Return to Hedonism

In practice, men have no way of obeying the tenets of hedonism, except by taking their already formed feelings—their desires and aversions, their loves and fears—as the given, as irreducible primaries the satisfaction of which is the purpose of morality, regardless of whether the value-judgments that caused these feelings are rational or irrational, consistent or contradictory, consonant with reality or in flagrant defiance of it.

Objectivism holds that such a policy is suicidal; that if man is to survive, he needs the guidance of an objective and rational morality, a code of values based on and derived from man’s nature as a specific type of living organism, and the nature of the universe in which he lives. Objectivism rejects any subjectivist ethics that begins, not with facts, but with: “I (we, they) wish . . . . ” Which means: it rejects hedonism of any variety.

Copyright © 1986 by Harry Binswanger. Introduction copyright © 1986 by Leonard Peikoff. All rights reserved. For information address New American Library.


Excerpts from The Ominous Parallels, by Leonard Peikoff. Copyright © 1982 by Leonard Peikoff. Reprinted with permission of Stein and Day Publishers. Excerpts from The Romantic Manifesto, by Ayn Rand. Copyright © 1971, by The Objectivist. Reprinted with permission of Harper & Row, Publishers, Inc. Excerpts from Atlas Shrugged, copyright © 1957 by Ayn Rand, The Fountainhead, copyright © 1943 by Ayn Rand, and For the New Intellectual, copyright © 1961 by Ayn Rand. Reprinted by permission of the Estate of Ayn Rand. Excerpts from Philosophy: Who Needs It, by Ayn Rand. Copyright © 1982 by Leonard Peikoff, Executor, Estate of Ayn Rand. Reprinted by permission of the Estate of Ayn Rand. Excerpts from “The Philosophy of Objectivism” lecture series. Copyright © 1976 by Leonard Peikoff. Reprinted by permission. Excerpts from Alvin Toffler’s interview with Ayn Rand, which first appeared in Playboy magazine. Copyright © 1964. Reprinted by permission of Alvin Toffler. All rights reserved including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form. Used by arrangement with Plume, a member of Penguin Group (USA), Inc.