Critiques and learning about Ayn Rand's philosophy from a moderate point-of-view.
O2O E05 - The Will of Other Individuals - guest Zach Schmitt
Do we need other individuals to override our will, our purpose, or our judgment in order to promote our own life? Does Ayn Rand simply overreact to postmodernism? Is Objectivism mostly modernism repackaged? Where does our understanding of reality come from? How well does Rand argue for Objectivism? How does Objectivism compare and contrast with Christian theology?
O2O E04 - The Will of Society - guest Zach Schmitt
Do individuals need the will and overriding judgment of others to be their best selves? Is there really, as Ayn Rand says, no place for society to override and correct my self-interest? Can I know myself well enough to assert my own will? Guest Zach Schmitt joins to help answer these questions and also tells us more of Ayn Rand's origins and contrasts her with Walker Percy and Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn.
O2O E03 - Rational Self-Interest
Is rational self-interest sufficient as a basis for morals and indeed all philosophy? What does Rand mean by rational self-interest? How must I decide what is rational? Is our rational self-interest often obvious? Is rational self-interest enforcable or at all self-enforcing? Is rational self-interest persuasive? Can it change the hearts of evil men, or at least lead them into less evil? Plus, taking potshots using Ayn Rand as ammo, and considering the context of the non-initiation-of-force principle.
O2O E02 - The Non-Aggression Principle
Is the non-aggression principle wise or naive? Can the idea that those who initiate force are always in the wrong be the foundation for all ethics? Plus, a Washington Post article by Jennifer Burns proclaims Ayn Rand's ideas dead.
O2O E01 - Overview of Objectivism
Objectivism is Ayn Rand's philosophy that she claims can be derived from Aristotle's basic axioms of logic, specifically, from the idea that A=A--that existence is identity. Reason, purpose, and self-esteem are paramount, and the meaning of life is to be happy through rational self-interest.
Some Interesting Ideas
Worth a listen. Although he stopped after 5 episodes, he brings up ideas that an objectivist or interested observer can benefit. As an objectivist, I enjoyed thinking about his objections. Also, he made me realize that Objectivism isn't easy for most folks.
Some logic issues
Episode 2 was primarily a list of all of the possible edge cases for which it could be difficult to determine who the initiator of force is or whether or not both parties possess the rights from which the prohibition on initiation of force arises. In some cases, the narrator applied a lazy interpretation of the prohibition as evidence that it would not produce an ethical result. The narrator summarizes that the prohibition on the initiation of force is good, but would require "mental gymnastics" in some of the more complex cases. The narrator equates the need to apply reason to make the principle work in difficult situations with a deficiency in the rule. This is a either a logical contradiction or an instance of context dropping, Objectivism is above all about the primacy of reason. The fact that a principle may require a significant amount of hard mental effort to determine the most ethical action is entirely consistent within the context of the philosophy. The philosophy asks only that one do the reasoning necessary to realize that initiating force is a violation of the natural rights of a reasonable being, and then asks that one do the reasoning necessary to figure out how to translate that principle into ethical action. Objectivism allows for Objectivists to be incorrect in whatever they decide to do in these hard cases, as long as they follow through and maintain responsibility for their decisions.