TUESDAY, September 3, 2013 6:30 PM Arrival Time


The Vision of Ayn Rand

The Basic Principles of Objectivism NBI Lecture Series

by Nathaniel Branden


Jackie Hazelton


Chapter 1, The Role of Philosophy

Pages 1-35


1. Did the chapter contain anything surprising or that you didn’t know?

2. Was there anything you didn’t understand or had a question about?

3. Was there anything you thought was incorrect?

4. What did you think of Branden’s summary of the essentials of the Objectivist philosophy in (a) through (g).  Is there anything you would add?  Leave out?  Say differently? (pages 1-2)

5. Do you agree that reason/rationality is the key element of Objectivism?  Is it the key element for you?  If not, what is? (page 2)

6. Does it seem odd that Esthetics is included as one of the 5 basic branches of philosophy and Science is not?  Do we reason about Esthetics? (pages 3-4)

7. About those 5 basic branches of philosophy handed down from the Greeks, do you think we should continue to organize philosophy this way? Does the knowledge gained in the last 2,000 years all fit into this framework? (pages 3-5)

8. What is your impression of the story of the couple who broke up after an argument?  Is it realistic?  (pages 7-9)

9. Why was so much historical background included? Was it useful? (pages 10-25)

10. Branden says that the slogan of the Renaissance was “The right to see.”  If Objectivism had a slogan, what would it be? (page 18)

11. If reason and freedom is so obviously better, as Objectivism says, why does, “The Platonist and irrationalist trend always keep growing…”  Is there something that Objectivism is not accounting for? (page 20)

12. Branden states, “This culture is bankrupt.”  That was 55 years ago.  What is the state today?  Better or worse? (page 25)

13. Rand often defines words differently from the norm.  Is there anything unusual about Rand’s use of “objective” and “subjective”.  (page 31)

14. Do you agree that people hold a subjectivist view subconsciously, “by implication, be default, by lack of knowledge and, quite frequently, by evading the issue”? Can you think of other reasons?  (page 32)

15. What are your thoughts on the subjectivist quotations.  Do you agree that they all mean and imply that there is no firm, absolute reality?  (page 32)

“This may be true for you, but it is not true for me.”

“Everything is a matter of opinion, and one man’s opinion is as good as another.”

“You may be right, but I don’t feel it.”

“Wishing will make it so.”

“All our differences are a matter of semantics.”

“It will work, if people only want it to work.”

16. Are we to understand that Rand thinks everything can be objective and nothing is, or should be, subjective or that the subjective is not important or valid?

17. How does truth interact with consciousness and with time?  (page 33)

18. Do you agree with Branden’s statement that, “It is logical that subjectivism does and has to lead, on a social level, to dictatorship”? Is it un-objective to want and exert power over other men?  (page 34)

19. On page 3, Branden states that the purpose of this course is to “…organize our knowledge of the subject into an integrated structure, so that we can see how the various concepts interrelate, what conclusions proceed from what premises, and what constitutes the proof of our various principles.”  How was this accomplished in this chapter?


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