Rand, Aristotle, Locke, Reid, Herbet

Ayn Rand Integrations: Aristotle, Locke, Reid, and Herbert

with multiple instructors

6 hours total | 4 sessions, beginning March 3, 2022

Deepen your understanding of Ayn Rand’s Objectivism by seeing how it integrates and contrasts with the ideas of four other titans of philosophy.

Ayn Rand created an observation-based “philosophy for living on earth,” and the better you understand and apply its principles, the more successful and happy you can be. Toward that end, this course will examine how Rand’s ideas integrate with those of four other important thinkers—Aristotle, John Locke, Thomas Reid, and Auberon Herbert—and how these integrations can help you to think more clearly, live more fully, and advance freedom more effectively.

Aristotle, the father of logic and creator of the ethics of eudaimonia (“good living” or “flourishing”) deeply influenced Rand’s thinking. She regarded his philosophy as “the intellect’s Declaration of Independence” and said, “everything that makes us civilized beings, every rational value that we possess—including the birth of science, the industrial revolution, the creation of the United States, even the structure of our language—is the result of Aristotle’s influence.” Dr. Carrie-Ann Biondi will present key aspects of Aristotle’s philosophy, showing how they form the foundation of Rand’s worldview, integrate with her epistemology and ethics, and can fortify our understanding of principles for flourishing.

John Locke, the father of liberalism, wrote beautifully and powerfully about the nature of knowledge, the importance of independent thinking, and the source and nature of individual rights. Although Locke argued to some extent from a religious perspective, he also made profoundly important secular arguments about the faculty of reason, how it works, and our need for freedom in order to use it. Timothy Sandefur will examine key features of Locke’s philosophy, showing how they integrate with Rand’s ethics and politics, and provide a model for independent thinking.

Thomas Reid, founder of the philosophic school of common-sense realism, substantially refuted the skeptics of his time (e.g., George Berkely and David Hume) by defending the validity of sense perception and the efficacy of man’s mind. Although he too was religious, Reid argued that self-interest plays an important role in ethics, that our fundamental means of achieving our life-serving values is our reasoning mind, and that doing so requires considering the entirety of our lives and the full context of our knowledge. Jon Hersey will compare and contrast various aspects of Reid’s and Rand’s ideas, showing how both thinkers worked toward creating a rational, observation-based philosophy for flourishing.

Auberon Herbert, a 19th-century British political philosopher and member of Parliament, advocated individualism, individual rights, and a social system he called “voluntaryism” (essentially what we now call laissez-faire capitalism). Unlike the vast majority of thinkers who have sought to advocate liberty merely on religious, economic, or historic grounds, Herbert thought and wrote in moral terms—in terms of moral rights, the evil of initiatory force, and the virtue of selfishness, in the rational, rights-respecting sense of the term. Craig Biddle will examine core aspects of Herbert’s philosophy, showing how they integrate with Objectivism and fortify our understanding of the morality of self-interest, the evil of initiatory force, and the necessary good of rights-protecting government.

Meet Your Instructors

Carrie-Ann Biondi

Carrie-Ann Biondi

Carrie-Ann Biondi, a philosopher with more than two decades of teaching experience, specializes in Ancient Greek philosophy, particularly the ideas of Aristotle. She is an adolescent program manager and coach at Higher Ground Education and a humanities guide for the Academy of Thought and Industry. She also serves as book review editor at Reason Papers. Her works have been published in many anthologies and journals, including The Objective Standard.

Timothy Sandefur

Timothy Sandefur

Timothy Sandefur holds the Duncan Chair in Constitutional Government at the Goldwater Institute and is the author of several books, including The Right to Earn a Living: Economic Freedom and the Law (2010), The Conscience of The Constitution (2014), The Permission Society (2016), Frederick Douglass: Self-Made Man (2018), and The Ascent of Jacob Bronowski: The Life and Ideas of a Popular Science Icon (2019). His forthcoming book is on the efforts of Isabel Paterson, Rose Wilder Lane, and Ayn Rand to defend liberty in an age of tyranny. He is a contributing editor at The Objective Standard.

Jon Hersey

Jon Hersey

Jon Hersey is managing editor of The Objective Standard and holds fellowships at Foundation for Economic Education and Objective Standard Institute, where he teaches courses on “How to Write Powerfully in Defense of Liberty” and hosts the podcast, “Philosophy for Flourishing.” His work has been published at Quillette, FEE.org, Catalyst, and The Objective Standard.

Craig Biddle

Craig Biddle

Craig Biddle is cofounder and director of education at Objective Standard Institute, editor in chief of The Objective Standard, and executive director of Prometheus Foundation. He is the author of Loving Life: The Morality of Self-Interest and the Facts that Support It; Rational Egoism: The Morality for Human Flourishing; and the forthcoming Moral Truths Your Parents, Preachers, and Teachers Don’t Want You to Know. He’s currently writing a book on the art of thinking in principles.

Course & Session Schedule

  1. March 3, 2022, 10:00–11:30am PT
  2. March 10, 2022, 10:00–11:30am PT
  3. March 17, 2022, 10:00–11:30am PT
  4. March 24, 2022, 10:00–11:30am PT

How the Course Works

This course is interactive and discussion-driven, so enrollment is limited. Register early to secure your spot.

The course is held live on a video conferencing app called Zoom, which you can download for free here. Sessions are video recorded, so if you miss a session (or want to review), you can watch the recording.

The course is 6 hours long, consisting of 4 sessions of 1.5 hours each. Homework assignments are optional. Doing them may require an additional hour or more per week but will greatly enhance what you learn in this course.

Course handouts and supplementary materials are delivered via email. Course participants are invited to an exclusive OSI Courses group on Facebook, where they can post questions and engage in discussions with the instructor and other participants.

Have a question that wasn’t answered here? Read our FAQ or email us at [email protected].