The purpose of this blog is to explain the ideas of the philosophy of Objectivism to everyone, but especially those who demand thorough explanations and rigorous arguments. This site is especially aimed at college undergraduates, students of Objectivism and others with backgrounds in philosophy. Toward this end, this blog will answer some of the more intellectually sophisticated critiques of Ayn Rand’s philosophy, while maintaining high standards of intellectual discourse. Posts will vary considerably, both in subject and in intended audience.
This blog is not meant to be a forum for vigorous debate, but a place for people to discover some of the actual, deeper arguments behind Objectivist philosophy. It is my hope that this blog will encourage some students of philosophy and other humanities to take a look–or a second look–at Objectivism as a philosophy worth studying in its own right.
Also, there are a large number of people who have been strongly influenced by Ayn Rand’s novels, but who lack the time and/or philosophical understanding necessary to satisfactorily answer the criticisms of Objectivism by the philosophically initiated. This does not, in general, mean that they are mindless followers, or that they treat Objectivism like a religion, because one can have a basic, reasoned understanding of the broad principles of Objectivism without knowing all of the technical details, or having the philosophical acumen to defend it in a debate with a philosophy major.
Some of these people encounter a situation that seems to refute one of the Objectivist tenets, or an objection to the philosophy that they cannot find an answer to, and that undermines their confidence in the philosophy. These are some of the people who “went through an Ayn Rand phase, but out-grew the philosophy.” In my view, these are the people who did not gain an understanding of Objectivism deep enough to meet their intellectual needs. They gave up on the philosophy, not knowing that the answer was there, but they failed to take the steps necessary to reach it. My other hope for this blog is that it will facilitate the finding of answers to the tougher objections–and clear up the misunderstandings–that tend to discourage such students of Objectivism.
Note: I do not guarantee that all views I or any other posters express are in perfect agreement with Objectivism as defined by Ayn Rand. All philosophical views I put forward as Objectivism will represent my understanding of Objectivism and its applications. I may sometimes put forward my own views beyond what Objectivism says. I will strive to be careful to note when I depart from or go beyond the ideas of Ayn Rand and those works she endorsed.
On Comments: Once again, this blog is not intended as a forum for debate. (If you want long debates, find an Objectivist forum and have at it.) Criticisms of posts are acceptable in comments, so long as they are civil, on-topic and relatively short. Comments that employ ad hominem, or are hostile or derogatory will be deleted. Comments that are off-topic, excessively long, add nothing of substance to the blog, or that flout my express criteria for comments on a particular post, may be deleted at my discretion. Also, this blog is dedicated to the ideas of Objectivism, not to discussion of the life of Ayn Rand. Any comments that reference Rand’s personal life or behavior will be deleted. Any comments that criticize the behavior of particular Objectivists will be deleted.
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A Note on Formatting: I intend bold text within a paragraph to be read with an ordinary emphasis, like that implied by italics in traditional print media. Text in bold italics should be read with a slightly greater emphasis. I rarely use ordinary italics for emphasis, and when I do, it should be read as a barely perceptible emphasis. The reason I format this way is that italics in the font of this blog have a low contrast with normal font. The difference is subtle enough that italics can be nearly passed over and thus interrupt the flow of reading. Italics have a high contrast in a bolder font like Times New Roman, and so work well. But I find they don’t work so well in most online print. By the way, did you notice the italics on the word “so” in the previous sentence?
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A musical theme for this blog. I choose it not because it’s my favorite piece of music ever, (though it is fairly high on the list) but because it fits how I feel about the blog. I only wish it were longer. This music may change from time to time.
So far so good…
By the way, what is your name?
My name is Eric, but I typically go by Sword of Apollo, online. If you see a comment by either “Sword of Apollo” or “Eric M.” on a post or video related to Objectivism, that’s probably me.
Are you an INTJ, too? More strength to your writing.
I’ve never really seriously tried to classify myself according to the Myers-Briggs types, but INTJ and INTP both seem to fit me reasonably well. I also think I’m ambiguous on S/N. From what (admittedly little) I know of the underlying theory, I don’t see the classifications as sharply defined or terribly useful.
I’m not quite clear on what you mean by the last part. It sounds complimentary, so thanks. But “strength” is a bit vague to me in describing writing, and my writing has more strength than whose?
Your writing strength as compared to only yourself :o)
I believe that “strength” is more compelling than “power.” Thus, keep on writing & persisting.
Some speculate that Rand was an INTJ. I’ve seen how knowing someone’s classification helps in understanding the relationship & their behavior; another data point for inherently quirky people. Cheers.
