Educational Philosophy, William Allan Kritsonis, PhD

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<ul><li><p>8/8/2019 Educational Philosophy, William Allan Kritsonis, PhD</p><p> 1/5</p><p>Educational Philosophy: Dr. William Allan KritsonisExample of PhD Comprehensive Exam Item</p><p>Ayn Rands Atlas Shrugged: What would you do?</p><p>Introduction</p><p>The theme ofAtlas Shruggedis the role of the mind in human existence. The</p><p>human existence and its progress are dependent upon the independent thinking of those</p><p>who choose to think. Rand (1957) developed a philosophy that holds that man gains</p><p>knowledge only through reason. Rand (1957) subsequently developed this philosophy</p><p>which she called Objectivism throughAtlas Shrugged. She asserted that man must</p><p>pursue his own happiness as the moral purpose of his life. Atlas Shruggedis a depiction</p><p>of American society with socialistic moral values which promote altruism and</p><p>collectivism, and an economy crippled by government regulation, taxation, and laws.</p><p>The great thinkers do not have a moral social system in which business innovators are</p><p>allowed reason, individualism, and market economy. The protagonist, John Galt, leads a</p><p>strike for great thinkers in society to rebel against government policy intent on evenly</p><p>sharing the proceeds of their work throughout society.</p><p>Purpose</p><p>The purpose of this essay is to discuss Rands view of the role of the individual</p><p>mans mind and how too much intervention by the government could underscore society.</p><p>Rand (1964) believes that each man has the moral obligation to fulfill his own happiness.</p><p>The world begins to disintegrate when the government exploits the thinkers through</p><p>overregulation, confiscating profits, and undervaluing the contributions of individual</p><p>thinkers to society. The metaphysics ofAtlas Shruggedis based on Objective Reality and</p></li><li><p>8/8/2019 Educational Philosophy, William Allan Kritsonis, PhD</p><p> 2/5</p><p>the epistemology is based on reason. Rand believes ontology is as much perception as it</p><p>is reality. The characters axiology is utilized to immerse the reader in the dichotomy</p><p>established by Rand.</p><p>InAtlas Shrugged, Ayn Rand presents bold ethics of rational selfishness. Ethics</p><p>tell individuals how to survive. Rand (1964) advocated rational self-interest. InAtlas</p><p>Shrugged, Rands characters deal with the conflict between individualism and the welfare</p><p>of society. Rand (1957) displays her disdain for collectivism and altruism in support of</p><p>the virtues of individualism and laissez-faire capitalism. She believes that self-interest is</p><p>the standard of morality and selflessness is immorality.</p><p>Ayn Rands view of productive work is the core of her ethics. She says</p><p>productive work is the central purpose of a rational mans life. InAtlas Shrugged, the</p><p>heroes are all productive individuals. Productivity is the cardinal moral value which is</p><p>unleashed in free-market capitalism. Productive work has an aesthetic foundation in</p><p>Objectivism. InAtlas Shruggedeach character has an aesthetic symbol which</p><p>characterizes him or her. Galts motor and Halleys fifth concerto are aesthetic elements</p><p>that give value to those characters. The thinkers strike against an enforced moral code of</p><p>altruism and collectivism. InAtlas Shruggedthe withdrawal of the great thinkers and</p><p>their productive work cause a collapse of the economy and prove that the rational mind</p><p>plays a great role in the attainment of prosperity and progress in an economy.</p><p>Throughout Atlas Shrugged, Ayn Randmaintains that a prosperous society is</p><p>possible only if individuals have the moral right to pursue their own self-interest, dealing</p><p>with each other by mutual consent, with government restricted to protecting their</p><p>individual rights. Individuals should live for their own happiness and must create the</p></li><li><p>8/8/2019 Educational Philosophy, William Allan Kritsonis, PhD</p><p> 3/5</p><p>means of their physical survival and spiritual well-being. InAtlas Shrugged, the most</p><p>productive and competent individuals are the individuals of great minds who create</p><p>wealth for themselves and prosperity for the economy. Eventually they refuse to</p><p>participate in an economy that exploits them with overregulation and too much taxation.