Could someone briefly explain Ayn Rand's philosophy; objectivism?

I've read "Atlas Shrugged" and would like to attempt "The Fountainhead" soon, but before I do I would like a better understanding of what Objectivism is. Could someone briefly describe the main tenets of that philosophy?

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No false dichotomy - we either have free will (which means to focus our mind on the facts and think rationally) or we are determined. If you have evidence to another option let us see it. 

Just a few Alternate choices include rational decision making, but within a broken framework (e.g. mental illness). Or rational decision making but within a biased framework (so not objective decision making). Or options that include a rational decision, but a different action taken (again, see mental illness, or conditioned behaviors).  These are neither free will, nor determinism. Use your imagination, and I expect you can construct others.

Your dichotomy only exists if you accept that we are actually masters of the information we get, the way our minds process it, the decisions we make, and the actions we take. Not being 100% in control of those things is not determinism, but is the reality of human existence. 

Also, I don't know what you mean by a "full control of conceptual faculty" - I mean that we have a choice whether to think rationally or not. And, when we choose to think rationally, i.e. according to a rational method - reason - we have the full control to follow a such method or not.

We have a choice whether to think rationally - but even when we do so, we are handicapped by the way our brains work. Whose internal (and unconscious biases) can affect how we perceive and receive information. Rational thought based on flawed data. We can claim that is "full control of our conceptual faculty" - but it is not - we are handicapped and at BEST have partial control after our brains have already corrupted the input of information we need to make decisions. 

IF you wish to have a correct opinion of Rand's ideas you have to know what she means by the words she uses. 

Right - which is what I was getting at. If she uses words differently than the way others use them, then one can hardly complain when she is "misunderstood." Anyone can construct definitions about the terms they use in order to ensure that their argument comes out right. That doesn't make it a good argument. 

I also reject your concept of "correct opinion" - as that rather negates the point of an opinion. I know her definitions. I reject them as artificial constructs, to try to correct a framework that otherwise doesn't work. 

It is true that few philosophers take Rand's philosophy seriously but this a testament to the quality of those philosophers not Objectivism.

Yes - surely she is just misunderstood by most all the people who actually study philosophy. The politicians get it right though. Bully for them. 

Ultimately - I still think the philosophy group is the place you want to go, if you wish to have serious discussions about Rand and her place in philosophy.

“Your dichotomy only exists if you accept that we are actually masters of the information we get, the way our minds process it, the decisions we make, and the actions we take. Not being 100% in control of those things is not determinism, but is the reality of human existence. “

Liam,

I usually search out and enjoy your reasoned posts—but in this particular instance it appears that you’re advocating a “sorta, kinda, sometimes free will”.  Seems to me either the “will” is free or it isn’t.  If our behaviors are influenced by our genetics and environment we must, by definition, have something less than “free” will (perhaps we should call it “partially free will.”) 

Newton once complained: “To tell us that every species of thing is endowed with an occult specific quality by which it acts and produces manifest effects is to tell us nothing.”  The problem with the concept “free will” is that it tells us nothing—it’s an explanatory fiction.  “Why did this criminal commit a horrendous act?  Well, he chose to do it of his own free will!”—end of discussion, end of enquiry.  The question of free will may be debatable but the interaction of genetics and environment on behavior have been more than adequately demonstrated.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Experimental_analysis_of_behavior
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Applied_behavior_analysis

In the words of one psychologist: “Two features of autonomous man are particularly troublesome.  In the traditional view, a person is free.  He is autonomous in the sense that his behavior is uncaused.  He can therefore be held responsible for what he does and justly punished if he offends.  That view, together with its associated practices, must be re-examined when a scientific analysis reveals unsuspected controlling relations between behavior and environment.”

Karl Popper put the question this way:  “How can non physical things such as purposes, deliberations, plans and decisions play a part in bringing about physical changes in the physical world?”  There has to be an agent for change and that agent is the environment working on our neural endowment.  Genetically and behaviorally we are the products of our environment.  We don’t need free will.

The two links you posted are environmental.  What do you have for genetics?

If our behaviors are influenced by our genetics and environment we must, by definition, have something less than “free” will (perhaps we should call it “partially free will.”) 

 

Perhaps so. That is still a far cry from determinism.

 

My point was mostly just that he was presenting a false dichotomy, which is true. 

 

"Partial Free will" - or mitigated free will, does seem to be more like the truth, based on what we know about how our brains and our chemistry works. This is not to say that chosen behaviors can be excused by environmental factors, but we cannot say they play no role. They clearly do. 

Whether than can be a factor in a trial - well, we do treat the mentally ill differently than those judged to be sound. I think we just need to acknowledge that "sound" fits within a range, and it is not a clear line between black and white, sane or insane. Nor is this a fixed line... some people will be more externally (and genetically or psychologically) influenced than others. 

Shane,

I'm not quite sure I understand-- are you questioning the impact of genetics on behavior?

What you posted could also be called; socializing, parenting, dog training.  Nothing you linked has anything to do with any innate behavior based on genetics.  Humans are quite capable of reasoning their way out of a shitty upbringing, or resist counterproductive behavior modifications.  What may not be so obvious is ability to resist genetic pressures from within.  Which you sortof mention but don't give any sources for.

Also "apologist" doesn't mean to apologize for something - it is offering an explanation or a argument in defense of something. 

There is, for instance an entire branch of theology devoted to Christian Apologetics. Trying to put a rational footing under the theology - not apologizing for it. 

That's too funny:  the "apologist" confusion.

Imagine what that would do to Socrates' Apology

 

As far as I can tell, there's no room for love.

What makes you say that? I love my wife dearly, and do many things for her freely, including making sacrifices. But I am not an altruist because I DO love her,and the relationship beings me joy.

That is an objectivist trait: does this make me happy and enhance my life, though I wouldn't call myself a die hard objectivist.

Her archetypes don't know love.  They don't express it.  They don't experience it.  Any semblance of what passes for lovemaking to her, is reached through mutual agreement to engage in prurient pleasure.  It's more like integrated mutual masturbation than fulfillment of emotional need.  Which is fine.  It's the reason we have fuck buddies today.  But, it ain't Romeo and Juliet.

Greed is good.

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