philosophy

Yaron Brook Debates David Pakman on Ayn Rand

Listen to the first in a series of four discussions between Ayn Rand Institute chairman Yaron Brook and David Pakman about Ayn Rand and Objectivism. Pakman is the host of the internationally syndicated television and radio program The David Pakman Show.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Infectious Disease Under the American Form of Government by Onkar Ghate

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 first of four talks recorded live 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.

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.

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.

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”?

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?

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?

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 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?

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?

Should I Follow My Head or My Heart? by Aaron Smith

All of us have experienced clashes between our thinking and our feelings—between our “head” and our “heart.” The question we seem to face, in any given clash, is: Which one to follow—“head” or “heart”? On this Philosophy for Living on Earth webinar, ARI’s Aaron Smith discusses Ayn Rand’s perspective on this issue.

Recorded live as part of ARI’s Philosophy of Living on Earth webinar series on August 17, 2019
Sign up up to attend the next webinar live at http://courses.aynrand.org/webinars/register

Can There Be Good Without God? by Onkar Ghate

Whether it’s the legality of abortion, the desirability of free speech, the power of social media companies, or the appropriateness of a president’s tweets, we seem to be increasingly divided by issues of value, by what we consider right and wrong,good and evil.

But whichever side we take on these and other controversies, if we’re asked to explain where our very ideas of good and evil and of right and wrong come from, and what exactly they mean, we’re often at a loss.

In the face of such puzzlement, one of the most common responses is to say that God is the source of morality and that if “God is dead, everything is permitted.”

In this webinar, we’ll challenge the idea that morality rests on an authority figure. We’ll discuss how authoritarianism plagues both our religious and secular thinking about ethics. And we’ll sketch an alternative approach to good and evil, one that treats morality as a this-worldly, ordinary, understandable form of knowledge.

Recorded live as part of ARI’s Philosophy of Living on Earth webinar series on July 27, 2019
Sign up up to attend the next webinar live at http://courses.aynrand.org/webinars/register

Love Does Not Require Sacrifice by Keith Lockitch

Conflicts among priorities and values, big or small, come up in relationships all the time. Figuring out how to navigate them is critical to making the relationship work.

If you look to any self-help or psychology website for advice on this topic, you’ll see articles with titles like: “7 things you should sacrifice for a relationship.” Many such articles seek to draw a boundary between what should and what shouldn’t be sacrificed—but it’s taken for granted that there has to be some willingness to sacrifice.

In this webinar, we’ll challenge that idea.

We’ll put the concept of “sacrifice” under the microscope and untangle common confusions about the intersection of self-interest and romantic love. We’ll describe what a healthy, non-sacrificial relationship would look like—and how to achieve it.

Recorded live as part of ARI’s Philosophy of Living on Earth webinar series on July 20, 2019
Sign up up to attend the next webinar live at http://courses.aynrand.org/webinars/register

What Tribalism Looks Like Around the World by Elan Journo

Tribalism is rampant in other countries. We’ll explore some of its forms and its role in the subjugation of individuals, the opposition to human progress, and the fueling of violent conflicts.

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.

Tribalism in Law by Tara Smith

Unfortunately, all three branches of our government are contributing to the tribalization of our legal system. As a result, the substance of our laws along with the laws’ administration authority are increasingly determined by power shifts among rival groups rather than by the sovereignty of individual rights.

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

The “Virtue of Selfishness”? Ayn Rand’s Ethics of Egoism in Your Own Life by Elan Journo

Ayn Rand held that an individual’s pursuit of “his own rational self-interest and of his own happiness is the highest moral purpose of his life.” Fifty years ago, Rand published The Virtue of Selfishness, a groundbreaking book laying out her ethics of rational egoism. What does it look like to be selfish in your own life? In this introductory talk, Elan Journo discusses Rand’s conception of morality and sketches what it looks like in practice.

Recorded May 7, 2014

Free Speech Panel at the University of Southern California with Dave Rubin, Colin Moriarty and Steve Simpson

College used to be grounded in the inviolate principle that each of us should confront new ideas, speak our minds, and learn. Has that time passed? This year (2017) alone we have seen a riot at U.C. Berkeley and violence at Middlebury College over controversial speakers. Instead of “express yourself,” a new view seems to be taking hold: “Suppress yourself—or I’ll do it for you.” What is happening to free speech on campus?

In this panel discussion (sponsored by the Ayn Rand Institute and the University of Southern California Political Student Assembly and Young Americans for Liberty), three leading voices in this field address current threats to freedom of speech on college campuses: Dave Rubin, Creator and Host of “The Rubin Report”; Colin Moriarty, Creator and Host of “Colin’s Last Stand,” and Steve Simpson, Director of Legal Studies, Ayn Rand Institute, and editor of “Defending Free Speech.”

This panel was recorded live at the Seeley G. Mudd Building, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California, on Thursday, April 13, 2017.

Ayn Rand’s Philosophy for Living on Earth (Part 2) by Ben Bayer

Discussing Objectivism: Ayn Rand’s Philosophy for Living on Earth (Part 2). Recorded at Objectivist Summer Conference 2018. This session explores the basic contours of Ayn Rand’s overall philosophy by discussing highlights from Galt’s speech in Atlas Shrugged. (We try to avoid Atlas plot spoilers.)

A Philosophy of Success with John Allison and Dave Rubin

This is the eleventh episode in a series looking at Objectivism’s approach to Happiness. John Allison joins Dave Rubin to discuss how the Objectivist ethics enabled his business success.

