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New Ideal - Reason | Individualism | Capitalism

Q&A on the Best Objections to Objectivism

In this episode of New Ideal Live, Ben Bayer and Mike Mazza respond to several common and plausible philosophic objections to Objectivism that were sent in by viewers.

Among the topics covered:

  • Why it is valuable to explore objections to any philosophy, especially one’s own;
  • Why Objectivism does not fall foul of a supposed is/ought gap in its argument for self-interest;
    • What Ayn Rand says we can learn about the foundations of morality by comparing human beings to other organisms;
    • How to deal with scientific claims that seem to conflict with philosophic ideas;
  • Why modern brain science cannot disprove the existence of free will;
    • The merits and shortcomings of raising questions about the compatibility of free will with modern brain science;
    • Why Objectivism takes free will to be a self-evident primary that cannot be disproven by science;
    • Why accepting the importance of science and rationality entails implicitly assuming free will;
  • Why the choice to live, which sits at the foundation of the Objectivist ethics, is not a groundless choice and does not make the Objectivist ethics arbitrary or subjective;
    • How objections to the choice to live arise;
    • Why the choice to live is grounded in reality and thus not arbitrary;
  • Why the method of raising counterexamples, commonly used in analytic philosophy, often neglects the need to keep firmly in mind the facts one is trying to conceptualize;
    • The sort of counterexamples to Rand’s ethical argument raised by Michael Huemer;
    • Why counterexamples of this kind often fail to grapple with the real meaning of the generalizations they’re meant to refute.

Mentioned in this podcast and relevant to the discussion are the New Ideal Live episode “Objectivism Q&A—July 2022,” “Life-Based Teleology and the Foundations of Ethics” by Harry Binswanger, “Why Champions of Science and Reason Need Free Will” by Ben Bayer, “Seize the Reins of Your Mind: The Objectivist Theory of Free Will” by Onkar Ghate, Objectivism: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand by Leonard Peikoff, and “Reasoning About Ends” by Darryl Wright.

To learn more about our Ayn Rand Non-Fiction Reading Groups, click here. To learn more about Ayn Rand University, click here.

This episode was recorded on March 23, 2023. Listen to the discussion below. Listen and subscribe from your mobile device on Apple PodcastsGoogle PodcastsSpotify or Stitcher. Watch archived podcasts here.

Podcast audio:


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