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"AYN RAND" CHAPTER FROM "THE POWER AND THE GLORY"

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INTRODUCTION

Book - POWER AND GLORY – THE KEY IDEAS AND CRUSADING LIVES OF EIGHT DEBATERS OF REASON VS FAITH

 

Writer - Burgess Laughlin

 

Chapter - 8. RAND : A PHILOSOPHICAL NOVELIST DEFENDS REASON – OBJECTIVELY SPEAKING

"The Power and The Glory" by Burgess Laughlin is the selective biography of 8 key intellectuals, ranging from Augustine in 1st millenia to Locke and Kant in 17th and 18th centuries, to Ayn Rand in 20th century. Emphasis of the biographies is on development and dissemination of the ideas of these intellectuals.

Current study-group will focus on "Ayn Rand". The study ranges from her childhood and college years in Russia, to her fiction and then non-fiction writings, and also her intellectual activism. There is also sufficient detail involving her initial years in America, and also her key lectures like "Faith and Force : Destroyers of the Modern World".

The chapter is structured mostly chronologically, and we will study two to four sections every week. The number of sections per week depends on their length to facilitate equivalent load each week. The last week will be reserved for concluding remarks and references to further study.

Note : The book website mentions that kindle version has no page numbers and therefore no index. But from study-group perspective it should be sufficient I think. Though lack of page numbers can cause minor confusion in mapping of Week2 and Week3 schedule.
 

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                                                                SCHEDULE

 

START WEEK - Monday, 29th June, 2015.
END WEEK - Monday, 2nd August, 2015.

Week 1

YEARS IN RUSSIA

 

Monday, 29th June -  Sunday, 5th July

- Russia in Turmoil
- Philosophical Studies
(Pg 217-222)

Week 2

INITIAL YEARS IN AMERICA, TILL THE PUBLICATION OF "THE FOUNTAINHEAD"

 

Monday, 6th July - Sunday, 12th July

 

- America – Free to write
- An ideal man, a man of reason
(Pg 222-228)

Week 3

FROM RECEPTION OF "THE FOUNTAINHEAD", TO THE RECEPTION OF "ATLAS SHRUGGED"

 

Monday, 13th July - Sunday, 19th July

 

- (Contd..) An ideal man, a man of reason
- The final novel
(Pg 228-233)

Week 4

NON FICTION WRITINGS AND INTELLECTUAL ACTIVISM (PART 1)
(Works other than Epistemology)

 

Monday, 20th July - Sunday, 26th July

 

- Changing vehicles
- A Philosopher's provisional summary
- Opening and Closing channels
- Branch Books
(Pg 233-241)

Week 5

NON FICTION WRITINGS AND INTELLECTUAL ACTIVISM (PART 2)
(Mainly work related to Epistemology)

 

Monday, 27th July - Sunday, 2nd August

- A Definition of Reason
- Shifting Gears
- Reason as Integration
(Pg 241-245)

Week 6

REVIEW, SUMMARY, AND FUTURE STUDIES

 

Monday, 29th June, 2015.

I have framed 48 Questions which I will split across 5 weeks. Participants can answer all or some of those questions. Of course, participants are free to study by summarizing, outlining, or chewing sections of their choice from the text under study for that week.

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Good Morning, today is Monday, June 29, 2015. The study-group starts today.

 

I will be posting questions every Monday from sections that are scheduled for that week. The participants can answer those questions after studying the corresponding text. I will post my answers on following Friday or Saturday. We will try to close the section on Sunday, but its possible some discussions move to next week.

 

Apart from Q&A format, participants are free to pursue their own method. Other methods can be writing summary, outline, or analysis and synthesis of key sections(which Ayn Rand called chewing of content). Please note however, the primary focus of the study-group is on corresponding text. External references, and disagreements with author or other participants,may be taken as a secondary topic connecting the main threads.

 

So here are the questions for this week.

 

POWER AND GLORY – THE KEY IDEAS AND CRUSADING LIVES OF EIGHT DEBATERS OF REASON VS FAITH

 

 

RAND : A PHILOSOPHICAL NOVELIST DEFENDS REASON – OBJECTIVELY SPEAKING

 

WEEK 1

 

Questions

 

RUSSIA IN TURMOIL

 

Q1. The section lists positive and negative elements in Russian culture around the time Ayn Rand was born as Alisa Rosenbaum. Separate and list these elements. Try labelling the lists as Political, Economic, and artistic, apart from positive and negative.

 

Q2. List interests and methods of Ayn Rand as a child?

 

[General note : In your posts, try to put references mentioned in footnote]

 

PHILOSOPHICAL STUDIES

 

Q3. What subjects Ayn Rand majored in and why?

 

General Question: Requires reference to section other than the one being studied

Q4. What according to her later writings was the purpose of philosophy? How did she discover importance of metaphysics and epistemology?

(Hint: 229,230 page numbers)

 

Q5. What were Ayn Rand's influences in college?

 

Q6. List positive and negative elements of Rand's life during her college years?

 

Q7. What role do you think college life played in her development as an intellectual?

 

Q8. Why she decided to leave Russia? How did she do it? What is the relationship between this decision, and decision to change her name?

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Q1. The section lists positive and negative elements in Russian culture around the time Ayn Rand was born as Alisa Rosenbaum. Separate and list these elements. Try labelling the lists as Political, Economic, and artistic, apart from positive and negative.

A1. She was born 1905 under a czarist regime, an autocratic government guided by a mix of Christian orthodoxy and Russian nationalism. In 1917, the czarist regime disintegrated into a republic. In 1918, after the communists closed her father's pharmacy, they moved to Crimea prior to, thus escaping the civil war. The more positive of these would have to be the republic.

Economically statist, jobs were scarce, and even starting a business was difficult. Unions were prohibited. Even so, her father was a prosperous and ambitious individual. Artistically, Rand was positively influenced by both film and literature, inspiring her to write early and often.
—pgs. 217-219
 

Q2. List interests and methods of Ayn Rand as a child?

A2. Reading and writing stories, as well as analytical writing — formulating her likes into generalizations i.e., "thinking in principle", by chronologizing her observations and listing the evidence — a process she identified as "going by reason".
—pgs. 218-220


[General note : In your posts, try to put references mentioned in footnote]

PHILOSOPHICAL STUDIES

Q3. What subjects Ayn Rand majored in and why?

A3. She majored in hirsotry to aquire facts about man's poast development, and also studied philosophy to develop clear definition so f her broadest values.
—pg. 221

 

General Question: Requires reference to section other than the one being studied

Q4. What according to her later writings was the purpose of philosophy? How did she discover importance of metaphysics and epistemology?

(Hint: 229,230 page numbers)

A4. [M]en need philosophy for the purpose of living on earth.
—FTNI pg. 51

In the 1940's she was discussing the issue of concepts with a Jesuit, who philosophically was a Thomsit. It was from this conversation she identified as the source of her groundbreaking work of concept-formation.
—ITOE2 pg. 307

She recognized the "unit" served as a bridge between metaphysics and epistemology,
—ITOE2 pg. 7,

She also indicated that metaphysics and epistemology serve as the cornerstones of man's later sense-of-life. as well the abstract base of ethics.
—TNL pg. 57, —RM pg 169


Q5. What were Ayn Rand's influences in college?

A5. Burgess Laughlin indicated she admired Aristotle's support for the rational mind. She also initially liked Nietzsche's praise of the outstanding individual in Thus Spoke Zarathustra, later rejected his assault on reason in The Birth of Tragedy. She also studied operetta and cinema.
—pgs  221, 222
 

Q6. List positive and negative elements of Rand's life during her college years?

A6. When the communists established their firm rule at Leningrad State University, anyone who were not proletarian was expelled. Embarrassed by adverse reactions in Western Europe, Rand was reinstated to classes after which she graduated with honors. Enrolling in the State Institute for Cinema Arts would later serve as a stepping stone in her life.
—pg. 222
 

Q7. What role do you think college life played in her development as an intellectual?

A7. By providing her with a wide range of concretes about man down through the ages. From the age of 12, she taught herself to distinguish between generalizations and the concretes which substantiated them. Separating the concretes from the generalizations that accompany them in a classroom setting had to be second nature to her by the time she entered higher academia. An adaptation of this approach was probably utilized on the philosophy side as well.
— hypothesized

 

Q8. Why she decided to leave Russia? How did she do it? What is the relationship between this decision, and decision to change her name?

A8. Rand realized she would not be able to write freely in Russia and made plans to flee to the United States. She petitioned the government to go abroad under the guise of studying American film first hand. She changed her name to protect her family who would be remaining behind.
—pg. 222

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Here are the answers to Part 1 of this week's questions

 

 

POWER AND GLORY – THE KEY IDEAS AND CRUSADING LIVES OF EIGHT DEBATERS OF REASON VS FAITH

 

 

RAND : A PHILOSOPHICAL NOVELIST DEFENDS REASON – OBJECTIVELY SPEAKING

 

WEEK 1

 

RUSSIA IN TURMOIL - ANSWERS

 

General observation : Work of Burgess is mostly chronological in nature. I have found combining logically similar elements in different sections(like Politics, Artistic, Ethical, Economic, Epistemological-metaphysical) as best way to study his work.

 

Q1. The section lists positive and negative elements in Russian culture around the time Ayn Rand was born as Alisa Rosenbaum. Separate and list these elements. Try labeling the lists as Political, Economic, and artistic, apart from positive and negative. 

Also answer why you think these events are necessary in understanding Ayn Rand the intellectual? 

 

Ans: 

 

The political events in Russia were very negative at the time Ayn Rand was born and brought up. 

 

A. NEGATIVE POLITICAL EVENTS 

 

a.) Christian orthodoxy, Russian Nationalism, and autocracy were the dominant political ideas in Russia at that time. Autocracy being the system of government in which one person enjoys unlimited [political] power. And this power was vested to Czar claiming that God had given that power. 

