Philosophy: Who Needs It Reading Group
with Craig Biddle
13.5 hours total | 9 sessions, beginning November 9, 2022
Deepen your understanding of principles for thinking clearly and living fully by critically examining Ayn Rand’s Philosophy: Who Needs It.
What is the nature of the world in which we live? Is it governed by natural law? Or divine law? Is it a causal environment? Are miracles possible? How can we know what is true and false, good and bad, or how people should and shouldn’t act? What principles should govern human relationships, societies, and governments?
In Philosophy: Who Needs It, Rand argues that everyone has ideas regarding such crucial questions, that this body of ideas is an individual’s philosophy, and that he or she refers to this philosophy, implicitly or explicitly, when making choices and taking actions. An individual’s philosophy, therefore, affects his or her thoughts, emotions, and decisions throughout life. Philosophy, in a word, is inescapable. Our choice is not whether to have one, but whether to develop our philosophy rationally, through conscious deliberation—or to accept one by default, through social osmosis.
Rand advises that we think through such pivotal ideas and determine for ourselves what makes sense and what does not. This, she emphasizes, is the only way we can ensure that our ideas are connected to reality and thus useful for living in reality.
Topics for discussion include:
- The major branches of philosophy and their practical significance in our lives;
- How to assess ideas for connection to reality;
- What is and is not within our power to change;
- Free will and whether it is real or an illusion;
- Our senses and whether they provide accurate information about reality;
- Reason vs. faith and the consequences of embracing one or the other—or attempting to embrace both;
- Life-serving, achievement-oriented morality vs. sacrificial, duty-oriented morality;
- Free-speech, censorship, and where the relevant lines are properly drawn;
- Egalitarianism, inflation, and the connections between them;
- How to live a thoughtful, examined, purposeful life; and
- How to advance the ideas on which human life, liberty, and happiness depend.
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
- November 9, 2022, 8–9:30am PT
- November 16, 2022, 8–9:30am PT
- November 23, 2022, 8–9:30am PT
- November 30, 2022, 8–9:30am PT
- December 7, 2022, 8–9:30am PT
- December 14, 2022, 8–9:30am PT
- December 21, 2022, 8–9:30am PT
- December 28, 2022, 8–9:30am PT
- January 4, 2023, 8–9:30am 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 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. OSI may sell course recordings and/or use them for marketing, promotional, or educational purposes.
If you don’t yet have a copy of the book, you need to acquire one so you can read the chapters we’ll be discussing each week. You can purchase the book from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, BetterWorldBooks, or practically any other bookstore. We recommend a print copy of the book, but if you prefer an electronic copy, that is fine, too. (If your financial situation is such that you cannot afford to purchase a copy of the book, please let us know by emailing [email protected], and we will help you acquire one.)
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].
By enrolling, you agree to OSI’s Course Terms and Conditions.