Objectivism through Ayn Rand’s Fiction | 2024

Lead Faculty
Onkar Ghate

Lead Faculty
Ben Bayer

Lead Faculty
Aaron Smith

Ayn Rand’s major novels—We the Living, The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged—are self-consciously philosophical novels, containing abstract themes, characters driven by opposing moral principles, and conflicts rooted in clashing worldviews. And more than that, Rand’s fictional heroes discover and embody new philosophical ideas, original to Rand. To understand Rand’s distinctive worldview and to learn her new philosophy, Objectivism, there is no better place to start than with careful consideration of the content and meaning of her novels, which contain the richest treatment of a number of central principles of Objectivism available. The course provides a powerful corrective to a tendency among students of Objectivism to neglect Rand’s fiction in their study of Objectivist philosophy. (See extended description below for more details.)

Prerequisite Readings: We the Living, The Fountainhead, Atlas Shrugged and Anthem must be read before beginning this course.

Prerequisite Courses: None. All students must take this course, both new students and returning students who have not yet taken it. It is a prerequisite or corequisite for all other courses.

Audit the Class

Auditing is a great choice for students who want to attend live lectures, ask questions, and participate in some discussions, but do not want to submit assignments.

A typical auditor is a busy professional or retiree, who finds our courses enriching and seeks to learn from our faculty as a hobby. You do not need to apply to audit, simply pay the tuition fee and you will be automatically enrolled in the course.

$1,580.00

Apply to be a Graded Student

Graded students in this course are expected to attend lectures and discussion sections, and also to submit assignments to the faculty. Assignments will be graded and given feedback.

To enter this course as a graded student, you must be accepted into the graded program of Ayn Rand University and achieve the necessary prerequisites. Your annual tuition covers as many courses as you wish to take. Most accepted students are granted scholarships, which substantially defray their tuition cost.

Scholarships Available

Thursdays, 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM Pacific Time

Live Class

October 12, 2023

Start Date

Open

Registration

100

Level

q1, q2

Quarter

Description

We the Living, Anthem, The Fountainhead, Atlas Shrugged — these novels are brimming with new ideas and new perspectives on life. If you have been inspired by Ayn Rand and now want to learn more about her ideas, it’s likely because you have first read one of these novels.

To begin to understand Rand’s distinctive worldview and to learn her new philosophy, Objectivism, there is no better place to start that with the study of these works. Her novels are self-consciously philosophical works, containing abstract themes, characters driven by opposing moral principles, and conflicts rooted in clashing worldviews. Spending the time to analyze these, to understanding the characters’ inner and outer conflicts and the opposition they face from elements within their wider society, sheds enormous light on Rand’s own ideas.

This is what we will do in the course. We will examine some of the heroes and villains in her novels from the perspective of their basic ideas, values, motivations and goals in life. We will consider especially how Rand’s new ideas in morality – about what is good and evil – shape her stories and convey to you, the reader, how a radically different way of life from the one we’ve been traditionally presented with is both possible and desirable. Rand’s novels convey new ways of looking at an impressively wide range of subjects, from love and sex, to pride and selfishness, to work and joy, to honesty and integrity, to faith and reason. To explore these is to explore Rand’s own worldview.

Rand held that art, particularly literature, was indispensable in depicting a moral ideal, her own new moral ideal emphatically included. Through examining Rand’s fiction we will learn about her new vision of the ideal.”

Prerequisite Readings: We the Living, The Fountainhead, Atlas Shrugged and Anthem should be read before beginning this course.

Prerequisite Courses: None. All students must take this course, both new students and returning students who have not yet taken it. It is a prerequisite or corequisite for all other courses.

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