Making a Virtue of Selfishness?

 Posted by on 20 February 2009 at 12:01 am  Announcements, Ethics, Objectivism
Feb 202009

The Center for Values and Social Policy in the Philosophy Department of the University of Colorado at Boulder is pleased to announce a “Think!” debate on Ayn Rand’s Objectivist ethics.

  • What: Debate on “Making a Virtue of Selfishness? A Debate about Ayn Rand’s Ethics”

  • Who: Dr. Onkar Ghate (Ayn Rand Institute) and Prof. Michael Huemer (CU Boulder, Philosophy)
  • When: Monday, March 2nd, 7:30 – 9:00 pm
  • Where: Old Main Chapel, CU Boulder (Campus Map)

About the debate:

Dr. Onkar Ghate will argue: “Ayn Rand challenges the idea, dominant in the West since Christianity, that morality consists of commandments. Even though this conception of morality has often been secularized, its essence has remained: the source of morality is something external to the self, to which the self owes obedience. In sharp contrast, Rand argues that the nature and purpose of morality is to teach one how to achieve one’s self-interest.”

Dr. Ghate is a senior fellow at the Ayn Rand Institute where he teaches at the Institute’s Objectivist Academic Center. He lectures on philosophy and Objectivism throughout North America. Dr. Ghate received his doctorate in philosophy from the University of Calgary.

Dr. Michael Huemer will argue: “Ayn Rand champions an excessively egoistic ethic, one in which individuals must place themselves before everyone and everything else. This ethic can lead one to hurt, exploit, or simply ignore the needs of others, when it suits one’s own interests to do so. Rand’s ethic of selfishness clashes with the moral sense of philosophers, spiritual leaders, and ordinary people the world over. These people are not all wrong — Ayn Rand is wrong.”

Dr. Huemer is an associate professor of philosophy at CU Boulder. He has written on such topics as philosophical skepticism, the problem of induction, ethical intuitionism, free will, and deontological ethics. Dr. Huemer received his doctorate in philosophy from Rutgers University in 1998.

All “Think!” events are free and intended for the public. For more information, please visit [email protected] with that request.

Upcoming “Think!” Events:

  • Tuesday, April 14th: Prof. Ajume Wingo, “Politics as an Alternative to Violence,” 7:30 – 9:00 pm, Old Main Chapel

“Think!” lectures are sponsored by the Center for Values and Social Policy in the Philosophy Department of the University of Colorado at Boulder and funded through the generosity of The Collins Foundation.

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