The Philosophy of


AYN RAND

"My philosophy, in essence, is the concept of man asa heroic being, with his own happiness as the moralpurpose of his life, with productive achievement as hisnoblest activity, and reason as his only absolute."
------------------------------------Ayn Rand

                                                                        
   Ayn Rand named her phiosophy "Objectivism" and described it as a philosophy
  for living on earth.  
                 The basic principles of Objectivism can be summarized as follows:

         1. Metaphysics:  "Reality, the external world, exists independent of 
   man's consciousness, independent of any observer's knowledge, beliefs, 
   feelings, desires or fears.  This means that A is A, that facts are facts,
   that things are what they are--and that the task of man's consciusness is
   to perceive reality, not to create or invent it."  Thus Objectivism rejects
   any belief in the supernatural--and any claim that individuals or groups
   create their own reality.

         2. Epistemology:  "Man's reason is fully competent to know the facts of
   reality.  Reason, the conceptual faculty, is the faculty that identifies and
   integrates the material provided by man's senses.  Reason is mans's only 
   means of acquiring knowledge."  Thus Objectivism rejects mysticism (any 
   acceptance of faith or feeling as a means of knowledge), and it rejects 
   skepticism (the claim that certainty or knowledge is impossible).

         3. Human Nature:  "Man is a rational being.  Reason, as man's only means
   of knowledge, is his basic means of survival.  But the exercise of reason 
   depends on each individual's choice. "Man is a being of volitional consciousness."
   "That which you call your soul or spitit is your consciousness, and that which 
   you call 'free will' is you mind's freedom to think or not, the only will you
   have, your only freedom. [This is] the choice that controls all the choices you
   make and determines your life and character."  Thus Objectivism rejects any 
   form of determinism, the belief that man is a victim of forces beyond his control
   (such as God, fate upbringing, genes or economic conditions).

         4. Ethics:  "Reason is man's only proper judge of values and his only 
   proper guide to action.  The proper standard of ethisc is: man's survival qua
   man--i.e., that which is required by man's nature for his survival as a 
   rational being (not his momentary physical survival as a mindless brute).
   Rationality is man's basic virtue, and his three fundamental values are:
   reason, purpose, self-esteem.  Man--every man--is an end in humself, not a
   means to the ends of others; he must live for his own sake, neither sacrificing
   himself to others nor sacrificing others to himself; he mus work for his 
   rational self-interest, with the achievement of his own happiness as the highest
   moral purpose of his life."  Thus Objectivism rejects any form of altruism--the 
   claim that morality consists in living for others or for society.

         5. Politics:  "The basic social principle of the Objectivist ethics is 
   that no man has the right to seek values from others by means of physical force--
   i.e., no man or group has the right to initiate the use of physical force
   against others.  Men have the right to use force only in self-defense and only
   against those who initiate its use.  Men must deal with one another as traders,
   giving value for value, by free, mutual consent to mutual benefit.  The only
   social system that bars physical force from human relationships is laissez-faire
   capitalizm.  Capitalism is a system based on the recognition of individual
   rights, in which the only function of government is to protect individual rights,
   i.e., to protect men from those who initiate the use of physical force."  Thus
   Objectivism rejects any form of collectivism, such as fascism or socialism.  
   It also rejects the current "mixed economy" notiion that the government should
   regulate the economy and redistribute wealth.

         6. Esthetics:  "Art is a selective re-creation of reality according to an
   artist's metaphysical value-judgements."  The purpose of art is to concretize
   the artist's fundamental view of existence.  Ayn Rand described her own approach
   to art as "Romantic Realism": "I am Romantic in the sense that I present men as
   they ought to be. I am Realistic in the sense that I place them here and now and
   on this earth."  The goal of Ayn Rand's novels is not didactic but artistic:
   the projection of an ideal man: "My purpose, first cause and prime mover is the
   portrayal of Howard Roark or John Galt or Hank Reardan or Franciscod'Anconia
   as an end in himself--not as a means to any further end."

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