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Ayn Rand on the Necessity of Moral Judgment

In this episode of New Ideal Live, Onkar Ghate and Ben Bayer discuss Ayn Rand’s provocative view of the meaning and importance of moral judgment as articulated in her fiction and in her nonfiction philosophic work.

This discussion assumes familiarity with Ayn Rand’s novel Atlas Shrugged, and listeners should note that it includes plot spoilers.

Among the topics covered:

  • Why Ayn Rand thought the slogan “judge not, lest ye be judged” is radically wrong;
  • Why moral judgment is necessary for living life;
  • The importance of moral judgment in Rand’s novels;
  • The need for moral judgment in foreign policy;
  • How to be rational when making moral judgments;
  • Cases in which one lacks sufficient information to reach a final judgment;
  • Rand’s view that a person’s ideas are subject to moral judgment;
  • Whether someone can innocently adopt evil ideas;
  • What to do after reaching a negative moral evaluation of one’s own actions;
  • The difference between Objectivist and intrinsicist views of moral judgments;
  • Judging people whose moral character has changed over time.

Mentioned in this podcast are Rand’s novel Atlas Shrugged, her essays “How Does One Lead a Rational Life in an Irrational Society?” “The Psychology of Psychologizing” and “The Cult of Moral Grayness,” Leonard Peikoff’s essay “Fact and Value” and his course “Judging, Feeling and Not Being Moralistic.”

The podcast was recorded on June 22, 2022. Listen to the discussion below. Listen and subscribe from your mobile device on Apple PodcastsGoogle Podcasts, Spotify or Stitcher. Watch archived podcasts here.

Podcast audio:


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Sam Weaver

Sam Weaver, BA in English, is an associate fellow at the Ayn Rand Institute and a recipient of the Conceptual Education Fellowship.

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