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Archive | Objectivism

DOLLAR: Binswanger Torpedoes Piketty

Thomas Piketty’s latest book, “Capital in the Twenty-First Century” has had its fair share of criticisms.  The political right continues to bludgeon the latest critique of capitalism by challenging the veracity of the book’s mathematics, formulas, and quantitative reasoning.  But Harry Binswanger understands that the basis for every attack against capitalism is grounded in the idea that capitalism is inherently immoral.  Therefore, any defense of capitalism cannot, and should not, be grounded in statistics, but must challenge the existing moral premises that permeate today’s society…

“Capital in the Twenty-First Century” offers up the same failed, blood-soaked doctrines as its forbearer, “Das Kapital.” But in our Twitterized culture, yesterday’s disgraced notions, now forgotten, can be re-Tweeted as revelations.

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Evil cannot be combated by offering counter-statistics, as many conservatives are doing. No one is concerned with the statistics, only with the moral narrative. And the book’s opening epigraph gives us that, via a quote from France’s 1789 “Declaration of the Rights of Man and the Citizen”:

“Social distinctions can be based only on common utility.”

In quiet, understated language, that statement lays down the formula for total collectivism. It cuts the ground out from under individual rights, substituting “common utility” as the standard for state action. It demands the yoking of the individual to the group.

M. Piketty doesn’t mention that four years after that ill-named Declaration of Rights came the Reign of Terror. The sequence is logical: the Declaration appealed to the raw envy of the mob, whose instrument became the guillotine.

The whole thing can be read here.

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How We Know – Epistemology on an Objectivist Foundation

Dr. Harry Binswanger has released How We Know – Epistemology on an Objectivist Foundation. From the book description:

What is knowledge? How is it acquired? How are claims to knowledge to be validated? Can man achieve rational certainty, or is he doomed to perpetual doubt?

How We Know presents an integrated set of answers to these and related questions, based on Ayn Rand’s Objectivist philosophy, including her unique theory of concepts.

Rejecting the false alternative of mysticism vs. skepticism, Harry Binswanger provides an uncompromising defense of reason, logic, and objectivity. Using vivid examples, he traces the hierarchical development of knowledge, from its base in sensory perception, to concept-formation, to logical inference, to its culmination in the principles of science and philosophy.

How We Know explains how following methods of cognition based on the facts of reality and on the nature of our cognitive equipment makes it possible to achieve rational certainty, no matter how abstract the issue.

The How We Know website also includes excerpts from the book. Definitely worth visiting.

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New York City Objectivist Mini Conference — November 4, 5, 6

The New York Objectivist Society has announced a weekend mini-conference in New York City for the first weekend in November. Early discount deadline is September 25.

The events begin with a fundraising dinner for the Ayn Rand Institute on Friday November 4, 2011. This will be followed by two full days of lectures on Saturday and Sunday November 5 and 6, 2011. Saturday and Sunday attendees will be immersed in an intellectual universe created by some of the best minds in their respective fields:

  • Andrew Bernstein will speak on “Villainy: An Analysis of the Nature of Evil.”
  • Harry Binswanger will speak on “Psycho-Epistemology: How the Mind Operates the Subconscious.”
  • Yaron Brook will speak on “Ayn Rand’s Free market Revolution: How the Ideas of Atlas Shrugged Can End Big Government.”
  • Eric Daniels will speak on “The Virtue of Judicial Engagement.”
  • Shoshana Milgram will speak on “Ayn Rand’s Top Secret: An Inspiring Original Screenplay about the Development of the Atomic Bomb.”
  • Jean Moroney will speak on “How Understanding Your Emotions Helps You Think Logically.”

The event will be held at the InterContinental New York Barclay Hotel (111 E. 48th St.).

Full details including lecture descriptions are at:
http://www.newyorkobjectivistsociety.org/www.newyorkobjectivistsociety.org/NYOS_Conference_2011.html

To enroll, first RSVP by sending an email to info@newyorkobjectivistsociety.org. Your next step will be to send a check made to New York Objectivist Society, Inc. Cost before September 25, 2011 is $500. After September 25, 2011 the price goes up to $600, based on availability. All payments will be due by October 15, 2011.

NYOS CONFERENCE 2011
InterContinental New York Barclay Hotel
November 4,5,6, 2011
$500 if paid by September 25, 2011
$600 if paid after September 25 but by October 15, subject to availability.

RSVP to: info@newyorkobjectivistsociety.org
Make your check payable to: New York Objectivist Society, Inc.
Mail it to:

NYOS c/o A. Benlian
P.O. Box 939
Bronxville, NY 10708

Again, full details including lecture descriptions are at:
http://www.newyorkobjectivistsociety.org/www.newyorkobjectivistsociety.org/NYOS_Conference_2011.html

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The Morality of the Welfare State

Write the duo of Yaron Brook and Don Watkins in The Entitlement State Is Morally Bankrupt:

Despite the fact that the big three entitlement programs–Social Security, Medicaid, and Medicare–have the U.S. government facing upwards of $100 trillion in unfunded liabilities, they largely remain a third rail: touch not lest ye be voted out of office.Why are they sacrosanct? Because, whatever else you can say about the entitlement state, no one disputes that it’s a moral imperative. Inefficient? Maybe. Expensive? You bet. But morally questionable? Absolutely not.

