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New Ideal - Reason | Individualism | Capitalism

Why Perfection Is Possible

In this episode of New Ideal Live, Ben Bayer interviews Harry Binswanger about his article “The Possible Dream” (recently republished in New Ideal), which channels Ayn Rand’s philosophy to refute the conventional idea that perfection is impossible.

Among the topics covered:

  • The conventional idea, represented by the song “The Impossible Dream,” that ideals are unachievable in reality;
  • The cultural consequences of the idea that moral perfection is impossible;
  • The mystical origin of the idea that moral perfection is impossible;
  • The personal consequences of accepting the anti-perfection doctrine, versus setting realistic goals and celebrating achievements;
  • The importance of recognizing that standards are man-made and can be chosen rationally;
  • What it means to achieve moral perfection;
  • How the possibility of perfection is an implication of Ayn Rand’s philosophy;
  • How to determine whether a concept or standard is valid or invalid;
  • Why the altruistic moral standard is not based on reality;
  • The relation of the possibility of perfection to the possibility of certainty;
  • Applying the idea that perfection is possible to philosophy of mathematics;
  • Binswanger’s experience writing the article under Rand’s editorial supervision.

Mentioned in the discussion are Binswanger’s article “The Possible Dream,” the periodical he edited, the Objectivist Forum, and his book How We Know.

The podcast was recorded on March 2, 2022 and was broadcast on March 23, 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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