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Ayn Rand’s theory of rights as a serious theory

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Lawrence W.
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  1. Introduction
  2. Rand's theory of rights
  3. Ethics associated with altruism
  4. Argument against altruism
  5. Rand's rejection of altruism
  6. Rand's theory of Objectivist Ethics
  7. Rand's duty of self-preservation
  8. The ethics of egoism
  9. Eradication of proper rights
  10. The issue of abortion
  11. The difference between man and animal
  12. The concept of force
  13. The laws of a proper society
  14. Conclusion
  15. Bibliography

Ayn Rand is a thinker who has attained notoriety for having a significant amount of influence on contemporary libertarians, especially when it comes to her theory of rights. She is unlike many other prominent theorists, in that she published much of her ideas in works of fiction, and this led her work to often be misrepresented, ignored and misunderstood. She is also unique because her arguments went against the popular arguments of the day as she was a proponent and defender of rational self-interest in ethics and capitalism. This was in opposition to many other theorists of her time who were advocating forms of collectivism and welfare-state liberalism. Her theory of rights is made-up of two phases. The first argues in favor of ethical egoism, meaning that people should act in ways that promotes their own rational interests, and the second links the notions of egoism and rights. Her argument in favor of egoism is based on the fact that consciousness is the most basic way for humans to survive. From there she says that it cannot be the goal of people to just stay alive, ?It does not mean a momentary or merely physical survival. It does not mean the momentary physical survival of a mindless brute, waiting for another brute to crush his skull. It does not mean the momentary physical survival of a crawling aggregate of muscles who is willing to accept any terms, obey any thug, and surrender any values for the sake of what is known as survival at any price, which may or may not last a week or a year.? One must accept their life as a standard of value and their purpose.

This statement separates Rand from many other moral and ethical theorists as it creates a whole host of virtues that others would not perceive in the same light. While it is true that Rand has many critics, her theory of rights is able to survive these criticisms and assert itself as a serious theory. This essay will further examine Ayn Rand's theory of rights, and from this it will be clear that her theory is excellent as it properly identifies the source of rights in society, and the best and most just way for these rights to be realized.

[...] The ?right to enslave,? as Rand notes is a contradiction of terms, how can there be a right to infringe rights, it is nonsense.[34] Rand's theory of rights is a broad understanding of the basic rights that people have by virtue of the fact that they have organized in society and are alive, they subsume rights like economic rights. These secondary rights which have been created within our society at an increasing rate are an attempt to turn man's needs into duties imposed on others; ?this is an inversion that in a single stroke wipes out the essence of virtue for both parties, needer and needed. [...]


[...] For her theory to work, one must accept their life as a standard of value and their purpose. This essay has further examined Ayn Rand's theory of rights, and from this it will be clear that her theory is excellent as it properly identifies the source of rights in society, and the best and most just way for these rights to be realized. Bibliography Hobbes, Thomas. Leviathan. New York: Oxford Classics Mack, Eric. Fundamental Moral Elements of Rand's Theory of Rights,? In Douglas J. Den Uyl & Douglas B. Rasmussen (eds.), The Philosophic Thought of Ayn Rand. [...]


[...] Objectivism: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand. New York: Penguin Books Rand, Ayn. Atlas Shrugged. New York: Random House Rand, Ayn. ?Collectivized Rights,? Virtue of Selfishness. New York: New American Library Rand, Ayn. the New Intellectual,? For the New Intellectual. New York: Random House Rand, Ayn. ?Man's Rights,? Virtue of Selfishness. New York: New American Library Rand, Ayn. ?Philosophy: Who Needs Philosophy: Who Needs It. New York: Bobbs- Merrill Rand, Ayn. Nature of Government,? Virtue of Selfishness. New York: New American Library Rand, Ayn. [...]

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