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.