life

Purpose and Values with Gregory Salmieri

Ayn Rand described purpose as man’s “choice of the happiness which [his reason] must proceed to achieve.” It is one of the three “supreme and ruling” values that she wrote are “the means to and the realization of one’s ultimate value, one’s own life.” In this talk, Dr. Salmieri explores this distinctive aspect of the Objectivist ethics, with special attention to what it means to value one’s choice of happiness, and how such a choice can be both a part of one’s ultimate end and an essential means to it.

Recorded on May 16, 2020 as part of OCON Live! 2020

The Purpose of Purpose with Yaron Brook

“The principle of purpose,” writes Leonard Peikoff, “means conscious goal-directedness in every aspect of one’s existence where choice applies.” In this talk, Yaron Brook will explore the role of purpose in human life: Why is it important and what does it mean to live purposefully, to have a central purpose, and to integrate all of your values around that central purpose? Recorded on May 15, 2020 as part of OCON Live! 2020

Perspectives on Pursuing an Intellectual Career | 2nd Panel Q&A

As a professional intellectual or an “intellectual professional,” there is a wide variety of possible avenues for advancing Objectivism in your professional work. In this session, a panel of distinguished speakers from a variety of professional backgrounds talks about their work and careers.

Adam Mossoff is Professor of Law at Antonin Scalia Law School at George Mason University, is Chair of the Forum for Intellectual Property at the Hudson Institute, and is affiliated with several other think tanks and policy organizations. He is a nationally recognized expert on intellectual property policy. His research has been relied on by the Supreme Court, by lower federal courts, and by federal agencies, and he has been invited five times to testify before the U.S. Senate and the House of Representatives on patent legislation.

Larry Salzman is the Litigation Director at Pacific Legal Foundation, a public interest law firm dedicated to advancing the principles of individual rights and limited government through law. He leads PLF’s attorneys in developing and litigating cases involving property rights, economic freedom, free speech, equality, and the constitutional separation of powers. He is also a graduate of ARI’s Objectivist Academic Center.

Dr. Robert Mayhew, a member of ARI’s board of directors, teaches philosophy at Seton Hall University. He is the author or editor of seven books in his area of specialization, ancient philosophy (most recently “Aristotle’s Lost Homeric Problems”), and author or editor of ten books related to Ayn Rand and Objectivism.

Alex Epstein is a philosopher and energy expert who argues that “human flourishing” should be the guiding principle of industrial and environmental progress. He is the author of the New York Times best-seller “The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels”.

Alex Epstein | Perspectives on Pursuing an Intellectual Career

As a professional intellectual or an “intellectual professional,” there is a wide variety of possible avenues for advancing Objectivism in your professional work. In this session, Alex Epstein talks about his work and career.

Mr. Epstein is a philosopher and energy expert who argues that “human flourishing” should be the guiding principle of industrial and environmental progress. He is the author of the New York Times best-seller “The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels”.

Robert Mayhew | Perspectives on Pursuing an Intellectual Career

As a professional intellectual or an “intellectual professional,” there is a wide variety of possible avenues for advancing Objectivism in your professional work. In this session, Robert Mayhew talks about his work and career.

Dr. Mayhew, a member of ARI’s board of directors, teaches philosophy at Seton Hall University. He is the author or editor of seven books in his area of specialization, ancient philosophy (most recently “Aristotle’s Lost Homeric Problems”), and author or editor of ten books related to Ayn Rand and Objectivism.

Larry Salzman | Perspectives on Pursuing an Intellectual Career

As a professional intellectual or an “intellectual professional,” there is a wide variety of possible avenues for advancing Objectivism in your professional work. In this session, Larry Salzman talks about his work and career.

Larry Salzman is the Litigation Director at Pacific Legal Foundation, a public interest law firm dedicated to advancing the principles of individual rights and limited government through law. He leads PLF’s attorneys in developing and litigating cases involving property rights, economic freedom, free speech, equality, and the constitutional separation of powers. He is also a graduate of ARI’s Objectivist Academic Center.

Adam Mossoff | Perspectives on Pursuing an Intellectual Career

As a professional intellectual or an “intellectual professional,” there is a wide variety of possible avenues for advancing Objectivism in your professional work. In this session, Adam Mossoff talks about his work and career.

