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The Pursuit of Happiness 
The Conquest of Nature: Ayn Rand

apollo1167:53 / 223 words

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Beginning in August of 1999, I gave a series of eight lectures on “The Pursuit of Happiness: Philosophies East and West,” dealing with different conceptions of the good life.

The syllabus was:

  1. Introduction
  2. Harmony, Inner and Outer (Plato, Lao Tzu)
  3. Self-Actualization (Montaigne, Nietzsche)
  4. Detachment (Epictetus, the Buddha)
  5. Duty (Confucius, Kant, Montaigne)
  6. Pleasure (Callicles, Epicurus)
  7. The Conquest of Nature (Ayn Rand)
  8. The Spiritual Life (William James)

I began putting these online in 2014, but I ran into problems. The sound quality of some of the tapes was poor, some students were fond of hearing their own voices and I was not assertive enough to keep the lecture on track, and I just don’t think I did a good job on some topics.

The lecture on “The Conquest of Nature,” however, came out pretty well. The sound quality is clear but harsh, as I had to use a lot of noise reduction. The texts discussed are the opening pages of The Fountainhead, the About the Author note in Atlas Shrugged, and the essays “Apollo 11” and “Epitaph for a Culture” in The Voice of Reason: Essays in Objectivist Thought, ed. Leonard Peikoff. I have posted 40:55 of Q&A and discussion here.



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  1. Iron Paul
    Posted March 2, 2016 at 7:03 pm | Permalink

    I wanted to thank Greg for putting this up. My initial interest in philosophy came from Rand. Though I realized her limitations fairly quickly, she was a good advocate for the usefulness of philosophy. She was a springboard for me in that she opened up many paths for exploring many other ideas.

    In a roundabout way, my interest in philosophy lead me to find Counter Currents, so to have Greg talk about her ideas and contrast them to his own is very useful. The lack of tragedy in her works is spot on. As much as Rand glorifies American principles, understanding tragedy is essential in understanding western thought and tradition.

  2. Lee Carroll
    Posted February 28, 2016 at 9:28 am | Permalink

    Thank you Greg for publishing the next instalment from the valuable series ‘Pursuit of happiness’, have I been waiting for this!

  3. Job Trunicht
    Posted February 25, 2016 at 7:24 am | Permalink

    Awesome! I’ve been waiting for you to finish uploading this course for months.

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