STUDY GROUP ON "AYN RAND"


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STUDY GROUP ON "AYN RAND" CHAPTER

FROM "THE POWER AND THE GLORY"

BY

BURGESS LAUGHLIN

Final-osg-image.jpg

PURPOSE OF STUDY-GROUPS
Organised self-study, that is the ability to think and communicate in a structured manner, is an important part of almost all professions. Successful action requires thought that efficiently organizes facts, infers conclusions based on valid principles, and facilitates implementable guidelines for success. By regularly participating in study-groups, people can develop discipline it takes to excel in life.

PURPOSE OF THIS STUDY-GROUP
In past two centuries Western thought has witnessed greatest intellectual decline in the history of mankind. The ideas that led to science of Newton, technology of Edison, and politics that ended centuries of feudalism have been discredited. The decline has impacted education, government, corporate and medical institutions, news media, movies, and mental well-being of mankind in general.

The ideas of Ayn Rand promise not just resurrection of ideas that make good things possible, but also build them further. And this study group will introduce you to ideas of Ayn Rand in most concise way possible. Whether its her life, her fiction works, non-fiction, or her activism; everything will be available for you to grasp. So to improve your thought process, please check the link that gives details of study-group.

SPECIFICS OF THE STUDY GROUP
The study can involve writing summary, writing outline, detailed analysis or synthesis of select section(informally referred as chewing), or answering few / some / all of the questions I will post in the forum. Depending on the type of study, individual needs to spend 10 minutes to 1 hour per day. He can also complete his study in advance, and post on corresponding week.

The study-group will be from "chapter 8" on "Ayn Rand" in the book "The Power and The Glory" by Burgess Laughlin. It starts on 29th June, 2015. Please note that participation is not possible without the membership of objectvismonline.com forum.

REMEMBERING BURGESS
August 29 last year Burgess passed away. 4th July, 2015 marks his 71st birthday. Burgess, as some of you might know was the non-fiction writer. He specialized in "History of Intellectuals", writing selective biographies of various intellectuals. Emphasis being on the development and dissemination of their ideas. He was also passionate about study-groups, and dedicated to the cause. Leaving behind treasure of various targetted discussions. Of course, he was an Objectivist, an activist for reason using rational discourse.
Therefore, the study-group starts on birthweek of Burgess.

HOW TO PARTICIPATE
In the following thread, please post your intent to participate after objectivismonline.com sign up.
http://forum.objecti...showtopic=28363

The final study group will take place in a separate thread. Only those who volunteer here by posting intent will be allowed to post there. Posting the intent can be as simple as writing "I will participate". But from the perspective of overall objective of study-groups, which involves trading of ideas, I think it would be good if the volunteers post their motivations and personal objectives of joining. Further, it would be better if the volunteer gives his intellectual, academic and professional history.

Here is a link to the forum where final study group will take place.

http://forum.objecti...p?showforum=121

Looking forward to an engaging study-group where we improve our thinking, understanding and knowledge.
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  • 2 months later...

Also today I posted questions from Introduction of the book

http://forum.objectivismonline.com/index.php?showtopic=28363#entry336226

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INTRODUCTION TO “THE POWER AND THE GLORY”

(PART 1)

Questions

Q1. Which non-fiction category book belongs to? What is it about?

( Just give key terms and their importance. Further details can be deferred to A4. on scope )

Q2. Who are the intended audience, and what can they expect in this book?

Q3. What is the purpose of this book?

Q4. What is the scope of this book?

Q5. What was the procedure employed by the writer to write this book?

Q6. What is the theme of this book?

------------------------------------------

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Today I posted answers to questions I had posted on Tuesday, 9th june as part of preparatory. Sharing sample here. All answers can be viewed in the link.

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Q6. What is the theme of this book?

Ans: The theme is to understand how success is achieved in dissemination of ideas. That is through commitment to develop the position on ideas, and through persistent effort to advance these ideas. That is, the power of debaters is in understanding the ideas, and glory lies in disseminating these ideas.

