This is the thread to discuss the November book of the month, Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand. This thread will contain spoilers, so don't read this thread until you have read the book.
Atlas Shrugged expresses many of the philosophical ideas of Ayn Rand, who I see as one of the most controversial philosophers. I find that a lot of people love Rand's philosophy and sometimes only Rand's philosophy. Still, many people involved in philosophy dismiss Rand's ideas.
I do think the arguments made in Atlas Shrugged are often relatively weak and more like preaching and unbacked asserting than well-developed philosophical arguments.
However, I think she does a good job of painting a picture of how putting the principles she supports in practice would work and how it will benefit humankind. Similarly, she paints a picture of what she dislikes about the principles she opposes and the way society is run.
Specifically, I think she does a great job at showing the way that political freedom leads to socioeconomic prosperity and the way that slavery and routine government bailouts can economically hurt almost everyone by undermining people's work ethic and by allowing corruption. By allowing corruption, I mean the people given major governmental power to supposedly help others and bailout people in need of welfare tend to actually use the power for self-serving purposes.
What do you think of Atlas Shrugged and the philosophical ideas in it?
Feel free to post any short excerpts or quotes from the book that you especially like. Also, please post any questions you have for the group about the book.
Objectivist wrote:Scott, I'd love to hear what arguments of hers are relatively weak and more like preaching and unbacked asserting. What parts of her philosophic argument seemed to be lacking in your opinion?
Namely, I do not remember finding much of a philosophical argument backing her claims that truth and knowledge is absolute, that it is immoral to violate someone's freedom, that a man's moral purpose is his own happiness and his productive achievement. She explained what those claims mean, but I do not remember her providing any philosophical argument that they are actually true.
In regards to her claims about morality, if anything, I would say she has merely expressed subjective opinions about human actions. She has explained what type of human actions and codes-of-conduct that she personally most admires and what ones she most dislikes.
If you know or can find her arguments supporting those claims, please quote them or paraphrase them for me.