Available Courses & Seminars
The following courses and seminars are available either live or on CD from the Ayn Rand Bookstore:
The Source and Nature of Rights
Because few people understand what rights are and where they come from, our genuine rights (e.g., the rights to life, liberty, property, and the pursuit of happiness) are increasingly violated by laws and regulations favoring pseudo rights (e.g., states’ rights, “stakeholder” rights, the right to health care, the right to a mortgage). This seminar surveys the prevalent theories of rights—from “God-given” rights, to “man-made” rights, to so-called “natural” rights—and shows why each fails to provide an objective foundation for the principles in question. It then zeros in on the actual source and nature of rights, showing why and how genuine rights are moral truths derived from and validated by observation and logic. Lastly, it turns to the political and legal implications of these crucial truths, showing that they morally mandate a social system in which governments and laws are constitutionally limited to the protection of rights.
- The Source and Nature of Rights (Part I)
- The Source and Nature of Rights (Part II)
- The Source and Nature of Rights (Part III)
- The Source and Nature of Rights (Part IV)
The Elements of Thinking in Principles
Thinking in principles is, in essence, a process of identifying relevant fundamentals and applying them properly to a given situation or question. This course examines and concretizes crucial components of the method, including: naming one’s primaries, excluding the middle, classifying by essentials, respecting hierarchy, keeping context, and dismissing the arbitrary. Using a wide variety of examples, the course shows how, when properly understood and applied, these elements unify into the whole that is the hallmark of objectivity: the method of thinking in principles. (The course presupposes an intermediate-level understanding of Objectivist epistemology and ethics.)Back to top
Ayn Rand distinguished between a disciple of causation and a disciple of "duty." The first is reality-oriented and goal-directed; he recognizes that the achievement of every end requires specific means, and he pursues his values accordingly. The second is directed not by goals, but by an inexplicable moral "must"; his actions are unrelated to his values; they are intended to fulfill alleged obligations that have nothing to do with his life. This course examines and elaborates on that distinction—offering techniques and standing orders for living as a disciple of causation, and suggesting ways to expunge remnants of the duty premise that might still infect one's soul.
The metaphysical attitude and guiding moral premise of the disciple of causation, wrote Ayn Rand, is summed up in the Spanish proverb: "God said: 'Take what you want and pay for it.'" This course systematically "chews" the profound Objectivist meaning of this proverb and identifies the principles required to fully embrace it.Back to top
The Science of Selfishness
This course demonstrates that ethics, like physics, is scientific through and through—that its principles are observation-based, logical, and absolute—and that if one grasps and applies them, one can achieve and maintain a life of profound happiness. The course examines, concretizes, and clarifies the principles of selfishness, showing their connection to perceptual reality, emphasizing their life-serving purpose, demonstrating their interrelationships, discussing their proper applications, and offering techniques for incorporating them into one's daily life. Topics include: the nature and essential criteria of science, Ayn Rand's scientific approach to ethics, the purpose of morality, the derivation and meaning of the principle that man's life is the standard of moral value, the principles of selfishness (including the "math" of egoism), and the art (or applied science) of selfishness. Egoists of all levels of knowledge will expand their understanding of the science of selfishness and thus of how to achieve a life of happiness.
Available on CD from the Ayn Rand Bookstore.Back to top
Moral Rights and Metaphysical Law
To uphold and defend the principle of individual rights, one must grasp, as Ayn Rand did, that “the source of man’s rights is not divine law or congressional law, but the law of identity.” However, a great deal of observations, conceptualizations, and generalizations lie between the principle of rights and the law of identity. This course concretizes and clarifies these crucial connections, zeroing in on the facts that give rise to rights, identifying the precise nature of rights, differentiating objective from “natural” and “intrinsic” rights, elucidating the moral and political implications of these principles, and demonstrating that one’s rights to life, liberty, property, etc. are as absolute as the fact that you are reading these words.
Listeners will expand or fortify their understanding of the source, nature, and meaning of rights, and thereby enhance their ability to speak and write cogently toward the establishment of a fully free society.
Available on CD from the Ayn Rand Bookstore.Back to top
How to Write Clearly, Objectively, and Effectively
Whether books, articles, op-eds, blog posts, or letters to the editor, the written word is what changes minds—and thus the world. Whatever one’s chosen medium, clear, cogent, well-concretized writing is essential to success.
This seminar examines the elements of good expository writing—from choosing a subject; to identifying the context of one’s audience; to thinking on paper and organizing one’s thoughts; to formulating a viable theme; to condensing one’s ideas in light of one’s theme; to creating outlines (funnel, ordinal, detailed) and structuring your argument; to choosing and effectively using examples, illustrations, and quotations; to writing a rough draft; to editing one’s manuscript for publication. This seminar elaborates key aspects of the writing process, showing step-by-step how to produce clear, concretized, and thus compelling prose.
Available live; contact me for details.Back to top