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Falling In Love With Poetry (Part 2) by Lisa VanDamme

The goal of this talk is to help you fall in love – or more in love – both with poetry and with love itself. With a symphonic integration of all the resources of language, great love poets take the most elusive nuances, thrills, mysteries, and motifs of love and throw them into sharp relief. During this talk, you will see these facets illumined by such timeless poets as Tennyson, Donne, Millay, and Browning.

You will experience the power of poetry to sharpen our vision, intensify our feelings, deepen our souls, and expand our capacity to love.

Recorded live at OCON 2018.

Falling In Love With Poetry (Part 1) by Lisa VanDamme

The goal of this talk is to help you fall in love – or more in love – both with poetry and with love itself. With a symphonic integration of all the resources of language, great love poets take the most elusive nuances, thrills, mysteries, and motifs of love and throw them into sharp relief. During this talk, you will see these facets illumined by such timeless poets as Tennyson, Donne, Millay, and Browning.

You will experience the power of poetry to sharpen our vision, intensify our feelings, deepen our souls, and expand our capacity to love.

Recorded live at OCON 2018.

The Influence of Ayn Rand on My Life and Business Career by Lars Seier Christensen

Mr. Christensen, co-founder of Denmark’s Saxo Bank and founder of the private equity firm Seier Capital, has had a long, successful career as an innovator in banking and finance. In this talk, he discusses his business career and the role that Objectivism has played in his personal and professional development.

This talk was recorded at Objectivist Summer Conference 2018.

The Philosophical Roots of Chinese Strategic Thought by Scott D. McDonald

Traditional Chinese philosophy continues to influence the thinking and values of Chinese Communist Party leadership, and informs a system of Chinese strategic thought that differs significantly from that of the West. This talk introduces the fundamentals of Chinese philosophy, their relationship to Chinese strategic culture, and their influence on PRC security policy, in order to demonstrate the importance of understanding an adversary’s philosophy and shed light on the nature of the PRC’s campaign against the United States.

This talk was recorded at Objectivist Summer Conference 2018.

Sense of Life in Medieval Persia by Barry Wood

Art is a universal need of man qua man, yet most people’s awareness of art is limited to the Western tradition. This horizon-expanding lecture offers an introduction to the culture of medieval Persia. Dr. Wood analyzes, in Objectivist terms, the ways in which the poets, painters and architects of that era distilled their sense of life into concrete form. The reward is an increased appreciation of Ayn Rand’s insights into art, as well as of a lesser-known legacy of human creativity.

Recorded live at OCON 2019

Ayn Rand, Progress and Silicon Valley with Erik Torenberg, Jason Crawford and Yaron Brook

Erik Torenberg interviews Jason Crawford and Yaron Brook. They discuss:

– What can destroy — or save — Silicon Valley.

– What Rand would say about Silicon Valley if she could see it today.

– How to reconcile egalitarianism and meritocracy.

– How to make her ideas more mainstream.

– Objectivism, libertarianism, and individualism.

– Progress as a human achievement and how to appreciate it.

This podcast was recorded live in January 2020 at AynRandCon.

Nurturing the Reader in Every Child with Lindsay Journo and Cornelia Lockitch

Is one of your goals as a parent or teacher to nurture a passion for reading in your children? Do you wonder about the role of reading instruction or screen time on the decline of reading in our culture? This presentation offers inspiration and practical advice for: – Building intrinsic motivation in children – Developing critical skills through a phonetic base and “total reading” – Choosing books (includes suggested reading lists by age) – Preparing your home or classroom environment – Exploring morality through literature.

The reading list mentioned can be found here: http://bit.ly/reader2019

Recorded live on June 24, 2019 as part of OCON 2019

Victor Hugo and You: The Art of Spiritual Splendor by Shoshana Milgram

Hugo was a giant. He created brilliantly Romantic novels, poetry and plays, and he did so with dedicated purpose: “Everything in a work of art is an act of will.” Learn about the life, works and impact of the man Ayn Rand considered “the greatest novelist in world literature.” His writing, he said, “knocks on the door and says, Open up, I have come for you.” Let’s accept his invitation.

