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Objectivism Q&A

Mike Mazza, Aaron Smith, Sam Weaver

Presented at: New Ideal Live

Date: Apr 27, 2022

In this episode of New Ideal Live, Aaron Smith, Mike Mazza and Sam Weaver address questions on Objectivism submitted by the podcast’s audience.

Among the topics covered:

  • Can Peter Keating change at the end of The Fountainhead?
    • The character Keating has created for himself by this point in the novel;
    • Whether it can be too late to pursue certain career goals;
    • The difference between adding a new career and a new hobby;
    • The error of thinking that a person has a single “true calling.”
  • Can you explain the “Ship of Theseus” thought experiment? How does it relate to the identity of a person over time?
    • Why this thought experiment is worth discussing;
    • How the identity of material entities like ships differs from that of entities involving processes, like living creatures;
    • How the same person can undergo a change in character.
  • Are some forms of wealth creation immoral?
    • The immorality of trading destructive non-values and pandering to people’s irrationality;
    • Why trading non-values is not a form of wealth creation;
    • How to think about the sale of products that can have unhealthy effects.
  • Should government licensing and regulations exist?
    • Why government may have the right to protect against risks to which people do not consent, but not risks which they voluntarily accept;
    • Laws that violate people’s rights versus laws that protect people’s rights from objective threats;
    • The value of private certifications and standards.

Mentioned in this podcast are Ayn Rand’s novel The Fountainhead, Leonard Peikoff’s podcast answer about Keating, the book Why Businessmen Need Philosophy, edited by Debi Ghate and Richard Ralston, and the book Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal by Ayn Rand.

0:00:00 Introduction
0:00:41 Can Peter Keating change?
0:02:23 Keating's self-made character
0:07:31 Is it ever too late?
0:13:48 New career vs. new hobby
0:18:07 The "true calling" error
0:20:53 The "Ship of Theseus"
0:21:36 Why it's worth discussing
0:25:14 Material things vs. living creatures
0:29:21 A person's change of character
0:35:32 Is some wealth creation immoral?
0:36:03 Immoral trade and pandering
0:40:15 Trading non-values
0:45:11 Selling unhealthy products
0:53:26 Government licensing and regulation
0:54:16 Risks: voluntary and non-voluntary
0:58:40 Risks and rights violations
1:02:49 Private standards and certifications


Parts: 1

Handout: none