[This text has been referenced from “A History of the Modern World”, Ch 17 - “The Russian Revolution”, Sec 92, “The Revolution of 1905”, “Background and Revolutionary Events”.(Is “Revolution of 1905” a misprint that should have been “Revolution of 1917”.)] 

 

b.) Businesses had to bribe bureaucrats for protection from government regulation, and some even to form coercive monopolies. This led to less number of businesses, and therefore more workers ended up competing for fewer jobs. 

[Taken from the Book “Russian Economic History, The Nineteenth Century” and also books by Paul. R. Gregory and Peter Gatrell. Differentiating feature of these writings being that they understand difference between command economy and market economy. (Command economy referring to  economy regulated  by Government pull I think.)] 

 

c.) 2 million Russian soldiers captured, wounded, or killed in “World War I” with Germany and Austrian-Hungarian empire. 

[“History of Modern World” → “The revolution of 1917” → “End of Tsardom”] 

 

d.) Political instability leading to “February revolution” and later “October revolution” in 1917. Czarist regime collapsing some time after former, and latter replacing Constitutional-Socialist Duma with radical communists. 

[“History of Modern World” → “The revolution of 1917” → “End of Tsardom”] 

 

e.) After gaining control, communists forming secret police, Red Army, and gangs of labor that stole food from successful farmers. 

 

f.) Russian civil war between 1918 to 1920, where mass murder and Red Terror was employed by the communists. 

 

g.) Communists closing Pharmacy of Ayn Rand's father when she was 13, and her father having to use hidden cash and jewelry to move to Crimea. 

[Britting] 

 

NEGATIVE ECONOMIC ELEMENTS 

 

a.) Disease, threat of starvation, and flight from red terror reducing Petrograd's population by two-thirds. 

(e.g f.) from previous section, and a.) from this section are taken from “History of the Modern World” → “The Bolshevik Revolution of 1917” and “The New Regime : The Civil War”] 

 

POSITIVE POLITICAL ELEMENTS 

 

1. Growth of science and technology, and emphasis on individual rights coming from Western culture. These aspects were most visible in St Petersburg when Ayn Rand(Alisa Rosenbaum that is) was growing up. 

 

POSITIVE ECONOMIC ELEMENTS 

 

1. Alisa Rosenbaum began her life in a prosperous, ambitious, and cosmopolitan family. 

[Jeff Britting Book] 

 

POSITIVE EDUCATIONAL ELEMENTS 

 

1. In Crimea, Ayn Rand attending a high school which operated on higher, pre-Soviet educational standard. 

 

2. Ayn Rand learning about Aristotle's logic in school. Also, Ayn Rand learning about political system of United States, which was geared up to protect well defined individual rights of each and every citizen. 

[Britting for 1-2] 

 

Here is why I think this answer is important for understanding Ayn Rand the intellectual. 

The early life experiences act as starting point of the intellectual. If I am to look at my own starting point in life, the events like “Assassination of Prime Minister”, events leading up to it, liberalization of economy, etc. are some of the events that initially attracted me to political philosophy. More importantly, they acted as personal reference points when I studied any abstract philosophical principle like Capitalism, socialism, etc. So I think the events around childhood of Ayn Rand, and even those just before she was born, sum up the culture in which she was brought up. And understanding these can help us understand her writings better, since some of these events were reference points for her when she wrote. 

 

Q2. List interests and methods of Ayn Rand as a child? What is their importance in understanding her as an intellectual? 

 

ARTISTIC INTERESTS OF AYN RAND AS A CHILD 

 

1. First silent films that Ayn Rand saw at the age of 8, enabling her to write scenarios(I think it refers to short screenplays, or particular scenes). She also read purposeful detective story in French. In this story detective solves mystery using logic. Maurice Champagne's plot of French story translated as “The Mysterious Valley” lead Ayn Rand to discover story telling as a means of portraying ideal man. 

 

2. Alisa Rosenbaum discovering vivid, valaue charged world of Victor Hugo novels. The literature that was categorized as Romanticist movement. 

[ Britting, and Ayn Rand's Aesthetics from “The Romantic Manifesto – A Philosophy of literature”] 

 

INTERESTS OF AYN RAND INVOLVING ETHICS, EPISTEMOLOGY AND METAPHYSICS 

 

1. Rosenbaum asking herself why she liked some things more than the others. And forming of likes as generalizations leading to thinking in principles. Listing evidence for likes also leading to discovery of reason. [Britting] 

 

2. In Crimea high school, Alisia Rosenbaum discovering that she enjoyed making difficult things understandable to others.[For the school in Crimea – Britting, p17] 

 

Understanding these aspects of her early childhood provide insight into what she did later in life, and also how she did it. Her love for scenarios, stories, and heroes tell us why she became novelist. And her methods of introspecting on likes, and communication skills, help us understand how she had developed her writing, analytical and integrating skills quite early in life. 

 

Edited by RohinGupta

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Here are the answers to Part 2 of this week's questions

 

 

POWER AND GLORY – THE KEY IDEAS AND CRUSADING LIVES OF EIGHT DEBATERS OF REASON VS FAITH

 

 

RAND : A PHILOSOPHICAL NOVELIST DEFENDS REASON – OBJECTIVELY SPEAKING

 

WEEK 1

 

PHILOSOPHICAL STUDIES

 

Answers 

 

Q3. What subjects Ayn Rand majored in and why? 

 

A3. She majored in History for acquiring understanding of development of man from past. And she studied philosophy so that she could define her broadest values. 

[For her  university studies - Britting, Ayn Rand] 

 

Q4. What according to her later writings was the purpose of philosophy? How did she discover importance of metaphysics and epistemology?

 

A4. Man needs philosophy so that he can act in order to live. For acting he needs to make choices, and “Ethics” branch of philosophy gives guidelines to man for making choices. 

 

Ethics however is not primary. It requires discovery of code of values. And that discovery is possible only using some “method of thinking”. The guidelines for “method of thinking” are given by “Epistemology” branch of philosophy. 

 

Epistemology also requires view of nature of man, and the type of universe he lives in. Like whether its knowable by man using observation - reason or by intuition / faith etc. This study of “nature of man” and the “nature of universe” he lives in is done using “Metaphysics” branch of philosophy. 

 

Her view on importance of philosophy could also be inferred from what she thought about Kant and other Western philosophers. When discussing Kant's writing she got emotionally charged because his writings in essence invalidated mind by saying that there is no reality. And implication of this invalidation was nullification of values like your husband, your love, your work, music you like, and your freedom. 

 

She disliked obscurity of philosophers, and as an alternative studied honest reporting of obscure philosophers(like Kant) from secondary sources. These writings clearly conveyed the essence of primary obscure writings. 

[References: For the importance of philosophy, Britting, Ayn Rand, p92. And The Romantic Manifesto pp 37-38 hardback edition. 

For the views on Kant, Britting, Ayn Rand, p76-77]. 

 

HOW SHE DISCOVERED IMPORTANCE OF METAPHYSICS AND EPISTEMOLOGY 

 

While writing for a follow up project after The Fountainhead, Ayn Rand discovered the need to develop foundation of Ethical ideas, and so started moving down the philosophical hierarchy towards metaphysics and epistemology, which had more fundamental concepts. 

[References: Ayn Rand beginning a nonfiction book on her ethics : Britting, Ayn Rand, p73 and p74] 

 

Q5. What were Ayn Rand's influences in college? 

A5. 

a.) Aristotle : She admired his support for rational mind. 

b.) Nietzsche : There was high regard for outstanding individual in Nietzsche's Thus Spoke Zarathustra. This was similar to Ayn Rand's vision of an “ideal man” from childhood stories. This regard caused admiration. 

But later assault on reason in Nietzsche's “The Birth of Tragedy” led to her rejecting his philosophy. 

 

Further, I think details of her explicit rejection can also be seen in her rejection of Nietzsche giving primacy to “Dionysus”(signifying emotions) over “Apollo”(signifying reason) in her essay “Apollo and Dionysus”. 

[References: 

a. For Ayn Rand's views on Aristotle and NietzcheBritting, Ayn Rand. 

b. Robert Mayhew's discussion of “Nietzschean passages” in the 1936 ed. of her first novel We The Living. The discussion is available in the essay “We the Living : '36 and '59,” in Robert Mayhew ed., Essays on Ayn Rand's We the Living, 2004.] 

 

Q6. List positive and negative elements of Rand's life during her college years? 

A6. 

A. Negative Elements 

1. Leningrad State University expelling Rosenbaum and other “non proletarian” students. Negative reaction from Europe however, led to their reinstatement. 

 

B. Positive Elements 

1. Western culture penetrating into Leningrad, and Ayn Rand discovering joy brought by the European operettas and cinema. 

 

2. Ayn Rand graduating with honors and enrolling in State Institute for Cinema Arts. 

 

3. She outlined plays and novels she intended to complete later. 

 

[a. For her time at university – Britting, Ayn Rand, pp 23,24 

b. For her love of operettas and cinema – Britting, Ayn Rand, pp 22-23] 

 

Q7. What role do you think college life played in her development as an intellectual? 

A7. While Ayn Rand widely read many philosophers from primary and secondary sources, Aristotle is the only philosopher whose influence she has acknowledged. And looks like she got introduced to his explicit ideas in college.(Implicit ideas like “Application of Logic”, as we see from text, were taken from school in Crimea). Nizetsche is the other intellectual who influenced her partially, and he too was introduced in the college. 

The artistic studies, operettas, and cinema in college contributed to her aesthetic ideas. 

 

Q8. Why she decided to leave Russia? How did she do it? What is the relationship between this decision, and decision to change her name? 

A8. 

Why : After her expulsion and subsequent reinstatement, I think Ayn Rand concluded that long term there cannot be any freedom in Russia. So to write she must leave Russia. The expulsion I think was just a trigger, Alisa had misgivings about Communism ever since 1917. 

[Last sentence is not from the text. About the misgivings I read somewhere, and expulsion being the trigger is just an educated guess.] 

 

How : She traveled to Latvia and obtained Visa. 

