This is my first post so, first and foremost, hello! I have glanced through a variety of the threads on this discussion board, and I've been impressed by the high quality of the conversation. Hopefully, I won't drag you all down!
Anyhow, I believe that I have a good, amateur understanding of Objectivism, but being that I am not a professional philosopher sometimes I get “tripped-up” when I discuss very abstract issues with others. So, I apologize in advance if this issue is too elementary. In any case, I'm trying to clear up my understanding of how Rand derives value from fact.
If I had to condense Rand’s theory into just one paragraph for a “lay” person, how would I best go about doing it? Here’s what I might say: “Rand argues that there are two irrefutable observations when one studies ethics: 1) that one is alive and 2) that life is conditional. That is, being alive is conditional upon the volitional choice to be alive. From these two observations, egoism (i.e., the choice to pursue one’s life) seems to be simply a truism. That is, the choice to live is “built-into” the concept of morality. One must choose to be alive insofar that one can choose anything …insofar that there is such a thing as making choices …insofar that ethical questions/issues exist at all. One cannot -- in logic -- separate ethics from the pursuit of life.”
Would Rand agree with my interpretation? Are there any obvious important points that she would add or take out (without going into a lengthy lecture). Again, consider that I’m trying to communicate a basic knowledge of Rand’s ethics to someone who may or may not be interested in pursing the matter in more detail.
Also, I find it disconcerting that I have never heard a serious attempt to argue against Rand’s ethics. Frankly, this makes me suspicious. Is there some literature out there that makes a serious attempt to refute her position? I've scanned a few, but I have yet to come across something convincing.
Thanks in advance for your thoughts…