----------------------------------------------

http://forum.objectivismonline.com/index.php?showtopic=28363#entry336314

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Continuing preparatory studies, today I posted second set of questions. These also will be answered later this week.

Originals are posted here :-

http://forum.objectivismonline.com/index.php?showtopic=28363#entry336363

INTRODUCTION TO “THE POWER AND THE GLORY”

(PART 2)

Questions

Q7. In current context, why does the writer think its necessary to define key terms like reason?

Q8. Briefly explain reason, as it is described here?

Q9. Briefly explain faith, as it is described here?

Q10. How does structure of philosophy help writer and reader?

Q11. Summarize each branch of philosophy with brief description?

Q12. How can studying references at later point of time be useful? What is the nature of these references?

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Today I posted answers to questions I had posted on Tuesday, 16th june as part of preparatory. Sharing sample here. All answers can be viewed in the link.

---------------------------------

Q7. In current context, why does the writer think its necessary to define key terms like reason?

Ans: The term like reason refers to idea. However, if we look at the history of that idea, we see that its terms have changed from logos, to ratio, to raison etc. And more importantly, the debater's interpretation of the idea varies. However, there has to be one meaning in reality that should be used as a standard. Then the position of debaters can be compared against this standard. This method of comparison thus offers continuity across debaters of same idea. And thus the definition acts as a standard, making it easier to abstract relevant elements in position.

---------------------------------

http://forum.objectivismonline.com/index.php?showtopic=28363#entry336443

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The main study-group is just 1 week away....

Continuing preparatory studies, today I posted final set of preparatory questions. These also will be answered later this week.

Originals are posted here :- http://forum.objecti...363#entry336481

THE POWER AND THE GLORY

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

Questions

Q1. What information does “Acknowledgments” here give about the nature of book?

Q2. What role did various other individuals play in this book?

Q3. Who reviewed the Ayn Rand chapter?

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SCHEDULE

START WEEK - Monday, 29th June, 2015.
END WEEK - Monday, 2nd August, 2015.

Week 1

YEARS IN RUSSIA

Monday, 29th June - Sunday, 5th July

- Russia in Turmoil
- Philosophical Studies
(Pg 217-222)

Week 2

INITIAL YEARS IN AMERICA, TILL THE PUBLICATION OF "THE FOUNTAINHEAD"

Monday, 6th July - Sunday, 12th July

- America – Free to write
- An ideal man, a man of reason
(Pg 222-228)

Week 3

FROM RECEPTION OF "THE FOUNTAINHEAD", TO THE RECEPTION OF "ATLAS SHRUGGED"

Monday, 13th July - Sunday, 19th July

- (Contd..) An ideal man, a man of reason
- The final novel
(Pg 228-233)

Week 4

NON FICTION WRITINGS AND INTELLECTUAL ACTIVISM (PART 1)
(Works other than Epistemology)

Monday, 20th July - Sunday, 26th July

- Changing vehicles
- A Philosopher's provisional summary
- Opening and Closing channels
- Branch Books
(Pg 233-241)

Week 5

NON FICTION WRITINGS AND INTELLECTUAL ACTIVISM (PART 2)
(Mainly work related to Epistemology)

Monday, 27th July - Sunday, 2nd August

- A Definition of Reason
- Shifting Gears
- Reason as Integration
(Pg 241-245)

Week 6

REVIEW, SUMMARY, AND FUTURE STUDIES

Monday, 29th June, 2015.

I have framed 48 Questions which I will split across 5 weeks. Participants can answer all or some of those questions. Of course, participants are free to study by summarizing, outlining, or chewing sections of their choice from the text under study for that week.

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Final call - The study-group will start next Monday in the following thread.

http://forum.objectivismonline.com/index.php?showtopic=28351

Five participants including me are confirmed.

Only those who have confirmed participation in the following thread can participate. So hurry before the offer closes....

http://forum.objectivismonline.com/index.php?showtopic=28363

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Today I posted final post in preparatory section. Answers to questions I posted on Tuesday, June 22 from acknowledgment section.

