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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. Sunday Philosophy Monday Reality and Reason Tuesday Life and Happiness Wednesday The Virtues Thursday Individual Rights

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objectivism 101
Objectivism 101

Diana Mertz Hsieh

Lecture One: Philosophy

Sunday, June 30, 2002

13th Annual Summer Seminar


The Objectivist Center

objectivism 101 schedule
Objectivism 101 Schedule
  • Sunday Philosophy
  • Monday Reality and Reason
  • Tuesday Life and Happiness
  • Wednesday The Virtues
  • Thursday Individual Rights
  • Friday Spiritual 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


  • 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


  • 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