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Who Are The True Objectivists?

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Thank you all for your responses. The insight into what being an Objectivist actually means has been very helpful. The aspect of Objectivism that I have always loved is integration. Objectivists are among the few people who, instead of just accepting things because someone intelligent said them, actually integrate and form correct conclusions on their own. This approach enforces the objective nature of reality, in that a group of people using different consciousnesses given the same inputs will form the same conclusions. Logic in action. It really only asserts how very correct we are. I'm sorry to ramble...but I love integration.

Toolboxnj: I think you have a very correct approach. I, personally, think that any internal unhappiness I feel is probably due to an unaddressed contradiction. Sometimes it's not, but my first action in addressing unhappiness is thorough introspection to find any contradictions. Sometimes I find them, address them, and correct the situation quikly, and sometimes it takes a little longer. But it usually helps.

And Stephen, about the rings: your secret is safe with me :thumbsup:

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But does this rule apply to Objectivism?

I'm not sure, but I'm inclined to answer no. Because it is a philosophy for living and a complete system that must be integrated and applied, the context changes. If one integrates the system, therby making all decisions based on a set of rational and objective values and principles is she an Objectivist? Or does she have to DO something in the world of philosophy, economics, politics, art, or science to become one?

I am only 18 and I really do evaluate everything with rational principles. I integrate the world rationally as I experience it and anticipate many more experiences and thus, much more integration. But the System has been integrated and set in order to do so. Can I call myself an Objectivist yet, or am I still a student of Objectivism?

[i appreciate responses from all, but the question is especially directed to those of the likes of Stephen or Burgess, as they are older and more experienced Objectivists]

I am only 19, so, like you, perhaps I don't know quite as much as these older Objectivists, but I strongly believe that becoming an objectivist is relatively simple.

I think it starts with viewing yourself as a heroic being, capable of original and beautiful thought.

Then it evolves as you learn more about what it means to be a rational human.

And Perhaps it becomes your title when you finally Know it, and what it implies.

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You're asking us when one could consider themselves an Objectivist but, based on this response, I think it's safe to say that you're not yet. Your statement reaks of subjectivism, the polar opposite of Objectivism. Essentially, what you said boils down to this: you can't ever be certain of anything.

Essentially, it doesn't matter what theists think the definition of god is. God is an anti-concept. God is a conglamaration of what someone interpreted to be the best attributes of humanity lumped together into one and called all powerful. As someone suggested before, you can find a better elaboration of this in Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology.

As for me, it would take god coming down to Earth and talking to me before I'd believe in him again. Of course, I'd also probably question my sanity at that point too and check into a mental health facility.

Does one yet believe in Santa Claus after learning the truth? No. Yet, once one learns of the non-existance of Santa Claus, it is at this point that one learns what Santa Claus is....."a conglomeration of what is interpreted to be the best atrributes of humanity.... He does not know what Santa Claus truly is until this point. :nuke:

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  • 3 months later...

Sparked by other threads, I want to ask in all seriousness: who is an Objectivist and who is not? I know that Objectivism is the philosophy of Ayn Rand and that it is a subset of rational philosophy (the state-of-the-art for this historical era). But what qualifies as an Objectivist? Here's what bothers me, is a Christian woman who has an abortion still considered Christian even if she goes to Church three times a week? Is a Marxist business man still considered Marxist if he does not give his wealth to the working class? They would probably be considered (even by their own) as bad examples or "failed" Christians and Marxists. But they would still be considered Christian and Marxist. If not, what would they be? Would they be in limbo with no classification?

So, if an Objectivist or someone who agrees with Ayn Rand's philosophy acts irrationally, is he no longer an Objectivist? Is he a failed Objectivist the way Lucifer was a failed angel? If a person really loves Ayn Rand and Objectivism but has a drug addiction that he can't break (not me - allthough I still stand by my fanatasy with the four porn stars), does his addiction bar him from being a "true" Objectivist?

