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"And I Mean It"—Taking Ideas Seriously

Tara Smith

Presented at: OCON 2012

Date: Jun 30, 2012

Objectivists know the fundamental importance of ideas: ideas rule man’s actions. But what does it really mean, in practice, to take ideas seriously? Does doing so depend on one’s intellect? On one’s premises? Or motivations? Does it depend on taking anything else “seriously”? How is taking ideas seriously related to integrity and to purpose?

Understanding this issue sheds light on cultural phenomena, such as rampant hypocrisy and strategies for battling noxious philosophies. Even more important, it deepens our grasp of central components of Objectivism, including the relationship between ideas and reality, the contextual nature of principles, and the conditions of happiness.

After surveying numerous manifestations of people’s failing to take ideas seriously, Dr. Smith examines, in depth, what it is to take ideas seriously. Drilling into the most fundamental dividing lines between those who do take ideas seriously and those who do not reveals the critical role of other premises and, perhaps more surprising, of other values.

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Parts: 1

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