Applied Philosophy Online .com 

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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




































Modern Art and Kant: The Kicker Argument

“SS 38. Deduction of judgements of taste.

Admitting that in a pure judgement of taste the delight in the
object is connected with the mere estimate of its form, then what we
feel to be associated in the mind with the representation of the
object is nothing else than its subjective finality for judgement.
Since, now, in respect of the formal rules of estimating, apart from
all matter (whether sensation or concept), judgement can only be
directed to the subjective conditions of its employment in general
(which is not restricted to the particular mode of sense nor to a
particular concept of the understanding), and so can only be
directed to that subjective factor which we may presuppose in all
men (as requisite for a possible experience generally), it follows
that the accordance of a representation with these conditions of the
judgement must admit of being assumed valid a priori for every one. In
other words, we are warranted in exacting from every one the
pleasure or subjective finality of the representation in respect of
the relation of the cognitive faculties engaged in the estimate of a
sensible object in general*.”

“*In order to be justified in claiming universal agreement an
aesthetic judgement merely resting on subjective grounds, it is
sufficient to assume: (1) that the subjective conditions of this
faculty of aesthetic judgement are identical with all men in what
concerns the relation of the cognitive faculties, there brought into
action, with a view to a cognition in general. This must be true, as
otherwise men would be incapable of communicating their
representations or even their knowledge; (2) that the judgement has
paid regard merely to this relation (consequently merely to the formal
condition of the faculty of judgement), and is pure, i.e., is free
from confusion either with concepts of the object or sensations as
determining grounds. If any mistake is made in this latter point, this
only touches the incorrect application to a particular case of the
right which a law gives us, and does not do away with the right


To Kant, an idea or a pure idea or pure reason does not come from that which we observe but is rather a priori to it and conditions that which we observe,  quite contrary to Ayn Rand.  So, the ideas he might believe are expressed in pure art or his aesthetical ideas are not something like the painting of an apple concretizing the idea of the apple (the concept made physical) as Miss Rand explains it in The Romantic Manifesto. It would be that which conditions the mind for the subjective experience to occur.

So, here's the kicker and the real relationship between Kant's Critique of Judgement and modern art: If that which we observe with our senses is just a subjective experience (see above) then a painting of this subjective experience (the apple) is not an objective aesthetic painting. To be truly objective and aesthetical would require grasping reality other than how we observe it subjectively -- that is, a true art painting or a pure painting would have to be a painting of something *other than* that which we observe.  And this is modern art.


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.