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Donovan A.

Understanding Objectivism Test (01)

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This test has been designed to assess your comprehension of Understanding Objectivism: A Guide to Learning Ayn Rand’s Philosophy (UO) Lectures by Dr. Leonard Peikoff (Book Edited by Michael S. Berliner). Questions have been formed from the book version, chapters (lectures) 1 – 4 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 UO (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.


Note: All questions are formed from assertions and arguments made by the author of the book/material. When answering test questions, please keep in mind that the “correct” answer is based on those assertions. The Culture of Reason Center does not necessarily endorse the positions articulated in the subject material.

Test Score Range:
0-60: Minimal understanding (Low) – Basic study needed
65-70: Moderate understanding (Low-Mid) – Basic study needed
75-80: Good understanding (Intermediate) – Basic study review needed
85-90: Competent (High-Mid) – Proceed to more technical studies
95-100: Advanced (High) - Proceed to more technical studies

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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)
The Virtue of Selfishness Test 01
The Virtue of Selfishness Test 02
The Virtue of Selfishness Test 03
The Virtue of Selfishness Test 04
The Ominous Parallels Test 01
The Ominous Parallels Test 02

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64 ... only one where I took direct issue with the correct answer. I mean, the answer did indeed come from the text, but I thought that Peikoff was wrong. I did save the output in my Objectivism folder to a file called "Understanding Peikoff.txt". My review here.

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I looked through a few questions, and it looks as if you've standardized most of the questions, Randall. Good job.

Question #2 is a true-or-false:

"2) Objectivism says you must like skyscrapers. [p.14]"

I don't know what the test accepts as the correct answer, but actual Objectivism says you must indeed like skyscrapers, at least if you wish to be considered a "man of self-esteem" rather than a "man who lacks self-esteem." Rand's official Objectivist position is that a true Objectivist must respond to "a heroic man, the skyline of New York, a sunlit landscape, pure colors and ecstatic music" with admiration and exaltation, and he must respond to "a humble man, an old village, muddy colors and folk music" with disgust and boredom.

In short, you must like what Rand liked, and you must aesthetically interpret everything exactly as she subjectively did. If you don't, then you lack self-esteem according to Objectivism.

J

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I looked through a few questions, and it looks as if you've standardized the questions, Randall. Good job.

Question #2 is a true-or-false:

"2) Objectivism says you must like skyscrapers. [p.14]"

I don't know what the test accepts as the correct answer, but actual Objectivism says you must indeed like skyscrapers, at least if you wish to be considered a "man of self-esteem" rather than a "man who lacks self-esteem." Rand's official Objectivist position is that a true Objectivist must respond to "a heroic man, the skyline of New York, a sunlit landscape, pure colors and ecstatic music" with admiration and exaltation, and he must respond to "a humble man, an old village, muddy colors and folk music" with disgust and boredom.

In short, you must like what Rand liked, and you must aesthetically interpret everything exactly as she subjectively did. If you don't, then you lack self-esteem according to Objectivism.

J

Could you be over-stating things just a bit?

--Brant

there is additionally the true Objectivist smoker (but no cigars), cough, cough

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Jonathan, I appreciate the humor. As with ballroom dancing and midi-skirts, Ayn Rand had a propensity for explaining her prejudices so lucidly that young Nathaniel Branden called her "Mrs. Logic." She did allow, however, that a junkyard could be the subject of a pro-life painting.

The important thing here is to actually read Understanding Objectivism and then take the quiz. If you want to argue with Leonard Peikoff, he has an email address.

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I scored a 52. I read the book once when it was first published. It was of course mis-tittled as "the philosophy of Ayn Rand" when it was the philosophy of Leonard Peikoff. He seems to have pretended to be the author Rand would have been if she had written such a book giving it little scholarly or didactic value as she hadn't endorsed this final product unlike Nathaniel Branden's Basic Principles of Objectivism. If I were to take a test on Branden's course I think I might get into the seventies and I suspect my 52 will elevate after all my Peikoff scores are averaged out, but it's easier to learn Rand from Rand.