Why Ayn Rand Matters with Yaron Brook and Dave Rubin

This is the ninth episode in a series looking at Objectivism’s approach to Happiness. Yaron Brook joins Dave Rubin to discuss why Ayn Rand matters.

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.

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.

Taking Your Happiness Seriously with Tara Smith and Dave Rubin

This is the sixth episode in a series looking at Objectivism’s approach to Happiness. Philosopher Tara Smith joins Dave Rubin to discuss what it means to take one’s happiness seriously.

Grounding Morality in Facts with Harry Binswanger, Gregory Salmieri and Dave Rubin

This is the fifth episode in a series looking at Objectivism’s approach to Happiness. Philosophers Gregory Salmieri and Harry Binswanger join Dave Rubin to discuss Objectivism’s view on the relationship between facts and values, why Ayn Rand’s ideas generate the strong reactions they do, and Harry’s experience knowing Ayn Rand personally.

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?

Why Selfishness is a Virtue with Onkar Ghate, Tara Smith and Dave Rubin

This is the first in a series looking at Objectivism’s approach to Happiness. Onkar Ghate and Tara Smith join Dave to discuss the virtue of selfishness.

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.

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.

Patrick Bet-David Interviews Yaron Brook

In this video, recorded at Objectivist Summer Conference 2018, Patrick Bet-David interviews Yaron Brook to discuss Objectivism and Capitalism. Brook responds to questions such as:  Is Objectivism a philosophy for elitists?  Is it sustainable to run a nation based on this philosophy?  How is world peace achieved?  Has religion done more good or bad for the world?  Was Ayn Rand’s move to America as a young woman a “leap of faith”?  What would the world look like if everyone accepted Objectivism?  Does the virtue of selfishness work in every aspect of life?  And more. . . .

Yaron Brook is chairman of the board of the Ayn Rand Institute and travels extensively as ARI’s spokesman.

Brook can be heard weekly on The Yaron Brook Show, which airs live on the BlogTalkRadio podcast. He is also a frequent guest on national radio and television programs. He is the coauthor, with Don Watkins, of the national best-seller Free Market Revolution; How Ayn Rand’s Ideas Can End Big Government and of Equal Is Unfair: America’s Misguided Fight Against Income Inequality.

Brook serves on the boards of the Ayn Rand Institute, the Clemson Institute for the Study of Capitalism and CEHE (Center for Excellence in Higher Education), and he is a member of the Association of Private Enterprise Education and the Mont Pelerin Society.

Mr. Bet-David is passionate about shaping the next generation of leaders by teaching entrepreneurship and disrupting the traditional approach to a career. His popular YouTube videos “The Life of an Entrepreneur” and others are available on Valuetainment, a channel for entrepreneurs. He has hosted one-on-one interviews with NBA Hall of Famers James Worthy and Magic Johnson; author Robert Greene; entrepreneur and NBA team owner Mark Cuban; Indy-500 winner Al Unser Jr. and Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak.

 

Free Speech, De-Platforming, Patreon and Sam Harris’s Response

Yaron Brook talks with Onkar Ghate and Greg Salmieri about free speech, the Patreon scandal, and Sam Harris’s reaction. During this Livestream from the Ayn Rand Institute the guests will discuss free speech from an Objectivist perspective and why the controversy is philosophic in nature.

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

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.

Deeper Connection Through Mutual Selfishness by Gena Gorlin

This talk integrates the moral perspective offered by Rand’s “trader principle” with psychological tools and insights for improving assertive communication. Attendees will learn how skills such as reflective listening, the “broken record” technique, perspective-taking, and ”I”-statements can deepen the intimacy and value derived from close personal relationships, largely by conveying respect for the other person’s volition and value-context while also demanding respect for one’s own. Recorded at Objectivist Conferences 2018

Howard Roark and the Great Heroes of Literature by Andrew Bernstein

This talk shows that there are several attributes of literary heroism: the promotion of life-affirming values, the depth of virtue(s) manifested, the power of antagonists faced, and the hero’s degree of prowess. When we deploy such criteria and compare and contrast Howard Roark to some of literature’s other great heroes-for example, Odysseus, Cyrano, Doctor Stockmann, and Shane-where do we find he stands in the pantheon of literary heroism? This talk examines and answers this question.

The Berkeley “Free Speech Movement” and the Erosion of Free Speech by Steve Simpson

In the 1960s, protests erupted at U.C. Berkeley over a ban on political activity on campus. Students marched and occupied school property, all in the name of “free speech.” Today, the Free Speech Movement launched at Berkeley in the 1960s is widely held as a model for advocates of the right to free speech. Is that true? This talk analyzes the Berkeley Free Speech Movement and its implications for free speech today.

What Is Killing Western Civilization? with Douglas Murray, Claire Fox and Yaron Brook

Cultural observers have often noted that Europe — and, more broadly, Western civilization — despite historically unprecedented success, is in danger of losing itself. But what exactly is being lost, and why? And what can be done about it?

In a recent panel discussion entitled “What Is Killing Western Civilization?,” Yaron Brook (chairman of the board of the Ayn Rand Institute) and Douglas Murray (author of The Strange Death of Europe: Immigration, Identity, Islam) met at the Institution of Mechanical Engineers lecture theatre in central London to discuss the future of Western civilization in the context of its own identity crisis and the growing trend of immigration to the West from those outside it — and, in some cases, hostile to it. The panel, moderated by Claire Fox (director and founder of Academy of Ideas), addressed such questions as:

  • What is Western civilization?
  • What is the nature of the crisis that the West faces?
  • How should one think about immigration in today’s world?