I guess my question amounts to one of classification. To use an expression, do you have to live by what you preach or by the implications of what you preach to be an Objectivst? And if you fall short of that standard, what are you? Should there be a term for people like this? Something for our drug addicted Ayn Rand fan. I mean this poor guy, what the hell should he call himself? Is he just plain "irrational"? Should "irrational" be the default category for everyone who is not 100% rational all the time? Then I guess that, in essense, there would only be two classifications of people in the world; the Objectivists and the Irrationals.

Anyway, being that there was almost three full pages dedicated to the task of defining 'porn', this should prove interesting.

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Sparked by other  threads, I want to ask in all seriousness: who is an Objectivist and who is not?

I don't have enough time to explain who is an Objectivist; but I know enough to say that you are not an Objectivist.

So, if you're looking for some validation, there it is - or it isn't. You must know what I mean, that's the world you live in.

Edited by Zeus
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An Objectivist is someone who is in agreement with Ayn Rand's stated philosophy. Specific applications are not necessities (what art you like, whether you think a woman can be President or not, heterosexuality) for defining someone as an Objectivist.

If you err in your application of Objectivism you do not cease to be an Objectivist. However, if you realize that you DID err and you refuse to correct it, you are no longer an Objectivist: to arrive at a contradiction is to confess an error in one's thinking, to MAINTAIN a contradiction is to close one's mind and eject oneself from the realm of reality.

If you cease making an effort to identify errors or potential errors you are also no longer an Objectivist.

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I don't have enough time to explain who is an Objectivist; but I know enough to say that you are not an Objectivist.

So, if you're looking for some validation, there it is - or it isn't.  You must know what I mean, that's the world you live in.

IMO, my understanding of it far surpasses yours. And I don't have to role play as John Galt to get me through the day.

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I dont think this question would ever actually arise outwith a 'more Objectivist than thou' argument such as the one in the porn thread. However I suppose I'd define it as 'someone who agreed with Ayn Rand on what she considered to be the most important topics', even if they disagreed on other more peripheral things.

Also I think the analogy with Christians/Marxists is invalid. Christianity and Marxism are very broadly defined schools, admitting a wide variety of interpretations and sects. The point of restricting 'Objectivism' to Ayn Rand's published writings is, as far as I can gather, primarilly to avoid this kind of thing. But this is just the closed/open system argument again.

Edited by Hal
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I think an Objectivist is someone who is rational all the time. They are constantly focussing on the facts. They are always thinking about something, and trying to figure things out. I don't mean that one always needs to be calculating crucial formulas, but they do need to be focussed on reality.

I also think a constant active expansion of the mind is another requisite. This process and rationality go together. You can't learn if you aren't focussed on the facts.

That being said, the same goes for applying the virtues. You are obviously NOT an Objectivist if you are holding a contradiction.

The beautiful world of Benevolence and serenity we all seek to attain mentally, I think is aquired by a process of making your views, convictions and values solid. Most Objectivist think they are going to have this benevolent view by just studying Ayn Rand. There is so much more to it than that.

For example: I know some of some Objectivists who are always angry and disgusted with the world, in some cases, this is justified. But if you don't aquire independence from them, not care what they do or think and focus on your values, you will be blind to the beauty you think you are fighting for.

This process takes a long time. Not everyone can be Objectivist instantly. But I do think that whatever your level, as long as you have the requirements stated above, you qualify.

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  • 1 month later...

Anyone who is preoccupied with the notion of whether they deserve to be labeled an 'objectivist' or not has dishonest intentions. If you are an 'objectivist,' then it will show in your actions - thus, anyone who is interested in objectivism for their own rational self-interest will not care if they are regarded as objectivists or not, because they already know what they are, according to the law of identity. When one worries about labels as applied to themselves, they are being selfless in their thinking. Labels as applied to ourselves never have their origin in self-interest, for exactly the same reason fools only act like clowns in front of others: people tend to wear their labels like jewelry, but that is the key indicator that they are not serious about their values.

And as for the views on women, homosexuality, smoking, etc., they are not a part of her philosophy - they are opinions that she believes to be justifying rationally, but they are opinions nonetheless, and to follow the philosophy correctly and honestly does not involve agreeing with every damned opinion she holds. Objectivism supports free, independent thought, so holding that one must not disagree with any of Ayn Rand's 'opinions' is in itself contradictory to her philosophy of the mind. That is not being a rational, independent thinker, that is the exact opposite, using the mind of another as a substitute for your own. Objectivism is a guide by which one lives a moral, rational existence - that is all: a GUIDE. And yet I'm seeing 'noted Objectivists' passing off Objectivism as a sort of religious dogma, complete with a Holy Order, a Holy Leader (in this case, Peikoff), ex-communications, et cetera.