 

Changing name : To protect her family back in Russia, and to break away from her past, she changed the name to “Ayn Rand” from “Alisa Rosenbaum”. 

[References: 

On changing name Rand, Letters, p40, and “Frequently Asked Questions” of “Ayn Rand Institute” website which contains excerpts of ARIs newletter Impact from June, 2000] 

 

 

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Today we also remember Burgess on his 71st birthday. The start week was chosen for this reason. This is his first birthday after his passing on August 29 last year.

 

His ideas and writings deserve to be immortalized, and study-group is the step in that direction.

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Good Morning, today is Monday, July 6th, 2015. I will be posting the questions for 2nd week.

 

As always, primary focus of the study group remains text of the book. The external related references are secondary, and disagreements with author or other participants are tertiary.

 

POWER AND GLORY – THE KEY IDEAS AND CRUSADING LIVES OF EIGHT DEBATERS OF REASON VS FAITH

 

 

RAND : A PHILOSOPHICAL NOVELIST DEFENDS REASON – OBJECTIVELY SPEAKING

 

WEEK 2

 

INITIAL YEARS IN AMERICA, TILL THE PUBLICATION OF "THE FOUNTAINHEAD"

 

Monday, 6th July - Sunday, 12th July

 

Questions

 

- America – Free to write

 

Q1. Describe Rand's career plans, and what she did to achieve those?

 

Q2. Describe methods and motivations of Ayn Rand, while she was writing initial novels prior to “The Fountainhead” and “Anthem”? What role did the writings play in her achievement of “Central Purpose of Life”?

 

Q3. Describe her initial success, before the point where she started writing “The Fountainhead”?

 

- An ideal man, a man of reason
 

Q4. Describe theme, plot theme, and main character of “The Fountainhead”? How does the theme represent Rand's overall progression as a writer?

 

Q5. How did study of Ethics and Politics contribute to Ayn Rand's central purpose in life, presenting ideal man that is?

 

Q6. How was the method of writing “The Fountainhead” different from writing “We The Living”? What preparations did she do for “The Fountainhead”?

 

Q7. What was the theme and style of Anthem?

 

Q8. What was her purpose of writing journals?

 

Q9. Why did she join political campaign in 1940 presidential election, and why did she later abandon it? Which intellectual skill did she start developing here?

 

General Question

Q10. How Ayn Rand engaged and expanded her social network?

(Hint: Some part of answer from “The Final Novel” section)

 

Edited by RohinGupta

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I have read the entire book, and I have a comment pertaining to the book in general.

 

In several places in the book, Laughlin says that it is necessary to spend years or decades studying a philosophy before one can become an expert in that philosophy. He also says that if someone is not an expert in their philosophy, then they should not debate about it. Rather, Laughlin thinks they will find it more productive to discuss ideas with other people in order to learn about other points of view.

 

Given these statements, it seems likely that Laughlin would disapprove of the debates that take place on the internet between people who are not experts in their respective philosophies. I don't think he would deny that it is sometimes valuable for practical reasons to debate with other people when you are not an expert (e.g., if a Marxist is advocating Marxism to a potentially receptive audience). The idea seems to be that discussion is, relatively speaking, more beneficial to the parties involved than debate if no one present is an expert.

 

I think a good way of concretizing why Laughlin might think this is to read the transcripts of Ayn Rand's discussions with various philosophy professors in the appendix to ITOE. The professors ask questions that I think most Objectivists would have trouble answering with much plausibility, let alone in real time, but Rand responds to all of the questions convincingly and sometimes brilliantly. This is what the difference between an expert in a philosophy and a student of it looks like in the real world.

 

Do you guys agree with my interpretation of Laughlin? I think it's pretty well supported by the book, but I want to make sure I am understanding what he is trying to say.

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Q1. Describe Rand's career plans, and what she did to achieve those?

A1. Her general career plan was to become a screenwriter, and "graduate into literature" later. She moved to Hollywood and worked as a junior screenwriter as a researcher. Later, she would rise early in the morning to write prior to going to work. She read serious literature in English
—pg. 223, 224


Q2. Describe methods and motivations of Ayn Rand, while she was writing initial novels prior to “The Fountainhead” and “Anthem”? What role did the writings play in her achievement of “Central Purpose of Life”?

A2. She outlined and wrote "We The Living" using "Airtight" as a working title to keep focused on the subject and theme of the book. The sale of two plays "Red Pawn" and "Penthouse Legend" later re-titled "Night of January the 16th" allowed her to work on the novel full time. These writing were stepping stones to the full implementation of her central purpose of life.
—pg. 223, 224


Q3. Describe her initial success, before the point where she started writing “The Fountainhead”?

A3. The submission of "We the Living" met with opposition by a member of the American Communist Party. Passed by the other members on the editorial board, the novel received more reviews than any subsequent novel she released after. The majority of the reviews were positive, especially in Britain, about both her style and ideas.
—pg. 225


Q4. Describe theme, plot theme, and main character of “The Fountainhead”? How does the theme represent Rand's overall progression as a writer?

A4. Howard Roark was her first portrayal of an ideal man, while the theme was ethical, a defense of rational egoism, specifically the virtue of independence. This represented Miss Rand's move down the philosophical hierarchy from political level to the more fundamental level of ethics.
—pg. 225


Q5. How did study of Ethics and Politics contribute to Ayn Rand's central purpose in life, presenting ideal man that is?

A5. Ayn Rand had to define and present a rational code of ethics.
—pg. 226


Q6. How was the method of writing “The Fountainhead” different from writing “We The Living”? What preparations did she do for “The Fountainhead”?

A6. "We The Living" was written as a historical period, where "The Fountainhead" forged the characters as literary abstractions. She researched architecture as a field and took a job in an architectural firm as part of her preparation for writing the novel.
—pg. 226


Q7. What was the theme and style of Anthem?

A7. The theme of anthem was egoism. It was written with a prose-poem style.
—pg. 227


Q8. What was her purpose of writing journals?

A8. They were a place for her to think aloud about emerging philosophical and literary issues. In essence, they provided a means of editing her thoughts.
—pg. 228, italics mine.


Q9. Why did she join political campaign in 1940 presidential election, and why did she later abandon it? Which intellectual skill did she start developing here?

A9. Miss Rand joined the campaign to support Willkie against the reelection of an increasingly statist Roosevelt. She became dismayed with Willkie's unprincipled presidential campaign although she developed some public speaking skills.
—pg. 227


Q10. How Ayn Rand engaged and expanded her social network?

A10. After discouraging encounters with conservatives and businessmen, she wrote other intellectuals letters and developed a core group of young readers of "The Fountainhead" that had expressed an interest in the philosophy behind it.
—pg. 227-203

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I agree that discussion is much better than debates, when talking to like minded or at least like thinking people. But you can still debate as a non-expert, after thinking through some obvious flaws on public issues, if crucial values are at stake. Obamacare and Progressive education are the issues that come to mind. You can use citations of Objectivists like "Ayn Rand Lexicon".

 

Here is the blog by Burgess on the subject - http://aristotleadventure.blogspot.in/2012/01/activists-choices.html

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Do you guys agree with my interpretation of Laughlin?

The transcript in ITOE was selectively edited, and while the responses are indicative of one who has a command of the issues being discussed, it leaves open what material may have been omitted.

 

The interpretation you cite is easily followed from the Conclusion of The Power and The Glory — pg. 247-249

 

In the spirit of remembrance, Burgess used to attach the following note to his Facebook entrees:

 

Most of the individuals who comment in my threads are respectful of others and focused on ideas. A few individuals are not. This set of guidelines is for them.

 

I may delete any comment that violates the rules of etiquette.

 

- I welcome support, questions, and criticism. By "criticism" I mean pointing out an error and then offering a superior alternative -- especially by linking to an essay of your own on the same subject.

 

- If I make a special request, comply with it. For example, if I say please don't comment unless you can suggest or link to your own better alternative to my point, then respect that request.

 

- Address the topic, but of course challenging particular concepts or statements within an argument is appropriate. Also welcome are further examples and elaborations of the topic. Don't hijack the thread.

 

- Deal with the issues, not personalities. If you dislike someone, ignore them or block them. Do not fight personal battles in my comment threads.

 

- Avoid foul language and other symptoms of profane culture, particularly democratic culture. I value the sacred in my life; I reject the profane.

 

http://www.aristotleadventure.blogspot.com/2011/05/what-is-profane-culture.html

 

- Do not comment if your screen name is a pseudonym. I want to know who is participating. With some exceptions, already known to me, I do not accept as FB friends anyone who hides behind a pseudonym.

 

- Avoid sarcasm. It is easily misunderstood, especially by the very people who most need straight-forward descriptions -- sincere, rational individuals who are new to the subject under discussion.

 

- Be exact. Do not say "objectivism" if you mean "Objectivism." Capitalization is important. ("Objectivism" is the proper name of a philosophy, the one Ayn Rand created; "objectivism" is the label, in traditional history of philosophy, for one tenet, the idea that a reality exists outside of consciousness.)

 

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Here is PART 1 of the answers to this week's questions

 

 

POWER AND GLORY – THE KEY IDEAS AND CRUSADING LIVES OF EIGHT DEBATERS OF REASON VS FAITH

 

 

RAND : A PHILOSOPHICAL NOVELIST DEFENDS REASON – OBJECTIVELY SPEAKING

 

WEEK 2

 

 

- America – Free to write

 

Q1. Describe Rand's career plans, and what she did to achieve those?

 

Ans: Her career plan was to become a screenwriter, later graduating into literature.

 

In Chicago Rand watched films and wrote film scenarios that a cousin translated into English. Rand hoped to show them to producers. On arriving in Hollywood however, she did not find work as a writer, and so she became extra in her favorite director Cecil. B DeMilli's movies. She next worked as a junior screenwriter, performing research for DeMille's story department. She also worked in a clerical job for film's wardrobe department.

 

To improve her use of English language, she developed a self-directed routine of reading serious literature in English. Also, she wrote in personal journal, long letters to her family in Russia, and short stories in the manner of O. Henry.

