Home
Intermediate course in Objectivist Ethics

Intermediate course in Objectivist Ethics

2 Mins
|
September 15, 2015


This 5-part course in the Objectivist ethics was filmed this summer, in Nashua, New Hampshire, as part of our annual Atlas Summit.

LECTURE 1: THE NATURE OF ETHICS

ethics objectivist objectivism ayn rand course

Objectivism conceives of ethics as a practical code to guide our actions. Is this what ethics is? (Many traditions do not agree.) Why do humans need such a code? What do these facts imply about the content of ethics?

In this Atlas Summit session, philosopher and economics lecturer William R Thomas explains the distinction between values and virtues and discusses why we need principles. We will see that integrity is essential to ethics both as a matter of personal virtue and in the logical and factual consistency that ethics itself must have.


LECTURE 2: SELFISHNESS: WHAT AND WHY

This session explains the radical difference between Ayn Rand’s conception of selfishness and the conventional sense of that term.

Key topics include: egoism vs. altruism as ethical theories; the individual’s life as a fundamental value; and the relationships among life, flourishing, and happiness. The session will highlight differences between Objectivism and other common approaches in ethical theory as well as religious moral codes. Instructor: David Kelley, founder and chief intellectual officer of The Atlas Society.


LECTURE 3: ETHICS FOR THE INDIVIDUAL

Objectivism holds that each person needs ethics regardless of his or her social situation. Indeed, a Robinson Crusoe needs ethics as much as anyone. This session discusses the core content of ethics for the individual as such, including principles of rationality, honesty, productiveness, and pride. We will see how each virtue relates to the other, and how all are connected to the pursuit of value. William R Thomas, instructor.


LECTURE 4: ETHICS IN SOCIETY

While Objectivism holds that you’d need ethics even living alone, interacting with other people raises distinctive ethical questions and requires principles designed for the purpose. This session discusses the trader principle and its application to a variety of human relationships, the vast range of values to be found in interacting with others, virtues such as honesty, and some of the places where ethics borders on political philosophy. Alexander R. Cohen, instructor.


LECTURE 5: JUSTICE AND BENEVOLENCE

Justice is an essential virtue in the Objectivist ethics. This Atlas Summit session covers the nature and importance of justice, both for personal life and for a good society.

Philosopher David Kelley discusses the purpose and standards of moral judgment, the sanction of the victim, envy and egalitarianism as antitheses, and the relationship between justice and benevolence.