free will

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?

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.

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.

Individualism in an Age of Tribalism by Onkar Ghate

Perhaps the two areas of life which generate the most conflict and in which it is most important to think for oneself—and most rare are religion and morality. We’ll discuss why it’s so easy to follow the crowd here and why it’s vital to not do so.

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

The Sacred and the Profane: Objectivism and Religion by Aaron Smith

Why was Ayn Rand opposed to religion? What does Rand make of the notions of the sacred, of reverence, of worship, of the exalted? What is the difference between the ideals common to religions and the ideals projected in Rand’s fiction? Why does she think that man is a proper object of reverence? In this session, we discuss these questions from the perspective of Ayn Rand’s view of reason, of man, and of the world in which he lives.

This talk was recorded at Objectivist Summer Conference 2018.

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?

What Might Be and Ought to Be: 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.

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.