Podcast #25: Explore Atlas Shrugged, Session 8

 Posted by on 14 January 2010 at 8:00 am  Podcasts
Jan 142010

For Wednesday’s episode of Philosophy in Action Radio, I posted a preview of my podcast and study questions for “Explore Atlas Shrugged, Session 8.”

The online version of Explore Atlas Shrugged – meaning, all 20 sessions of podcasts and study questions, plus other resources – can be purchased for just $20. The written materials are also available from Amazon in paperback and kindle formats, and purchasers of those editions pay just $10 for access to the podcasts. For more information, including previews of other sessions, visit Explore Atlas Shrugged.

Session 8 of Explore Atlas Shrugged covers:

  • Part 2: Chapter 3: White Blackmail (Sections 4-6)
  • Part 2: Chapter 4: The Sanction of Victim

Preview the Podcast

Listen or Download:

Preview the Study Questions

Note: The pagination of the hardcover, softcover, and kindle editions differs from that of the small mass market paperback. The study questions cite only the pagination from the larger editions. I don’t recommend using the mass market paperback.

Part 2: Chapter 3: White Blackmail

Section 4 (438-440)

Eddie Willers speaks to the Taggart Transcontinental worker about the upcoming trial of Hank Rearden and Ken Danagger, as well as about the disappearance of more industrialists.

Core Question

  • Why does Eddie think that someone should defend Hank Rearden and Ken Danagger? Is he right? Why hasn’t anyone done so? (438, 440)

Extra Questions

  • Why does Eddie feel the need to speak to the railroad worker about the disappearing industrialists? What does that reveal about Eddie? (438-40)
  • What is Dagny Taggart’s response to the trial of Hank Rearden and Ken Danagger? What is Eddie’s response to her? What does that reveal about Eddie? (438)
  • Which industrialist does Dagny fear will disappear next? Why? What does Dagny plan to do about it? (438-9)
  • Why does Dagny think that a “destroyer” is causing the industrialists to disappear? What does she think of him? (439)
  • What did Dagny look like when asleep? What does that reveal about her? (439-40)

Section 5 (440-447)

Dagny Taggart waits impatiently outside the office of Ken Danagger while he speaks with an unknown man. When she’s admitted, Danagger tells her that he’s retiring.

Core Question

  • How and why is Dagny confused by Danagger’s actions in their meeting, particularly by his decision to retire? What does she suppose his motives to be? Is she right or wrong? (443-7)

Extra Questions

  • What is Dagny’s emotional state upon her arrival at Danagger’s office – and then while waiting for him? Why? (440-2)
  • Why doesn’t Dagny just walk into Danagger’s office? Should she have done so? Why or why not? (441-2)
  • What does Dagny learn about the man speaking privately to Danagger? Why is that important to her? (441-3)
  • What does Danagger ask Dagny to tell Hank Rearden? What does that reveal about Danagger? (445-6)
  • What is Dagny’s response to Danagger’s proposed gift of the Danagger Coal Company to her? Why? What does that reveal about her character? Why won’t Danagger leave a deed or will for his company? (446)
  • What is the significance of Dagny’s discovery of the dollar-sign cigarette? What people and events does it link together? (447)

About Explore Atlas Shrugged

Explore Atlas Shrugged is a series of 20 sessions of podcasts and study questions by me, philosopher Dr. Diana Hsieh. Each session covers about 65 pages of the novel, organized chapter-by-chapter and section-by-section. The podcasts are an in-depth look at the events, characters, and ideas from that portion of the novel. The whole series contains over 22 hours of lively and engaging discussion in podcast form. The study questions will help you better understand the novel on your own – or help you lead an engaging reading group. The series includes over 1400 questions, organized into “core” and “extra” categories.

You can preview the full series of podcasts and questions, as well as purchase access for just $20, here: Explore Atlas Shrugged. You can also purchase the series below.

Also, the written materials are available from Amazon in paperback and kindle formats, and purchasers of those editions pay just $10 for access to the podcasts.

Purchase Explore Atlas Shrugged

Access to the online version of Explore Atlas Shrugged costs just $20. It’s half off – just $10 – for purchasers of the paperback and kindle editions of the book version. Also, if you contribute to Philosophy in Action’s Tip Jar via recurring weekly or monthly contributions (or the equivalent), please email me for free access.

Terms of Sale: (1) You may share the podcasts with members of your household, but not beyond that. (2) You may share the study questions with members of your household, as well as with participants in your online or in-person Atlas Shrugged Reading Group. (3) Do not ever post the podcasts or study questions in any public forum.

Items: Course: Explore Atlas Shrugged ($20)
Course: Explore Atlas Shrugged (Half Price Discount) ($10)
Note: This half-price discount is only available to purchasers of a paperback or kindle edition of Explore Atlas Shrugged. Please email me a screenshot or picture as proof.

Praise for Explore Atlas Shrugged

The response to Explore Atlas Shrugged has been overwhelmingly positive, including the following remarks:

I require students to read Atlas Shrugged in my introductory economics class. Dr. Hsieh’s Explore Atlas Shrugged podcasts were an essential tool to help communicate the novel’s lesson and hold effective class discussion. Do not attempt to teach the book without consulting the podcasts first!

— Bailey Norwood, Associate Professor, Department of Agricultural Economics, Oklahoma State University


Thank you, thank you, thank you, Diana – our GLO Atlas Reading Group is going so very well. We have about 12-13 people attending, and it is truly the most fun we’ve had in a long time. So much rewarding fun comes out of your ideas and organization. Can’t thank you enough for your efforts!!!


I just wanted to send you a quick note and thank you for your efforts on Explore Atlas Shrugged. As part of the Charm City Objectivists Society we used your questions and podcast to help kick off our reading group yesterday for session one. We had epiphanies all around the table from someone who is a firm student of Objectivism to a person who had read Atlas Shrugged but is new to Objectivism. I know that neither Ray (our moderator) or myself could have undertaken this kind of thing without the wonderful resource you have created. You have helped me make a difference in my community and I thank you for it.


The other day, I began listening to your Explore Atlas Shrugged podcasts. I have read and listened to the book several times, but it has been admittedly too long since the last time. Although I can not adequately express how much experiencing your podcasts has meant to me and the extent to which they have reinvigorated me, I did want to thank you…Thank you.

About Philosophy in Action Radio

Philosophy in Action Radio focuses on the application of rational principles to the challenges of real life. It broadcasts live on most Sunday mornings and many Thursday evenings over the internet. For information on upcoming shows, visit the Episodes on Tap. For podcasts of past shows, visit the Show Archives.

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