This week we will be starting a three part discussion. We will be covering Ayn Rand's theoretical article entitled: The Objectivist Ethics.
This will be Part 1 and we will cover paragraphs 1-33. (It will end on the paragraph that starts like this: "The higher organisms possess a much more potent form of consciousness: they possess the faculty of retaining sensations, which is the faculty of perception. A “perception” is a group of sensations automatically retained and integrated by the brain of a living organism, which gives it the ability to be aware, not of single stimuli, but of entities, of things."
Here is an intro:
Most people are taught as children that it is wrong to be selfish, and that living morally means surrendering one’s wealth and time to others who are in need. In defense of this idea, little more is offered than that some higher power commands it or that society expects it of us.
In this first discussion, we will ask, with Ayn Rand, whether there is an alternative source of values, some rational, scientific basis—and how the idea that selfishness is a vice looks in light of that alternative basis.
. . .
“No philosopher has given a rational, objectively demonstrable, scientific answer to the question of why man needs a code of values. . . .
[M]ost philosophers have now decided to declare that reason has failed, that ethics is outside the power of reason, that no rational ethics can ever be defined, and that in the field of ethics . . . man must be guided by something other than reason. . . .Today, as in the past, most philosophers agree that the ultimate standard of ethics is whim . . . and the battle is only over the question or whose whim: one's own or society's or the dictator's or God's. . . .
If you want to save civilization, it is this premise of modern ethics—and of all ethical history—that you must challenge.”
—Ayn Rand , “The Objectivist Ethics.”