This talk was recorded live on June 25th as part of OCON 2019.

Practicum on “Motivation by Love” by Jean Moroney

Do you select actions because they help you achieve values (“motivation by love”) or avoid failures (“motivation by fear”)? The same action can lead to happiness or suffereing depending on your reason for taking it. You will learn:

– The full meaning of “motivation by love” and its antithesis “motivation by fear

– The need to act from “motivation by love,” i.e., with the achievement of your values as your primary focus

– How to switch to a values-focus when you spot “motivation by fear”

Recorded live on June 24, 2019 as part of OCON 2019

Achieving Happiness: Living Life with Purpose

Objectivism is a “philosophy for living on earth” as Ayn Rand wrote. In this discussion, Ms. Agarwal and Mr. Tsfany relate how they understand the process of implementing Rand’s philosophy in one’s life and career. The conversation covers aspects of discovering, defining and pursuing a life of purpose and, consequently, happiness and fulfillment. This talk was recorded at Objectivist Summer Conference 2019.

21st Century Breakthroughs and Challenges in Infectious Disease by Amesh Adalja

In this talk, Dr. Adalja provides a guided tour of some of the most game-changing innovations that are on the horizon in the field of infectious disease. Using the field of infectious disease as a backdrop, he discusses such topics as the microbiome, universal flu vaccines, CRISPR-CAS gene editing, bacteriophages, antimicrobial resistance, and immunotherapies. He also discusses the topic of regulation in this field and how it may impact innovation. Recorded live at OCON on June 23, 2019.

Free Speech, Free Minds, Free Markets by Tara Smith

Many people believe that while freedom of speech is a vital human liberty, economic freedom is entirely separate, merely a distant and inferior relation. This lecture exposes their error by examining the underappreciated implications of free speech on free markets. After isolating the First Amendment’s core concern as intellectual freedom, Smith demonstrates how the mind is the bridge between speech and property—between intellectual activity, on the other hand, and its manifold material rewards, on the other.

Recorded Live in Cleveland on Thursday June 27th, 2019.

Q&A Panel: Yaron Brook, Onkar Ghate, Keith Lockitch and Gregory Salmieri



The COVID-19 pandemic and the response to it at all levels of government have disrupted all of our lives. As we begin to contemplate the challenge of reopening and rebuilding the economy in the face on the ongoing spread of the virus, it’s critical to employ the right philosophical framework for thinking about these issues, and to not be misled by false alternatives, wishful thinking, tribalistic finger-pointing and other forms of distorted thinking.

This Q&A is the final talk recorded on April 18, 2020, as part of AynRandCon-LIVE, a free online event offering a framework for thinking about the COVID-19 crisis from the perspective of Ayn Rand’s philosophy, Objectivism.



Thinking Objectively in Times of Crisis by Gregory Salmieri

The COVID-19 pandemic and the response to it at all levels of government have disrupted all of our lives. As we begin to contemplate the challenge of reopening and rebuilding the economy in the face on the ongoing spread of the virus, it’s critical to employ the right philosophical framework for thinking about these issues, and to not be misled by false alternatives, wishful thinking, tribalistic finger-pointing and other forms of distorted thinking.

This is the third of four talks recorded on April 18, 2020, as part of AynRandCon-LIVE, a free online event offering a framework for thinking about the COVID-19 crisis from the perspective of Ayn Rand’s philosophy, Objectivism.



Objectivity in Government in Times of Crisis by Yaron Brook

The COVID-19 pandemic and the response to it at all levels of government have disrupted all of our lives. As we begin to contemplate the challenge of reopening and rebuilding the economy in the face on the ongoing spread of the virus, it’s critical to employ the right philosophical framework for thinking about these issues, and to not be misled by false alternatives, wishful thinking, tribalistic finger-pointing and other forms of distorted thinking.

This is the second of four talks recorded on April 18, 2020, as part of AynRandCon-LIVE, a free online event offering a framework for thinking about the COVID-19 crisis from the perspective of Ayn Rand’s philosophy, Objectivism.

