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This test has been designed to assess your comprehension of The Virtue of Selfishness (VOS) [Centennial Edition]. Questions have been formed from the Introduction and Chapter 1 only. Subsequent tests will cover additional chapters of the book. It is not intended to be an open book test. There are 25 questions – each is worth 4 points. This test can be taken by students before and after reading VOS (as a pre and/or post-test). Only reading Ayn Rand’s fictional work will not be sufficient preparation to excel on this test. This assessment can help students of Objectivism and study-group organizers determine the ideal study materials and is not intended to evaluate one’s agreement with Objectivism.

Test Score Range:
0-60: Minimal understanding (Low) – Basic study needed
64-68: Moderate understanding (Low-Mid) – Basic study needed
72-80: Good understanding (Intermediate) – Basic study review needed
84-88: Competent (High-Mid) – Proceed to more technical studies
92-100: Advanced (High) - Proceed to more technical studies

In order to receive your test score, you will be asked to provide your name and email address. Your test score will be emailed to you. Your name and email address will be added to our general contact mailing list. Your name and test scores will not be published. All marketing emails sent from The Culture of Reason Center include the option to unsubscribe.

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Constructive feedback is welcome
Email: cultureofreasoncenter@gmail.com

Other CRC Tests Include:
Objectivism: General Knowledge (01)
Objectivism: General Knowledge (02)
Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology Test (Introduction, Chapters 1-8, Summary)

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I got 88% correct. I thought the 3 questions I got wrong were a bit tricky, but the correct answers are literally correct per VOS.

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I guessed my way through (having only read lightly in the book, and having probably gained knowledge of its precepts by hanging out in O-forums for eight years, having its nostrums tolled like bells at regular intervals).

I slunk by the finish line with 76%.

I wonder if a relative baseline could be established -- the lowest possible score -- by giving the test to those with near-nil knowledge of Rand and her philosophy, these folks being otherwise of normal intelligence and normal retention. (How widely Randian epigrams and mantras have seeped into the cultural soup)

As Merlin seems to acknowledge, some of these test questions call upon the testee to fill in a blank, from definitions or assertions that come world-for-word from The Virtue of Selfishness.

If you, like me, guessed your way through this test, and intending to take the rest of the VOS tests, try again after discovering which test questions you failed. Try, try again.

[and when I tried again, I got 96%. Grrrr.]

Edited by william.scherk

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80%

I went back and looked up the ones I missed. (I own a first edition hardcover, so the page numbers were different.) More focus would have helped me with one or two, but I have no argument with Randall. He knows his stuff. The test was fair and accurate.

I went back through my wrong answers, open book, and took the test again to check Randall. Again, the differences in print editions was a barrier for me. (I never found one of them, but I do agree with his answers.)

I do have a quibble, not so much with Randall, as with Ayn Rand.

"7) Higher level organisms such as animals and man can achieve their survival by means of their automatic physical functions. [p.19]

Do you mean man or man qua man? Hominids such as homo erectus and homo neanderthalis were not so far from us. They used tools. They buried their dead with flowers. However, language - the primary tool of concept formation: perhaps its only means - is much younger than such higher intelligence.

The Indo-European languages are no more than 10,000 years old at most at root and the mother of all modern tongues, the theoretical NOSTRATIC goes back only to that same last Ice Age. about 20,000 years ago. See also

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704547604576262572791243528.html

about language being perhaps 50,000 years old.

That is very recent, again, considering the apparent evidence of intelligence of h. erectus and h. neanderthalis.

Just sayin'... (as I can with concepts)...

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Hello Michael,

Thanks for taking my newest test, and I appreciate your support.

I'd like to take the opportunity to clarify what I think Rand meant when she wrote: "The simpler organisms, such as plants, can survive by means of their automatic physical functions. The higher organisms, such as animals and man, cannot: their needs are more complex and the range of their actions is wider." (p.19)

On (p.22) Rand asserts: "Consciousness—for those living organisms which possess it—is the basic means of survival."

