6 hours total | 4 sessions, beginning February 8, 2023
Deepen your understanding of Ayn Rand’s Objectivism by seeing how it integrates and contrasts with the ideas of four other world-changing thinkers.
Ayn Rand created a rational, observation-based “philosophy for living on earth.” Studying how her ideas integrate with those of other great thinkers can help you leverage the value of each toward clearer thinking and better living. In this course, you will examine how Rand’s ideas integrate with those of Epictetus, Adam Smith, Alexander Hamilton, and Gene Roddenberry.
Epictetus was a highly influential Stoic thinker who focused on ideas for living a good life. Dr. Andrew Bernstein will discuss Epictetus’s ideas on rationality, integrity, free will, happiness, emotions, values, and how these integrate or contrast with Rand’s.
Adam Smith, the “Father of Economics,” pioneered an observation-based approach to the subject. In his seminal work, The Wealth of Nations, he explained how markets incentivize production and trade, harnessing men’s self-interest in ways that ultimately benefit others, as if by “an invisible hand.” His economic ideas derive in part from his lesser known moral views. Jon Hersey will compare Smith’s and Rand’s ideas, showing that despite much common ground, the “Father of Capitalism” and the “Goddess of the Market” had deep differences—and that these differences matter to freedom fighters today.
Alexander Hamilton personified Rand’s claim that the Founding Fathers were “a phenomenon unprecedented in history: they were thinkers who were also men of action.” Hamilton was the primary author of The Federalist Papers and the founder of the Bank of New York, the U.S. Coast Guard, and the New York Post. Robert Begley will compare Hamilton’s and Rand’s views on slavery, business, economics, and industrialization. He’ll highlight how both were immigrants who brought their best efforts to their adopted homeland—and faced staunch opposition, even from their supposed allies.
Gene Roddenberry’s crowning achievement was creating the TV show Star Trek (1967–69), which communicated his vision of man and the future, and his views on social issues. Star Trek celebrated reason, science, and human progress, and it presented an optimistic future in which human beings have advanced beyond such things as racism, mysticism, war, and poverty. Thomas Walker-Werth will discuss the ideas Roddenberry communicated through the original Star Trek, the evolution in his ideas between it and the 1980s sequel series The Next Generation, and contrast both with Rand’s philosophy and fiction.