Presentation on theme: "OBJECTIVISM Ayn Rand’s Philosophy. Meet the Author Born 1905 as Alisa Rosenbaum in St. Petersburg (Petrograd)/ died 1982 in NYC 12 years old during."— Presentation transcript:
Meet the Author Born 1905 as Alisa Rosenbaum in St. Petersburg (Petrograd)/ died 1982 in NYC 12 years old during February Revolution– 1917 October Revolution– under Lenin rule, her family was displaced and their business & property was nationalized Faced harsh conditions living in Petrograd– at times, nearly starving At Petrograd State University, she began reading Plato, Aristotle, and Nietzsche Granted a visa to visit American relatives in 1926 & she became a screenwriter/ American citizen in 1931 Russian- American novelist/ screenwriter/ philosopher/ playwright
We the Living Rand’s first novel, published 1936 Rand’s most “autobiographical” novel– but still fiction Rand stated that We the Living "is as near to an autobiography as I will ever write. It is not an autobiography in the literal, but only in the intellectual sense. The plot is invented, the background is not..." Set in Soviet Russia- focuses on the individual vs. the state
Objectivism in Brief Rejected faith and religion/ reason as the only means of knowledge/ knowledge through the senses (Aristotle) Initiation of government force = immoral Supported laissez-faire capitalism/ against collectivism and anarchism The moral purpose of one’s own life = the pursuit of happiness
1. Metaphysics: Objective Reality Metaphysics: the study of being What is there? What is it like? “Nature, to be commanded, must be obeyed.”– Francis Bacon There is no mental process that can change the laws of nature or erase facts, and there is nothing more to those facts than what man can perceive.– Aristotle IF “Facts are facts” (no universal truths above us or greater than us– anti Plato and religion) AND Man does not “create or invent” facts but uncovers them THEN No supernatural beliefs exist/ there is no God/ there is no religion
2. Epistemology: Reason Epistemology: the study of the nature of knowledge and the grounds of knowledge How do we know what we know? “You can’t eat your cake and have it too.” You cannot both possess your cake and eat it/ meaning, one can’t or shouldn’t have or want more than one deserves or can handle/ similar to “you can’t have it both ways” “Reason is man’s only means of acquiring knowledge” therefore, the unreasonable/illogical such as faith, feeling, mysticism, etc. cannot exist. You cannot have both reason and beliefs in the unreason. Religions claim that God or the supernatural is so different from everything we know that it is beyond our reason’s ability to understand; however, since everything we “know” has identity, “God” cannot be proven to exist. “I am against God for the reason that I don’t want to destroy reason.” --Ayn Rand The very existence of God means that we cannot trust or abilities to know anything
3. Human Nature “Objectivism rejects any form of determinism, the belief that man is a victim of forces beyond his control [such as God, fate, upbringing, genes, or economic conditions).” You have the freedom to think for yourself; therefore, you have the power to create your own future and make your own decisions. No one and nothing is controlling you. Your circumstances are the result of you– yourself!
4. Ethics: Self-interest “Man is an end in himself.”– Ayn Rand Man must “live for his own sake, neither sacrificing himself to others nor sacrificing others to himself; he must work for his rational self-interest, with the achievement of his own happiness as the highest moral purpose of his life.” an individual's primary moral obligation is to achieve his own well-being—it is for his life and his self-interest that an individual ought to adhere to a moral code Rejected altruism = sacrificing oneself for others Rejected hedonism = following animalistic desires does not promote one’s life Man’s ethics (code of right and wrong) is based upon what is required for man to do for his survival that is rational. Violence or “mindless brute” behavior is not in man’s rational self-interest because this behavior could land him in jail, dead, injured, etc. and only prevent him from achieving what he wants. So, pursuing what makes you happy is not a rationalization for violence.
Ethics in Brief The essence of Objectivist ethics is summarized by the oath her Atlas Shrugged character John Galt adhered to: "I swear—by my life and my love of it—that I will never live for the sake of another man, nor ask another man to live for mine."[
5. Politics: Capitalism “Give me liberty or give me death.”– Patrick Henry calling for American independence from Great Britain “The only social system that bars physical force from human relationships is laissez-faire capitalism.” Capitalism provides freedom to pursue one’s desires in an environment that protects individual rights. So, laws and punishment are still needed if you are trying to infringe upon other’s freedom and rights by stealing, killing, harassing, etc. Against the redistribution of wealth because Rand believes that every person has the power to shape his/her future. If you want it, go and get it. It’s not someone else’s fault you don’t have it; it’s your own fault. Rand would have been against any attempt to raise taxes on the “top 1%” because it is an infringement of individual rights.
6. Esthetics “Art is a selective re-creation of reality according to an artist’s metaphysical value-judgments.” Art is a representation of an artist’s beliefs thrust upon the reality of the world Think of this in terms of theme– every artist has his/her own beliefs or themes about reality and shows them through his/her art
Romanticism Rand held that Romanticism was the highest school of literary art: “What the Romanticists brought to art was the primacy of values... Values are the source of emotions: a great deal of emotional intensity was projected in the work of the Romanticists and in the reactions of their audiences, as well as a great deal of color, imagination, originality, excitement, and all the other consequences of a value-oriented view of life.” The Romanticists created subjective art– responded to how their experiences made them feel– Rand calls her work Romantic realism.
Objectivism Quote Log Set up a 6 column chart in the Notes section: Metaphysics Epistemology Human Nature Ethics Politics Aesthetics Look for quotations that connect to each part of Rand’s philosophy in We the Living. Record approx. 5 quotations for each column & briefly explain each.