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I think the question "Who deserves the title of Objectivist?" is invalid.

Those who see it as a description couldn't care less about putting that label on themselves and others.  Their real concern is whether they and others are in sync with reality and whether they are on track to achieve their values.  That's where a person's real worth comes from.

Well put Betsy. Ayn Rand laid out a solid philosophical foundation. It is up to us and future generations to integrate her principles into our way of life and apply the philosophy of Objectivism to cultural & political issues now and 1000 years from now.

For example: Did Ayn Rand live to see the modern debate on stem cell research for biotechnology? No, but the following article is an example of Robert Tracinski applying the principles of Objectivism, such as holding mans life as the highest good, to the debate on stem cell research:


I've read a good deal of posts that seem to focus on definitions and core concepts, which is great for academics, but being the results-oriented engineer that I am, I have to ask, how does one apply the principles to the world around us.

As one who has earned a Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering, I will tell you that when you complete the "doctor of philosophy" you should be confident in being able to apply core principles from your discipline & in performing independent research. It is in applying the theory that one demonstrates how successfully they have mastered it.

That is what I focus on most. Philosophy is a tool for living life. Objectivism is the tool I have chosen to use in building mine. What's in your philosophical tool box? :)


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Hi. I'm relatively new to Objectivism but maybe a fresh look from a yet unbiased person will provide a new insight into this topic.

There is only one motto in Objectivism: REASON. Two people can be presented a problem and come up with two different solutions.

Many of the opinions and ideas Rand has presented have come about by her rationally and--dare I say it--logically thinking about those topics. And many of us find ourselves agreeing with them after logical thought processess. So even though the two Objectivists are arriving at differnent conclusions right now, with more rational thinking and maybe fixing some processess they will come to one unified solution that they both *have* to agree on because its the most logical solution and it makes perfect sense.

So going back to topic, any person who thinks rationally and adopts reason as his only tool in the world can be considered an Objectivist. (Although one might say certain basic principles of Objectivism such as atheism must be met).

(Edited to capitalize Objectivism and Ayn Rand's name -SoftwareNerd.)

Edited by softwareNerd
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Hi. I'm relatively new to Objectivism but maybe a fresh look from a yet unbiased person will provide a new insight into this topic.
Hmm! Did you see some evidence of bias. In fact, let me ask this: what is "bias"? How would you define it?

As for your explanation of who constitutes and Objectivist, a similar view has been presented earlier in this thread and has been answered.

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  • 4 months later...

If two self-proclaimed Objectivists disagree about a particular aspect of Ayn Rand’s philosophy, only one of them can be correct. It is possible that they both have it wrong, but they both cannot be correct. Can a real Objectivist disagree with a particular aspect of Ayn Rand’s philosophy? If so, to what extent? These questions boils down to:

What objective criteria must be met to be an Objectivist?

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Why is this important enough for you to start a thread on it? Of what value is the answer to this question to you and what porpuse will it serve you?

The term "Objectivist" is a concept that many people use. A critical aspect of Objectivism is that we should root our concepts in reality. How can we root this concept in reality without an objective standard?

The answer to the question posed here would provide a basis for evaluating myself. I do not want to say I am an Objectivist if I am not one. I think I am one, but how do I know? Don't we owe it to ourselves to define the very term that we use to describe ourselves? What kind of Objectivists would we be if we were unwilling to objectively define that which we so willingly call ourselves?

I think it is a very interesting topic and hope others will take it seriously.

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Objectivist is a person who strives to live by Objective standards.

You capialized the word "Objective," did you mean to? What are these?

I read the piece but did not find a definition of "Objectivist." The Kelly School/Peikoff School split (in general) is caused because of a difference in opinion of what it means to be an Objectivist. If we had an objective definition we might be able to determine which of them (if any) is actually an Objectivist.

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