Anthem Discussion Series (Session 3) with Aaron Smith and Agustina Vergara Cid

In this series, teachers from the Ayn Rand Institute will discuss Rand’s background and the history of Anthem; the novel’s plots, central themes and characters; how the novel compares to other well-known works; and how the novel relates to the era in which it was written and to today. 

Discussed in this episode: Anthem as Ayn Rand’s Hymn to Man’s Ego

This is part 1 of a 4-part book discussion series on Ayn Rand’s Anthem, taking place on Fridays at 10:00 am PT from March 27 – April 17. Watch live on YouTube or register at https://courses.aynrand.org/webinars/Anthem to ask questions before or during the webinar.

Update: we added a bonus Q&A session on Friday, April 24 at 10 am PT!

The Fountainhead Discussion Series (Session 3) with Ben Bayer and Keith Lockitch

In this series, teachers from the Ayn Rand Institute will discuss Rand’s background and the history of The Fountainhead; the novel’s plots, central themes and characters; how the novel compares to other well-known works; and how the novel relates to the era in which it was written and to today. 

Discussed in this episode:  THE FOUNTAINHEAD: PART I, CHAPTERS 9–15

This is part 3 of a 9-part book discussion series on Ayn Rand’s The Fountainhead, taking place Fridays at 12:00 pm PT from March 27 – May 22. Watch live on YouTube or–to ask questions–register at https://courses.aynrand.org/webinars/fountainhead

The Fountainhead Discussion Series (Session 2) with Ben Bayer and Keith Lockitch

In this series, teachers from the Ayn Rand Institute will discuss Rand’s background and the history of The Fountainhead; the novel’s plots, central themes and characters; how the novel compares to other well-known works; and how the novel relates to the era in which it was written and to today. 

Discussed in this episode: THE FOUNTAINHEAD: PART I, CHAPTERS 1–8

This is part 2 of a 9-part book discussion series on Ayn Rand’s The Fountainhead, taking place Fridays at 12:00 pm PT from March 27 – May 22. Watch live on YouTube or–to ask questions–register at https://courses.aynrand.org/webinars/fountainhead

Anthem Discussion Series (Session 2) with Aaron Smith and Keith Lockitch

In this series, teachers from the Ayn Rand Institute will discuss Rand’s background and the history of Anthem; the novel’s plots, central themes and characters; how the novel compares to other well-known works; and how the novel relates to the era in which it was written and to today.

Discussed in this episode: Individualism vs. Collectivism in Anthem

This is part 2 of a 4-part book discussion series on Ayn Rand’s Anthem, taking place on Fridays at 10:00 am PT from March 27 – April 17. Watch live on YouTube or register at https://courses.aynrand.org/webinars/Anthem to ask questions before or during the webinar.

Update: we’ve just added a bonus Q&A session on Friday, April 24 at 10 am PT!

Free Speech and the Threat of Tech Regulation by Yaron Brook, Dave Rubin, Brian Amerige and Greg Salmieri

Dave Rubin of the Rubin Report is joined by Yaron Brook, Brian Amerige, and Greg Salmieri LIVE from OCON to talk about big tech censorship, the Google leak, Project Veritas, free speech, YouTube demonetization, fake news, and more.

Anthem Discussion Series (Session 1) with Aaron Smith and Keith Lockitch

In this series, teachers from the Ayn Rand Institute will discuss Rand’s background and the history of “Anthem;” the novel’ plots, central themes and characters; how the novel compare to other well-known works; and how the novel relates to the era in which it was written and to today.

This is part 1 of a 4-part book discussion series on Ayn Rand’s Anthem, taking place on Fridays at 10:00 am PT from March 27 – April 17. Watch live on YouTube or register at https://courses.aynrand.org/webinars/Anthem to ask questions before or during the webinar.

Aristotle and the Romantic Manifesto by Robert Mayhew

In the Romantic Manifesto, Ayn Rand reports that before she heard the name “Aristotle,” she had accepted his principle “that fiction is of greater philosophical importance than history, because history represents things only as they are, while fiction represents them ‘as they might be and ought to be.’” The aim of this talk is to explain the role of this principle in Aristotle’s esthetics and Ayn Rand’s, and to note other parallels between the Poetics and Romantic Manifesto.

