WELCOME TO STUDENTS OF OBJECTIVISM @ UW MADISON
Students of Objectivism is an organization for studying, applying and promoting Ayn Rand’s philosophy of Objectivism. Through our work, we uphold reason, self-interest, individual rights and laissez-faire capitalism. Our goals are as follows:
- Introduce people to Ayn Rand’s literature, including The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged, and provide a philosophic framework for its interpretation.
- Introduce people to Ayn Rand’s philosophy of Objectivism, as presented in her non-fiction and by the Ayn Rand Institute.
- Introduce people to the 5 branches of philosophy—metaphysics, epistemology, ethics, politics, aesthetics—and the hierarchy that relates them; compare and contrast Objectivism with other philosophies and draw out the implications of competing views in each of the 5 branches.
- Emphasize Rational Egoism (ethics) and its basis in Ayn Rand’s identification that man’s life is the standard of value and her objective conceptualization of what self-interest entails; stress its role in personal happiness and a proper social system. (Description under revision; will be elaborated soon.)
- Emphasize individualism and laissez-faire capitalism (politics) in the context of Ayn Rand’s identification that individual rights derive from the requirements of human survival and necessitate the protection of a government limited to the police, military, and courts; stress that politics is a derivative of ethics, and that the lack of any explicit moral justification (prior to Ayn Rand) for individual rights and laissez-faire capitalism is the source of their erosion today.
- Emphasize the relationship between man’s mind and reality (epistemology); stress the validity and power of reason, objectivity, principles, and absolutes.
- Emphasize that reality is absolute, coherent, and knowable (metaphysics); stress that the world is open to human achievement and can be mastered but not overridden by man’s mind.
- Show that philosophy is an indispensable and inescapable part of daily living, not a mind-game divorced from practical reality. In Ayn Rand’s words (from “Philosophy and Sense of Life,” The Romantic Manifesto, 30):
In order to live, man must act; in order to act, he must make choices; in order to make choices, he must define a code of values; in order to define a code of values, he must know what he is and where he is—i.e., he must know his own nature (including his means of knowledge) and the nature of the universe in which he acts—i.e., he needs metaphysics, epistemology, ethics, which means: philosophy. He cannot escape from this need; his only alternative is whether the philosophy guiding him is to be chosen by his mind or by chance.
- Apply Objectivism to the culture, and help people discern the philosophic causes and consequences of current events.
- Provide an intellectual forum for active-minded individuals interested in Ayn Rand’s philosophy, improving their thinking methods, and social networking.
Students of Objectivism is committed both to the importance of philosophy—of an integrated system of values to guide man’s thoughts and actions—and to the inestimable, life-serving value of Rand’s metaphysics, epistemology, ethics, politics, and aesthetics as encapsulated by Objectivism.
Students of Objectivism hosts meetings on Fridays from 5:00 to 8:00 pm at the Memorial Union. Meetings are organized around one or more aspects of Ayn Rand’s philosophy and its applications to culture and current events. Generally, we watch recorded lectures from the Ayn Rand Institute and discuss essays or opinion pieces. Students and community members are welcome to drop in at leisure!
During the summer, Jim Allard and Ashley Roy run a booth at the local farmers’ market on Saturday mornings. To verify that they will be present on any given weekend, check the homepage under “News & Updates;” a simple “Yes” or “No” will indicate attendance or nonattendance.
To join: http://groups.google.com/group/uwso
If you would like to learn more or have questions or comments, fill out the form below and we’ll respond promptly!