Podcast #31: Explore Atlas Shrugged, Session 14

 Posted by on 16 April 2010 at 9:00 am  Podcasts
Apr 162010

For Friday’s episode of Philosophy in Action Radio, I posted a preview of my podcast and study questions for “Explore Atlas Shrugged, Session 14.”

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 14 of Explore Atlas Shrugged covers:

  • Part 3: Chapter 3: Anti-Greed

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 3: Chapter 3: Anti-Greed

Section 1 (816-831)

Dr. Robert Stadler is brought to the first public demonstration of Project X. There, he allows himself to be pushed into endorsing the deadly device by Floyd Ferris.

Core Questions

  • How does Ferris manage and manipulate Dr. Stadler at the unveiling of Project X even before the demonstration? How – and why – does Ferris treat Dr. Stadler as he does? How is that different from their past meetings? (816-21)
  • What does Project X do? How will the government use it? How does Dr. Stadler respond to that information? What does that reveal about him? (822-5)
  • How does Ferris persuade Dr. Stadler to speak in support of Project X, ultimately? Why does Dr. Stadler acquiesce? What should he have done instead? What would that choice have required of him? (827-31)

Extra Questions

  • How has Dr. Stadler’s position in the world – and his state of mind – degenerated in recent months? Why has that happened? (816-31)
  • Why did Dr. Stadler obey the mysterious orders to come to the demonstration of Project X? What does that show about his character? (816, 818)
  • How was Dr. Stadler ordered and then delivered to the demonstration? What does that reveal about the nature of the government and his position in it? (818)
  • What does Dr. Stadler’s personal slogan – “What can you do when you have to deal with people?” – mean? What knowledge does that slogan protect him against? How does it shape his moral choices? (818, 819-20)
  • What does Dr. Stadler think of the other notable people at the demonstration? What does his failure to recognize them reveal about him? (819, 821-2)
  • Why do people accept the vague assurances of Drs. Ferris and Stadler that Project X must be good because it’s a non-profit venture? What view of profits must people have? Are those views right or wrong? (819-20)
  • Why does Dr. Stadler choose to answer the questions of the press, rather than admit his own ignorance? Why does he loathe himself for doing it? How does he rationalize that choice to himself? (819-20)
  • Why does Dr. Stadler think that the people involved with Project X are the pawns of “an impersonal, unthinking, unembodied machine”? Is that true? Why or why not? (823)
  • How does Project X exemplify the view that “there are no entities, only actions – and no values, only consequences”? (823)
  • Why is Dr. Stadler particularly riveted by the goat kid and its mother? What do the effects of Project X on those animals reveal? (823-4, 821-2)
  • Why is Dr. Stadler so horrified by the demonstration of Project X? Is that reaction justified? (824-5)
  • What are the practical effects of Hank Rearden’s refusal to provide the State Science Institute with Rearden Metal? How does that choice contrast with Dr. Stadler’s choices at the demonstration? (823, 825)
  • What is the reaction of the spectators to the demonstration of Project X? What does that reveal about the state of the culture? (824-5)
  • How has Project X kept funds flowing to the State Science Institute in recent years? Would private industry have funded Project X? Why or why not? (825-6)
  • What kinds of speeches are given after the demonstration of Project X, leading up to the speech of Dr. Stadler? What is their purpose? Are they honest? Why or why not? (826-8)
  • How does Dr. Stadler respond to the young newsman’s plea for him to tell the truth? Why? (830-1)
  • What values does Dr. Stadler betray by giving the government’s speech? What are (and will be) the consequences for him – and for the whole country – of that betrayal? (816-31)

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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