Category Archives: Resources

Ayn Rand Institute Campus: Online courses in Objectivism

From the Ayn Rand Institute:

We at ARI are proud to announce a major new online educational initiative: The Ayn Rand Institute Campus. On January 10, 2012, we will beta launch an innovative and interactive learning environment where Internet users can study Ayn Rand’s provocative ideas in unprecedented ways, using a system of learning tools that can be found nowhere else.

ARI Campus will allow students around the world to take courses at their own pace and on their own time””for free. Students at all levels can explore the educational materials that lie at their fingertips within and around each course””from the multimedia experience of a course including audio, video, and supplementary visual and textual content to the “More to Explore” section that offers reading and viewing suggestions for students who want to deepen their knowledge on a particular topic.

Courses have interactive modules that often include quizzes and user interactions. ARI Campus will also offer a site discussion board designed to help students discuss, integrate and digest the information as fully as possible. We have endeavored to enrich the learning environment far beyond the experience of listening to a recorded lecture.

Our initial course offerings will include the following:
”¢ Ayn Rand: A Writer’s Life
Ӣ Ayn Rand: Radical Thinker
Ӣ The Ayn Rand Bookshelf
Ӣ Anthem
Ӣ We the Living
Ӣ The Fountainhead
Ӣ Moral Virtue
Ӣ Philosophy of Education
Ӣ Philosophy: Who Needs It

New courses will be added regularly””the first release post-launch will be an exciting and in-depth look at the novel Atlas Shrugged, taught by Dr. Onkar Ghate and appearing in February.

Please join us, starting January 10, and explore and try out this brand new learning environment. The full, public launch of the site is slated for September of 2012. We hope to see you soon on ARI Campus!

Scholarships are available from The Atlas Society

From Will Thomas:

1) Graduate Scholarships: Application Deadline March 1, 2010

The TAS Graduate Scholarships program is looking for graduate students with a high potential to contribute to future work on Ayn Rand and Objectivism, and whose progress toward a degree could signally benefit from scholarship support. We offer up to $11,000 over the year-long period August 2010-July 2011. Students with a solid, systematic understanding of Objectivism and who are pursuing Ph.D. or masterâ??s degrees in philosophy, political science, history, psychology, and related fields are eligible. Full application information is online here.

2) Summer Seminar scholarships

The Atlas Society will be holding our 20th Summer Seminar conference, planned in cooperation with the Free Minds Foundation. The Summer Seminar is planned for June 30 through July 8, in Alexandria, Virginia, just outside Washington, DC. The latest updates on the Summer Seminar plans are online here.

While Free Minds handles the business side of the conference, we at TAS advise on program content and will provide key talks and courses. In addition, we at TAS will offer scholarships for students at all levels who need financial assistance in order to attend the Summer Seminar. These scholarships can cover event registration costs (tuition) and/or room and board costs at the Summer Seminar. We will post application information on our website,, when Summer Seminar registration officially opens.

Early review of Anne Heller’s new biography: “Ayn Rand and the World She Made”

Atlasphere member Timothy Sandefur has published a rousing review of Anne Heller’s new biography Ayn Rand and the World She Made.

The review itself often seems more about what Sandefur thinks of Rand than about what Heller wrote, so I found it hard to divine much from this review. But it does sound like the new biography will provide worthwhile reading for those of us fascinated by Rand’s writing and thinking.

Here were Sandefur’s key observations about the biography:

Anne Hellerâ??s biography doesnâ??t pull punches. She is as honest and as objective and as forthright as Randâ??s own principles would demand. She pays Rand the compliment of treating her like a serious person who deserves respect, praise, criticism and blame. She goes out of her way to explain statements by Rand that are easily misunderstood and frequently misrepresentedâ??and she rightly criticizes her regrettable traits and expressions. Her book is meticulouslyâ??indeed, very surprisinglyâ??well researched. It is a story of serious, devoted, brilliant, talented, and flawed people. It is not the dreary finger-pointing weâ??ve seen too much of in the past decadesâ??Nathaniel Branden hardly comes off as the innocent victim hereâ??but a work of serious, yet sympathetic journalism. In the end, it is deeplyâ?¦one might say romanticallyâ?¦tragic. [...]

Whatâ??s great about Hellerâ??s book isnâ??t that it reveals more facts than Barbara Brandenâ??s biographyâ??although it does; there are many interesting new detailsâ??or that it is so well written; itâ??s that Ayn Rand And The World She Made is so honest, so, in a word, objective. Rand is a real person to Anne Hellerâ??a brilliant, clever, sometimes over-the-top writer; an astonishingly original thinker with, alas, too little education in the history of philosophy; a passionate, intense, idealist who, sadly, imposed such a weird rigor on herself and others as to leave her dark and alone at the end; a woman who believedâ??and rightly soâ??in the indomitability of the mind and its capacity for greatness, but who was capable of breaking long friendships over trivialities, fudging the nature of her marriage, and watching hours of game shows and Charlieâ??s Angels. [...]

