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The Heroism Of Productive Work: An Intellectual History

Robert W. Tracinski

Presented at: IRM 2000

Date: Jul 02, 2000

This lecture surveys the attitudes toward productive work, as expressed historically in philosophy and art. It focuses first on the conflict between Aristotelian and Platonic elements in the classical world, then on Christianity's full-scale rejection of production. It follows this story through the liberation of trade in the late Middle Ages and Renaissance, the explosion of the Industrial Revolution, and the 19th-century split between philosophy and popular literature. Finally, the course examines the crucial observations that enabled Ayn Rand to identify productive work as a moral virtue requiring the highest capacities of  the human mind and character.



Handout: none


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