--Brant

Objectivist klutz

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I looked through a few questions, and it looks as if you've standardized the questions, Randall. Good job.

Question #2 is a true-or-false:

"2) Objectivism says you must like skyscrapers. [p.14]"

I don't know what the test accepts as the correct answer, but actual Objectivism says you must indeed like skyscrapers, at least if you wish to be considered a "man of self-esteem" rather than a "man who lacks self-esteem." Rand's official Objectivist position is that a true Objectivist must respond to "a heroic man, the skyline of New York, a sunlit landscape, pure colors and ecstatic music" with admiration and exaltation, and he must respond to "a humble man, an old village, muddy colors and folk music" with disgust and boredom.

In short, you must like what Rand liked, and you must aesthetically interpret everything exactly as she subjectively did. If you don't, then you lack self-esteem according to Objectivism.

J

Could you be over-stating things just a bit?

From "Philosophy and Sense of Life"

The Romantic Manifesto

Signet Second Revised Edition

pp. 16-17

[bold emphasis added]

A sense of life is formed by a process of emotional generalization which may be described as a subconscious counterpart of a process of abstraction, since it is a method of classifying and integrating. But it is a process of emotional abstraction: it consists of classifying things according to the emotions they evoke - i.e., of tying together, by association or connotation, all those things which have the power to make an individual experience the same (or a similar) emotion. For instance: a new neighborhood, a discovery, adventure, struggle, triumph - or: the folks next door, a memorized recitation, a family picnic, a known routine, comfort. On a more adult level: a heroic man, the skyline of New York, a sunlit landscape, pure colors, ecstatic music - or: a humble man, an old village, a foggy landscape, muddy colors, folk music.

Which particular emotions will be invoked by the things in these examples, as their respective common denominators, depends on which set of things fits an individual's view of himself. For a man of self-esteem, the emotion uniting the things in the first part of these examples is admiration, exaltation, a sense of challenge; the emotion uniting the things in the second part is disgust or boredom. For a man who lacks self-esteem, the emotion uniting the things in the first part of these examples is fear, guilt, resentment; the emotion uniting the things in the second part is relief from fear, reassurance, the undemanding safety of passivity.

Ellen

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Ellen just body-slammed me.

--Brant

a woman without mercy, but the never-ending match goes on!

remember Andy Kaufman?

I do remember Andy Kauffman, but the body slam reminded me more of an Andre the Giant slam.

Ellen has an annoying/endearing tendency to bring up specific things Rand actually said rather than simply relying on the recollections of those around us too lazy to hit the books.

I feel like your tag team partner on this issue every so often, but this time I am going to look away whilst you are looking for a tag. Don't take it personally.

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I think that some people who have been Rand admirers for many years have slowly, over the years, substituted what they believe to be true for what Rand actually said - and generally emphatically - is true. I think that some people might be shocked to discover what Rand actually said on various issues, were they to reread Rand's own words.

Ellen

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The Objectivist critique of rationalism is entirely a posthumous addition with no basis in Rand's writings. I suspect it stems more from Hayek than from Rand.

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Only in one reference (to Rationalism, albeit the philosophy) that I've ever seen, Reidy. Amid her Attila-Witch Doctor allegory in FNI (p.30), she briefly shows the false alternative:

" The form of that absurd concession was the philosophers' ultimate division into two camps: those who claimed that man obtains his knowledge of the world by deducing it exclusively from concepts, which come from inside his head and are not derived from the perception of physical facts (the Rationalists)--and those who claimed that man obtains his knowledge from experience...:by direct perception of immediate facts with no recourse to concepts (the Empiricists). To put it more simply: those who joined the Witch Doctor, by abandoning reality--and those who clung to reality by abandoning their mind."

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