In that respect, humans, dogs, cats, etc. all must depend on their faculty of awareness in order to survive.

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3 wrong, 88%.

"3) One's own independent judgment is a proper moral criterion and moral validation. [p.xi]"
"True "
Points: 0

"16) Fill in the blank: _________ is the central purpose of a rational man's life the central value that integrates and determines the hierarchy of all his other values. [p.27]"
"Happiness "
Points: 0

"18) The virtue of Pride can best be described by the term: [p.29]"
"Independence "
Points: 0

Those are the ones I got wrong...

I don't like this test :(

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Hello Michael,

Thanks for taking my newest test, and I appreciate your support.

I'd like to take the opportunity to clarify what I think Rand meant when she wrote: "The simpler organisms, such as plants, can survive by means of their automatic physical functions. The higher organisms, such as animals and man, cannot: their needs are more complex and the range of their actions is wider." (p.19)

On (p.22) Rand asserts: "Consciousness—for those living organisms which possess it—is the basic means of survival."

In that respect, humans, dogs, cats, etc. all must depend on their faculty of awareness in order to survive.

You shouldn't have had to explain that. It's asinine to think concept formation came from language instead of the other way around.

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3 wrong, 88%.

"3) One's own independent judgment is a proper moral criterion and moral validation. [p.xi]"

"True "

Points: 0

"16) Fill in the blank: _________ is the central purpose of a rational man's life the central value that integrates and determines the hierarchy of all his other values. [p.27]"

"Happiness "

Points: 0

"18) The virtue of Pride can best be described by the term: [p.29]"

"Independence "

Points: 0

Those are the ones I got wrong...

I don't like this test :sad:

I got those "wrong" too.

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I got 76%.

Not bad. I did expect I might breach 80% even although I stopped studying the catechism over 40 years ago. The problem for me is I have little interest in Objectivist answers to Objectivist questions. The answers, you see, come first, then the questions. For me, that's backwards and distorting. The questions assume truth of many questionable truths. Elsewhere this illustrates the fallacy of reducing education to multiple choice questions gauging students' progress so what is taught is how to take those tests getting the best results so the teacher becomes a "teacher."

--Brant

of course I needed to score over 90% to justify making this post because what do I know?

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Hello Michael,

Thanks for taking my newest test, and I appreciate your support.

I'd like to take the opportunity to clarify what I think Rand meant when she wrote: "The simpler organisms, such as plants, can survive by means of their automatic physical functions. The higher organisms, such as animals and man, cannot: their needs are more complex and the range of their actions is wider." (p.19)

On (p.22) Rand asserts: "Consciousness—for those living organisms which possess it—is the basic means of survival."

In that respect, humans, dogs, cats, etc. all must depend on their faculty of awareness in order to survive.

You shouldn't have had to explain that. It's asinine to think concept formation came from language instead of the other way around.

Why asinine?

The first stage of language is naming things, which flows from object identification and permanence. Little kids of 18 months can do it and they have very few concepts in hand. Infants of 6 months show behavioral signs that they have object permanence. All of this comes way before concepts.

Ba'al Chatzaf

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I got 76%.

Not bad. I did expect I might breach 80% even although I stopped studying the catechism over 40 years ago. The problem for me is I have little interest in Objectivist answers to Objectivist questions. The answers, you see, come first, then the questions. For me, that's backwards and distorting. The questions assume truth of many questionable truths. Elsewhere this illustrates the fallacy of reducing education to multiple choice questions gauging students' progress so what is taught is how to take those tests getting the best results so the teacher becomes a "teacher."

--Brant

of course I needed to score over 90% to justify making this post because what do I know?

I have been considering adding the following statement to the test description: The questions are intended to test a person's recall of the author's views and not the actual validity of those views.