 

[References: The information in the answer is taken from the following sources :

- For Ayn Rand's stay in Chicago, time at DeMille's, her wardrobe job and writings, Ayn Rand by Britting].

 

Q2. Describe methods and motivations of Ayn Rand, while she was writing We The Living? What role did the writing play in her achievement of “Central Purpose of Life”?

 

Ans: Ayn Rand started working on We The Living in 1929.

 

1.) Methods :

 

a.) Outline : Writing of outline, using which writer establishes a logical flow of events.

 

b.) Working Title : She gave “working title” as “Airtight”. “Working title” enables writer to give greater focus to the subject and theme. Later title like “We The Living” is less direct and more intriguing.

 

c.) Theme : The theme of “Airtight” was ethical and political. “The supreme value of a human life, and the evil of a totalitarian state that claims the right to sacrifice it”.

 

d.) Language : Rand's limited command over English made first draft even more difficult. She would get up at 5:30am sometimes, as she was also going to her job.

 

2. Motivations : The novel was a step forward, but not yet a full implementation of her central purpose in life. Her central purpose in life being to show the character of an ideal man, and by implication, the philosophical ideas that guide his actions. ( She would reach philosophical maturity only in her forties and fifties, like many other philosophers. Only after that maturity could she articulate the philosophical nature of ideal man.)

 

Role of the writing in achievement of “Central Purpose of Life”

There were benefits of writing that enabled achievement of “Central Purpose of Life”. While writing “Airtight” she was able to abstract from her own experiences. And that abstraction enabled her to articulate three points.

 

a.) Her view of the ideal man's psychological nature. ( That is what things were important to ideal man. Like independence, centrality of purpose, and integrity. The character traits visible in two men in Kira's life).

 

b.) Her own admiring attitude towards that ideal.

 

c.) Certain broad political and ethical ideas she held as the proper context for the ideal man.

 

[References : a.) For Ayn Rand's methods, an article by Shosha Milgram “From Airtight to We The Living” in Essays on Ayn Rand's We The Living, by Robert Mayhew.

 

b.) Also for writing of Airtight, Ayn Rand by Britting, pp 39-40 and 121.

 

c.) For difficulty in composing We The Living, Britting, Ayn Rand, pp 40 – 41.]

 

Q3. Describe her initial success, before the point where she started writing “The Fountainhead”?

 

A3. In 1932, she made her first professional sale of an original work, an outline of the play Red Pawn. In 1933, she gained greater financial success with sale of the play “Penthouse Legend”(later titled, Night of January 16th). In 1934, she completed her first novel, formerly “Airtight”, now called We The Living, which her literary agent circulated among publishers.

 

She moved to New York City to get We The Living published. She worked here as a freelance reader, evaluating English, French, German, and Russian novels as possible sources for the movies. On moving to New York City she found another literary agent.

 

Despite opposition by some members, including Communist leaning Granville Hicks, the supporters of novel won. On being printed, the novel received many reviews, majority of which were positive. Reviews were positive about Rand's style and her ideas, though other reviewers ignored, misrepresented, or failed to understand philosophical points of the novel. Rand knew the novel had writing errors, but she was proud of the plot and the theme, and she could now assert some commercial success in three media : storylines for Hollywood movies, a Broadway play, and a first novel.

 

[References:

a.) For Penthouse Legend, Britting, Ayn Rand, pp41-42

b.) On publishing of We The Living, Britting's Ayn Rand pp47-48.

c.) Berliner's chapter on “Reviews of We The Livingfrom Essays on Ayn Rand's We The Living by Robert Mayhew pp 147-151.

 

d.) For rejection, as well as residence and work changes : Britting, Ayn Rand 41, 42-43, and 53(for the languages of the novels). For mention of her work as a reader: Richard E. Ralston, “Publishing The Fountainhead”, in Mayhew, Essays on Ayn Rand's The Fountainhead.]

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Here are the answers to Part 2 of this week's questions

 

 

POWER AND GLORY – THE KEY IDEAS AND CRUSADING LIVES OF EIGHT DEBATERS OF REASON VS FAITH

 

 

RAND : A PHILOSOPHICAL NOVELIST DEFENDS REASON – OBJECTIVELY SPEAKING

 

WEEK 2

 

 

- An ideal man, a man of reason

 

Q3. Describe theme, plot theme, and main character of “The Fountainhead”? How does the theme represent Rand's overall progression as a writer?

 

Ans: The theme of novel was ethical, a defense of rational egoism, specifically the “virtue of independence”. Main character of the novel was an architect who designed buildings guided not by traditions, social approval, or personal whim. But by using reason to understand the nature of each site, the building's materials, and the client's needs.

The struggle of the architect to uphold his integrity and independence against different type of people in society is the plot-theme of novel. Type of people ranging from antagonistic Dominique and Wayanand, to mostly resenting Keating, to the ideological foe Toohey.

[References:

a.) For the portrayal of the ideal man being a step towards “Central Purpose of Life”, Ayn Rand by Britting, p52-53

b.) For the theme of “The Fountainhead” being the conflict between “individualism and collectivism”, Art of Fiction by Ayn Rand.]

 

 

 

Q4. How did study of Ethics and Politics contribute to Ayn Rand's central purpose in life, presenting ideal man that is?

 

Ans: Since Ayn Rand's purpose was presenting of an ideal man, she had to define and present the conditions that made him possible, and which his continued existence required. Since man's character is the product of his philosophical premises, she had to define and present the kind of premises and values that create the character of an ideal man and motivate his actions; that is a rational code of ethics. Since man acts among and deals with other men, she had to present the kind of social system that makes it possible for ideal men to exist and to function – a free, productive, rational system, which demands and rewards the best in every man, great or average, and which is obviously, laissez-faire capitalism.

[Reference: For the description of her process of developing an ideal man in society, Romantic Manifesto, p-163, Rand.]

 

Q5. How was the method of writing “The Fountainhead” different from writing “We The Living”? What preparations did she do for “The Fountainhead”?

 

Ans: Unlike We The Living, characters of The Fountainhead were not historical individuals. The setting also was not a particular historical period, the years after the Communist Revolution in Russia being the setting for We The Living.

 

In The Fountainhead, Rand's characters are literary abstractions. She examined individuals in her own time and abstracted certain qualities, the essential(explanatory, causal) characters that made them recognizable ethical types. While still having descriptive touches, the “concretes”, that make them particular individuals. This method of integration of abstractions and concretes became a hallmark of her fiction writing.

 

Preparations for “The Fountainhead”

 

Rand did mainly three tasks prior to start of writing “The Fountainhead”(working title of which was “The second hand lives”) in June 1938.

a.) Researched architecture as a field.

b.) Worked in architect's office.

c.) Took notes and built outline.

 

[References: For Rand concretizing abstractions in her fiction, and also the preparations she made : Shoshana Milgram's essay “The Fountainhead from Notebook to Novel” in Robert Mayhew's Essays on Ayn Rand's The Fountainhead.]

 

Q6. What was the theme and style of Anthem?

 

Ans: Rand wrote novelette(a small novel) in 1937. Its theme was egoism, and its style was prose-poem.

(Prose-poem is the type of poetry characterized by its “lack of” line breaks)

[References: Britting, Ayn Rand, p53.]

 

Q7. What was her purpose of writing journals?

 

Ans: The journals were the place for Ayn Rand to think aloud about emerging philosophical and literary issues.

[Journals by Ayn Rand by David Harriman - “First Philosophic Journal” and “Notes while writing Galt's speech”.]

 

Q8. Why did she join political campaign in 1940 presidential election, and why did she later abandon it? Which intellectual skill did she start developing here?

 

Ans: She joined campaign against increasingly statist President Roosevelt. She did so by aligning with pro-market economy intellectuals who worked for the campaign of Republican candidate Willkie.

 

She became dismayed by Willkie's presidential campaign because it was unprincipled.

 

During the campaign she engaged in public speaking, a form of communication that was new to her.

 

[For Rand's political and socio-intellectual activities around 1940, Ayn Rand by Britting, pp 57-58 and 61-62.]

 

Q9. How Ayn Rand engaged and expanded her social network?

Ans: To discuss and examine foundations of free market in philosophy, she wrote many letters, some to other intellectuals such as Issabel Paterson. She focused on ideas that intrigued her, some of which were later published. After publication of “The Fountainhead” she got letters from the readers. She responded to them in letters, which were sometimes as big as 10 pages. [1]

She also tried to organize conservative intellectuals and businessmen to explore foundations of reason, but failed. [2]

 

From the section “THE FINAL NOVEL”

 

[Prior to moving to New York] At her home near Hollywood, she entertained numerous visitors ranging from local college political science class to fans, publishers, writers, and actors. She discussed Philosophy, as she considered the subject as the matter of “Life and Death”, and her words and emotions expressed her evaluations.[3]

 

In early 1950s, while writing “Atlas Shrugged” her network continued to grow. It included young readers who wanted to know about the philosophy behind the novel, since the philosophy in the novel was only partially spelled out. It included Nathaniel Branden the psychologist, Leonard Peikoff a young student, and Alan Greenspan an Economist.[4]

 

(There may be more instances in later sections that I have not integrated here.)

 

[References :

1. For selections of Rand's letters to Patterson : Letters by Rand, p61, Ch 5, 1943-1948, the end of friendship.

2. For Rand's attempt to work with Conservatives and Businessmen, Ayn Rand by Britting, pages 61 and 65.

3. For the quotation about Rand concertizing, in personal terms, the statements of philosophers, Ayn Rand by Britting, p76. This was further cited from Ayn Rand : Sense of Life by Layton.

 

4. For Philosophical admirers joining Rand's network, Ayn Rand, by Britting, p88].

Edited by RohinGupta

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A technical point regarding the use of references. Burgess Laughlin's footnotes, i.e., Ayn Rand by Britting,  indicate the sources he had used to substantiate what he had written so readers interested in fact checking or additional material on the matter can do so.

