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(MIKE) MichaleHansonBryan

Rand and Sartre (Objectivism vs Existentialism)

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There's a bunch of odd similarities between them, for one they were both in open relationships, the both wrote novels to convey philosophy, they both used amphetamines, were heavy smokers and died of lung disease.

According to Nathaniel Branden, early in her career (perhaps owing to her earlier Nietzchean influences) she one considered naming her philosophy existentialism, but decided against it.

They both have a very minimalist ontology, limited to a few broad descriptive categories. They both uphold the primacy of existence and a kind of conscious intentionality, that is, that consciousness is awareness of objects, and not simply awareness of itself, and both reject the prior certainty of consciousness and the cogito.

Sartre, however, is a phenomenalist in the tradition of Hegel and Heusserl and so upholds a kind of Kantian thing vs thing in itself distinction, though he does believe in the validity of sense perception, although sorta kinda, because the fact that sense perception is limited and fallible counts against them for him and not for Rand. Plus Sartre days a bunch of incomprehensible gibberish like, "consciousness is nothingness," which Rand denies the possibility of.

Apart from that they both stridently believe in free will, but Sartre's is a kind of indeterminist and acausal agency that overrides and literally cancels out the causal reality that underlies it("nihilation".) Rand's is compatible with the law of causality and is a naturalistic faculty at one with biological identity. They both also draw different conclusions, for Rand volition is the startig point of human value achievement, and so undergirds her heroic and optimistic ethical egoism, whereas Sartre pessimistically laments free will, which "condemns" us to make choices and face suffering and failure and navigate a nauseous array of subjective values.

Sartre, in general agrees that reason and science are valid and efficacious, but are cold impersonal, only giving us formal knowledge, but not meaning and purpose in life. But they're both atheists and are searching for meaning and purpose and want to substitute a kind of secular humanism in the place of religion.

Sartre has a lot (more) to say about psychology as well, but I'll cut it short there.

 

Edited by 2046

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Also, some more weird facts: both were born in 1905 and both died years apart, 1980 S and 1982 R. Also both have a novel with an "R" protagonist Roark (The Fountainhead) and Roquentin (Nausea) who apparently could not be more opposite of each other.

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13 minutes ago, 2046 said:

Also, some more weird facts: both were born in 1905 and both died years apart, 1980 S and 1982 R. Also both have a novel with an "R" protagonist Roark (The Fountainhead) and Roquentin (Nausea) who apparently could not be more opposite of each other.

I am more interested in there Philosophies, but thanks.

So would it be wrong if I called myself an Objectivist and be inspired by Sartre?

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I can't tell you much, but An Existentialist Ethics by Hazel Barnes, an eminent academic Existentialst, contains a chapter on Rand.

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