Summer 2010 -- “’Value’ is that which one acts to gain and keep,” wrote Ayn Rand, “’virtue’ is the action by which one gains and keeps it.” This six-session course focuses on the distinctive virtues highlighted by Objectivism: their basis in fact, their contrast with traditional moral ideals, and their role in a rational, value-seeking human life.

We will go into depth on the meaning and importance of  Pride, Rationality,  Integrity, Productiveness, Independence, and Justice, devoting one day’s lecture to each virtue. Discussions of Honesty and Benevolence will be integrated into the course as well. The course presumes some basic familiarity with Objectivism, but should be intelligible to anyone with a sincere interest in ideas.

Session 5 Outline:

A. Introduction: the individualist view of life.

B. Cognitive independence: taking responsibility for one’s own ideas

Knowledge from personal experience

Information from others

Integrating the testimony of others

C. Existential independence: taking responsibility for one’s own livelihood

Trade: exchanging value for value

As against mooching

As against power-seeking

As against coercion

D. Independence integrated

Session 1:   The Major Virtues: Pride >
Session 2:   The Major Virtues: Rationality and Honesty >

Session 3:   The Major Virtues: Integrity >
Session 4:   The Major Virtues: Productiveness >
Session 6:   The Major Virtues: Justice and Benevolence >


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