The problem with the entitlement state is not simply that it is bankrupting this country–the problem is that it is morally bankrupt.

The basic principle behind the entitlement state is that a person’s need entitles him to other people’s wealth. It’s that you have a duty to spend some irreplaceable part of your life laboring, not for the sake of your own life and happiness, but for the sake of others. If you are productive and self-supporting, then according to the entitlement state, you are in hock to those who aren’t. In Marx’s memorable phrase: “From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs.”

Read the rest of The Entitlement State Is Morally Bankrupt.

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OCON: The Leading Conference on Atlas Shrugged and Ayn Rand’s Philosophy of Objectivism

This year’s conference — OCON 2011 — will be held from July 2–8 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. In addition to the beauty of our beachfront setting, the Fort Lauderdale area offers a wide array of leisure and entertainment activities.

This year also marks the 75th anniversary of Ayn Rand’s We the Living, which we will mark with a special panel discussion featuring Drs. Shoshana Milgram, Robert Mayhew, and Onkar Ghate who will discuss the new chapters they have written for the forthcoming expanded edition of Essays on Ayn Rand’s “We the Living,” edited by Robert Mayhew. Two years ago, John Allison former CEO of BB&T delivered a lecture titled “Principled Leadership”; this year his lecture is titled “Teamwork and Independent Thinking.” Longtime Capitalism Magazine writer John David Lewis presents a special perspective on the thought and work of doctors based on his recent experiences as a patient in his new talk, “Individual Rights and Health Care Reform: A Patient’s Perspective.”

Other general session lectures will include: The Objectivist Movement: 50 Years Later by Yaron Brook; Individual Rights and Health Care Reform: A Patient’s Perspective by John David Lewis; Q&A with Interviewees in 100 Voices: An Oral History of Ayn Rand by Michael S. Berliner and others; The Culture of “Package-Dealing” by Peter Schwartz; What It Takes to Win: A Workshop on Defending Capitalism by Yaron Brook and Don Watkins; an Open Q&A by Yaron Brook and Onkar Ghate; Spaceflight as It Was—and as It Ought to Be by Andrew Lewis.

Optional classes include: Principles by Harry Binswanger; Ayn Rand and the Romantic School by Tore Boeckmann; History of the Supreme Court (part 1): The Least Dangerous Branch? by Eric Daniels; Egoism and Altruism by Gregory Salmieri; Bach and the 19th Century by Thomas Shoebotham; The Nature of Literary Heroism by Andrew Bernstein; Topics in Intellectual Property: The Computer and Biotech Revolutions by Adam Mossoff; The Philosophy of Immanuel Kant (part 2): Kant’s Moral Philosophy by Jason Rheins; To Imagine a Heaven—and How “Sense of Life” Can Help You to Claim It by Tara Smith;  The Measure of All Things by Robert Knapp; The History of Ancient Greece: The Early Fourth Century by John David Lewis; The Age of Discovery: Discovering the New World (c. 1300–c. 1600) by Andrew Lewis; and Ayn Rand, Private Investigator: Detection in Fiction and Philosophy by Shoshana Milgram.

There will be a variety of events and social opportunities for conference attendees as well, with opening and closing receptions, and an Independence Day BBQ dinner on July 4 at the Marriott Harbor Beach Resort and Spa.

Links: OCON 2011 Website

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What is The Best Single Book To Learn About Ayn Rand’s Philosophy of Objectivism?

Ayn Rand’s philosophical ideas are spread through hundreds of fiction and non-fiction works, radio addresses, taped and untaped lectures, seminars, and discussions.

Until the publication of Leonard Peikoff’s magnum opus Objectivism: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand, there was no single book, the interested student of philosophy could turn to, that presented Rand’s philosophy as a single integrated whole.

Thanks to Dr. Peikoff this is no longer the case.

Leonard Peikoff’s *Objectivism: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand* covers every philosophical topic that Ayn Rand held as important–from the objectivity of concepts and the metaphysical nature of man, to the virtue of selfishness and the purpose of art, this book covers it–and more.

Whether you are a scientist seeking to ground the principles of physics in reality, or an artist who wishes to understand the nature of art, or a philosopher puzzled over the problem of universals, or a teenager wondering about the meaning of life, or a historian wishing to grasp the link between the events in Nazi Germany and Ancient Greece, or a journalist seeking to grasp the cause of the slaughters in Bosnia and the cause of the slaughters in the schools of America, or a mother who wants to teach her child when one should and should not lie, or a businessman engaged in the virtue of making money, or a psychologist wishing to understand the relationship between the emotions and thought, or a college student in search of earth shattering ideas for a graduate thesis, or a teacher wishing to understand the way the mind works, or a priest searching for a rational basis for morality — Leonard Peikoff’s Objectivism: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand will have something of immense value to offer you — intellectually, morally, practically, and personally.