Sample answer here

———————————

Q1. What information does “Acknowledgments” give about the nature of book?

Ans: In the Acknowledgments section, Burgess begins by mentioning that the book is like a report of student. And that this report is derived from the works of various scholars, who identified and interpreted facts about various debates. Debates that have been further presented and analyzed in this book. Burgess used his study of the [reason-faith] debate, and also observations in current time, to structure the content of this book.

———————————

Complete post here – http://forum.objectivismonline.com/index.php?showtopic=28363#entry336626

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Update from study-group on Ayn Rand. It has started today. I have summarized the general pattern study-group will follow, and posted questions for this week.

Please follow the following link to know more – http://forum.objectivismonline.com/index.php?showtopic=28351&p=336689#entry336689

This week covers following sections

Week 1

YEARS IN RUSSIA

Monday, 29th June – Sunday, 5th July

- Russia in Turmoil
– Philosophical Studies
(Pg 217-222)

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Today we also remember Burgess on his 71st birthday. The start week was chosen for this reason. This is his first birthday after his passing on August 29 last year.


His ideas and writings deserve to be immortalized, and study-group is the step in that direction.


Today I posted answers to this week's quesions. Here is the link -


http://forum.objectivismonline.com/index.php?showtopic=28351&p=336738#entry336738


Sharing sample answer here :


Q2. List interests and methods of Ayn Rand as a child? What is their importance in understanding her as an intellectual?


ARTISTIC INTERESTS OF AYN RAND AS A CHILD


1. First silent films that Ayn Rand saw at the age of 8, enabling her to write scenarios(I think it refers to short screenplays, or particular scenes). She also read purposeful detective story in French. In this story detective solves mystery using logic. Maurice Champagne's plot of French story translated as “The Mysterious Valley” lead Ayn Rand to discover story telling as a means of portraying ideal man.


2. Alisa Rosenbaum discovering vivid, valaue charged world of Victor Hugo novels. The literature that was categorized as Romanticist movement.


[ Britting, and Ayn Rand's Aesthetics from “The Romantic Manifesto – A Philosophy of literature”]


INTERESTS OF AYN RAND INVOLVING ETHICS, EPISTEMOLOGY AND METAPHYSICS


1. Rosenbaum asking herself why she liked some things more than the others. And forming of likes as generalizations leading to thinking in principles. Listing evidence for likes also leading to discovery of reason. [britting]


2. In Crimea high school, Alisia Rosenbaum discovering that she enjoyed making difficult things understandable to others.[For the school in Crimea – Britting, p17]


Understanding these aspects of her early childhood provide insight into what she did later in life, and also how she did it. Her love for scenarios, stories, and heroes tell us why she became novelist. And her methods of introspecting on likes, and communication skills, help us understand how she had developed her writing, analytical and integrating skills quite early in life.


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Here is the list of questions posted this week

Details here - http://forum.objectivismonline.com/index.php?showtopic=28351&p=336760#entry336760

WEEK 2

INITIAL YEARS IN AMERICA, TILL THE PUBLICATION OF "THE FOUNTAINHEAD"

Monday, 6th July - Sunday, 12th July

Questions

- America – Free to write

Q1. Describe Rand's career plans, and what she did to achieve those?

Q2. Describe methods and motivations of Ayn Rand, while she was writing initial novels prior to “The Fountainhead” and “Anthem”? What role did the writings play in her achievement of “Central Purpose of Life”?

Q3. Describe her initial success, before the point where she started writing “The Fountainhead”?

- An ideal man, a man of reason

Q4. Describe theme, plot theme, and main character of “The Fountainhead”? How does the theme represent Rand's overall progression as a writer?

Q5. How did study of Ethics and Politics contribute to Ayn Rand's central purpose in life, presenting ideal man that is?

Q6. How was the method of writing “The Fountainhead” different from writing “We The Living”? What preparations did she do for “The Fountainhead”?