Recorded live on June 27, 2019 in Cleveland, OH.

Spreading Objectivism: A Vision for ARI’s Future by Tal Tsfany

Tal Tsfany, ARI’s president and CEO, reviews ARI’s mission to spread Objectivism and the progress made during 2018–19. ARI’s strategy for the future is presented together with many data points and insights collected through newly implemented technologies and methodologies. Tal then answers questions about the direction ARI is taking.

Recorded live on June 25, 2019 in Clevland, OH.

The New Moral Case for Fossil Fuels by Alex Epstein

For the last five years, Alex Epstein’s 2014 New York Times bestseller, The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels, has been one of the most important books in the world of energy policy, influencing leading politicians, executives, commentators and court cases. In early 2020, Penguin will release the revised and expanded The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels 2.0. In this talk, Mr. Epstein relates new developments in his thinking, research, and persuasion methodology, which he hopes will change the energy debate in 2020.

Recorded live at in Cleveland, OH on June 23, 2019.

Highlights from the Romantic Manifesto by Onkar Ghate, Yaron Brook

The Romantic Manifesto is a rich and philosophically penetrating book. It is, Rand states in her introduction, a “declaration of my personal objectives or motives” as an artist and “of the theoretical grounds that entitle me to these objectives and motives.” We explore some of the insights into Objectivism we get from her manifesto and some lessons to take—or not to take—from the book to increase one’s enjoyment of art and of life.

Recorded live at OCON 2019 in Cleveland, OH.

How to Fill Your Life With Art by Yaron Brook, Onkar Ghate

A central message of The Romantic Manifesto is the value of enriching your life with great art. But how? Dr. Brook has long pursued a passion for bringing Romantic art to Objectivists and other buyers and seeking out great art around the world. Join him for a discussion of the difference between great art and art you like; how to define your personal favorites; and how, over time, to elevate your taste in art.

Recorded live in Cleveland on June 24, 2019

Literature and the Quest for Meaning by Lisa VanDamme

One essential condition of fulfillment and happiness is the philosophic conviction that your life belongs to you. But it is only a condition. A truly fulfilled and happy life requires a sense of meaning. How to achieve that meaning is a question for which we have few tried-and-true, culturally established answers. Thankfully, one resource we do have for answering that question, or even knowing how to go about considering it, is great art. This talk explores how classic literature can contribute to the vital quest for meaning.

Recorded live in Cleveland on June 26, 2019

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

Ayn Rand on Art with Yaron Brook, Onkar Ghate and Robert Mayhew

Yaron Brook, Onkar Ghate and Robert Mayhew have a panel discussion and Q&A on various aspects of Ayn Rand’s perspective on art.

Recorded live at OCON 2019 in Clevland, OH on June 23, 2019.

Why Should I care About Israel? with Elan Journo

Israel is talked about often in the media, but many Americans don’t understand why we are so preoccupied with this country.

Often Israel is spoken of in a negative context: boycotts at universities, condemnations by the United Nations, and so on. What makes Israel worse than other countries? On the flip side, good defenses of Israel are scant. Is Israel important to U.S. foreign policy? If so, why?

Join David Birnbaum as he interviews foreign policy expert Elan Journo on the question: Why should I care about Israel?

What’s Wrong with “Virtue Signaling”? by Ben Bayer

Think about celebrities who tweet about their politics all the time, or think about companies who want you to buy their products because they’re supposedly eco-friendly. Some say that these are symptoms of an epidemic that’s coursing it’s way through social media and through our political discourse generally, an epidemic they call “virtue signalling”.

Ben Bayer, a fellow at The Ayn Rand Institute, has some questions about this. You’re said to be a virtue signaller when you promote some cause or criticize some figure people love to hate in a way that doesn’t involve much cost, but which draws attention to your own right way of thinking.

