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Aaron Smith on the Value of Reading Widely in Philosophy

Aaron Smith discusses the value of studying many different philosophers on The Don Watkins Show.

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In this episode of The Don Watkins Show, I talk about why it’s important to study philosophy, including the works of philosophers you think are wrong in fundamental ways. We give special attention to the philosophic training provided by the faculty of Ayn Rand Institute’s Objectivist Academic Center.

Among the topics covered:

  • How philosophy teaches you to challenge things you often take for granted;
  • How studying a range of philosophers can help you appreciate the challenging questions they’re grappling with;
  • The difference between earning your evaluation of other thinkers and parroting the evaluations of others;
  • What it means to approach philosophy in earnest versus using it as a rationalization;
  • The value of studying philosophy with instructors versus on your own;
  • How to read Ayn Rand’s work critically and develop your own firsthand perspective on the philosophic issues she addresses.

Mentioned in the discussion is Ayn Rand’s lecture “Philosophy: Who Needs It.” Also relevant is my article “Why Read Thinkers You Disagree With.” If you’re interested in learning more about the Objectivist Academic Center, you can find out more here.

This podcast was recorded on May 13, 2021. Listen to the discussion below. Or listen from your mobile device on Apple PodcastsGoogle PodcastsSpotify or YouTube.


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Aaron Smith

Aaron Smith, PhD in philosophy, is a fellow at the Ayn Rand Institute where he lectures and develops educational content for the Institute’s intellectual training and outreach programs. He is a member of the Ayn Rand University faculty.

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