 

The —pg. # in my replies reference were from The Power and The Glory by Burgess Laughlin I derived my material, a point I neglected to make explicit.

Edited by dream_weaver

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Good Morning, today is Monday, July 13th, 2015. I will be posting the questions for 3rd week.

 

Few months back I read in facebook that Burgess researched the subjects for 15 years. So its a very well thought out material, which might not be immediately apparent from the book volume. So this study-group I think can help in understanding the depth of content.

 

The questions are as follows 

 

POWER AND GLORY – THE KEY IDEAS AND CRUSADING LIVES OF EIGHT DEBATERS OF REASON VS FAITH

 

 

RAND : A PHILOSOPHICAL NOVELIST DEFENDS REASON – OBJECTIVELY SPEAKING

 

WEEK 3

 

Questions

 

AN IDEAL MAN, A MAN OF REASON Contd...

 

Q1. How was “The Fountainhead” received and promoted?

 

Q2. Why did she move primary attention from “Ethics” to “Metaphysics and Epistemology” in her thinking and writings?

 

THE FINAL NOVEL

 

Questions

 

Q3. What was the political environment like, when writing of “Atlas Shrugged” got started?

 

Q4. Describe her general view on philosophy, and her particular views on philosophy of Kant?

 

Q5. What is a “theme” and “plot-theme”? Explain “theme” and “plot-theme” of Atlas Shrugged, working title of which was “The mind on strike”? How and why did scope evolve overtime?

 

Q6. What was the plot of Atlas shrugged? Explain challenge in creating it, and role of Epistemology in fixing that challenge?

[Hint: Part of The answer will require knowledge that is not given in the text being studied. Knowledge of Atlas Shrugged storyline in this case.]

 

Q7. Explain concretization by explaining the role it plays in novel?

 

Q8. John Galt speech was complex to create. How can you infer this from current text?

 

Q9. On what basis did she select the publication? Show that her apprehensions were correct?

 

Q10. Summarize Objectivism from what is given in the text?

Edited by RohinGupta

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Hey all,

 

Sorry for showing up late.  Here's my chewing of the first two weeks worth of reading.

 

Ayn Rand began early as a hero-worshipper and someone who did not waste her time (218).  She was drawn to action-packed fiction, and wrote during classes that bored her.

A valuer from the get-go.

 

At twelve she became curious to answer why questions (219).  She wanted to know just what she like, but what about certain things led her to liking them.  Her answers to such questions were in the form of generalizations.  From an early age she was interested in complex causal connections, and in discovering general, high-level, answers.  These general answers were always grounded in evidence.  "Principle" was a term designated to the general answers she found; "reason" was the process of looking at evidence to discover such principles.

A stringent thinker from the get-go as well.  Note that the drive behind such thinking was to further her current knowledge and pursuit of her values.  I think this points to a crucial aspect of Rand and Objectivism: the importance of value and reason is inseperable.

 

Going along the evidence-based trend, she studied history "to acquire facts about man's past development" (221).  Going along the principle-finding trend, she "also studied philosophy to develop clearer definitions of her broadest values" (219).
 

"Her goal was to improve the use of the [English] language...." so that she could show "the character of an ideal man, and, by implication, the philosophical ideas that guide his actions (223). To this end, she got a job as a junior screenwriter (222).  She also journaled extensively, wrote letters, and started writing short stories (223).

This stands out as an integrated and purposeful organization of career and hobbies.

 

Distilling abtract ideas into characters was one of Rand's great literary strengths (personal opinion).  It is interesting to note that the coupled relationship of abstractions (ideas) and concretes (people, actions, things) is fundemental to her epistemology (226).

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POWER AND GLORY – THE KEY IDEAS AND CRUSADING LIVES OF EIGHT DEBATERS OF REASON VS FAITH

RAND : A PHILOSOPHICAL NOVELIST DEFENDS REASON – OBJECTIVELY SPEAKING

WEEK 3

Questions

AN IDEAL MAN, A MAN OF REASON Contd...

Q1. How was The Fountainhead received and promoted?

A1. While a bestseller, The Fountainhead received fewer reviews than We The Living. In a decision to promote sales of the novel, Miss Rand agreed to have it made into a motion picture. where-after the book again rose to the bestseller lists.
—pg. 228
 

Q2. Why did she move primary attention from “Ethics” to “Metaphysics and Epistemology” in her thinking and writings?

A2. A request from the publisher for a non-fiction book on her ethical principles brought about the discovery that she needed to better develop the metaphysical and epistemological foundations.
—pgs. 228, 229
 

THE FINAL NOVEL


Questions

Q3. What was the political environment like, when writing of Atlas Shrugged got started?

A3. After World War II, statism was on the rise in the United States, while communism was spreading relentlessly in other parts of the world without any fundamental intellectual opposition.
—pg. 230
 

Q4. Describe her general view on philosophy, and her particular views on philosophy of Kant?

A4. As her favorite topic, she considered philosophy a matter of life or death in its consequences. When discussing an abstract topic such as Kant's philosophy, she became emotionally charged. When asked why, she replied: "Because when I hear a philosopher say there is no reality and your mind is totally invalid, that means all your values are nullified: you husband, your love, your work, the music you like, your freedom."
—pg. 230
 

Q5. What is a “theme” and “plot-theme”? Explain “theme” and “plot-theme” of Atlas Shrugged, working title of which was “The mind on strike”? How and why did scope evolve overtime?

A5. A novel's theme is the general abstraction in relation to which the events serve as the concretes.
The Art of Fiction, pg. 15
 
The "plot-theme" is the means by which the author presents the theme. The plot-theme is the focus of the means of presenting the theme; for the writer, it is the most important element in creating a story. The "plot-theme" is a critical category of Miss Rand's creation.
The Art of Fiction, pg. 17, ibid. Introduction.

The theme of Atlas Shrugged was: the relationship of the mind to reality; or more informally: the importance of reason. In The Art of Fiction, Miss Rand wrote: "The theme of Atlas Shrugged is: the crucial value of the human mind. The plot-theme is: the mind on strike."
—pg. 231, The Art of Fiction, pgs. 17, 18.

The scope of Atlas Shrugged grew as she realized that the actions of the characters in the novel needed to both philosophically integrate and artistically show essences of the branches of her philosophy even as she continued to refine her grasp of it.
—pg. 231.


Q6. What was the plot of Atlas Shrugged? Explain challenge in creating it, and role of Epistemology in fixing that challenge?

[Hint: Part of The answer will require knowledge that is not given in the text being studied. Knowledge of Atlas Shrugged storyline in this case.]

A6. The plot of Atlas Shrugged is to show how the world stops entirely. And when it has stopped, when the collective has destroyed itself—the world learns its lesson. At this point, the prime movers can come back.

Plot development to be thought out in detail: (1) every representative aspect of the prime mover who [are] martyred or stopped by society; (2) every representative aspect of the different way in which prime movers stop and go on strike—the kind of people they are and how they do it; (3) every representative aspect of the way in which the second-hander cannot function by himself and paralyzes the world. Every aspect of how and why and in what way the world has to stop without the prime movers—and does stop.
The Journals of Ayn Rand. Pg. 395

The two primary epistemological characterizations were brought about by contrasting characters representing a focused mind against those with an evasive mind.
 

Q7. Explain concretization by explaining the role it plays in novel?

A7. Taking the two roles from the previous question, the first third of the novel details obstacles overcome culminating in the triumphs of Dagney Taggert and Henry Reardon with the completion of the John Galt Line, representing the focused mind. One example representing the evasive minds was sequence of events after Chick Morrison demanded the reserve deisel engine from the Winston station  that led to the destruction of the tunnel.
 

Q8. John Galt speech was complex to create. How can you infer this from current text?

A8. It was a 35,000 word summary of her philosphy that took two years to formulate to her liking.
—pg. 232
 

Q9. On what basis did she select the publication? Show that her apprehensions were correct?

A9. She selected a company whose management recognized that the book was a radical rejection of Judaeo-Christian culture. After publication, it was attacked by conservative and "progressive" critics for her atheism and egoism as well as the capitalism based on egoism respectively.
—pg. 233

 

Q10. Summarize Objectivism from what is given in the text?

A10. The selection by Burgess Laughlin in his book was also put forth more broadly in the Ayn Rand Lexicon:
 

JUNE 17, 1962—At a sales conference at Random House, preceding the publication of <i>Atlas Shrugged</i>, one of the book salesmen asked me whether I could present the essence of my philosophy while standing on one foot. I did, as follows:

 

1. Metaphysics: Objective Reality

 

2. Epistemology: Reason

 

3. Ethics: Self-interest

 

4. Politics: Capitalism

 

If you want this translated into simple language, it would read [reformatted]:

 

1. "Nature, to be commanded, must be obeyed" or "Wishing won't make it so."

 

2. "You can't eat your cake and have it, too."

 

3. "Man is an end in himself."

 

4. "Give me liberty or give me death."

 

If you held these concepts with total consistency, as the base of your convictions, you would have a full philosophical system to guide the course of your life. But to hold them with total consistency—to understand, to define, to prove and to apply them—requires volumes of thought. Which is why philosophy cannot be discussed while standing on one foot—nor while standing on two feet on both sides of every fence. This last is the predominant philosophical position today, particularly in the field of politics.

 

In the space of a column, I can give only the briefest summary of my position, as a frame-of-reference for all my future columns. My philosophy, Objectivism, holds that:

 

1. Reality exists as an objective absolute—facts are facts, independent of man’s feelings, wishes, hopes or fears.

 

2. Reason (the faculty which identifies and integrates the material provided by man’s senses) is man’s only means of perceiving reality, his only source of knowledge, his only guide to action, and his basic means of survival.

 

3. Man—every man—is an end in himself, not the means to the ends of others. He must exist for his own sake, neither sacrificing himself to others nor sacrificing others to himself. The pursuit of his own rational self-interest and of his own happiness is the highest moral purpose of his life.