I am an INTP. I found the 16 types found in Please, Understand Me most enlightening. But I am strongly typed, if you are not it may not mean much to you. It helped me understand others as well where they see the world so differently than I do and they react differently. Actually I am glad there are so few INTP’s, are kinda odd balls in a world of SJ’s and SP’s – there are few INTJ’s too.
Thanks for stopping by Malcolm’s Corner and liking ‘Freedom Works’.
Thanks for stopping by OFI.
Thanks for stopping by ChasingRabbitHoles and liking the DP Challenge – “Who is John Galt?” Glad I found your site.
Glad you found my site, too. 😛
I stumbled across your blog Eric as I recently launched my own blog to bring about change in the minds of Jamaicans. To have her citizens come to an understanding of rationality and objectivity. I fear this may a long and futile journey for me and my colleagues on our RightFromYaad blog, but at least we started and are in it for the long haul.
I myself have just started my intellectual journey (approx 8 yrs ago). I just concluded reading “Capitalism & Freedom” and watched many full-length Milton Friedman Lectures and tv series episodes on youtube. Walter Williams and Thomas Sowell are two other gentlemen whom i follow and am acquainted. I will get to Ayn Rand and FA Hayek in due course.
Our positions through hopefully reasoned and objective arguments will be derived from the principles of individualism, liberty and capitalism. Jamaica is a “Progressive/Liberal” country for the most part, dominated by Socialist sympathizers. She is torn by political party loyalties rather than political ideology, as the two major parties are essentially the same. We lack a critical mass of intellectual capacity at present to change political and economic policy to lift the masses of poor from under the crushing weight of govt, taxes and security forces of the state.
I will follow your blog closely, as I hope to draw inspiration from your postings to make an impression on my readers.
I agree that the task you have appointed for yourself is daunting. I recommend reading Atlas Shrugged as soon as possible.
For Ayn Rand, the issue of politics has roots deeper than politics. The politics that a country will endorse in the long-term will depend on the moral ideas that most people accept. If they accept self-sacrifice (“selfless service to others”) as a moral ideal, then some form of statism will follow in the long-term. (Egalitarianism is one product of this morality.)
If, after reading Atlas Shrugged, (and perhaps Rand’s nonfiction works) you agree with her on the deeper philosophical issues, then we can perhaps talk strategy. In my view, Rand’s works (especially Atlas Shrugged) are the most potent weapon a small free-market movement can have. Get the right people to read them, and your movement will grow.
If you get a Jamaican Objectivist Society going, then there might be a possibility of collaboration with the Ayn Rand Institute. They have a Free Books to Teachers program that might be helpful. It currently only serves the US and Canada, but there might be a possibility of expanding it in the future.
In the meantime, I recommend this video by Yaron Brook, executive director of the Ayn Rand Institute: Free Market Revolution. (His talk starts at 10 minutes in.)
Thanks for your reply Eric. I will take your advice. I will drop a line to you form time to time.
I would also recommend “The Virtue of Selfishness” it is a collection of essays and papers by Ayn Rand and Nathaniel Branden.
I love your phrase “intellectual journey.” It never really ends and there are always deeper layers…I have been working through many of the authors you mention for awhile now and the rewards are immense. Best of luck to you on your blog and with your deeper aspirations of inspiring cultural change.
Thanks so much for stopping by wordifull and liking my post “Who Am I?” I look forward to reading more on your site. I first discovered Atlas Shrugged at the age of 14. I then read everything by Ayn Rand I could get my hands on. Unfortunately, over the years i’ve found that most people that know of Rand either 1) Blindly hate her and her work or 2) Treat Objectivism as a religion…
I am excited just from reading your About section…from what I’ve read so far you do not seem to be a Randriod (what I call those who fall under #2) and I look forward to reading more.
Glad to be appreciated. 🙂
Tiffany’s Non-Blog has nominated you for the Liebster Blog Award!
It’s not really the sort of thing that I do with my blog, but I appreciate the nomination. Thanks! 🙂
Good luck Eric and congratulations on an excellent blog/site.
Hello! I am glad you enjoyed one of my posts. I am learning about objectivism as I have started reading “Atlas Shrugged” and am pretty floored. Thanks so much for stopping by. All the best to you–
Cool! Glad to hear you’re reading Atlas. 🙂 Have you had a chance to finish it yet?
Eric, thanks for visiting my website and liking my post “Why acting on principle pays.” You are doing good work with your blog–keep it up!
My pleasure and thanks! 🙂
just got to browsing so far. i look forward to reading it all!
Cool. Enjoy! 🙂
I really like the way you articulated the purpose of your blog. Moreover, I think you’ve recognized some key “road blocks” in the interest of clearly and accurately communicating Objectivism. I will likely be one to benefit from your blog.