Q7. What was the theme and style of Anthem?

Q8. What was her purpose of writing journals?

Q9. Why did she join political campaign in 1940 presidential election, and why did she later abandon it? Which intellectual skill did she start developing here?

General Question

Q10. How Ayn Rand engaged and expanded her social network?

(Hint: Some part of answer from “The Final Novel” section)

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Today I posted answers for questions of 2nd week.

Here is the link which you can follow to know the details - http://forum.objectivismonline.com/index.php?showtopic=28351&p=336865#entry336865

Here is the sample answer -

Q5. How was the method of writing “The Fountainhead” different from writing “We The Living”? What preparations did she do for “The Fountainhead”?

Ans: Unlike We The Living, characters of The Fountainhead were not historical individuals. The setting also was not a particular historical period, the years after the Communist Revolution in Russia being the setting for We The Living.

In The Fountainhead, Rand's characters are literary abstractions. She examined individuals in her own time and abstracted certain qualities, the essential(explanatory, causal) characters that made them recognizable ethical types. While still having descriptive touches, the “concretes”, that make them particular individuals. This method of integration of abstractions and concretes became a hallmark of her fiction writing.

Preparations for “The Fountainhead”

Rand did mainly three tasks prior to start of writing “The Fountainhead”(working title of which was “The second hand lives”) in June 1938.
a.) Researched architecture as a field.
b.) Worked in architect's office.
c.) Took notes and built outline.

[References: For Rand concretizing abstractions in her fiction, and also the preparations she made : Shoshana Milgram's essay “The Fountainhead from Notebook to Novel” in Robert Mayhew's Essays on Ayn Rand's The Fountainhead.]

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Today I posted answers for questions of 2nd week.

Here is the link which you can follow to know the details - http://forum.objectivismonline.com/index.php?showtopic=28351&p=336865#entry336865

Here is the sample answer -

Q5. How was the method of writing “The Fountainhead” different from writing “We The Living”? What preparations did she do for “The Fountainhead”?

Ans: Unlike We The Living, characters of The Fountainhead were not historical individuals. The setting also was not a particular historical period, the years after the Communist Revolution in Russia being the setting for We The Living.

In The Fountainhead, Rand's characters are literary abstractions. She examined individuals in her own time and abstracted certain qualities, the essential(explanatory, causal) characters that made them recognizable ethical types. While still having descriptive touches, the “concretes”, that make them particular individuals. This method of integration of abstractions and concretes became a hallmark of her fiction writing.

Preparations for “The Fountainhead”

Rand did mainly three tasks prior to start of writing “The Fountainhead”(working title of which was “The second hand lives”) in June 1938.

a.) Researched architecture as a field.

b.) Worked in architect's office.

c.) Took notes and built outline.

[References: For Rand concretizing abstractions in her fiction, and also the preparations she made : Shoshana Milgram's essay “The Fountainhead from Notebook to Novel” in Robert Mayhew's Essays on Ayn Rand's The Fountainhead.]

I don't agree with this approach to Rand's fiction or her, and her non-fiction even. It's academic and academic doesn't work for me. I'm a down to earth reductionist. After over 50 years of getting where I am respecting her work, I start and stop at the base of practical, applicable reality. This is my Objectivism. It's honest and robust. And it's why I don't call myself an Objectivist. I do not pretend to be a philosopher, either. Leonard Peikoff does. He's not. He's an Objectivist. That's likely one reason his academic advisor Sidney Hook didn't give him a letter of recommendation for employment after he got his Doctorate. (And maybe he didn't want to be embarrassed by a Rand connection.)

--Brant

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I don't agree with this approach to Rand's fiction.

--Brant

Why because it is tedious and boring?

And apparently, according to the D man, quite wrong!

A...

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Q5. How was the method of writing “The Fountainhead” different from writing “We The Living”? What preparations did she do for “The Fountainhead”?