 

4. The ideal political-economic system is laissez-faire capitalism. It is a system where men deal with one another, not as victims and executioners, nor as masters and slaves, but as traders, by free, voluntary exchange to mutual benefit. It is a system where no man may obtain any values from others by resorting to physical force, and no man may initiate the use of physical force against others. The government acts only as a policeman that protects man’s rights; it uses physical force only in retaliation and only against those who initiate its use, such as criminals or foreign invaders. In a system of full capitalism, there should be (but, historically, has not yet been) a complete separation of state and economics, in the same way and for the same reasons as the separation of state and church.


 

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Good Morning, today is Friday, 17th of July. Good to see the Study Group gaining momentum. Thanks to Josh for picking up the thread despite joining late due to OCON, really appreciate the speed of study. Now we need not postpone the group, as was the possibility being considered before. Thanks also to Greg for the discipline and punctuality shown. This has helped give impetus to the activity.

 

Lets continue the great work. It might look small, and maybe even insignificant in bigger scheme of things.... But as Burgess demonstrated through his writings in "The Aristotle Adventure" and this book, its these small steps in various civilizations that paved the way for Renaissance and Enlightenment that transformed the world. 

 

Today I answer the questions posted on Monday.

 

POWER AND GLORY – THE KEY IDEAS AND CRUSADING LIVES OF EIGHT DEBATERS OF REASON VS FAITH

 

 

RAND : A PHILOSOPHICAL NOVELIST DEFENDS REASON – OBJECTIVELY SPEAKING

 

WEEK 3

 

 

AN IDEAL MAN, THE MAN OF REASON contd...

 

Q1. How was “The Fountainhead” received and promoted?

 

Ans: The Fountainhead appeared in market in 1943. It was sold to a major publication house. It received far fewer reviews than We The Living in both U.S. and in England. Some reviews identified theme of virtue of independence and underlying egoism in incomplete form. However it sold well, and its explicitly thematic passages implying support for reason disseminated her ideas.

She sold storyline to a filmmaker, and with movie the novel rose again to bestseller lists.

[References :

a.) For close study of reviews, Essay “The Fountainhead reviews” by Michael Berliner in Mayhew's Essays on Ayn Rand's The Fountainhead.

b.) For general comparisons of reviews [between The Fountainhead and We The Living] Essay “Publishing The Fountainhead” in Mayhew's Essays on Ayn Rand's The Fountainhead”.

c.) For selling of The Fountainhead, Ayn Rand by Britting, p61.

d.) For her return to Hollywood : Britting, Ayn Rand p. 68.]

 

Q2. Why did she move primary attention from “Ethics” to “Metaphysics and Epistemology” in her thinking and writings?

 

Ans: While writing non-fiction book on the ethical principles in her novel The Fountainhead, she discovered that she needed first to further develop the foundations of her ethical ideas in metaphysics and epistemology. Thus she moved up in philosophical hierarchy.

[References: For beginning of non-fiction book on her ethics, Ayn Rand by Britting, p73 and 76]

 

THE FINAL NOVEL

 

Q3. What was the political environment like, when writing of “Atlas Shrugged” got started?

 

Ans: Rand started developing Atlas Shrugged in the year 1946. By that time World War II had ended, with National Socialist and Fascist states being crushed by US and its Western allies. This allowed equally destructive collectivist movement Communism to spread to Eastern Europe.

 

Also, during that time cultural atmosphere in U.S. was gloomy, and statism was rising during the Depression and the war. Further, there was no intellectual opposition to the spread of Communism at that time.

[ References: For Rand beginning “The mind on strike”, Ayn Rand by Britting, p79 ]

 

Q4. Describe her general view on philosophy, and her particular views on philosophy of Kant?

 

Ans: Philosophy was her favorite subject of conversation, and she considered it to be a matter of life or death in its consequences.

Her evaluations, and therefore her emotions towards Kant's philosophy were negatively charged. Because Kant in his metaphysics had claimed that there is no reality. And this metaphysics invalidates efficacy of your mind in its epistemological consequences. And values like your husband, your work, the music you like, and your freedom are invalidated in its ethical consequences.

[References: For Rand's philosophical passion, Ayn Rand by Britting, p76-77]

 

Q4. What is a “theme” and “plot-theme”? Explain “theme” and “plot-theme” of Atlas Shrugged, working title of which was “The mind on strike”? How and why did scope evolve overtime?

 

Ans:

 

Meaning of Theme and Plot-Theme : A theme is the summation of a novel’s abstract meaning.

 

The link between the theme and the events of a novel is an element which Ayn Rand called the plot-theme. It is the first step of the translation of an abstract theme into a story, without which the construction of a plot would be impossible. A “plot-theme” is the central conflict or “situation” of a story—a conflict in terms of action, corresponding to the theme and complex enough to create a purposeful progression of events.

 

Theme : Theme of Atlas Shrugged was the relationship of the mind to reality, objectivity that is. More specifically, it was about logical relationship between facts of reality and ideas in the mind. Reason being the faculty that establishes that relationship. So the theme of Atlas Shrugged can be summarized as role and importance of reason.

 

Plot-Theme : What would happen if the most creative – that is rational people, in a society went on strike against demands that they devote their lives to the service of others.

 

Evolution of scope of the plot : Initial purpose of “The Mind on strike” was to show economic consequences of the philosophy implicit in her previous novel. Given the limited scope, she expected to complete the novel in 2 years. However, on proceeding she realized that she needed to integrate and demonstrate metaphysics and epistemology, along with ethics and politics.

Metaphysics of this world, epistemology of reason, ethics of rational self-interest, and politics of lassiez-faire capitalism.

 

Given this wider scope, the development of novel took fourteen years.

 

[References:

a.) For the meaning of theme, Ayn Rand lexicon referring from “Basic Principles of Literature,”The Romantic Manifesto, 81

b.) For the meaning of plot-theme, Ayn Rand lexicon referring to “Basic Principles of Literature,”The Romantic Manifesto, 85

c.) For origin of “The Mind on strike”, and evolution of the novel. Ayn Rand by Britting, p73]

 

Q5. What was the plot of Atlas shrugged? Explain challenge in creating it, and role of Epistemology in fixing that challenge?

[Hint: The answer will require knowledge that is not given in the text being studied. Knowledge of Atlas Shrugged storyline in more detail.]

 

Ans: Plot is a logical but complex series of actions that the characters take to reach their goals. Actions of Dagny to build “John Galt Line”, or to find the destroyer. Actions of Francisco to convince Rearden to join the strike. Or actions of John Galt to ensure that the Objective of the strike is completed. ( Objective was to demonstrate the role of prime movers in the world, by pulling them out from society and causing the society to disintegrate because of their absence. And therefore clear the path for forming his kind of world. )

 

Challenge in writing the story : The major challenge of writing a story is integration, which involves three essential elements.

a.) Particular characters.

b.) Plot as a series of concrete actions.

c.) Theme as an abstract meaning of story.

 

The theme of Atlas Shrugged involved integrating metaphysics, epistemology, ethics, politics and economics to build characters and plot. The magnitude of integration involved was the major challenge in writing the novel.

 

Role of reason in fixing that challenge : Applying reason involves integrating data of senses into abstractions about the world. One role of reason is to integrate various characteristics observed in man to form characters. Similarly, to integrate various events to form a logical plot. The selection of elements for integration, to form characters and plot being determined by theme, also involves reason. And the theme itself is formed by observation and integration of good and bad actions in real world.

 

Q6. Explain concretization by explaining the role it plays in novel?

 

Ans: Concretization enables “Objectification of values”, which is the primary purpose of art. (Of course, it assumes that artist has some values in first place). Objectify means to make values real by presenting them in concrete form. (While abstractions are also real, I assume here real is referring to sense-perceptible). “I think courage is good” being the example of abstract statement. And presenting courageous characters like John Galt and Jean Valjean in stories being the Objectification of courage.

 

Theme of the story is the abstract value, and elements of story like particular scenes, actions of characters, and various other objects are the concretes that convey the theme. Rather than giving away just the Theme, writer conveys it through concretes. And reader comprehends the theme through concretes while he reads, and forms the abstraction(of theme) from these concretes. The formation of theme in readers might just be an impression(visual or part-visual plus associated emotions), rather than the theme in words that writer had thought of.

 

[References:

a.) For objectification of values, Art of fiction by Ayn Rand, pp13-14

b.) For the artistic circle starting with abstract theme in artist's mind, and ending as abstract theme in reader's mind. The transmission happening through the concretes like plot and characters of story. Art of fiction by Ayn Rand, pp12-13 ]

 

Q7. John Galt speech was complex to create. How can you infer this from current text?

 

Ans: John Galt speech in the climax was a 35000 word passage. Ayn Rand invested two years in thinking it through, then outlining, writing, rewriting, editing, and proof reading it for accuracy and clarity.

(I read somewhere that initially she had thought that she will complete Galt speech in 3 months).

[References:

a.) For the development of Atlas Shrugged, “Ayn Rand” by Britting.

b.) For evidence of development of the novel, Journals by Ayn Rand. Part 4(“Atlas Shrugged”) in general, but Ch. 14(“Notes While Writing Galt's speech”) in particular.]

 

Q8. On what basis did she select the publication? Show that her apprehensions were correct?

 

Ans: Ayn Rand had no trouble finding publisher for Atlas Shrugged because of the success of The Fountainhead. She wanted publishing company that could withstand the hostile criticism she expected. So she selected publisher where management recognized that the book was a radical rejection of Judeo-Christian culture.

 

Reception of Atlas Shrugged among reviewers : The novel was attacked by both conservatives and the “progressives”. By former for atheism and egoism, and by the latter for defending Capitalism based on egoism.

 

[a.) For choosing Random house as the publisher, and for various types of reviews, Ayn Rand by Britting, pp84-85.]

 

Q9. Summarize Objectivism from what is given in the text?

 

Ans:

1. Metaphysics : Facts exist independent of man's feelings, wishes, hopes, or fears.

 

2. Epistemology : Reason is man's only means of perceiving reality, only source of knowledge, and only means of survival.