For example:

11) The process of abstraction and of concept-formation is automatic. [p.21]

The answer to this question is false, because that is not the position that is put forth by Ayn Rand in The Virtue of Selfishness.

These self-tests are intended to be study aids and I developed the questions and answers directly from the book (with references) for that reason. Since I'm not in the position to grade hundreds of essay tests, I had to form multiple choice, fill in the blank and true/false questions, so that the process of taking the test and scoring could be automated. That being said, I think it is important that a person be able to recall/identify what Rand's actual stated views were, especially if they are going to claim understanding.

Forums like like OL are a great place to debate the formulation and validity of the ideas, and I hope the tests I make encourage friendly debate and discussion.

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The first stage of language is naming things, which flows from object identification and permanence. Little kids of 18 months can do it and they have very few concepts in hand. Infants of 6 months show behavioral signs that they have object permanence. All of this comes way before concepts.

Ba'al Chatzaf

Concepts existed long before kids started talking. Our grunting ancestors could form concepts.

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The first stage of language is naming things, which flows from object identification and permanence. Little kids of 18 months can do it and they have very few concepts in hand. Infants of 6 months show behavioral signs that they have object permanence. All of this comes way before concepts.

Ba'al Chatzaf

Concepts existed long before kids started talking. Our grunting ancestors could form concepts.

My ancestors didn't grunt. They used typewriters.

--Brant

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Hello Michael,

Thanks for taking my newest test, and I appreciate your support.

I'd like to take the opportunity to clarify what I think Rand meant when she wrote: "The simpler organisms, such as plants, can survive by means of their automatic physical functions. The higher organisms, such as animals and man, cannot: their needs are more complex and the range of their actions is wider." (p.19)

On (p.22) Rand asserts: "Consciousness—for those living organisms which possess it—is the basic means of survival."

In that respect, humans, dogs, cats, etc. all must depend on their faculty of awareness in order to survive.

You shouldn't have had to explain that. It's asinine to think concept formation came from language instead of the other way around.

Why asinine?

The first stage of language is naming things, which flows from object identification and permanence. Little kids of 18 months can do it and they have very few concepts in hand. Infants of 6 months show behavioral signs that they have object permanence. All of this comes way before concepts.

Ba'al Chatzaf

Absolutely. My one-year-old grandson is not talking yet but when an object is mentioned he will look around for it and go grab it if he can.He also seems to have an idea of number. If anybody has even one more piece of carrot or chicken or whatever on their plate than he does, he will get agitated and fuss until the balance is righted in his favour.

If \Rand had forced herself to observe the actual progress of a baby's developing cognition I think she would have had to revise her theories.

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.

If \Rand had forced herself to observe the actual progress of a baby's developing cognition I think she would have had to revise her theories.

Rand coming into contact with actual live inftants????!!!!!! No way! I am sure she could conceive if she chose to, but in her heart she was Barren.

Ba'al Chatzaf

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If \Rand had forced herself to observe the actual progress of a baby's developing cognition I think she would have had to revise her theories.

Excellent observation Carol.

One of the major failings of Ayn's awareness was that she had no clue as to a child's actual actions.

Objectivism had a piece of Shakers ingrained in the thought patterns.

One of the reasons that I find Cathy's revelations about Ayn's maternal aspects so intriguing,

A...

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.

If \Rand had forced herself to observe the actual progress of a baby's developing cognition I think she would have had to revise her theories.

Rand coming into contact with actual live inftants????!!!!!! No way! I am sure she could conceive if she in to, but in her heart she was Barren.

Ba'al Chatzaf

Yes, and she seemed to equate physical barrenness with mental productivity in an almost mystical way, for herself at least. Her vehemence insisted that having children blighted the prcoessional hopes of young people forever - how she could reconcile this with careers of "lady novelists she must have been aware of I don't know. Frances Trollope eg, or her son Anthony, a young husband and father who attained a fine civil service career to support his family while producing brilliant novels in what spare time he had?

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