</p><p>The unproductive people benefit from the work of the productive, incompetent businesses</p><p>profit from thriving businesses and profit is distributed evenly among the population.</p><p>The looters feel no need to grow.</p><p>Rands (1957) principle belief is that individuals of self-esteem will not work as</p><p>slaves. An individual of self-esteem will not feel guilt for their achievements and virtues.</p><p>A rational man must choose proper values in order to achieve, maintain, fulfill and enjoy</p><p>his life. Self-esteem is the expression and reward of a mind fully committed to reason. A</p><p>commitment to reason is the commitment to the maintenance of full intellectual focus and</p><p>ones understanding and the expansion of knowledge, to the principle that ones actions</p><p>must be consistent with ones convictions. The man of self-esteem has a psychological</p><p>need for constant intellectual growth and productive achievement.</p><p>Rand (1964) believes what is good for man to flourish and advance his life is</p><p>moral. A moral code defines what is good and what is evil. This moral code is asserted</p><p>in regard to persons, actions, conduct, and morality in general. Rand (1964) believes that</p><p>good and evil could be ascertained as black and white. Upon defining what is good and</p><p>what is evil, what is black and what is white; one must choose one or the other. All</p><p>decisions derive from that which allows man to flourish is good, that which harms our</p><p>prospect to live is evil. All decisions derive from one choice, to live or to die. According</p></li><li><p>8/8/2019 Educational Philosophy, William Allan Kritsonis, PhD</p><p> 4/5</p><p>to Rand (1957), morality insists that selflessness is not morality but slavery. The</p><p>characters inAtlas Shruggedillustrate ideological conflict.</p><p>The importance of the mind is a central theme ofAtlas Shrugged. Rands (1957)</p><p>philosophy supports her view that a mans self is his mind and man is a self-made soul.</p><p>Man should live by his own mind. The strike of the mind led by John Galt is a</p><p>demonstration of the importance of the thinkers to society. The novels mystery is</p><p>heightened by the question, Who is John Galt? John Galt was an intelligent engineer</p><p>who created a new motor. He also discovered the secret to what is wrong with the world.</p><p>The world had become an oppressive bureaucratic system that embraced collectivism,</p><p>altruism, and mediocrity. John Galt removed himself from society. He systematically</p><p>removed other great thinkers and society quickly spiraled downward. The economy</p><p>collapsed. Rands utilizes this strategy to convey her philosophy concerning the</p><p>importance of mans mind in understanding that labor, productive work, is responsible</p><p>for prosperity.</p><p>Concluding Remarks</p><p>In conclusion, Ayn Rands Objectivist philosophy holds that man should</p><p>pursue his own happiness as the moral purpose of his life. A social system based on the</p><p>principle of individual rights, capitalism, allows the economic freedom for great thinkers</p><p>to be productive workers. InAtlas Shrugged, Ayn Rand fictionalized a society that</p><p>portrayed the government controlling large portions of the economy which result in</p><p>corrupt business practice, overregulation, heavy taxation, and antitrust action against</p><p>successful companies, massive social welfare programs, and dishonest politicians. Ayn</p><p>Rand usedAtlas Shruggedto promote the value of mans mind. She surmised that</p></li><li><p>8/8/2019 Educational Philosophy, William Allan Kritsonis, PhD</p><p> 5/5</p><p>society will be more prosperous as it encourages independence for thinkers, freedom</p><p>from the government, productive work, and individualism.</p><p>References</p><p>Rand, A. (1957). Atlas shrugged. New York: Penguin Putnam, Incorporated.</p><p>Rand, A. (1964). The virtue of selfishness. New York: Penguin Putnam, Incorporated.</p></li></ul>