 

3. Ethics : Pursuit of rational self-interest and own happiness is the highest moral purpose in life.

 

4. Politics : Capitalism is the ideal political system, because here men deal with each other by free, voluntary exchange for mutual benefit.

 

[References : The above answer derived from the quotation in first column Ayn Rand wrote for “Los Angles Times” in 1962. Burgess has referred from “Objectivism” in Ayn Rand Lexicon, p344. And this “Objectivism” entry refers to “The Objectivist Newsletter”, August 1962, p35. The full text of the original column is available in the book The Ayn Rand column by Peter Schwartz. This book is a collection of twenty-six columns Ayn Rand wrote.]

Edited by RohinGupta

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Good Morning, today is July 20th. We completed the fiction part of Ayn Rand's career last week. Today we start studying the non-fiction part. As always, today I will post the questions covering the section. Participants can answer those, or pursue other methods for studying the section. 

 

Here is the section for this week :

 

Week 4

 

NON FICTION WRITINGS AND INTELLECTUAL ACTIVISM (PART 1)
(Works other than Epistemology)

 

Monday, 20th July - Sunday, 26th July

 

- Changing vehicles
- A Philosopher's provisional summary
- Opening and Closing channels
- Branch Books
(Pg 233-241)

 

Questions

 

CHANGING VEHICLES

 

Q1. What factors contributed to her decision to enter non-fiction?

 

Q2. Apart from writing books, what means Ayn Rand used to spread her ideas in the initial years of nonfiction phase?

 

Q3. While writing about fiction writing, how did Ayn Rand present the fundamentality of connection between conscious and sub-conscious mind, along with the relationship between abstract and concrete?

 

Q4. Summarize / Describe content and significance of her lecture titled “Faith and Force : Destroyers of the Modern World”? Also specify connections she made between various branches of philosophy in this lecture?

 

Q5. What lesson can “New Intellectuals” learn from latter phase of Ayn Rand's life?

 

A PHILOSOPHER'S PROVISIONAL SUMMARY

 

Q6. What is the content and significance of her book For the New Intellectual : The Philosophy of Ayn Rand”?

 

Q7. Who are four primary philosophers in the history of philosophy? Why didn't they integrate their philosophical product into one volume? What we can infer about philosophy from this part of “history of ideas”?

 

Q8. How are philosophical ideas disseminated?

 

OPENING AND CLOSING CHANNELS

 

Q9. Describe various communication channels of Ayn Rand in 60s? Also describe how they evolved overtime?

 

BRANCH BOOKS

 

Q10. Briefly describe the books of Ayn Rand in different branches of philosophy(apart from the book on branch of epistemology, which is discussed in next section)?

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Week 4

NON FICTION WRITINGS AND INTELLECTUAL ACTIVISM (PART 1)
(Works other than Epistemology)

 

Questions

CHANGING VEHICLES

Q1. What factors contributed to her decision to enter non-fiction?

A1. The biggest contributing factor was the conclusion that the culture was generally so philosophically corrupt that she needed to devote her time to nonfiction to elaborate and defend the philosophy she had presented.
 —pg. 234


Q2. Apart from writing books, what means Ayn Rand used to spread her ideas in the initial years of nonfiction phase?

A2. Public speaking, and informal lectures, private lectures, and workshops.
—pg. 234
 

Q3. While writing about fiction writing, how did Ayn Rand present the fundamentality of connection between conscious and sub-conscious mind, along with the relationship between abstract and concrete?

A3. Writers need to integrate their key ideas (abstractions) with sense-perceivable facts of reality (concretes), in order to avoid using "floating abstractions" for lack of the logical tie back to reality.
—pg. 235
 

Q4. Summarize / Describe content and significance of her lecture titled “Faith and Force : Destroyers of the Modern World”? Also specify connections she made between various branches of philosophy in this lecture?

A4. The crux of this delivery was delivered in her identification of reason and freedom being corollaries with their antagonist the corollaries of faith and force. Politically, the freest eras in history were the most rational, while the irrational eras are dominated by statism, dictatorships and tyranny. Ethically she advocated egoism after she indicated altruism as being at the root of many manifestations visible in the world at the time. Epistemologically, she outlined how the power of concepts were being directly attacked and/or being subverted. Metaphysically, she contrasted reason's this-worldly approach to mysticism's other-worldly approach.
 —Philosophy: Who Needs It pgs. 59-82


Q5. What lesson can “New Intellectuals” learn from latter phase of Ayn Rand's life?

A5. Captured nicely by Burgess Laughlin this epitomizes the latter phase of Miss Rand's life:


[The philosopher] has reached maturity when he spends most of this time expounding the philosophy he has finally understood rather than still studying a vast collection of the philosopher's writings and trying to discover connections (integrations) between the various principles in the various branches.
— pg. 239

 

A PHILOSOPHER'S PROVISIONAL SUMMARY

Q6. What is the content and significance of her book For the New Intellectual : The Philosophy of Ayn Rand”?

A6. The content consisted of excerpts from her novels organized philosophically hierarchically. It was the closest she came to producing a one-volume, nonfiction presentation of Objectivism.
—pg. 238
 

Q7. Who are four primary philosophers in the history of philosophy? Why didn't they integrate their philosophical product into one volume? What we can infer about philosophy from this part of “history of ideas”?

A7. Plato, Aristotle, Kant, and Rand. Engaged in working out particular philosophic problems, they tended to systematize them in their own minds, while noting or implying individual connections in appropriate places in one publication or another. This partly explains why a philosophy disseminates slowly.
—pg. 239
 

Q8. How are philosophical ideas disseminated?

A8. The Ayn Rand Letter
Vol. 1, No. 11  February 28, 1972
. . . And The Response--Part II


Newspapers [radio, television, movies, internet] do not create a culture, they are its product. They are transmission belts that carry ideas from the universities to the general public.

 

 

The Ayn Rand Letter
Vol. 1, No. 24  August 28, 1972
A Preview--Part III


The intellectuals serve as guides, as trend-setters, as the transmission belts or middlemen between philosophy and the culture.

 

 

The Ayn Rand Letter
Vol. III, No. 9  January 28, 1974
Philosophical Detection

 

If laymen did no more than learn to identify the nature of such fruit [the products of a culture] and stop munching it or passing it around, they would stop being the victims and the unwary transmission belts of philosophical poison. But a minimal grasp of philosophy is required in order to do it.

 

OPENING AND CLOSING CHANNELS

Q9. Describe various communication channels of Ayn Rand in 60s? Also describe how they evolved overtime?

A9. She tried radio and television appearances, a submission to the American Society of Aesthetics, correspondence with contemporary philosophers and historians of philosophy. Most of these avenues fell by the wayside as she bypassed the largely closed academia and mainstream mass media establishing a conduit directly to the "new intellectuals", her most serious audience.
—pg. 240
 

BRANCH BOOKS

Q10. Briefly describe the books of Ayn Rand in different branches of philosophy(apart from the book on branch of epistemology, which is discussed in next section)?

A10. Three books listed by Mr. Laughlin were The Virtue of Selfishness, Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal, and The Romantic Manifesto. These expanded on her ethics of egoism, politics and aesthetics.

Additionally, Philosophy: Who Needs It, The Voice of Reason, and The New Left combined speeches and written submissions on topics as diverse as philosophy in general, to specific trends in education, racism as collectivism, and the space program.
—pg. 241
 

Edited by dream_weaver
Formatting

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Good Morning, today is Saturday, July 25. Today I will answer questions I posted on Monday of this week.

 

Answers

 

CHANGING VEHICLES

 

Q1. What factors contributed to her decision to enter nonfiction?

 

Ans : She devoted second phase of her life to present her philosophy using nonfiction mediums, contrasted to fiction that portrayed ideal man and her philosophy in first phase.

After publication of final novel, she focused on the state of culture where her themes were proceeding. The state was examined from three sources.

a.) Hostile reviews of Atlas Shrugged.

b.) Reports from university students in her circle. They gave information about intellectual state of academia.

c.) Issues brought by non-academic members of the circle during night-long discussions.

 

After examining information from these sources, she decided that she needed to devote time to nonfiction, and defend the philosophy of ideal man she had presented.

 

[References: For Rand's change from fiction to non-fiction, Ayn Rand by Britting, p91-93.]

 

Q2. Apart from writing books, what means Ayn Rand used to spread her ideas in the initial years of non-fiction phase?

 

Ans:

a.) Public speaking in universities such as Yale, Princeton, Columbia, and Brown.

b.) Editorial review for series of public lectures on Objectivism by her associate Nathaniel Branden.

c.) Presented and recorded lectures on fiction writing to a small group. The forty-eight hours lectures covered aesthetics.

Later private lectures covered non-fiction writing and epistemology also.

 

[References:

a.) For starting series of speeches at universities, Ayn Rand by Britting, p-94.

b.) For the first lectures on Objectivism by Nathaniel Branden, Ayn Rand by Britting, p95.

c.) For the timing of recorded lectures on fiction writing, Letters by Ayn Rand, p-xxi.

d.) For lectures on non-fiction writing, The Art of Non Fiction : A Guide for Writers and Readers by Ayn Rand, edited by Robert Mayhew, NY, Plume(Penguin), 2001, pxi.

e.) For private workshops on epistemology, Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology, 2nd edition by Harry Binswanger and Leonard Peikoff, NY, Meridian(Penguin), 1990, p-125.]

 

Q3. While writing about fiction writing, how did Ayn Rand present the fundamentality of connection between conscious and subconscious mind, along with the relationship between abstract and concrete?

 

Ans: She rejected the disconnect between conscious and subconscious mind. Disconnect that was implied by slogans like “For those who understand, no explanation is necessary; for those who don't, none is possible”.

 

An artist she claimed, needs to have general premises in conscious mind. And to grasp those premises clearly, the grasp should involve sufficient number of concretes along with associated general rules. This way meaning of premises will become automatic to you. Therefore premise, the term associated with conscious mind, becomes part of subconscious mind through thoroughly understood and integrated concretes. And it is this automated meaning stored in subconscious mind that is writing capital, and therefore provides inspiration.

