Howard Roark’s independence has inspired millions. Inspiration without understanding is of limited value, however. The more fully we appreciate the precise meaning and value of independence, the more fully we can practice it—and reap its rewards. This lecture seeks to clarify several dimensions of the virtue of independence.


Dr. Leonard Peikoff has described independence as a primary orientation to reality rather than to other men. Among the questions we will probe: What does this fundamental orientation consist of? What sorts of actions or policies does the exercise of this virtue demand in everyday practice? And why is it important? What elevates independence to the ranks of the moral virtues? In the course of answering, we will also clarify what independence is not by distinguishing it from subjectivist pseudo-independence, by explaining the independent person’s proper relationships with others and by dissecting modern man’s widely alleged “interdependence,” identifying the ways in which man is and is not a “social animal.”

Tara Smith is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Texas , where she currently holds the Anthem Foundation Fellowship. She is the author of Moral Rights & Political Freedom, Viable Values and, most recently, Ayn Rand’s Normative Ethics—The Virtuous Egoist, as well as numerous articles.


Who: Dr. Tara Smith; Professor of Philosophy, University of Texas at Austin; What: A lecture that will explore the fundamental meaning and practical applications of the virtue of independence; Where: Kimmel Center, Room 400-series, New York University 60 Washington Square South, NY, NY 10012; When: THIS Tuesday, February 6th 2007 , at 7:00 PM; Registration: Non-NYU guests must register by e-mailing nyu@objectivistclubs.org. Admission is FREE.

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