Would Ayn Rand say that beliefs are contrary to reason?

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sciftw | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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Tough question.  I do not believe Ayn Rand would say that beliefs are contrary to reason.  An odd twist on your question is that if she did say such a thing, that would be her personal belief on the importance of reason; therefore, she would be contradicting herself.  

A better question would be, "Would Ayn Rand say that emotions are contrary to reason?"  On that question, I would have to say yes.  For Rand, personal reasoning trumps all.  To quote Rand's "Atlas Shrugged," "Thinking is man's only basic virture, from which all of the others proceed."  Rand would say that any time a person chooses to follow an emotion instead of logical reasoning he/she is choosing vice over virture.  

Interestingly though, Ayn Rand stated that "man must act for his own rational self-interest."  In other words, Rand is saying that a person's pursuit of happiness is his/her chief goal in life.  Happiness is an emotion.  Rand would argue that the only way to achieve that true happiness is through rational and logical analysis of what makes you happy; therefore, your happiness is derived from your reasoned out thoughts and ability to achieve what you reasoned to be true.  

At its core objectivism attempts to be exactly what it means. Objective.  Rand has no place or use for subjective and emotional based conclusions. 


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