Ans: Unlike We The Living, characters of The Fountainhead were not historical individuals. The setting also was not a particular historical period, the years after the Communist Revolution in Russia being the setting for We The Living.

Wrong. I refer you to her letter to Waldo Coleman (page 277 of my copy of the Letters), where she specifies that the quarry sequence takes place in 1928, among other elements that tie it quite firmly to it's historical context.

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TF started in '22. Keating graduated and Roark kicked out. It was in between WWI and WWII. Her first two novels were slightly looking back in time while AS was looking forward.

--Brant

but we aren't invited to say these things, are we?--not sure; I haven't put my nose to the grindstone on this thread

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but we aren't invited to say these things, are we?--not sure; I haven't put my nose to the grindstone on this thread

 

Don't do it!   Hurts like hell!

 

nose to the grindstone photo: Sam Benny2_zpsaa75dd9e.gif

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I don't agree with this approach to Rand's fiction.

--Brant

Why because it is tedious and boring?

And apparently, according to the D man, quite wrong!

A...

I just see wrong after wrong. It's insulting to be instructed by someone who has the answers and expects you to match up to them. Study Groups is group study of the catechism. These folk don't even know there is such a thing as an Objectivist catechism and that they don't even match up to that! This kind of studying is like all those worthless university courses you had to take and wanted to forget as soon as possible. Our instructor doesn't begin to comprehend how anti-OL this is. It's also even anti-SOLO Passion, which I can go to every once in a while, but save me from the likes of Objectivism On Line. Here I don't expect anybody to take crap from me and if I dish it out and get called out I'll work it out one way or another or just completely fold my tent and leave. Many people have left OL because they can't stand up to this sort of thing and defend themselves and I see another getting ready to go.

--Brant

I don't believe in building bridges such as between The Atlas Society and the ARI or between this site and another--OL is a blast furnace, not a bridge--I also don't believe in taking the high road like Ed Hudgins (not knocking him personally for it or anyone else)--I just try to avoid the low road

You take the high road and I'll take the other road

And I'll be in reality before ye

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Few months back I read in facebook that Burgess researched the subjects for 15 years. So its a very well thought out material, which might not be immediately apparent from the book volume. So this study-group I think can help in understanding the depth of content.



Good Morning, today is Monday, July 13th, 2015. I have posted questions for 3rd week here - http://forum.objectivismonline.com/index.php?showtopic=28351&p=336897#entry336897



Few months back I read in facebook that Burgess researched the subjects for 15 years. So its a very well thought out material, which might not be immediately apparent from the book volume. So this study-group I think can help in understanding the depth of content.



The questions are as follows



POWER AND GLORY – THE KEY IDEAS AND CRUSADING LIVES OF EIGHT DEBATERS OF REASON VS FAITH




RAND : A PHILOSOPHICAL NOVELIST DEFENDS REASON – OBJECTIVELY SPEAKING



WEEK 3




Questions




AN IDEAL MAN, A MAN OF REASON Contd...




Q1. How was “The Fountainhead” received and promoted?




Q2. Why did she move primary attention from “Ethics” to “Metaphysics and Epistemology” in her thinking and writings?




THE FINAL NOVEL




Questions




Q3. What was the political environment like, when writing of “Atlas Shrugged” got started?




Q4. Describe her general view on philosophy, and her particular views on philosophy of Kant?




Q5. What is a “theme” and “plot-theme”? Explain “theme” and “plot-theme” of Atlas Shrugged, working title of which was “The mind on strike”? How and why did scope evolve overtime?




Q6. What was the plot of Atlas shrugged? Explain challenge in creating it, and role of Epistemology in fixing that challenge?


[Hint: Part of The answer will require knowledge that is not given in the text being studied. Knowledge of Atlas Shrugged storyline in this case.]




Q7. Explain concretization by explaining the role it plays in novel?




Q8. John Galt speech was complex to create. How can you infer this from current text?




Q9. On what basis did she select the publication? Show that her apprehensions were correct?




Q10. Summarize Objectivism from what is given in the text?


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