epistemology

Reason Versus Faith and Emotionalism by Aaron Smith

At the root of Ayn Rand’s philosophy is the idea that reason is man’s basic tool of survival and only means of knowledge. What is reason? And why is it incompatible with faith? What are emotions and how do they relate to reason?

Recorded at AynRandCon – Europe in London on April 3, 2022.

Free Will by Onkar Ghate (ARC EU 2022)

One core premise of Ayn Rand’s philosophy is free will—the idea that you are not the deterministic product of your race or genes or tribal collective—but have a basic form of control over your thoughts and actions. What is Ayn Rand’s theory of free will and how does it provide the foundation for her radical new moral philosophy.

Recorded at AynRandCon – Europe in London on April 3, 2022.

How Tribalism Distorts Your Thinking by Nikos Sotirakopoulos

From politics to the “culture wars,” it is evident that tribalism has added to the toxicity of the public sphere. But there is one other field where tribalism, i.e., the viewing of the world through the prism of a group, can be even more insidious: in one’s own thinking. Nikos will talk about how tribalism can poison our mind, and discuss what the remedy is.

Recorded at AynRandCon – Europe in London on April 2, 2022.

Montessori and the Independent Mind with Matt Bateman, Catherine Dickerson, Allison Kunze, and Anne Locke Bussey

Ayn Rand, champion of the independent mind, championed Montessori education. Drawing on their experience with hundreds of individual young minds in Toddler, Primary and Elementary Montessori classrooms as well as home environments, this panel will explore Montessori’s emphasis on children’s independence in thought and action. Parents and those who work with children will get ideas for supporting their children’s independence.

Ayn Rand’s Intransigent Atheism by Robert Mayhew

Ayn Rand was not a crusader against theism, but a creator and defender of a rational philosophy for living on Earth. Every fundamental of her philosophy, however, has negative implications for theism and religious belief. This lecture examines the radical nature of her atheism, with special attention given to the idea of God, the arguments for God’s existence, and what Ayn Rand means in claiming “that nobody actually believes in God.” (Companion to Mayhew’s OCON 2014 lecture “Ayn Rand’s Sacred Atheism.”) Recorded live as part of The Objectivist Conference on August 30, 2021.

Being Objective About the News by Ben Bayer

In the 2016 election, there was widespread concern about “fake news” and media bias. This talk explores the guidance Objectivist epistemology offers for being an objective consumer of the news. How do the requirements of integration and reduction help guide one’s acceptance of the reports of others? How do we avoid uncritical reliance on the media without becoming skeptics of journalism as such? How do we avoid bias without abandoning concern for our values?

This talk is by Ben Bayer, fellow at the Ayn Rand Institute and former teacher of philosophy at Loyola University New Orleans. His research focuses primarily on questions about the foundations of knowledge and the freedom of the will. This talk was delivered on Monday, June 12, 2017, at Objectivist Summer Conference 2017 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Free Will by Onkar Ghate

Recorded live at Ayn Rand Conference Europe 2020

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?

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?

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?

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.

Should I Go by Reason or by Faith? by Ben Bayer

Human beings desperately need guidance in life, but where should we seek this guidance? Should we seek it in what we can observe with our own five senses and what we can logically infer from that data? Or should we seek it from some higher authority, just because we feel what it tells us is true? This week on Philosophy for Living on Earth, ARI’s Ben Bayer explores another one of life’s big questions: Should I go by reason or by faith?

Can You Take Credit for Who You Are? by Ben Bayer

What makes you who you are? Is it nature or nurture—or a bit of both?

Or does that very way of framing the question leave out something very important, namely—you? Can you take credit for who you are? If so, how?

We can’t and we don’t create ourselves out of nothing. Some people are born with advantages that other people don’t have. So, how can we take credit for our achievements? How can we be blamed for our crimes?

Join Ben Bayer to explore one of life’s big questions: Can you take credit for who you are?

Recorded live as part of ARI’s Philosophy of Living on Earth webinar series on August 10, 2019
Sign up up to attend the next webinar live at http://courses.aynrand.org/webinars/register

Tribalism vs. Free Will by Harry Binswanger

One key pillar of individualism is free will—the idea that you are not the deterministic product of your race or genes or tribal collective but have a basic form of control over your thoughts and actions. What is Ayn Rand’s theory of free will and how does it support her individualist philosophy?

This video was recorded at AynRandCon in Atlanta, Georgia, on November 4, 2018.

Truth, Objectivity and Self-Interest with Harry Binswanger and Dave Rubin

This is the eighth episode in a series looking at Objectivism’s approach to Happiness. Philosopher Harry Binswanger joins Dave Rubin to discuss truth, objectivity and self-interest.

What It Means to Be Selfish in Life and in Politics: Yaron Brook at Exeter University

In this talk, Yaron Brook discusses what it means to be selfish, what role selfishness has in politics, and how selfishness contributes to creating a happy productive life.

This talk was streamed live from Exeter University on November 13, 2018.