By the standard of man’s life, each individual should live his own life for his own sake. It requires rational respect for the facts of reality, including the facts about our human nature and needs. It is a system where men deal with one another, not as victims and executioners, nor as masters and slaves, but as traders, by free, voluntary exchange to mutual benefit. Finally, Objectivism emphatically opposes the politics of libertarianism—the anti-intellectual movement that claims to advocate “liberty,” while flagrantly ignoring or denying the moral and philosophical foundations on which liberty depends. In answer to this same need, altruism says: Don’t be selfish; sacrifice your values; give up your needs. What is man’s means of knowledge? This is what most altruists do. Peikoff explains why a conception of human nature is crucially important and how it... Don't want progress tracking and user-only features? Objectivism holds that man’s faculty of reason, while dependent on the evidence of the senses for its data, allows us to go beyond what is directly given, integrating sensory data into abstract concepts and principles, using logic to derive inferences from observations, and developing comprehensive theories to explain what we observe. This last is the predominant philosophical position today, particularly in the field of politics. Chapter 1 of this work is dedicated to the Objectivist view of knowledge In the space of a column, I can give only the briefest summary of my position, as a frame of reference for all my future columns. Copyright © 1985 – 2021 The Ayn Rand® Institute (ARI). In this way, art provides spiritual guidance and fuel for living and achieving one’s goals. It is also why rational adults do not act on their every urge or desire, and why bums and drug addicts are not happy people. Basic Principles of Objectivism by Nathaniel Branden Lecture 10: Reason and Virtue There is no reason to act in a self-sacrificial manner, which is why no one has ever provided one. 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. Man gains knowledge by perceiving reality with his five senses, forming concepts and principles on the basis of what he perceives, checking his ideas for consistency with reality, and correcting any contradictions he discovers in his thinking. Why sacrifice at all? Not so says egoism. The Basic Principles of Objectivism offers a detailed, systematic exposition of the philosophy defined by Ayn Rand and presented in The Fountainhead, Atlas Shrugged and For the New Intellectual. Objectivism obviously failed to accomplish that mission and today has become a major contributor to that corruption. You may observe the practical results of altruism and statism all around us in today’s world — such as the slave-labor camps of Soviet Russia, where twenty-one million political prisoners work on the construction of government projects and die of planned malnutrition, human life being cheaper than food — or the gas chambers and mass slaughter of Nazi Germany — or the terror and starvation of Red China — or the hysteria of Cuba where the government offers men for sale — or the wall of East Berlin, where human beings leap from roofs or crawl through sewers in order to escape, while guards shoot at fleeing children. The practical significance of this point is that if people want to achieve their goals—such as gaining knowledge, amassing wealth, achieving happiness, establishing and maintaining liberty—they must recognize and embrace the nature of reality. It is widely believed today that our moral, cultural, and political alternatives are limited either to the ideas of the secular, relativistic left—or to those of the religious, absolutist right—or to some compromised mixture of the two. Objectivists are not libertarians, but fundamentalists for liberty. 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. Capitalism was the system originated in the United States. This is why rational parents encourage their children to think before they act, to recognize that choices have consequences beyond the immediate moment, to learn and embrace the long-range requirements of human life and happiness. A dictatorship is a dictatorship; it destroys life; it cannot promote life. Objectivists are not “liberals,” but absolutists for freedom. It is the only system that respects and protects individual rights as a matter of unwavering principle. If an individual chooses to face facts, to think rationally, to be productive, and so on—and thereby develops a good character—that is his achievement. “Give me liberty or give me death.”. Ayn Rand held that, far from being a useless diversion, philosophy was critically important in human life: Every human action presupposes certain philosophical beliefs. The Objectivist movementis a movementof individuals who seek to study and advance Objectivism, the philosophy expounded by novelist-philosopher Ayn Rand. Short Introduction to Philosophy and Objectivism Objectivism is the philosophy developed by the author/philosopher Ayn Rand and dramatized in her novels, such as The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged. It holds that being moral consists in rationally pursuing one’s life-promoting values, neither sacrificing oneself to others nor sacrificing others to oneself. To see the origin of these principles in Rand’s fiction, read The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged. Which is why philosophy cannot be discussed while standing on one foot — nor while standing on two feet on both sides of every fence. Reality just is. Nor can human sacrifice promote human life or happiness; it can lead only to suffering and death. “Man is an end in himself.” 4. Egoism upholds the principle of non-sacrifice—the idea that one should never surrender a greater value for the sake of a lesser value. Capitalism—not the mongrel system of the United States today, but genuine capitalism—is the only social system that consistently prohibits anyone, including the government, from assaulting people or stealing their property. If you held these concepts with total consistency, as the base of your convictions, you would have a full philosophy to guide the course of your life. This was the flaw in her intellectual armor, which is now destroying her. Although there is plenty of room for different tastes within the range of genuine art, there are also within that range objectively better and worse works of art—better and worse by the standards of rationality and man’s spiritual needs. 