Saturday, January 29, 2011

Objectivist Roundup & Rationally Selfish Webcast

By Diana Hsieh

As part of Modern Paleo's weekend schedule of blogging on Objectivism on Saturdays and free market politics on Sundays, I like to post some weekly links for people interested in Ayn Rand's philosophy of Objectivism.

Here are this week's fresh links:

  • The "Objectivist Roundup" is a weekly blog carnival for Objectivists. Contributors must be Objectivists, but posts on any topic are welcome. 3 Ring Binder hosted this week's Objectivist Roundup. If you're interested in learning more about what Objectivists are writing and doing, go take a peek!
  • My own Rationally Selfish Webcast -- where I answer questions on practical ethics and living well -- will be tomorrow (Sunday) morning at 8 am PT / 9 am MT / 10 am CT / 11 am ET. You can submit and vote on questions, as well as watch the live webcast and join the chat, from this page: Rationally Selfish Webcast. Here are the questions that I'll answer this week:
    • Is it moral to have a sugarmomma or sugardaddy? My fiancee and I both have demanding careers, but she earns several times more than I. How should a married couple with very different incomes share income and/or expenses? If we agree to split household expenses evenly, my lower income is a significant constraint on her enjoyment, e.g., she can't buy an expensive house because I can't afford half of it. On the other hand, if we split expenses unevenly or if we treat all income as pooled, it seems that I'm benefiting lavishly from things I didn't produce. Is it moral for me to enjoy an expensive hobby which I couldn't have afforded on my own? I'd love to hear more about how you and Paul manage income and expenses, and especially what ethical principles apply.
    • Can men and women be "just friends"? (This is a follow-up to the discussion on infidelity from January 23rd.) Where is the line crossed from friendship to something more intimate that would be a threat to a committed relationship? Is it fair for me to expect a romantic partner to keep his female friends at a distance?
    • Is it wrong to cheat a partly government funded institution? There are a couple of classes I would enjoy sitting in on at my university. They are large, and I would not be noticed. Would it be wrong to go without paying for them? I wouldn't do this with a private college, nor would I have qualms about a completely government funded school. But colleges are partly privately paid for. Would it be immoral for me to get some of that value without paying?
    • Would it be wrong to steal from a thief? If an individual were placed in a position where they could steal from a con-man or a common burglar, and they did, would their decision to steal from a thief be moral or immoral and why?
    • How are causality and free will compatible? If my mind is an effect of my brain, and my brain is a complex physical system which operates in a deterministic way, doesn't that mean that my thoughts and actions are ultimately determined, too? What is wrong with the popular notions of causality and free will that make them appear incompatible?
    • From Objectivist Answers: Is it wrong to be proud of or obtain your pride from your culture, family and ancestors? Is it correct to have pride in one's culture, family and ancestors? For example in Samoan society a Pe'a is a traditional male Samoan tattoo. According to my friend the pe'a tells him that the wearer has pride in their culture, their family and their ancestors. It is not just a physical marking but an indicator of his/her soul according to him.
    You can listen to these webcasts later as NoodleCast podcasts by subscribing in iTunes to either the enhanced M4A format or the standard MP3 format.
For studying Objectivism, I always recommend that people go to the source, i.e. to Ayn Rand's own writings. I'd recommend starting with one of her novels, particularly The Fountainhead or Atlas Shrugged. After that, I recommend her anthologies of philosophy essays, probably starting with The Virtue of Selfishness or Philosophy: Who Needs It. For current commentary on culture and politics from an Objectivist perspective, I heartily recommend perusing The Objective Standard. You can find much of value and interest on the web site of the Ayn Rand Institute too.

Comment Rules

Rule #1: You are welcome to state your own views in these comments, as well as to criticize opposing views and arguments. Vulgar, nasty, and otherwise uncivilized comments will be deleted.

Rule #2: These comments are not a forum for discussion of any and all topics. Please stay loosely on-topic, and post random questions and comments in the designated "open threads."

Rule #3: You are welcome to discuss the merits (or lack thereof) of products. Spam comments will be deleted.

You can use some HTML tags in your comments -- such as <b>, <i>, and <a>.

Back to TOP