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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




































Kant – Critique of Judgement [Notes]

Search for “SS 14 Exemplification.” Where he supposedly concretizes what he is talking about without giving any examples of art from his day – no mention of any particular painting, sculpture, music, building; so it remains a floating abstraction and therefore very difficult to pin down into the specifics. He says that the beauty of these things is merely in the (physical) form and is just a matter of aesthetic taste.

“Aesthetic, just like theoretical (logical) judgements, are divisible into empirical and pure. The first are those by which agreeableness or disagreeableness, the second those by which beauty is predicated of an object or its mode of representation. The former are judgements of sense (material aesthetic judgements), the latter (as formal) alone judgements of taste proper. A judgement of taste, therefore, is only pure so far as its determining ground is tainted with no merely empirical delight. But such a taint is always present where charm or emotion have a share in the judgement by which something is to be described as beautiful.”

In other words, one has to make aesthetic judgements without referring to the fact that one has an emotional reaction to a work of art; and beautiful artworks are always tainted with an emotional reaction as to their charm -- which implies that it ought to be rejected on the grounds that it is not “pure art” following his idea of “pure reason”.

“**Emotion-a sensation where an agreeable feeling is produced merely by means of a momentary check followed by a more powerful outpouring of the vital force-is quite foreign to beauty**. Sublimity (with which the feeling of emotion is connected) requires, however, a different standard of estimation from that relied upon by taste. **A pure judgement of taste has, then, for its determining ground neither charm nor emotion, in a word, no sensation as matter of the aesthetic judgement.**” [**emphasis added**]

This is a complete rift between art and valuing the artwork (between mind and value, or between reason and man’s life); a complete separation of the nature of art from man’s reaction to it. I’ve heard a lot of modern artists in person and in their writings that artwork conveying a particular object in reality (like a painting of a man) is mere technique and not something to be praised because it is mere technique and is done simply for the charm of the image. They got it from Kant. If one is going to throw out the charm of the image, then one is left with nothing by smears on canvas. Likewise for the other arts. Also note that he states that beauty has no emotion attached to it – when was the last time you saw something beautiful and had no emotional reaction to it?

“But I have already stated that an aesthetic judgement is quite unique, and **affords absolutely no (not even a confused) knowledge of the object. It is only through a logical judgement that we get knowledge**. The aesthetic judgement, on the other hand, refers the representation, by which an object is given, solely to the subject, and brings to our notice no quality of the object, but only the final form in the determination of the powers of representation engaged upon it. The judgement is called aesthetic for the very reason that its determining ground cannot be a concept, but is rather the feeling (of the internal sense) of the concert in the play of the mental powers as a thing only capable of being felt.” [**Emphasis added**]

This is a very good description of non-objective art – containing no knowledge of any object. Contrast this with a painting of an apple which does require the knowledge of the apple, what it is and what it looks like in the concretization of the concept “apple” according to Ayn Rand’s theory of art, the Objectivist aesthetics. In other words, insofar as a work of art contains or gives evidence of what the object *is* and how man understands it, it is not art, according to Kant.

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.