Hellerâ??s book does have its flaws. I think she tries too hard to show a Jewish or a Russian influence on Randâ??possible, but hardly a major influence, I thinkâ??and she sometimes slightly oversimplifies Randâ??s views in a way that will play into the hands of her eager detractors. For instance, Heller writes that Randâ??s philosophy is basically an elaboration on Randâ??s childhood desire to get â??what I want.â? Well, of course, itâ??s not just about doing what you feelâ??as Heller acknowledges elsewhere in the bookâ??but Rand certainly would say that â??what you wantâ? is and must be important to you, and that a world that denies you â??what you wantâ? simply because you want it is a profoundly evil one.

These are very minor quibbles with an otherwise outstanding bookâ??written just as a biography ought to be. Itâ??s the best book Iâ??ve read so far this year and I very highly recommend it.

I will see if I can line up a review soon for readers of the Atlasphere columns.

Week-long seminar for high school and college students in Chicago

From and Atlasphere member Marsha Enright:

To High School and College Students

Are you prepared to face the stifling ideological conformism and collectivism rampant at most colleges – and can you do so while keeping your intellectual integrity intact?

Do you want to gain powerful knowledge and skills that will equip you for college, for success, for life?

If your answer is “yes,” then join us for a unique “total immersion” learning experience in one exciting and challenging week of intensive classes, interactive sessions, off-campus expeditions, and rewarding camaraderie.

“The Great Connections: Mastering the Intellectual Tools that Transform a College Education into Lifetime Success,” will be held in Chicago, July 25th to August 2nd, sponsored by the Reason, Individualism, Freedom Institute, the foundation for the prospective College of the United States.

For more information and to enroll, go here. Anyone wishing to enroll can mention this announcement and obtain a $250 discount off the seminar fee.

Graduate Scholarships and Graduate Seminar 2009

The Atlas Society, by way of William Thomas, has announced the following graduate programs:

*1) Graduate Scholarships: Application Deadline March 1, 2009.*

We at TAS are looking for graduate students with a high potential to contribute to future work on Ayn Rand and Objectivism, and whose progress toward a degree could signally benefit from scholarship support. We offer up to $11,000 over the year-long period August 2009-July 2010. Students with a solid, systematic understanding of Objectivism and who are pursuing Ph.D. or masterâ??s degrees in philosophy, political science, history, psychology, and related fields are eligible. Full application information is online at: .

If you are interested in possibly applying for a scholarship, donâ??t hesitate to contact me.

*2) Graduate Seminar in Objectivist Method, planned for August 2â??7, 2009*

David Kelley and I are pleased to announce that we will be holding our annual seminar for graduate students and advanced undergraduates, planned for George Washington University in Washington, DC in the first week in August this year. The Graduate Seminar is an intensive week-long seminar for around 10 students.

Instruction in 2009 will focus on the distinctive Objectivist methodology of approaching philosophical issues. The syllabus will include aspects of philosophical analysis such as defining concepts, analyzing the logical structure of arguments, keeping context, organizing ideas in terms of essentials, and employing induction and deduction appropriately. Students will also learn presentation skills by taking part in the presentation of a 10-part course on Objectivism. David and I will be the lead instructors.

The Graduate Seminar, including room and board in Washington, is free to full-time students and scholars, and applicants may also request up to $300 in travel money.

A syllabus and application form will both be posted online shortly.

The early application deadline for the Graduate Seminar is May 15, 2008. Applicants will be notified about their acceptance by May 23. Preference will be given to early applicants in acceptance and travel stipend award decisions. Applicants who need a decision before May 23 are welcome to request an early decision at the time that they apply.

Applications will continue to be accepted on a rolling basis through July 10, 2008. Applicants after May 15 will be notified regarding their acceptance on a rolling basis, but no later than July 17. Acceptance of such late applicants will depend on available space and funds.

Ayn Rand, meet Amazon Kindle

The next time I re-read The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged, I suspect it will be on the new Amazon Kindle, which looks pretty fantastic.

It appears to solve several of the problems I have experienced, over the years, with reading on my Treo and my iPhone:

  • The Kindle is more like looking at paper than looking at a CRT or LCD screen
  • No glare when you’re reading outdoors or in front of a window
  • Larger screen, which means more readable fonts as well as less time spent scrolling and waiting for the screen to load

And it solves several problems associated with books, as well:

  • Easier to hold in your hand. I’m guessing here from the videos, since I haven’t actually held one yet. But I’ve always been annoyed by the awkward way you have to use your fingers to hold open a new paperback. The Kindle looks easier.
  • No more accumulating hundreds of books on bookshelves that you read once, at most, and then have to lug from one home to the next, in heavy boxes, when you move.
  • Less money spent on books that you may or may not actually read.
  • Less eye strain. At night, when my eyes are tired, I could have the Kindle “read” to me. Ditto when I’m driving and want to listen to a book.

I like it.