Adam Mossoff is Professor of Law at Antonin Scalia Law School at George Mason University, is Chair of the Forum for Intellectual Property at the Hudson Institute, and is affiliated with several other think tanks and policy organizations. He is a nationally recognized expert on intellectual property policy. His research has been relied on by the Supreme Court, by lower federal courts, and by federal agencies, and he has been invited five times to testify before the U.S. Senate and the House of Representatives on patent legislation.

Perspectives on Pursuing an Intellectual Career | 1st Panel Q&A

As a professional intellectual or an “intellectual professional,” there is a wide variety of possible avenues for advancing Objectivism in your professional work. In this session, a panel of distinguished speakers from a variety of professional backgrounds talks about their work and careers.

Dr. Tara Smith is a professor of philosophy at the University of Texas at Austin. She has published books on individual rights, the foundations of value, Ayn Rand’s theory of egoistic virtues and the requirements of objectivity in judicial review. Current research focuses on psychological aspects of egoism.

John Allison is an Executive in Residence at the Wake Forest University School of Business. He is the retired president and CEO of the Cato Institute and was chairman and CEO of BB&T Corporation. During Allison’s tenure as CEO from 1989 to 2008, BB&T grew from $4.5 billion to $152 billion in assets.

C. Bradley Thompson teaches Political Philosophy at Clemson University and is the Executive Director of the Clemson Institute for the Study of Capitalism. He received his Ph.D at Brown University, and he has been a visiting scholar at Princeton and Harvard universities and at the University of London.

Matt Bateman | Perspectives on Pursuing an Intellectual Career

As a professional intellectual or an “intellectual professional,” there is a wide variety of possible avenues for advancing Objectivism in your professional work. In this session, Matt Bateman talks about his work and career.

Brad Thompson | Perspectives on Pursuing an Intellectual Career

As a professional intellectual or an “intellectual professional,” there is a wide variety of possible avenues for advancing Objectivism in your professional work. In this session, Brad Thompson talks about his work and career.

C. Bradley Thompson teaches Political Philosophy at Clemson University and is the Executive Director of the Clemson Institute for the Study of Capitalism. He received his Ph.D at Brown University, and he has been a visiting scholar at Princeton and Harvard universities and at the University of London.

Professor Thompson has published five books, including: “America’s Revolutionary Mind: A Moral History of the American Revolution and the Declaration that Defined It”; the award-winning “John Adams and the Spirit of Liberty”; “Neoconservatism: An Obituary for an Idea”; “The Revolutionary Writings of John Adams”; and “Antislavery Political Writings, 1833-1860: A Reader”.

John Allison | Perspectives on Pursuing an Intellectual Career

As a professional intellectual or an “intellectual professional,” there is a wide variety of possible avenues for advancing Objectivism in your professional work. In this session, John Allison talks about his work and career.

Mr. Allison is an Executive in Residence at the Wake Forest University School of Business. He is the retired president and CEO of the Cato Institute and was chairman and CEO of BB&T Corporation. During Allison’s tenure as CEO from 1989 to 2008, BB&T grew from $4.5 billion to $152 billion in assets.

Tara Smith | Perspectives on Pursuing an Intellectual Career

As a professional intellectual or an “intellectual professional,” there is a wide variety of possible avenues for advancing Objectivism in your professional work. In this session, Tara Smith talks about her work and career.

Dr. Smith is a professor of philosophy at the University of Texas at Austin. She has published books on individual rights, the foundations of value, Ayn Rand’s theory of egoistic virtues and the requirements of objectivity in judicial review. Current research focuses on psychological aspects of egoism.

Keynote Session Q&A with Onkar Ghate, Yaron Brook, Tal Tsfany

In the keynote session preceding this Q&A, Ayn Rand Institute senior fellow and chief philosophy officer, Onkar Ghate, discusses Ayn Rand’s essay “For the New Intellectual,” and Rand’s perspective on the crucial role that intellectuals play in shaping the culture.

Dr. Ghate is senior fellow, chief content officer and a board member of the Ayn Rand Institute. He specializes in Rand’s philosophy, Objectivism, and is ARI’s senior instructor and editor. He publishes and lectures on Rand’s philosophy and fiction, including application of Objectivism in the culture, and has been a guest on national radio and television programs.

Dr. Brook is chairman of the board of the Ayn Rand Institute. He is co-author, with Don Watkins, of “In Pursuit of Wealth” (2017), of “Equal Is Unfair” (2016) and of the national best-seller “Free Market Revolution” (2012). He is the host of The Yaron Brook Show on BlogTalk Radio.

