The Joys Of Contriving Literature (Why Ayn
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The Joys Of Contriving Literature (Why Ayn Rand’s Theories Dont Hold Water) Essay, Research Paper No thinker, perhaps, has had more influence upon contemporary libertarians than the novelist and non-academic philosopher, Ayn Rand. For that reason alone, she deserves attention; however, many of her arguments have been misunderstood, misrepresented or ignored. As George Smith has commented, ?there has appeared relatively little in the way of competent reflection of Ayn Rand as a philosopher. Accounts?written by [her] admirers are frequently eulogistic and uncritical, where as accounts written by her antagonists are often hostile and, what is worse, embarrassingly inaccurate (Reeb 607).? Although researchers have discovered that parts of her objectivist theory are plausible, academic scholars avoid paying serious attention to her work due the fictional manner in which she first displayed her theory and its hypocritical and often nonsensical content. Ayn Rand?s theory of objectivism is described as a philosophy for living on earth which is an integrated system of thought that defines abstract principles by which a man must think and act if he is to live the life proper to man (Rand 1961 57). The basic principals of her theory include metaphysics, epistemology, human nature, ethics, politics and esthetics (57). The metaphysical argument aims to show that valuing depends in fact on life or, more precisely, that it depends on life as a conditional response (Rand 1962 54). Because of such dependence, it is only living beings that either do or can have goals. Ayn Rand further discussed this portion of her theory in her long essay ?Man?s Rights.? The source of man?s rights is not divine law or congressional law, but the law of identity. A is A?Man is Man. Rights are conditions of existence required by man?s nature for his proper survival. If man is to live on earth, it is right for him to use his mind, it is right to act on his own free judgement, it is right to work for his values and to keep the product of his work. If life on earth is his purpose, he has a right to live as a rational being (Reeb 201)?. In addition, it follows the idea of ?esthetics? and groups her as a (self-proclaimed) ?romantic realist (Rand 1990 187).? She feels that her novels are written in reference to her “metaphysical? beliefs of the world (187). Art is only art if it creates or shows the artist’s view of reality. Thus, her entire theory finds basis in the one presumption of reality. Furthermore, epistemology claims that the only way to gain knowledge is through reason (45). ?Man?s reason is fully competent to know the facts of reality (45). Reason, the conceptual faculty, is the faculty that identifies and integrates the material provided by man?s senses (46). Reason is man?s only means of acquiring knowledge,? explains Rand in her book Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology(46). Following along a similar train of thought is human nature. She describes rationality as the only means of survival, yet each person must exercise individual selection (46). In Atlas Shrugged, John Galt portrays this theory best. He believes that man is a rational being who has complete control over his fate. Otherwise, you are “spending your life in apologies to every professional cannibal (Rand 1957 957).” In other words, a primary factor in objectivism is ?free will.? Rand also claims ?Man is a being of volitional consciousness,? in the Epistemology book (87). Next portion of her theory is ethics, in which she once again enforces rationality as man?s basic virtue and explains that his three basic values are: reason, purpose and self-esteem (Rand 1962 103). Every man should theoretically live for himself, never sacrificing himself to others (103). Thus rejecting altruism as a common goal?the claim that morality finds basis in assisting others in need. John Galt best displays Ayn Rand?s unyeilding position, “.