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Writings based on Objectivism, the philosophy of Ayn Rand

Ayn Rand's most popular novels are Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead, which present her philosophy, Objectivism, in vivid characterizations.

  Metaphysics, epistemology, ethics, esthetics, and  politics are the five main branches of philosophy that she identifies. Utilizing her methodology, one can be rational about all aspects of life. These essays present my understanding of Objectivism.

Older Essays

This is Your Mind

Independence Day Special 2005

Copyright Issues Statement

Independence Day Special 2011:

 Jesus or Ayn Rand?

Don't Blame Wall Street

Governments and Individual Rights

Anarcho-Capitalism rebuttal

Doctors and Individual Rights

Internet Freedom VS On-line Piracy

Laws Must be Specific to Preserve Freedom

To Students of Objectivism

Kant as Founder of Modern Art

Thinking in Terms of Principles

The Purpose of Art

On Objectivity -- The Method of Thought

Applications of Philosophy

Happiness by a Proper Standard

Morality and War

Induction and Anarchism

Immigration and Applied Egoism

Independence Day 2012:

  Losing the Battle

On Civil Society

Batman and Justice

Paul Ryan and Objectivism

Philosophy in the Workplace

Articulating Freedom

The Argument for Freedom


Black Friday Special, The Morality of Profit

Intellectual Property Rights

How The Internet Works

Carnegie Museum of Art and Natural History

The Morality of Copyrights and Patents


Freedom of Speech -- a Sacred Right

Objective Value

Teleological Measurements




Ayn Rand as a Moral Hero

Moral Integrity

On Dualism

Protest NSA Spying

The Objectivist Trilogy

The DIM Hypothesis

Tolerance and DIM

Individual Rights

How We Know



































Date: Mon, 08 Jan 2001 
Disagreements [on Optional Values]
Thomas M. Miovas, Jr.

Some Objectivists seem to take it personal when evaluations that
are counter to their own are expressed openly by people they
respect -- especially when it comes to movies or other forms of art.

I think one has to be careful to differentiate between a voiced
counter-evaluation versus a personal attack. Yes, it may feel
personal if someone you respect has a vastly different
evaluation of something you love or enjoy, but as Objectivists
we are both individuals and strong advocates of individualism --
so such differences come with the territory and are to be
expected, though I have certainly had my disappointments along
these lines.

In the same way one can disagree with a person's ideas without
attacking that person, one can disagree with a person's
evaluations without attacking that person. The way to do this is
to state the facts one is concerned with and demonstrate why one
has come to one's conclusion. In the case of evaluations, one
should state the facts and express why one thinks those facts
are beneficial to oneself or detrimental to oneself -- this
would be the rational way of grounding one's evaluations in
reality. If there is a disagreement, then one can point to the
nature of man and show why the facts are either a benefit or a
detriment to man's nature qua man (if you want to get more

I don't think it is a good idea to suppress the expression of
one's personal evaluations, especially in a forum open to
rational discussions and disagreements. It's very tempting to
say: "To hell with them, I'm never going to express my values
since it hurts me too much when others disagree with my
evaluations, because it feels like a personal attack." However,
it is a contradiction to be passionately expressive of one's
ideas regarding strictly factual matters (i.e. the special
sciences), but subdued when it comes to expressing one's
evaluations (i.e. movies and other forms of art) -- man is an
integrated being; if he lives by his mind, then he must *live*
by his mind and not turn himself into a non-value-expressive
robot. And if you recommend a movie (or other form of art) by
giving only your conclusions, then you really run the risk of
not being understood when others see that movie, because they
may well focus on other facts that are there and come to the
opposite conclusion.

As to dismissing optional values, many of my friends have some
values that are simply not valuable to me personally and vice
versa -- that is the nature of optional values -- and when it is
appropriate, we let each other know that. I don't think there is
anything wrong with being dismissive about other's personal
values, so long as one keeps the context of what *is* valuable
about those friendships and so long as one can express why those
items either are or are not a personal value to oneself. When it
comes to philosophic associates one doesn't know personally, if
they express an evaluation openly, why shouldn't others express
their counter-evaluations openly -- especially if done in the
manner I outlined above? One may not be able to be friends with
those who have serious counter-evaluations to oneself (in the
realm of optional values), but one can still have respect for
the way their minds work -- which is all one needs to confirm
that there are rational people out there worth having a
discussion with.

Matt Sissel Fine Art

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Thomas M. Miovas, Jr.



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Proud to be an Objectivist -- one who follows Ayn Rand's philosophy of Objectivism: I've earned it.