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Objectivism Q&A - February 2022

Ben Bayer, Agustina Vergara Cid, Mike Mazza

Presented at: New Ideal Live

Date: Feb 09, 2022

We asked for your questions about Objectivist philosophy and you submitted them. Join Ben Bayer, Mike Mazza, and Agustina Vergara Cid to discuss Objectivism’s answers to your questions about the possibility of objectivity, the nature of happiness, the distinction between the potential and the actual, and the motivation of altruism.

Among the topics covered:

• How did Rand handle the problem of long- versus short-term happiness in her own life? Did she enjoy leisure activities?
o The recreational activities that gave Rand joy;
o Why Rand lived up to her ideal of using philosophy to pursue happiness as the purpose of life;
o The value of relaxation versus escapism in leisure activities;
o How work as a central purpose integrates with other values;
• Is objectivity possible?
o The possibility of objectivity understood as the use of a logical method;
o Why denying objectivity amounts to denying free will;
o Why one can be objective and still reach a wrong conclusion;
o The importance of using methods that guard against error;
• In what form does a potential exist, and how does it relate to an actuality?
o Why every potentiality is a type of actuality;
o How understanding this distinction can help us solve real-life issues, like the abortion debate;
• What does the “folly of altruism” achieve?
o Understanding Ayn Rand’s use of “don’t bother to examine a folly — ask yourself only what it accomplishes”;
o How altruism is used to rationalize forms of evil;
o Understanding Ayn Rand’s fictional characters in context;
o Whether Howard Roark is an example of total objectivity.

Mentioned in the discussion are the Ayn Rand Lexicon entries on “Happiness” and “Objectivity,” the books 100 Voices: An Oral History of Ayn Rand and Facets of Ayn Rand, Leonard Peikoff’s book Objectivism: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand, and Rand’s own Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology.

0:00:00 Introduction
0:00:39 Short-term happiness
0:01:11 Rand's recreation
0:03:34 Rand's pursuit of happiness
0:07:43 Relaxation vs. escapism
0:10:39 Work as a central purpose
0:17:54 Is objectivity possible?
0:18:13 Objectivity as logical method
0:26:45 Denying free will
0:28:29 Being objective and wrong
0:34:59 Guarding against error
0:39:56 Potentialities and actualities
0:40:12 Potentiality as a type of actuality
0:44:45 Real-life relevance
0:48:25 The "folly of altruism"
0:48:48 What does a folly accomplish?
0:52:52 Altruism rationalizing evil
0:55:26 Rand's fictional characters
0:56:47 Is Roark totally objective?


Parts: 1

Handout: none