Atlas University offers courses on Objectivism, the philosophy Ayn Rand founded, presented by foremost scholars in the philosophy.

Atlas Shrugged course

Ayn Rand ’s Atlas Shrugged is a novel of ideas, a suspense narrative based on Rand’s philosophy of Objectivism . Those ideas come across, scene by scene, in the film adaptation. In these short, engaging videos, philosopher David Kelley, a script consultant on the movie trilogy, plays excerpts from the films and discusses their philosophical meaning.

Each commentary discusses a key idea as dramatized in the films. By watching them, you will acquire or deepen your mastery of the basic elements of Objectivism .
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 Economic Power versus Political Power

Economic power is the ability to buy and sell, the ability to make contracts. It's power exerted in the marketplace, in the context of trade. Political power is the power of government and power obtained through the political process, such as by getting laws passed favoring the your purposes. Both economic power and political power are instances of control over others. Social power generally is the ability to induce other people to do things you want. But as we will see, each exercises control in a radically distinct way. Political power is rooted in an ability to harm others. By contrast economic power is rooted in the ability to offer others benefits. Will Thomas leads the viewer to understand the difference by explaining how each kind of power works.  Watch now >

 What are Rights?

Political controversies and protests are often dominated by the theme of rights or individual rights. We hear about a "right to health care," a "right to education," even a "right to high-speed Internet." In California, one man has even claimed a "right to longboard" on city sidewalks. Others claim there is no "right to health care" because such a right entails forcing others to pay for one's health care--and coercion they say is a violation of individual rights. How can we make sense of competing claims to rights? How can we gain a solid understanding of what rights are? In this video Will Thomas shares footage from recent rights protests and gives us a fascinating "tool" to use to evaluate claims of "rights." To show what a right is, he shows what the traditional basic rights of the U.S. Constitution have in common, and argues for individual rights to life, liberty, and property. He contrasts real, individual rights to freedom with pseudo-rights that are used to destroy freedom.  Watch now >

Reason : a 10-part course

"I am not primarily an advocate of capitalism, but of egoism; and I am not
primarily an advocate of egoism, but of reason…." 

 Ayn Rand
This 10-part video lecture series by David Kelley and William R Thomas presents the essentials of the Objectivist view of knowledge. It explains why reason is an absolute; why emotions are not tools of cognition, despite their psychological importance; and why mysticism is a cognitive dead-end. It presents Ayn Rand’s innovative theory of concepts and objectivity, including the role of sense-perception, logic, and axioms, as well as the nature of certainty.  The course shows why a rational approach to life is a vital human need.
While the lectures form a natural sequence as a whole, they are sufficiently independent that you can profitably view individual lectures as you choose.  Start course now >


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