I consider myself a student of Objectivism, as I state on my own “about” page on my blog, American Individual | In Pursuit of Happiness. However, I have not taken any formal philosophy courses beyond a college introductory course. My study is solely in the form of insatiable reading of book after book (both fiction and non-fiction) in addition to currently available media on Objectivism as well as some personal study on other philosophies.
I might not be able to successfully defend an Objectivist position in a debate with a philosophy major; even though I I’m certain that I have a firm grasp of everything that I’ve learned. – So, thank you for your blog! Keep the posts coming, and I welcome any feedback you care to give on my blog as well.
ARI’s new e-store sure is a big help for that, isn’t it? Have you been through these courses: Founders of Western Philosophy: Thales to Hume and Modern Philosophy: Kant to the Present?
I’m looking forward to Dr. Binswanger’s upcoming book, How We Know. I’ve been thinking a lot about epistemology lately, especially about the nature of truth/certainty, epistemological context, and the justification/proof of propositions that refer to particulars. I have some pretty well-developed ideas on these subjects, and I’ll be interested to see what insights he has to offer.
So, once again, welcome and enjoy! 🙂
Sword of Apollo – I recently made some major changes to my about page, a page which already had your “like” on it. I don’t want to have you unknowingly misrepresented given the changes I made to the content on the page.
I don’t think you’ll object to it, but if the situation were reversed I would want to have an opportunity to review the new content and decide whether or not to “unlike” the page rather than potentially have my stamp of approval on something I disagree with. I’d also appreciate your comment on it if you see fit. Thank you.
I’ll save you some reading – just skip to the last section on Ayn Rand and Objectivism
Thanks for stopping by my blog and checking out my latest book review. I just read Rand’s West Point speech via your link – I’m hooked, new follower here. I look forward to reading more in the future.
Thanks for stopping by and subscribing. 🙂
Miss Rand’s West Point Speech is a really good explanation of why philosophy is important. It is the first essay in the book, Philosophy: Who Needs It. Definitely a book everyone should read.
Just out of curiosity (old men are curious like cats), Eric M, are you under thirty?
Not sure why you’re curious about this, but no.
Just found your blog after you ‘liked’ one of my posts. Thanks for that. I’ve read your ‘about’ page – thanks also for barring folks from commenting about Rand’s personal life. It’s critical that when Objectivist ideas are discussed that we discuss the ideas rather than the personalities. Too many folks substitute personal attacks for intellectual criticism. Not at all helpful or honest.
Thank you for following my WordPress projects!
Thank you for stopping by and liking my quote! I got interested in Objectivism through Terry Goodkinds novels, then read “Anthem” in one night. Right now I’m reading Rand’s “The Virtue of Selfishness.” I look forward to reading more of your blog
What is your background and can you be sourced in an academic world?
I have a Bachelor’s of Science in chemistry. I had a couple of philosophy classes in college, but otherwise, I’m pretty much an autodidact in philosophy. I’ve studied Objectivism on my own for over 15 years. I have studied other philosophers off-and-on to better understand the issues of philosophy, as well as compare and contrast with Ayn Rand’s philosophy.
Can I be sourced in academic work? I don’t think there are any universal rules preventing it. I think it would depend on the standards of the particular journal you were submitting to, and the nature and context of the citation. I’m willing to privately give my full name to those who wish to cite my work for an academic paper. I have actually done this once.
For anyone who plans on citing a particular essay, I recommend saving a copy and noting the date of the citation. I occasionally edit my essays, so the presentation of any given essay may change over time.
I am writing something and to cite you I need your last name. Would you be able to give that to me?
Sure. See this page: https://objectivismindepth.com/about/i-2/
Thank you so very much!
You have an interesting blog that demonstrates the hard work of good writing.
Thank you for keeping this website alive. Because of your precision, I am constantly referring people I speak with to this website as a reference to certain key concepts of miss Rand’s.
Thank you, that’s great to hear!😁
Hello! I’m wanting to cite a section of one of your articles, “How Government Welfare Programs Are Immoral and Hurt Everyone, Including the Poor.” I think the particular content is perfect for the point I’m trying to make. However, I know if I cite you I’m going to get harassed in cross examination for not knowing your credentials let alone your full name. Would it be possible for you to share your name and/or any credentials you may think relevant? If you’re uncomfortable with that I completely understand, I just thought I’d ask just in case 🙂
Hi Amanda! At the bottom of the main text of this About page is a link to my full name and field of formal education. I’ll be more specific in this comment and say that I have a Bachelor’s of Science degree in that field.
Wow I can’t believe I missed that. Thank you so much!