independence

Principles and Personal Values by Gregory Salmieri

Morality is widely seen as a counterweight to self-interest, and it is often thought that adherence to esthetic principles constrains the artist’s ability to express himself and an audience’s ability to respond in a genuinely personal way. On this common view, principles are opposed to personal values. In this talk, Dr. Salmieri explores Rand’s contrary view that principles identify what makes personal values possible and that adhering to them enables an individual to value on a grand scale.

Recorded live in Cleveland on June 25, 2019

Who Decides What’s Right or Wrong? by Elan Journo

In ethics, the question “Who ultimately decides what is morally right or wrong?” is commonly asked. Notice that in other areas of life there’s no issue of “who decides” what’s right or wrong. For example, if your car won’t start, you call a mechanic to inspect it. After he replaces the battery, the car works again. We have a clear-cut answer—no one “decides.” So, why do we treat moral issues differently? Why is there an issue of final authority in ethics? And how should we think about this issue?

Join Elan Journo as he presents Ayn Rand’s revolutionary answer to the question: Who decides what’s morally right or wrong?

Is Artistic Preference Subjective? by Harry Binswanger

At the turn of the millennium, two different polls were held. The question was: What’s the best English-language novel of the twentieth century? One poll questioned literary experts—they picked Ulysses by James Joyce. The second poll questioned internet users—their choice was Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand.

Is there any objective way to settle who is right? And is art (painting, sculpture, music, architecture) objective or subjective? Is beauty in the eye of the beholder?

Join Harry Binswanger as he presents Rand’s revolutionary answer to the question: What is art and what are the standards for judging art?

Should You Judge Other People? by Elan Journo

If you want to be considered a caring person, you are expected to offer a “no-judgement-zone.” And you are supposed to believe that it’s an insult to be called “judgmental.” It’s recommended that you live by the biblical advice “Judge not, lest ye be judged,” but can this actually guide us in our daily life and thinking?

There are people who lie, cheat, steal, rape, murder and worse—and, clearly, they deserve to be morally condemned.

On the other hand, there are honest, thoughtful, productive, and truly heroic people. To form a positive evaluation of them, some kind of moral judgement is needed.

Join Elan Journo as he explores another one of life’s big questions: Should you judge other people?

How Can One Be Fully Independent in Today’s Society? by Harry Binswanger

Independence is the theme of Ayn Rand’s great novel The Fountainhead. Howard Roark, the novel’s hero, is the epitome of independence. He speaks of the need to have a self-sufficient ego and says nothing else is as important. What is a “self-sufficient ego”? What is independence and how does one preserve one’s independence in a society like ours when much of the weight of the media and the intellectual establishment is on the side of dependence and is pushing collectivism: the opposite of independence?

Join special guest Harry Binswanger as he asks another one of life’s big questions: How can one be fully independent in today’s society?

Does Success in Life Require Compromise? by Elan Journo

Compromise is widely seen as essential to success in life. To have healthy, meaningful relationships, we’re advised to find a middle-ground. In the workplace, we hear, it’s vital that we compromise. And in the words of one long-time politician, in Washington “if you want to get along, you have to go along.” At the same time, however, it’s clear that not every compromise leads to a win-win outcomes. Sometimes, a compromise is toxic to a relationship. Or, it can sink your business. And, in politics, some compromises can be truly disastrous. Sometimes you need to say no — and stand your ground. But when? How can you figure out which compromises lead to healthy, win-win outcomes, and which ones don’t? The philosopher Ayn Rand offers a powerfully clarifying analysis of compromise, which can guide us in navigating our relationships, work, and life.

Join Elan Journo as he explores another one of life’s big questions: Does success in life require compromise?

Tribalism and Family Relationships with Onkar Ghate, Yaron Brook, and Tara Smith

One area of life where it can be hard to think about what it means to be an individual is in relation to your family. Growing up and gaining your independence is a natural process, but it can sometimes be a struggle—and is harder if one holds a mistaken view about family relationships. How would an individualist think about family?

Recorded live at Ayn Rand Student Conference 2018 on November 3rd, 2018.

Thinking for Yourself by Gregory Salmieri

What does it mean to do one’s own thinking, especially about controversial issues, and why is this important? What are some of the obstacles to intellectual independence, and how can they be overcome?

This audio was recorded at AynRandCon in Atlanta, Georgia, on November 3, 2018.

Creating a Life Worth Living with Onkar Ghate, Gregory Salmieri and Dave Rubin

This is the fourth episode in a series looking at Objectivism’s approach to Happiness. Philosophers Gregory Salmieri and Onkar Ghate join Dave Rubin to discuss how to create a life worth living.

Tribalism vs. Enlightenment Culture with Yaron Brook, Onkar Ghate and Dave Rubin

This is the third episode in a series looking at Objectivism’s approach to Happiness. Yaron Brook and Onkar Ghate join Dave Rubin to discuss Enlightenment culture and the pursuit of happiness, in contrast with the culture of tribalism and self-sacrifice.

Do We Have Free Will? with Onkar Ghate and Dave Rubin

This is the second episode in a series looking at Objectivism’s approach to Happiness. Philosopher Onkar Ghate joins Dave Rubin to discuss the perennial philosophical question: Do we have free will?

Ayn Rand’s Philosophy for Living on Earth (Part 1) by Ben Bayer

This session explores the basic contours of Ayn Rand’s overall philosophy by discussing highlights from Galt’s speech in Atlas Shrugged. On Day 1, we discuss the following questions: Is our society and our world, like Galt’s, going through a moral crisis? Why does Galt think the solution to this crisis is to discover morality, rather than return to it? What is the morality for living on earth, and on what earthly facts is it based? (We try to avoid Atlas plot spoilers.)

Recorded at Objectivist Summer Conference 2018.

Objectivism is Radical (and Applying It Can be Hard) by Yaron Brook

FROM THE VAULT–classic content from the Ayn Rand Institute.

In this talk, Yaron Brook discusses how radical Objectivism is and the difficulties involved in applying it, especially in the current culture.

This lecture was recorded at Objectivist Summer Conference 2013 in Chicago.

The Idealism of Objectivism by Aaron Smith

What Might Be and Ought to Be: The Idealism of Objectivism

Ayn Rand is often charged with advocating a kind of cynical amoralism; but the opposite is true. Rand was a moral idealist. In this session, we will discuss the nature and roots of that idealism, addressing such questions as: What does it mean to be an idealist? Why does Rand think that ideals are so important to have and to fight for? What is the connection between having ideals and having a self? Is idealism naïve and impractical?

This talk was recorded at Objectivist Summer Conference 2018.

Thinking Like an Individualist by Ben Bayer

This session explores a key theme of The Fountainhead: the importance of thinking for oneself. We discuss how key speeches and passages from the book address these questions: What does it mean to think for oneself? Does it mean believing whatever one likes, never learning from or agreeing with others, judging everything on a case-by-case basis? Or does it mean using a disciplined, principled method consistent with learning from others? (May contain mild Fountainhead plot spoilers.)

Recorded live at Objectivist Summer Conference 2018

Newport Beach, California

July 3, 2018

The Fountainhead on What Is Important (and What Is Not) by Gregory Salmieri

The characters in The Fountainhead have differing views of what is important in life. The more sympathetic characters differ in the significance they place on the vices or inadequacies they observe in other people and in the culture at large. Dr. Salmieri explores the novel’s treatment of this issue and elaborates on Howard Roark’s distinctive perspective (which Dominique Francon comes to share).