What is the problem that Objectivism sets out to solve?
Is Objectivism a solution? What problem did it solve?
Does it solve a problem? What problem is Objectivism a solution for? What could you not do before or without Objectivism?
Is Objectivism a method? What type of problems does it solve?
How or by what method did Rand produce the philosophy of Objectivism?
If it is a tool of analysis, describe it like a method or Objectivist method:
This mystery is defined multiple questions; some mysteries require more than one to unravel.
After listening to "Philosophy: Who Needs It" By Ayn Rand,
My essential concept / core of Rand's philosophy:
Recap: (1) = structured awareness; (2) = independent life
Correct me if this falls short.
The short answer is: Objectivism was introduced to solve the problem of humanity lacking an explicit, systematic philosophy for living on earth. Philosophy is important and inescapable, and history is unfortunately littered with the victims of philosophies aimed (purposefully or accidentally) at something other than living on earth.
In large part, the question is asking about the goal of Ayn Rand's writing. Ayn Rand explains her goal herself in an article titled, "The Goal of My Writing," published as Chapter 11 in the 1975 Signet paperback edition of The Romantic Manifesto (RM). It must be remembered that Ayn Rand was a novelist as well as a philosopher; she was a novelist before she was a philosopher. She did not begin her intellectual career seeking to be a philosopher, and if asked about becoming a leading philosopher, she probably would have replied, "Do you hate me so much that you would wish such a thing on me?" Her goal was fiction writing -- creating literary art of a kind that she later identified as Romantic Realism. She wanted to create artistic portrayals of the ideal man, for her own selfish contemplation and pleasure first of all, and for her readers as well. She explains it this way in the RM article:
The motive and purpose of my writing is the projection of an ideal man. The portrayal of a moral ideal, as my ultimate literary goal, as an end in itself -- to which any didactic, intellectual or philosophical values contained in a novel are only the means.
She found, however, that she couldn't achieve her goal without an explicit philosophy to guide her effort. She tried to find a suitable philosophy already existing, but couldn't. She ended up having to formulate the philosophy for her ideal man herself. With the completion of Atlas Shrugged, she finally achieved it fully. It was only at that point, after publication of Atlas Shrugged, that she spent the rest of her intellectual career engaging in non-fiction writing and speaking, presenting her new philosophy to an ever widening audience. She observes (ibid.):
...neither politics nor ethics nor philosophy are ends in themselves, neither in life nor in literature. Only Man is an end in himself.
(Other Objectivist Answer providers have already explained why Ayn Rand's philosophy serves the purpose of guiding man's life on earth vastly better than any other philosophy ever put forth.)
answered Jan 06 '12 at 16:12
Ideas for Life ♦
Objectivism is the application of reason in a systematic way to the questions of "What do we know?", and "How do we know it?".
One of the unique aspects of Objectivism is that it is not based on assumptions which are in turn used to deduce conclusions. Rather, it is a systematic approach when confronted with something to determine if that something is an irreducible primary or does it have dependencies on other things.
The philosophic irreducible primaries are the identification of what lies at the root of every entity, attribute, action, event or phenomenon (including consciousness) that exists, has ever existed or will ever exist. Existence and identity. Consciousness, too, is an irreducible primary being implicit in every act of awareness.
Her biggest contribution by far (and probably the most difficult aspect of Objectivism to understand) was her analysis of the process of concept-formation. By demonstrating the objective relationship between concepts and reality starting with the first-level concepts, she outlines the process of abstraction from abstractions identifying the logical and hierarchal interdependencies within the realm of concepts.
As to what motivated her - it had to be her commitment to reason along with the recognition of the necessary role it serves in the living of life here in reality.
Rather than this being the problem that Objectivism set out to solve, it may well be that solving the "problem of concepts" or universals as it used to be addressed simply laid the foundation for what she later identified as her philosophy.
For a detailed analysis of the process of concept formation, you may want to consider her book on the subject "Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology".