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Objectivism Textbook?

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#1
Aspiring Objectivist

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So, I've been interested in Objectivism for a while. It hit me pretty hard about a year ago, when I was convinced that it was the uniquivically correct philosophy, with everyone else being obviously wrong. It was nice, for a while, thinking that all the answers were there, but, after going through an intensely dogmatic period, I'm finally at a point where I'd like to fully work the arguments out. I really, really want to believe that this philosophy is the only right one, and the best way to live, but, sadly, through all of my readings, I'm still left unconvinced in a few key areas. Rather than ask for help working through them, I think I'd rather start over entirely with my understanding of it.

I was thinking, is there a textbook-like compilation of everything to do with Objectivism? I know that the general book mentioned is Peikoff's “Objectivism: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand,” but Peikoff didn't really do it for me. I felt like many of his arguments and rationales for them were bad, and he lacked the level of concise writing that such a book needs. My other alternative is to read a number of disconnected essays by Ayn Rand in order to truly understand everything, which isn't very appealing and doesn't sound very effective. So, is there a book out there that not only lays the points out, but defends them in nearly every way possible, and also shows the hierarchy in a manageable way?

I suppose it's a lot to ask for, but somebody here must know about such a book, if it exists. I remember seeing a textbook of sorts (might not have been specifically what I'm looking for) about it on some site a long time ago, and I'm wondering if anybody knows what that is or if it's good. Anyway, I appreciate your time.

#2
softwareNerd

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My other alternative is to read a number of disconnected essays by Ayn Rand in order to truly understand everything, which isn't very appealing and doesn't sound very effective.

I would advise you to do just that. I'd start with VoS and CtUI.

Andrew Bernstein has a book titled "Objectivsm in One lesson". I have not read it, but that might be a place to start if you insist on not reading Rand.

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#3
patrik 7-2321

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I think the closest you will come is the book Understanding Objectivism, by Peikoff and Michael Berliner. Here you will be shown how to validate 4 principles of Objectivism, the purpose of which is to teach you the method of validating the whole philosophy for yourself. That's one half of the book, later there is one chapter explaining the hierarchy of Objectivism, followed by a few chapters on epistemology, and then emotions and moral judgement. The whole style of writing and argumentation is also different from OPAR.

#4
Bob Realer

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"So, is there a book out there that not only lays the points out, but defends them in nearly every way possible, and also shows the hierarchy in a manageable way?"

OPAR. I really don't understand your complaints against it. Do you have some axe to grind against Peikoff?

#5
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OPAR. I really don't understand your complaints against it. Do you have some axe to grind against Peikoff?

It could just be a matter of preference for style. I can read either, but prefer Rand's style.
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#6
Aspiring Objectivist

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"So, is there a book out there that not only lays the points out, but defends them in nearly every way possible, and also shows the hierarchy in a manageable way?"

OPAR. I really don't understand your complaints against it. Do you have some axe to grind against Peikoff?


I feel like the book goes at most arguments in a very roundabout way, and many of the arguments come from specific examples. I hate examples as proofs, and he seems to love them.

Anyway, thank you all for your advice, I'll give these books a try.

#7
Dante

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You might try Kelley and Thomas' The Logical Structure of Objectivism. They reformulate and add a few things, which you'll be able to recognize if you are indeed familiar with Rand's original presentation, but it does a good job on clearly illustrating the structure of support for some key Objectivist principles, and its diagrammatic style adds to the clarity immensely. Also, it's available free online, here.
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#8
Aspiring Objectivist

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You might try Kelley and Thomas' The Logical Structure of Objectivism. They reformulate and add a few things, which you'll be able to recognize if you are indeed familiar with Rand's original presentation, but it does a good job on clearly illustrating the structure of support for some key Objectivist principles, and its diagrammatic style adds to the clarity immensely. Also, it's available free online, here.


I'm really enjoying this. I think it might be just what I was looking for. And it's free, so thanks.

#9
m082844

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http://www.importanceofphilosophy.com/

I've enjoyed the above site.  Though they don't specifically claim the Objectivist title, they are.  In addition to covering Objectivist philosophy in a logical manner, they have a section covering misbegotten notions in philosophy in a logical manner too.


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