Enlightenment is dedicated to the discovery, encouragement, publication, and advancement of rational scholars and scholarship focusing on or using the method of objectivity. This site currently publishes six million words of new original research and analysis, and a couple of essential classics too.

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  • about objectivism

    Objectivism is the philosophy originated by novelist and philosopher Ayn Rand. While many Objectivists and commentators on Objectivism have focused on the often distinctive and controversial philosophical principles of Objectivism, such principles are not the distinguishing characteristic of the philosophy. Rather, it is the Objectivist conception of objectivity, a revolutionary view at the heart of epistemology, which is the essential feature of the philosophy. (For more on objectivity, please read Diana Mertz Hsieh's essay entitled What is Objectivity?)

    Nevertheless, the principles of Objectivism are hardly unimportant. A list of them is included below, as adapted from Nathaniel Branden's Basic Principles of Objectivism.

    Objectivism holds:

    1. that existence, reality, the external world, is what it is, independent of consciousness, independent of anyone's knowledge, judgment, beliefs, hopes, wishes, or fears -- that facts are facts, that A is A, that things are what they are;
    2. that reason, the faculty that identifies and integrates the material provided by the senses, is fully competent to know the facts of reality;
    3. that perception of the facts of reality must constitute the basis of value-judgments, that just as reason is the only guide to knowledge, so it is the only guide to action;
    4. that individuals are ends in themselves, not a means to the ends of others, individuals must live for their own sake with the achievement of their rational self-interest as the moral purpose of their lives, neither sacrificing themselves to others nor others to themselves;
    5. that no one has the right to seek values from others by the initiation of physical force;
    6. that the politico-economic expression of these principles is laissez-faire capitalism, a system based on the inviolate supremacy of individual rights, in which the exclusive function of government is the protection of rights.

    -- paraphrased from Nathaniel Branden's Basic Principles of Objectivism