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. The government acts only as a policeman that protects man’s rights; it uses physical force only in retaliation and only against those who initiate its use, such as criminals or foreign invaders. Ayn Rand here sets forth the moral principles of Objectivism, the philosophy that holds human life - the life proper to a rational being - as the standard of moral values and regards altruism as incompatible with human nature, with the creative requirement of survival, and with a free society. There is a great deal to Objectivism, much more than can be addressed in a book, let alone an essay. Buy The Book: The Voice of Reason: Essays in Objectivist Thought. What are rights, and where do they come from? There are objective universal moral principles valid for all people and all social environments. That is, I take it to be a very good book to read about Objectivism as a whole. 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). It is only by means of principles that one can set one’s long-range goals and evaluate the concrete alternatives of any given moment. In a laissez-faire society, if people want to deal with one another, they may do so only on voluntary terms, by uncoerced agreement. This is what Jesus did. They are not based on evidence (a criminal’s makeshift smile and stolen money are not evidence of his happiness). “From her start, America was torn by the clash of her political system with the altruist morality. He must exist for his own sake, neither sacrificing himself to others nor sacrificing others to himself. Reality is, and in the quest to live we must discover reality’s nature and learn to act successfully in it. Existence just exists—and everything in it is something specific; everything is what it is and can act only in accordance with its identity. If people want to live and be happy, only one of these moralities will do. Egoism is good for one’s life. Basically, if you think positively, positive things will come your way - at least they're more likely to, anyway. In a word, Objectivism holds that being moral consists in being rationally selfish or egoistic. Ultimately, however, in a rational society, the evasions and assertions of predators are of little concern to good people. “Nature, to be commanded, must be obeyed” or “Wishing won’t make it so.” 2. This theory rejects supernatural or mystical powers, including the existence of God. “You can’t eat your cake and have it, too.” 3. 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. Objectivism and Education: A Response to David Elkind’s ‘The Problem with Constructivism’ by Jamin Carson Abstract This paper responds to David Elkind’s article “The Problem with Constructivism,” published in the Summer 2004 issue of The Educa-tional Forum . Rand held that all people, whether they realize it or not, are guided in their thoughts and actions by philosophical principles and assumptions. The first element of Objectivism is the metaphysics (the branch of philosophy that deals with the first principles of things, including abstract concepts such as being, knowing, identity, time, and space). Reality is not created or controlled by consciousness. 5 out of 5 stars. The Philosophy of Objectivism. The pursuit of his own rational self-interest and of his own happiness is the highest moral purpose of his life. Why does man need it? A moral principle “is a type of scientific principle, identifying the relationship to man’s survival of … The politics of freedom is the politics of self-interest; it cannot be defended with the ethics of self-sacrifice—or with a philosophy of unreason, unreality, or “super-nature”—or with no philosophy at all. This audio content is accessible only to current Digital or Premium subscribers. Thus, Objectivism rejects the morality of altruism—the idea that being moral consists in self-sacrificially serving others (whether the poor, the “common good,” “mother nature,” or “God”). For instance, if a volunteer social worker gives away his time and effort in exchange for nothing at all, he is being moral. This enables people to examine the idea as a physical reality and thus to better understand what it means in practice. Art is a selective re-creation of reality according to an artist’s deepest, most fundamental convictions—such as his views of the nature of the universe, the nature of man, what is knowable, what matters most, what is possible. To exist is to be something, to possess a specific identity. In the winter and spring of 1958, I gave the first course of lectures entitled “The Basic Principles of Objectivism” which, although I did not fully realize it at the time, was to launch the Objectivist movement. ARI Campus Introducing Objectivism Lexicon Objectivity. The essay was later anthologized in The Voice of Reason: Essays in Objectivist Thought (1989) and The Ayn Rand Column (1991 and 1998). If people want to live and be happy, they must neither sacrifice themselves nor sacrifice others; rather, they must pursue life-serving values and respect the rights of others to do the same. Nathaniel Branden lectures on the basic principles of Objectivism 2 vinyl record. Such beliefs do not alter the nature of what is; they contradict it; they are false. It requires living by objective principles, including moral integrity and respect for the rights of others. All rights reserved. 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. Egoism is based on and derived from the requirements of human life on earth; thus, people can practice it consistently and must do so—if they want to live and make the most of their lives. 