Atlas Society's 2012 Summer Seminar

Roger Bissell

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This email was sent out on Thursday October 20:

Atlas Society Summer Seminar 2012: Call for Presentation Proposals

Planning has begun for the 2012 Summer Seminar, TAS's celebration of open Objectivism.

Next year's Summer Seminar will be better than ever. We plan a shorter, more convenient schedule. We will offer the kind of quality experience that TAS is known for. We will have a top-flight program to offer. And we plan to expand the Summer Seminar audience through live video streaming of many sessions.

Look for registration information and a description of the program in early 2012. We expect the Summer Seminar to run over a long weekend, perhaps at the end of June. We will share more details when they are settled.

Meanwhile, we are looking for presentation ideas!

Get the Call for Proposals online. Presentation proposals are due December 2, 2011.

Feel free to contact me if you have any questions or ideas you want to discuss.

--William Thomas

Summer Seminar conference director

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The program for The Atlas Summit 2013 in DC, June 27–30, has been announced here.

Sample Presentations

The Role of Natural Kinds in Science

Glenn Fletcher

New Romanticism

Michael Newberry

What Science Says about Free Will

Raymond Raad

Objectivity in the Law

Jason Walker

Electronic Privacy

Alex Kozinski

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The Romantic Manifesto

Within this summer’s program of The Atlas Society, there is a symposium Romanticism Today, comprising three sessions:

Michael Newberry, visual artist

Artist Michael Newberry will interact with the Atlas Summit audience to find insights about older and contemporary romantic artworks. We will explore concepts of goal-directed action in means, emotion, sought-out states of being, and loss beyond our control. The thread will tease out Objectivism’s stance on art that “can and ought to be.” Because of the personal nature of art the goal of the presentation will be to engage concepts, like in a dance, rather than as a dictate.

Walter Donway, poet

Ayn Rand argued that in esthetics Objectivism implies Romanticism. In literature, music, and painting the artists she loved are of the Romantic School. What ideas made Romanticism, which swept Western culture from 1750 to 1850, possible? What were contradictions in those premises limited Romanticism’s achievements, often made its works seem inconsistent with reason, and ultimately crippled it? Is a new Romantic movement beginning today? What premises does it require? And what could it mean for the arts, for education and the crucial American sense of life?

Michael Shapiro, film composer

Film scores represent one of the last bastions of Romantic instrumental music, and some of the most breathtaking and memorable scores have been composed for fantasy-genre films. Movies like Lord of the Rings, Army of Darkness, Conan the Barbarian, the Harry Potter septology, or medieval-historical epics like Braveheart and El Cid seem to have stimulated movie composers to heights of creativity in order to convey heroism or mythological landscapes and creatures. Film composer Michael Shapiro will take a whistlestop tour of the history of “sword movies” and the epic musical accompaniments that helped fuel the genre’s ongoing popularity.


There is discussion of Rand on Romanticism and Naturalism in these sources. I think Ellen Stuttle has written about the distinction here at OL, but I don't locate it.

Beauty, Goodness, Life

. . .

I have not covered Rand’s thought on Romanticism and Naturalism, and I shall not be doing so. More of Rand’s esthetics than what I have covered thus far will unfold in the sequel. Let me compile my more substantial differences with Rand to this point and with some anticipation of their further unfolding. What Rand called “literary mood studies” are not to be excluded from the concept literary art, otherwise poetry would have to be excluded as well. Rand’s proximate and ultimate functions of art are not the only ones. Rand’s definition of art is too narrow. Her criterion of esthetic abstraction is importance, in a sense we have examined, and that is too narrow as the criterion of esthetic abstraction. Lastly for now, Rand’s range of philosophical issues going into the makeup of sense of life is likely too limited, and I doubt one’s sense(s) of life has been so well-integrated by the subconscious as Rand supposed.

. . .

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