Up@dawn 2.0

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Ayn Rand's Philosophy: 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, Appendix to
Atlas Shrugged


Ayn Rand is by far my favorite author and philosopher. She writes novels portraying strong characters who live by her philosophical beliefs, and these characters are very admirable. Objectivism is the philosophy of rational individualism founded by Ayn Rand. In her novels, most notably Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead, Rand dramatized her ideal man, the producer who lives by his own effort and does not give or receive the undeserved, who honors achievements and rejects envy. The philosophy of objectivism holds that there is no greater moral goal than achieving happiness.  But one cannot achieve happiness by wish or whim. Fundamentally, this philosophy requires rational respect for the facts of reality, including the facts about our human nature and needs. In order to achieve happiness you must live by objective principles, including moral integrity and respect for the rights of others. Politically, those that support objectivism advocate laissez-faire capitalism. Under capitalism, a strictly limited government protects each person’s rights to life, liberty, and property and forbids that anyone initiate force against anyone else.    

The heroes of Objectivism, as well as Ayn Rand’s novels, are achievers who build businesses, invent technologies, and create art and ideas, depending on their own talents and on trade with other independent people to reach their goals. Objectivism is an optimistic form of philosophy, holding that the universe is open to human achievement and happiness and that each person has within him the ability to live a rich, fulfilling, independent life. Objectivism is in the Aristotelian tradition, with that tradition’s emphasis upon metaphysical naturalism, empirical reason in epistemology, and self-realization in ethics. Objectivism is rational self-interest and self-responsibility – the idea that no one person is any other person’s slave. The virtues of her philosophy are principled policies based on rational assessment: rationality, productiveness, honesty (in order to rationally make the best decisions we must be privy to the facts), integrity, independence, justice, and pride. Her political philosophy is in the classical liberal tradition, with that tradition’s emphasis upon individualism, the constitutional protection of individual rights to life, liberty, and property, and limited government.

Section 8, Group 2, 1st blog post

1 comment:

  1. I'm not a fan, of Ayn Rand or anyone else who touts the "virtue of selfishness". Her version of egoism seems less than enlightened.

    Her attitude that we should never live for the sake of another, or that “we” is itself a dirty and disreputable concept, both seem to me very wrong.

    But students keep challenging me to reconsider MY attitude. I'll try. https://osopher.wordpress.com/2010/11/05/rand/