What, if anything, is wrong with this kind of behavior? Is there a kind of behavior here at all or do the critics of virtue signalling lump together lots of different things? Is speaking out ineffective only because it’s speaking? Does profiting from the judgment of others make you insincere? 

Join Ben Bayer and explore the question: What’s wrong with “virtue signalling”?

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?

Why Are New Years Resolutions So Hard To Keep? by Keith Lockitch

Every year droves of people make New Year’s resolutions, but polls suggest that four out of five people fail to keep them. One report even found that most resolutions last less than two weeks. So why are New Year’s resolutions so hard to keep? Are they just a joke and a waste of time? Are people just deluding themselves into thinking that real change is possible? Resolving to make changes that will positively impact your life is not a joke nor an exercise in self-delusion. In fact, to be truly selfishly committed to your own rational well-being and happiness is a demanding moral challenge. But the widespread failure to keep New Year’s resolutions does highlight just how difficult it is to define and maintain goals.

Join Keith Lockitch as he answers the question: Why are New Year’s resolutions hard to keep?

Do People’s Interests Have to Conflict? by Gregory Salmieri

People are at odds with one another all the time (we have wars, personal animosities, etc.) and it is generally assumed that people’s interests conflict. We are often told that the only way to have any kind of peace is to compromise—to give up our interests in deference to other people.

Ayn Rand rejects this idea. Her view is that the interests of rational people don’t conflict, in fact, they harmonize. But what does it mean to form a rational view of what’s in your own interest?

Join Greg Salmieri as he presents Rand’s answer to the question: Do people’s interests have to conflict?

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?

Calls to “Abolish Billionaires” Are a Moral Travesty by Keith Lockitch

There’s a new campaign slogan among Democratic politicians: “Abolish Billionaires.” Nobody can honestly deserve a billion dollars, they claim, so they want to impose radical new taxes on the super-wealthy. Indeed, people are arguing that the very existence of billionaires is some kind of moral outrage.

Wealthy people are being blamed today for all the world’s problems. Yet all of those problems are actually the result of the very ideas being preached by the same leaders and intellectuals who want to “abolish” the billionaires.

But instead of vilifying and hating billionaires, we should be thanking them for improving all of our lives on a massive scale with the products they offer for voluntary trade on a free market.

As Ayn Rand argued in her novel Atlas Shrugged, if anyone deserves thanks on Thanksgiving, it’s those productive Atlases who carry the whole world on their shoulders.

Join Keith Lockitch as he argues that the real moral travesty is the campaign to abolish billionaires.

Do I Need a Philosophy? by Aaron Smith

Many people have at least heard of a few of history’s great philosophers. Names like Socrates, Plato, Aristotle—they ring a bell and maybe some of us have even taken a philosophy course in college or perhaps encountered books or podcasts that are espousing or offering some kind of philosophy of life—a philosophy for living.

But what exactly is a philosophy? What does it mean to have a philosophy and, more importantly, do you need a philosophy? 

Join Aaron Smith to explore one of life’s big questions: Do I need a philosophy?

Why Be Honest? by Ben Bayer

We live in an age in which fabricated stories pulse through social media, fashionable startup companies are founded on swindles and, of course, politicians of all stripes routinely lie. Whatever happened to the idea that honesty is the best policy? Most people would recognize honesty as an obvious example of a moral virtue, but the idea of being honest on principle strikes many people as a burdensome duty they owe to other people, which is sometimes too impractical to stick to consistently.

Is honesty really just a duty we owe to others? What does it mean to be honest and why should we bother being honest at all? 

Join Ben Bayer to explore one of life’s big questions: Why be honest?

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?

What Makes Ayn Rand’s Philosophy Distinctive? by Onkar Ghate

Have you ever wondered what Ayn Rand’s philosophy—which she called Objectivism—is all about? Why is she such a controversial figure with millions of fans who love The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged but also with many, many critics who call her books and ideas evil?

Onkar Ghate, a senior fellow at the Ayn Rand Institute, discusses Objectivism exploring especially Rand’s moral and religious views, which are at the heart of her radicalness. Ghate also considers why she championed self-interest and her new conception of a moral hero.

