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Objectivism (Ayn Rand

Objectivism is a philosophical system that originated as the personal philosophy of Russianborn American writer Ayn Rand (1905–1982). First developed in her novels and polemical essays, it was
later given more formal structure by her designated intellectual heir, philosopher Leonard Peikoff, who
characterizes it as a "closed system" that is not subject to change.
Objectivism's central tenets are that reality exists independent of consciousness, that human beings have
direct contact with reality through sense perception, that one can attain objective knowledge from
perception through the process of concept formation and inductive logic, that the proper moral purpose of
one's life is the pursuit of one's own happiness (rational self-interest), that the only social
system consistent with this morality is one that displays full respect for individual rights embodied
in laissez-faire capitalism, and that the role of art in human life is to transform
humans' metaphysical ideas by selective reproduction of reality into a physical form—a work of art—that
one can comprehend and to which one can respond emotionally.
Academia has generally ignored or rejected her philosophy, but it has been a significant influence
among libertarians and American conservatives. The Objectivist movement, which Rand founded,
attempts to spread her ideas to the public and in academic settings.

Rand originally expressed her philosophical ideas in her novels The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged,
and other works. She further elaborated on them in her periodicals The Objectivist Newsletter, The
Objectivist, and The Ayn Rand Letter, and in non-fiction books such as Introduction to Objectivist
Epistemology and The Virtue of Selfishness.
The name "Objectivism" derives from the idea that human knowledge and values are objective: they exist
and are determined by the nature of reality, to be discovered by one's mind, and are not created by the
thoughts one has. Rand stated that she chose the name because her preferred term for a philosophy
based on the primacy of existence—"existentialism"—had already been taken.
Rand characterized Objectivism as "a philosophy for living on earth", grounded in reality, and aimed at
defining human nature and the nature of the world in which we live.
My philosophy, in essence, is the concept of man as a heroic being, with his own happiness as the moral
purpose of his life, with productive achievement as his noblest activity, and reason as his only absolute.
—Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged

It is widely believed today that our moral, cultural, and political alternatives are limited either to the ideas of the
secular, relativistic left—or to those of the religious, absolutist right—or to some compromised mixture of the two. In
other words, one’s ideas are supposedly either extremely ―liberal‖ or extremely ―conservative‖ or somewhere inbetween. Ayn Rand’s philosophy, Objectivism, rejects this false alternative and offers an entirely different view of the
Objectivism is fully secular and absolutist; it is neither liberal nor conservative nor anywhere in-between. It recognizes
and upholds the secular (this-worldly) source and nature of moral principles and the secular moral foundations of a
fully free, fully civilized society.

Atlas Shrugged. and self-responsibility. and Epistemology . Aesthetics is the study of. reasoning). is an essentialized condensation of Objectivism as I see it. Any errors in the presentation are mine. analysis and synthesis. Objectivism advocates the virtues of rational self-interest—virtues such as independent thinking. the ultimate reality of and behind 'existence' and 'matter'. It contains rules for formulating arguments and ordering thought so as to come to sound conclusions. the study of being. of man’s nature and means of survival. The subject explores How we know. the "ultimate reality" of all things. beyond the five senses. Objectivism advocates pure. DIVISION OF PHILOSOPHY Specifically. anarchism. honesty. Objectivism advocates scientific advancement. Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal. or beauty. neither I nor anyone else—other than Rand—can speak for Objectivism. ethics. or expressions of theories of those things that are above or beyond nature or physics. and metaphysics. it is the philosophy of art. romantic art—and.Morally. Philosophy: Who Needs It. objective (as opposed to ―progressive‖ or faith-based) education. or the nature and limitations of knowledge. What follows. Rand described Objectivism as ―a philosophy for living on earth. monarchy. and The Romantic Manifesto. Ethics is the study of ideal conduct. let alone an essay. of a proper morality. industrial progress. As a philosophical system. right and wrong. of man’s means of knowledge. democracy. The Virtue of Selfishness.‖ The reason why it is a philosophy for living on earth is that its every principle is derived from the observable facts of reality and the demonstrable requirements of human life and happiness. hypothesis and experiment. Politically. socialism. feminism: these are some of the possible elements of political philosophy. philosophy includes five fields of study and discourse: logic. productiveness. of a proper social system. therefore. It includes two other distinctive categories within its pale: Ontology . justice. of what is. . or expressions of theories of reasoned thought regarding the ideal form. above all. much more than can be addressed in a book. Logic is the study of the ideal method in thought and research: observation and introspection. Culturally. laissezfaire capitalism—the social system of individual rights and strictly limited government—along with the whole moral and philosophical structure on which it depends. from two Greek words: 'episteme' (knowledge) and 'logos' (speech. aristocracy. Politics is the study of the ideal organization of society and government. and of the nature and value of art. justice. There is a great deal to Objectivism. deduction and induction. Metaphysics is the study of. it attempts to deal with questions of "what ought to be" in regards to our behavior. such as The Fountainhead. politics. Objectivism includes a view of the nature of reality. Moreover. Rand presented her philosophy in her many fiction and nonfiction books. reverence for the faculty that makes all such values possible: reason. the philosophy is precisely the body of philosophical principles set forth in her works. aesthetics.