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Ayn Rand and the Concept of ‘Objectivism’, Reaction Paper Example

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Ayn Rand was a Russian-American novelist who wrote such novels as Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead, was famous for her philosophical views on culture and society. Rand was the founder of the philosophical belief of objectivist ethics- a concept based on the notion that one’s highest moral purpose is the achievement of one’s own happiness. Rand questioned the standard concepts of selfishness and based one’s own morality on a code of values developed by one’s own self. According to Rand, “it is only the concept of ‘Life’ that makes the concept of ‘Value’ possible,” and, “the fact that a living entity is, determines what it ought to do” (Rand, 1990). Rand’s views on moral ethics spread into her views on value-judgements and were similar to those of anarcho-capitalism.

Wal-mart is a store notorious for their low wages, their poor working conditions and the inhumane treatment of their employees. They announced in 2011 that the company would be increasing employee health insurance premiums. In that announcement they also revealed that they would no longer be offering the health-care coverage for new part-time workers because of rising health-care costs. Although this lead to widespread protesting and countrywide case action against the corporation of Wal-mart, due to angered employees who felt that they were being treated unfairly, Rand would have sided with Wal-mart on this case, claiming that the corporation was already fulfilling their roles by providing their employees with jobs. The benefits that come along with jobs in Rand’s eyes are nothing more than unnecessary perks.

Apple came under harsh criticism in 2011 over the condition of the workplace for their employees in China. After an investigation led staff and safety experts to deem that the Apple plants in China were uninhabitable, the company had to answer a slew of hard questions and harsh criticism regarding the treatment of their workers overseas. Rand would most likely see no problem with the condition of the workplaces in China’s Apple factories. Her objectivism blinded her from any ability to associate emotion with ethics and morals- and in the case of the Apple factories in China, again Rand would probably just see a job for people as opposed to inhumane conditions for humans.

Rand had a harsh view of society and one’s own moral ethics. I do not agree at all with her moral or ethical views- in fact, I find myself on quite the opposite side regarding my philosophical views compared to those of Ayn Rand. Rand did not consider a correlation between morals, ethics and emotions. Rather, she just saw the correlation between morals and ethics. Her inability to look at the element of human emotion blinded her from many conditions within society and is probably why most philosophers do not take her seriously. I do not agree with Ayn Rand at all and I think her philosophical views are narrow-minded and cynical. Objectivism in the eyes of Rand is a philosophy of self-interest and I do not believe that I person who lives a life focusing only on self-interest will live a life well lived.

Work Cited:

Rand, Ayn (1964). The Virtue of Selfishness (paperback ed.). New York: Signet.

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