named her philosophy
as "objectivism", a philosophy for living
. This system
of philosophy is and integrated system of thought
that defines the abstract principles that must be thought and acted upon
if one is to live life.
Objectivism as a system has four key parts:
Reality exists independent from ourselves. It exists independent
of our knowledge, beliefs, feelings, desires or fears.
what they are. Our consciousness is there to perceive reality, rather
than to create or invent it. Objectivism rejects any belief in the
supernatural, and any claim that individuals or groups create their
Our reason is fully competent to know the facts of reality. It
is a conceptual faculty which identifies and integrates the
perception of reality given by the senses. Reason is a person's
only means of acquiring knowledge. Objectivisim rejects
mysticism (any acceptance of faith or feeling as a means of
knowledge), and skepticism (the claim that knowledge is impossible).
Reason is our only judge of values and our only guide for action.
The standard of ethics is man's survival qua man, that
which is required by man's nature for survival as a rational being
(not as a mindless brute). Rationality is the basic virtue
of man. The three fundamental values are: reason, purpose,
self-esteem. Every man is an end in himself, not a means to
the ends of others. Man must live for his own
sake, neither sacrificing himself to others, nor sacrificing others
to himself. Man must work for his rational self-interest. The
achievement of one's own happiness as the highest moral purpose
of life. This is the rejection of altruism - the claim that morality
consists of living for others or for society.
The basic principle is that no man has the right to seek values
from others by means of physical force. No man or group has the
right to initiate the use of force against others.
We do, however, have the right to use force in self-defense,
though only to those who initiate its use. We must deal with
each other as traders - giving value for value with mutual consent
and benefit. The only social system that bars physical force from
relationships is laissez-faire capitalism. As a system,
capitalism is based on the recognition of individual rights. The
only function of government is to protect those rights. Thus,
Objectivism rejects any form of collectivism. It also rejects
the idea that government should regulate the economy and
redistribute wealth - which is an act of force.