Is There a God? by Aaron Smith

The question of whether there is or is not a God is certainly one of life’s big questions, and it’s one that almost all of us have had to grapple with at some point in our lives. Many of us were raised in a religious environment but have come to have doubts or questions about whether God exists. For those of us who were raised in a nonreligious atmosphere, sometimes we come to wonder whether the religious have it right about God’s existence. But how do you answer the question? How do you approach the question if what you are aiming at, what you are trying to reach, is knowledge, genuine knowledge of what’s actually true. What methods do you use to answer the question, “Is there a God?”

Join Aaron Smith as he asks one of life’s big questions: Is there a God?

Why Are Principles Important in Life? by Keith Lockitch

When we describe someone as a person of principle, it’s often meant as a compliment. We mean that the person has a solid moral compass and that his actions are grounded in time-honored rules of conduct. On the other hand, though, we sometimes view principles as being rigid and constraining, a bunch of rules that stifle spontaneity. From that point of view we sometimes view the man of principles as being somewhat dogmatic, maybe even a bit of a zealot.

So is it good to be a principled person or is it a problem? What exactly are principles anyway and what do they do for us? Do we even need them in life? These are questions that Keith Lockitch will be exploring in this episode of Philosophy for Living on Earth.

Is Altruism Good? by Ben Bayer

Maybe you’ve heard of something called “effective altruism”? It’s a recent movement that encourages people to do research to figure out the best way to give away as much of their own money as possible, allegedly in order to help out as many people as possible. Now one wonders if calling it “effective altruism” implies that altruism up until very recently hasn’t been effective. 

In any case, what is altruism really, what’s it all about, and what motivates it? Is it simply an expression of generosity and good will among men? Or is it motivated perhaps by something else? These are the questions that we need to ask and think about it if we’re going to evaluate altruism, an idea that most people simply equate with the very idea of morality. Are they right to equate it? And if not, why would anyone challenge that equation?  

Join Ben Bayer as he asks one of life’s big questions: Is altruism good?

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?

Is Free Will an Illusion? by Onkar Ghate

Register for the next live webinar: http://courses.aynrand.org/webinars/register


Is free will an illusion? Today, most people would answer yes. It might seem like you make choices and face genuine alternatives in life, it might seem like you have the power to decide what road you will travel, but this is all an illusion, it’s claimed. Your course in life is determined by antecedent factors. Some combination of nature or nurture, it’s usually said, determines who you are and what you do in life. But against this deterministic viewpoint that has swept the 20th and 21st centuries, one of the most radical thinkers of the 20th century, philosopher Ayn Rand, takes a very different position. She argues that the fact of choice is real and it’s vital to understand the actual power and control that free will gives you over your own mind, and so your own life. Far from being an illusion, free will is a fundamental fact about you as a human being. The real illusion, she argues, is that determinism, the denial of free will, is a logical, coherent, scientific position. It isn’t.

Isn’t Everybody Selfish? by Gregory Salmieri

The question “Isn’t Everybody Selfish?” is often asked cynically by people who think selfishness is a bad thing and that it’s impossible to avoid. Sometimes it is said by economists who think that selfishness helps to explain human action, and sometimes the question is posed skeptically to people, e.g., Ayn Rand, who say that everyone ought to be selfish. If everyone is selfish all the time, what point is there in saying that people ought to be? In this talk, Salmieri discusses what selfishness really means, what it is to act selfishly and how often that really happens.

What Are Rights and Where Do They Come from? by Harry Binswanger

Join special guest Harry Binswanger for this entry in the series of Ayn Rand Institute webinars on Ayn Rand’s philosophy of Objectivism and its application to current issues. His topic is the one principle on which our very lives depend: the principle of Individual Rights. This concept—which the United States of America was based upon—has now vanished from the public understanding with tragic results. In his discussion, Binswanger will present the Objectivist theory of what rights are (their metaphysical status), how we know them (their epistemological status) and what they mean in political practice.

Harry Binswanger explores another one of life’s big questions: What Are Rights and Where Do They Come from?