Andrew Bernstein, “Atlas Shrugged as the Culmination of the Romantic Novel”

In one of the two lectures Dr. Andrew Bernstein will present, he will show that three of the great Romantic novelists—Victor Hugo, Fyodor Dostoevsky, and Ayn Rand—are all impassioned moralists who seek to change the world. But the philosophies of Hugo and Dostoevsky, on their own terms, in the universes of their own novels—in Les Miserables and The Brothers Karamazov—fail to do so. Only Rand’s philosophy is shown, in Atlas Shrugged, to be capable of morally transforming the world. This lecture explores the reason that this is so.

Andrew Bernstein, “Timeless Themes in great Literature”

In the second of Dr. Bernstein’s lectures he will explore two themes in a selection of works from William Shakespeare, Franz Kafka, and Ayn Rand. The first involves the role of the mind in human life—and features a comparison and contrast of two main characters each of whom are philosophers: Hamlet in the famous play of that name and John Galt in Atlas Shrugged.

The second theme is power lust and the abuse of power. Regarding this issue, Dr. Bernstein will examine Macbeth, Ellsworth Toohey from The Fountainhead, and the nameless bureaucrats responsible for destroying Josef K. in Kafka’s The Trial. The quest for, and the murderous abuse of power, it will be seen, come in many different forms.

Richard M. Salsman, “Free Banking and the Gold Standard versus Central Banking, Fiat Money & Bitcoin”

This talk explains the essential workings and history of a capitalist system of free banking and the gold standard and why it’s superior to central banking, fiat paper money, and “crypto-currencies.”

Richard M. Salsman, “The Superiority of Saysian Economics”

This talk explains the elements and methods of the political economy of Jean Baptiste Say (1767-1832) and how it’s superior in content to Keynesian economics and in method to Austrian economics.

Petter Sandstad, “The Arbitrary”

Some of the things we say are true, for instance that ‘2+2=4’ and that ‘Oslo is the capital of Norway’; some of the things we say are false, for instance that ‘2+2=5’ and that ‘Norway is the capital of Sweden’; and some of the things we say are neither true nor false, for instance that ‘this room is filled with demons’ and that ‘a convention of gremlins is studying Hegel’s Logic on the planet Venus’. In Objectivism this third type is called arbitrary.

First, I present the usage of the arbitrary in Objectivism, specifically by Ayn Rand, Leonard Peikoff and others. Second, I compare their usage with the ordinary language usage of the term. Third, one might wonder why we need, within philosophy, a concept of the arbitrary. On the face of it, its usage appears to be polemical: through saying that a thesis is arbitrary one justifies rejecting the thesis—at least until some evidence is advanced in favour of the thesis. And on this view, the arbitrary would simply be that which fails the onus of proof principle. However, I will argue that the Objectivist discussion of the arbitrary serves a fundamental role within epistemology and philosophy of language, especially on the importance of evidence. As a result, the concept of the arbitrary justifies the onus of proof principle.

Lastly, I compare the Objectivist usage of the arbitrary with (1) the Epicurean’s rejection of bivalence (the view that every proposition is either true or false); (2) the Polish logician’s (Lésniewski and Łukasiewicz) introduction of a third value, in addition to the true and the false, namely the indifferent or the possible; (3) the notion of a category-mistake, and of type-theory, discussed amongst others by Gilbert Ryle and Peter Strawson (for instance, that ‘the virtue of honesty is green’). I will argue that the Objectivist usage is especially close to Peter Strawson’s view.

Carl Svanberg, “What about Sweden?”

As proponents of laissez-faire capitalism, we routinely encounter the question: “What about Sweden?”

Sweden is perceived by many as the ideal welfare state, in which everything “just works.” Consequently, it has served as a source of inspiration for the Left. For the same reason, it has left many defenders of capitalism perplexed or demoralized. Why? Because the case of Sweden allegedly “proves,” among other things, that we can enjoy a high standard of living while penalizing the most productive with progressive taxes.

This course dispels the myths about Sweden by exploring the economic history of Sweden from the 1800s onward. This course thereby provides you with the intellectual ammunition necessary to refute the notion that Sweden could, somehow, “get away” with the welfare state.

The less you know about Sweden, the more you will benefit from the course, regardless of your expertise in Objectivism.