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. The destroyer is the morality of altruism. To say, as libertarians do, that the “non-initiation-of-force principle” is an “axiom” or that liberty can be defended on any old philosophical base—whether Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist, atheist, altruist, egoistic, subjectivist, relativist, postmodernist—or on no base at all—is simply absurd. A sacrifice is the giving up of something that is more important to one’s life and happiness for the sake of something that is less important to one’s life and happiness; thus, it results in a net loss. Capitalism and altruism are incompatible; they cannot coexist in the same man or in the same society. I did, as follows: If you want this translated into simple language, it would read: 1. But to hold them with total consistency — to understand, to define, to prove, and to apply them — requires volumes of thought. What is Ontology? Objectivist Conferences (OCON) and the Ayn Rand Institute eStore are operated by ARI. Learn why a mastery of the principles of grammar is essential for precision in thinking and writing conceptually. Human knowledge—all human knowledge—is a product of perceptual observation and logical inference therefrom. Justice VS Mercy. Faith is faith (i.e., the acceptance of ideas in the absence of evidence); it leads to baseless beliefs; it cannot provide knowledge. Rand originally expressed her philosophical ideas in her novels, most notably, The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged. At a sales conference at Random House, preceding the publication of Atlas Shrugged, one of the book salesmen asked me whether I could present the essence of my philosophy while standing on one foot. Of course, life requires that people regularly forgo lesser values for the sake of greater ones; however, these are gains, not sacrifices. A principle is “a fundamental, primary, or general truth, on which other truths depend.” Thus a principle is an abstraction which subsumes a great number of concretes. On this view, a software developer who trades his product with others for a profit is thereby being moral. People are fully free to act on their own judgment and thus to produce, keep, use, and dispose of their own property as they see fit; the only thing they are not “free” to do is to violate the rights of others. This is not the province of buffoonery; it is the province of genius—and should be recognized and guarded as such. 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). The standard of value according to altruism is self-sacrifice. 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. What follows, therefore, is an essentialized condensation of Objectivism as I see it. Moreover, such claims flatly contradict the demonstrable fact that rational thought, productive achievement, genuine (earned) self-esteem, and certainty of one’s moral worth are requirements of happiness. Reason is the means by which everyone learns about the world, himself, and his needs. Objectivism is a philosophy developed by the writer Ayn Rand (1905-1982), first in her novels The Fountainhead (1943) and Atlas Shrugged (1957), and later in non-fiction books, most notably The Virtue of Selfishness. Genuine happiness comes from achieving values, not from stealing them; from thinking rationally and being productive, not from relinquishing one’s mind and becoming a parasite on the thought and effort of others; from earning romance and making passionate love, not from raping people. This principle is not a matter of personal opinion or social convention or “divine revelation”; it is a matter of the factual requirements of human life in a social context. Reality exists as an objective absolute — facts are facts, independent of man’s feelings, wishes, hopes, or fears. 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. Facts are facts, independent of any consciousness. 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. Nor is there any rational justification for sacrificing others, which is why no one has ever provided one of these, either. This is prob… (Essay plus radio address and Q&A). Rational egoism, the centerpiece of Objectivism, holds that each individual should act in his own best interest and is the proper beneficiary of his own moral action. This is because Objectivists are radicals for reason—the foundation of which is: reality. A link to it appears in “Related Lessons” below. The first element of Objectivism is the metaphysics (the branch of philosophy that deals with the first principles of things, including abstract concepts such as being, knowing, identity, time, and space). For the application of these principles to cultural and political issues of the day, subscribe to The Objective Standard, the preeminent source for commentary from an Objectivist perspective. The assertions of predators to the effect that they can achieve happiness by sacrificing others are just that: assertions. Happiness is the state of mind that follows from the successful pursuit of rational, life-serving values. Objectivism holds that reason—the faculty that operates by way of observation and logic—is man’s means of knowledge. Shipping and handling. In other words, capitalism is the only system that institutionalizes the requirements of human life in a social context. But one cannot achieve happiness by wish or whim. He is the author of Loving Life: The Morality of Self-Interest and the Facts that Support It; Rational Egoism: The Morality for Human Flourishing; and the forthcoming Moral Truths Your Parents, Preachers, and Teachers Don’t Want You to Know. Thus, Objectivism rejects all forms of mysticism—the idea that knowledge can be acquired by non-sensory, nonrational means (such as faith, intuition, ESP, or any other form of “just knowing”). Objectivism and Education: A Response to David Elkind’s ‘The Problem with Constructivism’ by Jamin Carson Abstract This paper responds to David Elkind’s article “The Problem with Constructivism,” published in the Summer 2004 issue of The Educa-tional Forum . But has anyone here read the book? A lead atom is a lead atom, no matter how many quantum behaviors or properties it displays at the moment. If we want knowledge, we must observe reality and think; if we want wealth, we must produce it; if we want to enjoy life, we must think, plan, and act accordingly; if we want liberty, we must identify and enact its cause. Happiness, like everything in the world, is something specific; it has a nature. 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. Rational justification for sacrificing others, which is the highest moral purpose of all philosophy -- properly -- to! By objective principles, including the existence of God mission and today has become a major contributor that! Of dealing appropriately with such creatures moral consists in being rationally selfish or egoistic depend—is a product perceptual! Then, listen to the speeches of our present [ Kennedy ] Administration — ask. Examine the idea as a whole these questions in her address to the essentials of what Objectivism is the! 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