Objectivism 101
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Objectivism 101. Diana Mertz Hsieh Lecture One: Philosophy Sunday, June 30, 2002 13 th Annual Summer Seminar of The Objectivist Center. Objectivism 101 Schedule. SundayPhilosophy MondayReality and Reason TuesdayLife and Happiness WednesdayThe Virtues ThursdayIndividual Rights

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Objectivism 101

Objectivism 101

Diana Mertz Hsieh

Lecture One: Philosophy

Sunday, June 30, 2002

13th Annual Summer Seminar

of

The Objectivist Center


Objectivism 101 schedule

Objectivism 101 Schedule

  • SundayPhilosophy

  • MondayReality and Reason

  • TuesdayLife and Happiness

  • WednesdayThe Virtues

  • ThursdayIndividual Rights

  • FridaySpiritual Fuel


This course will

This Course Will…

  • Sketch Objectivism as a system

  • Compare Objectivism to other philosophical perspectives

  • Discuss the practical consequences of abstract ideas

  • Disagreements, doubts, and questions are okay!

  • Expect to participate in discussions!


Ayn rand the novelist

Ayn Rand the Novelist

  • We The Living (1936)

  • Anthem (1938)

  • The Fountainhead (1943)

  • Atlas Shrugged (1957)

  • The Early Ayn Rand (1986)


Ayn rand s novels

Ayn Rand’s Novels

  • Epic stories

  • Novels of ideas

  • The producer as the moral ideal

  • Force of character of heroes

  • Sacredness of individual human life

  • Expert literary technique


Ayn rand the philosopher

Ayn Rand the Philosopher

  • For the New Intellectual (1961)

  • The Virtue of Selfishness (1964)

  • Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal (1966)

  • Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology (1967)

  • The Romantic Manifesto (1969)

  • The New Left/Return of the Primitive (1971)

  • Philosophy: Who Needs It (1982)

  • The Voice of Reason (1989)


Ayn rand the person

Ayn Rand the Person

  • Born in Russia in 1905

  • Studied history and philosophy

  • Left Russia for U.S. in 1926

  • Married Frank O’Connor

  • Screenwriter, novelist, philosopher

  • Died in New York City in 1982


Essence of objectivism

Essence of Objectivism

“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.”

Ayn Rand

“About the Author”

Atlas Shrugged


What is philosophy

What is Philosophy?

“Philosophy studies the fundamental nature of existence, of man, and of man's relationship to existence…. philosophy deals with those aspects of the universe which pertain to everything that exists.”

Ayn Rand

“Philosophy: Who Needs It”

Philosophy: Who Needs It


Questions of philosophy

Questions of Philosophy

  • What is the world like?

  • How do I know that world?

  • What is my nature?

  • How should I act?

  • How should people in a society interact?

  • What is art?


Branches of philosophy

Branches of Philosophy

  • Metaphysics studies the nature of existence

    • What is the world like?

  • Epistemology studies nature of knowledge

    • How do I know that world?

  • Ethics defines a code of values to guide action

    • How should I act?

  • Politics defines the proper social system

    • How should people in a society interact?

  • Aesthetics studies the nature of art

    • What is art?


Philosophy in sum

Philosophy In Sum

  • Philosophy is our most basic view of the world and our place in it

    • Metaphysics: reality

    • Epistemology: knowledge

    • Ethics: values

    • Politics: social system

    • Aesthetics: art


Philosophy as universal

Philosophy as Universal

  • The truths of philosophy apply to every person at every time

  • Philosophy is not just a matter of perspective

  • The truths of philosophy are accessible to everyone


Philosophy as inescapable

Philosophy as Inescapable

  • Philosophical ideas permeate our lives, whether we know it or not

  • Religion is the most common form of philosophy

  • Any attempt to avoid philosophy endorses certain philosophical ideas


Philosophy as influential

Philosophy as Influential

  • Individual lives

  • Institutions

  • Science

  • Technology

  • Economies

  • Cultures

  • History


The uniqueness of philosophy

The Uniqueness of Philosophy

  • Philosophy applies universally to everyone

  • Philosophy is an inescapable part of life

  • Philosophy is an influential force in life


Implicit or explicit

Implicit or Explicit?

  • Implicit Philosophy: Philosophical ideas are passively absorbed from family, friends, religion, fiction, and culture

    …OR…

  • Explicit philosophy: Philosophical ideas are consciously investigated, adopted, and integrated


Implicit philosophy

Implicit Philosophy

  • Implicit Philosophy: Philosophical ideas are passively absorbed from family, friends, religion, fiction, and culture

  • Implicit philosophy is easy and automatic, but it is fraught with danger

  • What are the dangers of implicit philosophy?


Dangers of implicit philosophy

Dangers of Implicit Philosophy

  • Greater risk of errors and contradictions

  • Vulnerable to manipulation by others

  • Psychological problems

  • Difficulty in resolving moral dilemmas


Explicit philosophy

Explicit Philosophy

  • Explicit philosophy: Philosophical ideas consciously investigated, adopted, and integrated

  • Explicit philosophy is difficult work, but brings many benefits

  • What are the benefits of explicit philosophy?


Benefits of explicit philosophy

Benefits of Explicit Philosophy

  • Easier correction of philosophical errors

  • Understanding what’s important in life

  • Developing reasoning skills

  • Clarifying moral choices

  • Enjoying life’s emotional rewards


Eclectic or systematic

Eclectic or Systematic?

  • Eclectic Philosophy: Philosophical ideas are chosen from wide variety of philosophical traditions, regardless of inconsistencies

    …OR…

  • Systematic Philosophy: Philosophical ideas in all branches of philosophy are interrelated and consistent


Approaches to philosophy

Approaches to Philosophy

  • Implicit Philosophy: Ideas passively absorbed

  • Explicit philosophy: Ideas consciously adopted

  • Eclectic Philosophy: Unrelated and inconsistent ideas

  • Systematic Philosophy: Interrelated and consistent ideas


Preview of objectivism

Preview of Objectivism

  • Metaphysics: reality

  • Epistemology: reason

  • Ethics: self-interest

  • Politics: individual rights

  • Aesthetics: spiritual fuel


Today s topics

Today’s Topics

  • Ayn Rand as a novelist and philosopher

  • The nature of philosophy

  • The five branches of philosophy

  • Philosophy as universal

  • Philosophy as inescapable

  • The influence of philosophy

  • Implicit and explicit philosophy

  • Eclectic and systematic philosophy


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