 

So lack of integration of key ideas to sense perceptible concretes will lead to “floating abstractions”. And therefore such abstractions will not be objective. Specifically for fiction writing, theme will be the abstraction, and individual characters and their actions concretes. [ Listing essence of characters, and encapsulating series of actions into chapters and parts can be considered as intermediate abstractions ].

 

For e.g. in Atlas Shrugged, “importance of reason” is the theme. Specific concretes used for “forming generalization” can be various industries, sciences, logic in philosophy, writings of Hugo etc. While these concretes are used for automating the understanding of theme, once understood properly the theme is used to generate concretes like Dagny's character of a purposeful person. And actions like construction of John Galt Railline demonstrating “importance of reason” in sequence of actions. Character of John Galt also demonstrating reason's importance, by identifying the prime movers of the world and destruction of world by pulling out these prime movers.

 

[References:

  1. For her analysis of Artistic mysticism, Art of Fiction, page 2.

  2. For floating abstractions, Art of Fiction, page 3.

  3. For elaboration of the use of abstract and concrete in fiction, Art of Fiction, page 13.

]

 

Q4. Summarize / Describe content and significance of her lecture titled “Faith and Force : Destroyers of the Modern World”? Also specify connections she made between various branches of philosophy in this lecture?

 

Ans:

Content : Lecture on “Faith and Force : Destroyers of the Modern World” brought metaphysical, epistemological, and ethical points. Further, these points were related to contemporary culture of 1960s. Specifically, she defined reason as faculty for perceiving, identifying, and integrating the material provided by man's senses. The ability to move from percepts to concepts and abstractions, is the differentiating ability of man from animals, latter being at perceptual level. Reason subsuming mental activities like differentiation, induction, reduction, and deduction.

Mysticism referring to acceptance of allegations without evidence or proof. Allegations instead resting on some non-sensory and irrational means like “instinct”, “intuition”, “revelation”, or any form of just knowing.

 

Significance : In this lecture, Rand presents not just her views on reason and mysticism in a digest, but also her whole philosophy. The definition of reason here was connected to the metaphysics that there is one world which is knowable by Human consciousness, that is by percepts and logic. And definition of mysticism she gave made mysticism mutually exclusive with reason. Because while former relied on percepts and logic, latter was based on non-sensory and irrational. Further, she broadened horizon of mysticism from just Faith to other forms listed in definition (instinct, intuition, revelation, just knowing, etc.)

 

[a.) “Faith and Force” from Philosophy Who Needs It(paperback) for the content being discussed. Pages 75-76.

b.) For functions subsumed by reason Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology pages 13-14(integration, differentiation) p28(induction, deduction). And Objectivism : The Philosophy of Ayn Rand, pages 132-134(reduction).]

 

Connection of epistemology to ethics and politics : The ethics for Ayn Rand, as for other debaters, was the payoff from epistemology. Epistemology of reason resulted in ethics of egoism, rational longterm self interest that is. Similarly epistemology of mysticism led to ethics of altruism. In politics, consequence of reason was capitalism, where peaceful and honest individuals think[and live] for themselves. And government only protects individual rights of citizens from [physical] aggression and fraud. Statism was the consequence of mysticism and altruism, because without reason as guide physical aggression is default.

[“Faith and Force” from Philosophy who Needs it, pages 79-81. And excerpt from Atlas Shrugged in the article at pages 88-90]

 

Q5. What lesson can “New Intellectuals” learn from latter phase of Ayn Rand's life?

 

Ans: The philosophical scope of “Faith and Force” was much more than Rand's previous works. The market her previous works had established, enabled “Faith and Force” to get transmitted into culture in the form of audio lecture and written text. And because her goal in life was central, as against multiple non-integrated goals, she could achieve greater number and higher quality of success. 

 

A PHILOSOPHER'S PROVISIONAL SUMMARY

 

Q1. What is the content and significance of her book For the New Intellectual : The Philosophy of Ayn Rand”?

 

Ans: The title essay gave current state of culture, history of philosophy, its influence, and the guide to “New Intellectuals” for reclaiming rational culture. Archetypes like Attila, witch doctor, and producer were used from time to time.

 

Also, it was a collection of excerpts from her novels. The excerpts were chronological, and also hierarchical. Starting from politics with excerpts from We The Living, to ethics from The Fountainhead. The Atlas Shrugged section also dealt with few general points about epistemology and metaphysics.

 

General points for epistemology being reason and logic versus mysticism. And this-worldiness versus other-worldliness being the general point of metaphysics. Detailed treatise on epistemology was written later though.

 

For The New Intellectual was the closest she came to producing one volume of her philosophy.

 

[References : For the dates of publication of this and the following works, Ayn Rand by Britting.]

 

Q2. Who are four primary philosophers in the history of philosophy? Why didn't they integrate their philosophical product into one volume?What we can infer about philosophy from this part of “history of ideas”?

 

Ans:

Primary Philosophers : Primary philosophers originate the process of systematic thinking. They do it by presenting original philosophical treatises in epistemology based on metaphysics, which(metaphysics) is also mostly original. Further, they also apply epistemology to present treatises in Ethics, and most of the times also politics and on Aesthetics.

 

Apart from Ayn Rand, Plato, Aristotle and Kant are other primary philosophers.

 

[ From Plato, I don't know of any significant contribution in Aesthetics. From Kant I do not know of any significant contribution in politics. Except the fact that he admired French and American revolutions because they led to destruction of authority. Nihilistic elements in these events that is.(Politics of Kant from one of Dr. Peikoff's lectures or podcast.)]

 

From their writings dealing with particular branch, here is what we can infer about the nature of text corresponding to primary philosophies. The content of each branch made individual connections with other branches at specific places(like epistemological ideas in specific ethical questions are isolated). But integrated volume of philosophy requires generalizing these connections, which was done by secondary philosophers of these primary philosophers. So while the primary philosophers loved solving particular philosophy problems, and systematizing connections with other branches in their mind, they did not present these connections in a general manner. From this aspect, and from the fact that “primary philosophy” is disseminated very slowly, we can infer that the subject of philosophy is really very complex.

 

Q3. How are philosophical ideas disseminated?

 

Ans: Dissemination is the process by which a philosophy and its implications are transmitted from primary philosophers to general public, latter being non-philosophical. Dissemination is done through intellectuals. The intellectuals are professionals that study “science of humanities”[like psychology, literature, political science etc]. And through them the philosophy is disseminated to people like university professor, writer, artist, newspaperman, movie maker, singer, and ultimately to the man in street. These people, and those studying physical sciences depend on professionals from “science of humanities” for various important aspects of human life like moral values, social theories, political premises, psychological tenets, and most importantly for the principles of epistemology.

 

[References : For the quotation about dissemination of philosophical principles to social hierarchy, For the New Intellectual, by Ayn Rand, page 25 of paperback edition.]

 

OPENING AND CLOSING CHANNELS

 

Question

 

Q1. Describe various communication channels of Ayn Rand in 60s? Also describe how they evolved overtime?

 

Ans: In 1960 she experimented with speaking at length on New York city radio stations. In 1961 she presented paper, “Art as Sense of Life” at a yearly Harvard University meeting of American Society of Aesthetics. She corresponded with contemporaries like Philosopher John Hospers and historians like John Herman and Brand Blanshard.

 

Further, her associate Nathaniel Branden offered courses on various subjects like principles of Objectivism, economics, psychology, and history of philosophy. These lectures were offered on media like audiotape. These programs were managed by Nathaniel Branden Institute. The institute also had book services by non-objectivists on subject of humanities like economics. The relationship with Nathaniel Branden however closed around 1967. Reason for closure given is his deceptive behavior in relations with her and his students. On withdrawal of Rand's endorsement it closed.

 

After closing of the relationship, she started “The Objectivist” magazine. This magazine succeeded the magazine “The Objectivist Newsletter” in 1962.

[References:

a.) For Rand's radio appearances, correspondence with Hospers, and meetings with philosophical writers, Ayn Rand by Britting, pages 94 and 99.

b.) For “Nanthaniel Branden Institute” page 95 of Ayn Rand by Britting.

c.) For starting “The Objectivist Newsletter” and later “The Objectivist”, Ayn Rand by Britting, page 95.

d.) For documented details of relationship with Nathaniel Branden, Passion of Ayn Rand's Critics by Valliant(Forum administrator Jasken)]

 

BRANCH BOOKS

 

Questions

 

Q1. Briefly describe the books of Ayn Rand in different branches of philosophy(apart from the book on branch of epistemology, which is discussed in next section)?

 

Answers

 

Q1. Briefly describe the books of Ayn Rand in different branches of philosophy(apart from the book on branch of epistemology, which is discussed in next section)?

 

Ans: The Virtue of Selfishness : A New concept of Egoism was on Ethics, and was written as an anthology. Capitalism : An Unknown Ideal was a book on politics, another anthology. The Romantic Manifesto : A Philosophy of Literature was her work on Aesthetics.

 

[Meanings – anthology : Collection of writings, articles in this case.

 

References :

For publication of VOS and CUI, p97 of Ayn Rand by Britting.

For publication of The Romantic Manifesto, p105 of Ayn Rand by Britting.]

Edited by RohinGupta

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Good morning, today is Monday 27th July. Today we begin last section for study. Next week we will conclude. Here are the questions for this week.

 

Questions

 

A DEFINITION OF REASON

 

Q1. What was central theme of the book on Epistemology? Whats the significance of this book?

 

Q2. Why is the central theme mentioned in (A1.) the most central issue of philosophy as a whole?

 

Q3. What was the answer offered to the problem of universals?

 

Q4. Give content and background of the 2nd edition of Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology?

 

SHIFTING GEARS

 

Q5. What was the scope of “The Ayn Rand Letter”?

 

Q6. Apart from “The Ayn Rand Letter”, what were her other intellectual engagements in the 70s?

 

Q7. How were ideas of Ayn Rand disseminated immediately after her death?

Edited by RohinGupta

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