Mr. Tsfany is the CEO of the Ayn Rand Institute. Prior to this, he was an entrepreneur, investor and executive in the software world in Israel and the United States. He is a co-founder of the Ayn Rand Center Israel and has published a young adult book titled Sophie.

How ARI is Training Tomorrow’s New Intellectuals by Tal Tsfany

ARI’s CEO, Tal Tsfany, highlights the opportunities that ARI can offer to young people interested in an intellectual career.

Mr. Tsfany is the CEO of the Ayn Rand Institute. Prior to this, he was an entrepreneur, investor and executive in the software world in Israel and the United States. He is a co-founder of the Ayn Rand Center Israel and has published a young adult book titled Sophie.

What It Takes to Change a Culture by Yaron Brook

Yaron Brook, chair of ARI’s board of directors and host of The Yaron Brook Show, discusses how Rand’s perspective has guided ARI’s strategy over more than three decades. He also discusses his personal career path as an internationally known speaker and YouTube host.

Dr. Brook is co-author, with Don Watkins, of “In Pursuit of Wealth” (2017), of “Equal Is Unfair” (2016) and of the national best-seller “Free Market Revolution” (2012).

Ayn Rand’s “For the New Intellectual” by Onkar Ghate

In this keynote session, Ayn Rand Institute senior fellow and chief philosophy officer, Onkar Ghate, discusses Ayn Rand’s essay “For the New Intellectual,” and Rand’s perspective on the crucial role that intellectuals play in shaping the culture.

Dr. Ghate is senior fellow, chief content officer and a board member of the Ayn Rand Institute. He specializes in Rand’s philosophy, Objectivism, and is ARI’s senior instructor and editor. He publishes and lectures on Rand’s philosophy and fiction, including application of Objectivism in the culture, and has been a guest on national radio and television programs.

Inequality: Should We Care? A debate with Dr. Yaron Brook and Dr. James Galbraith

A debate with Dr. Yaron Brook of the Ayn Rand Institute and Dr. James Galbraith of University of Texas at Austin’s Inequality Project.

Productive Achievement: Man’s “Noblest Activity” by Onkar Ghate

Most thinkers throughout history have held a negative or, at best, neutral view of productive work. If not scorned outright, production has usually been viewed as having no moral significance. But Ayn Rand had a unique view of the human potential, central to which is the importance she accords to the act of production. Productive achievement, in her philosophy, is man’s “noblest activity.” This talk explores what Objectivism means by the virtue of productiveness and discusses aspects of our culture’s positive and negative attitudes toward producers and productive activity.

Onkar Ghate is senior fellow and chief content officer at the Ayn Rand Institute. Tara Smith, who participates in the question period, is professor of philosophy and BB&T Chair for the Study of Objectivism at the University of Texas at Austin. This talk was delivered at Objectivist Summer Conference 2017 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, on Saturday, June 10, 2017.

The Subtheme of Free Will in Atlas Shrugged by Ben Bayer

According to Ayn Rand, the theme of Atlas Shrugged is “the role of the mind in man’s existence.” In this session, we explore how Rand conveys her distinctive theory of free will, that the operation of the mind itself is volitional. In particular, we focus on a key conflict in the plot that is resolved only when one character realizes that the mind is volitional. Recorded live at OCON on June 27, 2019

The Romanticism of Atlas Shrugged by Ben Bayer

Ayn Rand described Romanticism as “a category of art based on the recognition of the principle that man possesses the faculty of volition.” In this session, we discuss how her novel “Atlas Shrugged” fits into this category. Drawing on the framework Rand establishes in her essay “What Is Romanticism?,” we explore how the major conflicts in the plot of “Atlas Shrugged” express Rand’s commitment to the premise of volition in man’s existential action, and how the major value-conflicts faced by central characters in the novel express the same commitment in regard to man’s consciousness. We also highlight the importance of each of these features of Rand’s Romanticism and how they contribute to the enjoyment of the novel.