It is clear (Peikoff is a lucid writer), organized (the book presents Rand’s philosophy from the ground up, thus showing how her philosophical statement that capitalism is the moral system is inseperably tied to the metaphysical observation that A is A), and tightly written (Peikoff focuses only on essentials).

If you ever had any questions on the philosophy that Ayn Rand presented in her novels, or on the subject of philosophy in general (college students take note), this book has the answers you are looking for.

You may not agree with everything in the 494 pages this engrossing book. You will agree that it was worth reading.

Highly recommend. Required reading for all individuals interested in understanding Ayn Rand’s ideas.

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EVENT: Ideas Matter: Ayn Rand’s Message to Today’s World — A Live Lecture Broadcast to Universities Across the Country

From The Undercurrent:

AYN RAND’S MESSAGE TO TODAY’S WORLD
A LIVE LECTURE BROADCAST TO UNIVERSITIES ACROSS THE COUNTRY
THURSDAY, MAR 31 – 6:00 PM PACIFIC, 9:00 PM EASTERN

Today’s young people face an uncertain world. Unemployment among recent college graduates is at a record high, the United States is still bogged down in two foreign wars, and the wobbling American economy is in danger of deteriorating further once the Baby Boomers retire.

Voters choose between Democrats in one landslide election and Republicans in another, expressing their discontent with each party, and seemingly, their own uncertainty about how America should move forward. Many people wonder: where are we headed? Will America continue to be the land of opportunity, or are our best days behind us?

Dr. Yaron Brook, President of the Ayn Rand Institute, will argue that the answer to that question depends on what ideas young people accept and fight for. Join Dr. Brook as he goes beyond the headlines, examining the basic ideas that have shaped today’s events. And learn why the solution to today’s problems lies in rethinking not just our political system, but in abandoning the worship of selflessness.

To watch visit the website at: ideas.theundercurrent.info

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Politics Webcast from an Objectivist Perspective: “Libya and What Obama’s Supporters (and We) can Learn From It”

Here’s a link to the broadcast of Amy Peikoff’s Don’t Let It Go Unheard
— webcast to talk on politics and politics from an Objectivist
perspective.  This is the best podcast on politics from an Objective
perspective so it is definitely worth a listen if you could not attend
the live broadcast.

Topics discussed: The latest on Libya and what Obama’s supporters (and we) can learn from
it. Two different stories involving freedom of association issues — can
they be reconciled? Israel’s new missile defense system. A judge’s
rejection of Google’s settlement offer in the Google Books case. And,
Duran Duran’s Simon LeBon and his disappointing tweets.

Not only does Amy have a great voice,
she also has a clear mind. Enjoy!

Download the latest episode  and/or to register for next week’s live podcast.

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Thinking Tactics Workshops in Washington DC (5/7), New York (5/14), and Ft. Lauderdale (7/9)

 Jean Moroney has announced she will give her workshops on Thinking Tactics in several cities in the upcoming months:

  • Washington DC Area, Saturday, May 7, 2011 ($100 early-bird discount ends March 25)
  • New York City, Saturday, May 14, 2011 ($100 early-bird discount ends March 25)
  • Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, Saturday, July 7, 2011 ($100 early-bird discount ends May 1)

Thinking Tactics offers attendees a mental toolkit for tapping their own knowledge banks to solve problems faster, make better decisions, and communicate more effectively. During class, everyone test drives the tactics on their own issues.

The course is targeted to a general professional audience of “knowledge workers”–people who think for a living, such as managers, entrepreneurs, writers, and engineers. Objectivists interested in psycho-epistemology find the class particularly interesting, as all the teachings derive from the Objectivist view of the relationship of the conscious mind to the automatic functions of the subconscious.

Ms. Moroney is a graduate of the Objectivist Graduate Center’s full-time, 2-year program (1996). Details on the course and registration information are at: http://www.thinkingtactics.com

8-page brochure: http://thinkingdirections.com/TTBrochureSpring2011.pdf

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Politics Webcast from an Objectivist Perspective: “Operation Odyssey Dawn” in Libya

Here’s a link to the broadcast of Amy Peikoff’s Don’t Let It Go Unheard — webcast to talk on politics and politics from an Objectivist perspective.  This is the best podcast on politics from an Objective perspective so it is definitely worth a listen if you could not attend the live broadcast.

Topics discussed: “Operation Odyssey Dawn” in Libya; Whoopi Goldberg’s “puppy mills” comment; update on the fallout from the protest of a muslim “charity” event in Yorba Linda; two philosophy of law questions — one on obtaining civil damages from a defendant who was acquitted of the crime at issue,Not only does Amy have a great voice, she also has a clear mind. Enjoy!

Download the latest episode  and/or to register for next week’s live podcast.

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