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Objectivism Q&A: Live from OCON

In this episode of New Ideal Live, recorded live at the 2021 Objectivist Summer Conference in Austin, Texas, philosophers Onkar Ghate, Ben Bayer, Mike Mazza and Aaron Smith answer questions about Objectivism from the audience.

Among the topics covered:

  • Whether philosophy requires specialized knowledge (e.g. about historical events);
  • Why Ayn Rand thought that determinism is “incoherent” and not just “false”;
  • Whether the existence of free will can be proven with a scientific method;
  • Whether “greed” is a valid concept;
  • Why John Galt and not Hugh Akston led the strike in Atlas Shrugged;
  • Whether there’s been progress in Objectivism on the subject of philosophical induction;
  • Whether “selfishness” can be defined broadly to include evaders concerned with their interests;
  • Whether an action achieved by illegal or immoral methods should be considered “selfish”;
  • How and whether the Stoics validated their virtues;
  • Whether there are principles for guiding a life proper to human beings beyond those of mere survival;
  • How to validate the concepts of “entity” and “identity”;
  • What elements of psychology are part of the Objectivist philosophy;
  • Whether the U.S. exit from Afghanistan could have “saved face” even without defeating the Taliban;
  • How a parent can deal with the influence of popular irrational ideas (e.g. Jordan Peterson’s) on his children;
  • Whether a principle’s application changes in different contexts.

Mentioned in the discussion are Leonard Peikoff’s book Objectivism: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand, and the book A Companion to Ayn Rand, edited by Alan Gotthelf and Gregory Salmieri.

This podcast was recorded on September 1, 2021. Listen to the discussion below. Listen and subscribe from your mobile device on Apple PodcastsGoogle PodcastsSpotify or Stitcher. Watch archived podcasts here.

If you’d like to ask a question to be answered on a future episode, please send an email with “Podcast question” in the subject header to newideal@aynrand.org.

Podcast audio:


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Agustina Vergara Cid

Agustina Vergara Cid, LLB and LLM, is an associate fellow at the Ayn Rand Institute and an opinion columnist at the Orange County Register.

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