Free Will by Onkar Ghate

Recorded live at Ayn Rand Conference Europe 2020

The Virtue of Selfishness by Elan Journo

Recorded live at Ayn Rand Conference Europe 2020

Transforming Burnout with Selfishness – Ellen Kenner, Edwin A. Locke and Jean Moroney

Burnout is a vicious cycle involving loss of motivation for one’s job or career. Internal causes include altruism, the duty premise and secondhand values. External causes include unrealistic expectations of others and injustice. Our panel of experts: Ellen Kenner, Edwin A. Locke and Jean Moroney discuss how making selfish value choices breaks the vicious cycle of burnout, so you can experience a virtuous cycle of productivity for achieving selfish goals.

A View from the Front Lines of a Public Energy Company by Nicholas J. Deluliis

The shale revolution is one of man’s most impressive achievements. Born out of a spirit of entrepreneurism, disruptive thinking and self-interest, this revolution has brought the United States out of an era of energy scarcity and into an era of energy abundance. However, allied forces in government, media and the radical green movement conspire to destroy the shale revolution, despite its virtues, through Trojan Horse tactics linked to collectivist social purposes. Deluliis examines this effort to build a societal paradigm predicated on government control of private enterprise and the enabling of the second-hander.

Climate, Energy and the Environmentalist Movement by Keith Lockitch

Today, climate change is viewed in our culture as a crisis of unprecedented scale that is uniquely threatening and intractable. Yet if we explore the history of the environmentalist movement, we find a pattern of forecasting similar environmental catastrophes that failed to materialize. What is it about environmentalism that gives rise to this pattern of ailed predictions, and what lessons can we draw from them about today’s concerns related to climate and energy?

Recorded live at OCON on June 25, 2020.

From Metaphysical Facts to Moral Guidance by Aaron Smith

This session—part lecture, part class discussion—explores the fact that, and the ways in which, the guidance offered by the Objectivist ethics flows from the recognition of certain universal facts about human nature and the nature of the world in which man lives. The purpose of the session is to highlight the connection between facts and values from a uniquely Objectivist perspective.

Recorded live at OCON on June 24, 2019

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.

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

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.

Life, Poetry and Keats by Lisa VanDamme

John Keats lived a tragically short and miserably tragic life, and yet in his twenty-five years he wrote poetry that has brought insight, joy and beauty to readers for centuries. This talk weaves together the story of Keats’s life with some of his most beautiful works of poetry. Though what happiness Keats enjoyed was fleeting, he left an enduring legacy of art that can contribute powerfully to ours.

Recorded Wednesday June 26 in Cleveland as part of OCON 2019.

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.

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

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 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.

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?

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?

Is Selfishness the Root of All Evil? by Keith Lockitch

If there is one thing that almost everyone agrees on today, it’s that selfishness is bad. From day one, we’ve been told, “don’t be selfish” or “selfishness is the root of all evil.”
 
But what if the way we think about selfishness is completely wrong?
 
What if our conventional understanding of what it means to be selfish is totally confused—and it’s not just that we’re mistaken, but we’re mistaken in a way that actually makes it harder for us to achieve a happy, fulfilling life and a better world?
 
Throughout history, various thinkers have challenged us to rethink conventional wisdom. Copernicus and Galileo challenged our view of a motionless earth. Darwin challenged our understanding of how all of life’s species developed.

Ayn Rand, the writer and philosopher famous for her bestselling novels The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged, was a thinker who challenged our conventional wisdom about morality.
 
She was a moral revolutionary in the same way that Galileo and Darwin were scientific revolutionaries.

Join Keith Lockitch and explore Ayn Rand’s moral revolution. He’ll be addressing one of life’s big questions: Is selfishness the root of all evil?

How to Fill Your Life with Meaning with Yaron Brook, Gena Gorlin and Dave Rubin

This is the seventh episode in a series looking at Objectivism’s approach to Happiness. Yaron Brook and psychologist Gena Gorlin join Dave Rubin to discuss what it takes to have a meaningful life.

Sport as an Arena for Admiration by Tara Smith

On a Pedestal: Sport as an Arena for Admiration

This talk explores the value of admiration in the realm of sports. At a time when much in the world around us seems distinctly un-admirable, spotlighting athletes’ achievements offers a refreshing antidote. Even those who aren’t sports fans can gain a deeper appreciation of how admiration itself is a value and can contribute to the admirer’s own flourishing. We explore how the sight of an achievement (as Ayn Rand observed) is, indeed, a glorious thing.

This talk was recorded live in Newport Beach, California, at Objectivist Summer Conference 2018.