflessness: he held that an action is moral only if you perform it out of a sense of duty and derive no benefit from it of any kind, neither material nor spiritual; if you derive any benefit, your action is not moral any longer...It is Kant's version of altruism that people, who have never heard of Kant, profess when they equate self-interest with evil." Kant's defenders claim that Kantian ethics is primarily an ethics of reason, because the categorical imperative amounts to a demand that the intent behind one's actions be logically consistent, or in Kantian terminology, that "the maxim of one's act be universalizable." Though Rand denigrates Kant's system as the absolute opposite of Objectivism, some writers have even suggested that Rand drew on Kantian ideas without realizing it. "She despised Immanuel Kant but then actually invokes 'treating persons as ends rather than as means only' to explain the nature of morality,"[3] argues Dr. Kelley Ross. In Rand's favor, Kant clearly does maintain (in his Groundwork for the Metaphysics of Morals) that an action solely motivated by inclination or self-interest is entirely lacking in moral worth. Still, fewer commentators have agreed with Rand's characterization of Kantianism as self-sacrificial. The contemporary philosopher Thomas E. Hill has explicitly defended Kant against this charge in his article, "Happiness and Human Flourishing in Kant's Ethics," in the anthology Human Flourishing.


Another attack on Rand comes from her outright rejection of David Hume's ideas at the foundations of her philosophy. Hume famously maintained, "No is implies an ought," but Rand disagreed by arguing that values are a species of fact (see is-ought problem). She wrote, "In answer to those philosophers who claim that no relation can be established between ultimate ends or values and the facts of reality, let me stress that the fact that living entities exist and function necessitates the existence of values and of an ultimate value which for any given living entity is its own life. Thus the validation of value judgments is to be achieved by reference to the facts of reality. The fact that a living entity is, determines what it ought to do." Some, including the libertarian philosopher Robert Nozick, have suggested that Rand's solution begs the question by assuming that life is the highest value as a hidden premise of the argument. See also Objectivist Metaethics, Controversy over Ayn Rand. David Hume (April 26, 1711 – August 25, 1776)[1] was a Scottish philosopher, economist, and historian who was one of the most important figures of the Scottish Enlightenment. ... In meta-ethics, the is-ought problem was raised by David Hume (Scottish philosopher and historian, 1711-1776), who noted that many writers make claims about what ought to be on the basis of statements about what is. ... Robert Nozick (November 16, 1938 – January 23, 2002) was an American philosopher and Pellegrino University Professor at Harvard University. ... The Objectivist ethics is a subset of the Objectivist philosophy formulated by Ayn Rand. ... Ayn Rand (IPA: , Ayn rhyming with fine; February 2 [O.S. January 20] 1905 – March 6, 1982), born Alissa Zinovievna Rosenbaum, was a Russian-American author and philosopher best known for developing the philosophy of Objectivism and for writing the novels We the Living, Anthem, The Fountainhead, and Atlas Shrugged. ...


Notes

  1. ^ a b Rand, Ayn. (1996) Atlas Shrugged. Signet Book; 35th Anniv edition. Appendix. ISBN 0451191145
  2. ^ Ibid. p. 940.
  3. ^ Smith, George H. Ayn Rand on Altruism, Egoism, and Rights

George H. Smith is a libertarian author. ...

See also

Ayn Rand (IPA: , Ayn rhyming with fine; February 2 [O.S. January 20] 1905 – March 6, 1982), born Alissa Zinovievna Rosenbaum, was a Russian-American author and philosopher best known for developing the philosophy of Objectivism and for writing the novels We the Living, Anthem, The Fountainhead, and Atlas Shrugged. ... The Ayn Rand Institute: The Center for the Advancement of Objectivism (ARI) was established in 1985, three years after Ayn Rands death, by Leonard Peikoff, Rands legal and intellectual heir. ... Leonard Peikoff circa 1970 Leonard Peikoff (born in Winnipeg, Manitoba in 1933) is an Objectivist philosopher. ... Ayn Rand and Objectivism have been the subject of a wealth of literature, both in favor of Objectivist ideals and against it. ... The Objectivist movement was a movement to popularize Ayn Rands Objectivist philosophy that began with the founding of the Nathaniel Branden Institute in 1960. ... Nathaniel Branden is a psychotherapist and author of psychology books and multiple articles on ethical and political philosophy. ... Neo-Objectivism covers a large family of philosophical viewpoints and cultural values descended from Objectivist philosophy. ... In civics, minarchism, sometimes called minimal statism or small government, is the view that the size, role and influence of government in a free society should be minimal - only large enough to protect the liberty of each and every individual, without violating the liberty of any individuals itself, thus maximizing... The Objectivist Center is a think tank in Washington, D.C. dedicated to Objectivism, the philosophy of Ayn Rand. ... Libertarianism is a political philosophy[1] advocating that individuals should be free to do whatever they wish with their person or property, as long as they do not infringe on the same liberty of others. ...

External links


  Results from FactBites:
 
Objectivist philosophy - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (4695 words)
The Objectivist theory of art flows fairly directly from its epistemology, by way of "psycho-epistemology" (Objectivism's term for the study of human cognition as it involves interactions between the conscious and the subconscious mind).
Objectivists often respond to this by saying either that a) the claims are exaggerated, b) the cult-like practices were (unfortunately) irrational but do not disprove the philosophy, or c) such statements are justified because one's confidence in Rand is (or should be) based on reason and one's own individual, reality-oriented values.
The cult accusation is probably the most common attack on Rand and her philosophy, somewhat edging out dismissals of her as an 'intellectual light-weight' (based on her limited academic qualification in philosophy and the claim that most of her followers didn't have an interest in, or knowledge of, philosophy until reading her work).
Objectivist philosophy - definition of Objectivist philosophy in Encyclopedia (7487 words)
The key tenets of the Objectivist metaphysics are (1) the Primacy of Existence, (2) the Law of Identity (Aristotle's "A is A"), and (3) the Axiom of Self-Consciousness.
On the Objectivist account, value (or the "good") is not "intrinsic" to external reality, but neither is it "subjective" (again meaning "arbitrary"); the term "good" denotes an objective evaluation of some aspect of reality with respect to a goal, namely, the life of the human being with respect to whom the evaluation is made.
One objection to Objectivist metaphysics is that it is a species of Nineteenth century scientific realism, and that it has made no attempt to assimilate the advances of the Twentieth century into its conception of the nature of reality.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

COMMENTARY     


Share your thoughts, questions and commentary here
Your name
Your comments

Want to know more?
Search encyclopedia, statistics and forums:

 


Press Releases |  Feeds | Contact
The Wikipedia article included on this page is licensed under the GFDL.
Images may be subject to relevant owners' copyright.
All other elements are (c) copyright NationMaster.com 2003-5. All Rights Reserved.
Usage implies agreement with terms, 1022, m