Course on Human Action starts tomorrow!!!

Starting Tomorrow:

Human Action, Part 1

Instructor: David Gordon
Cost: $79 (50% off!)
Dates: September 12 – November 6, 2012
Length: Eight weeks

Register Now!

It is perhaps the most important and profound book ever written. Yet how many, in their attempts to read it, have been stopped in their tracks by Part I? In those 7 chapters, Mises lays out the philosophical underpinnings of economics and social philosophy. So they are crucial for understanding the rest of the treatise. Yet, for the reader not versed in philosophy, the technical terminology and references can be daunting.

In this course, David Gordon will clearly explain everything you need to know to make sense of the concepts presented in these chapters. He will define the terms, provide background for the references, and make clear exactly what it is that Mises is saying in these passages.

If this classic has been sitting on your shelf or in your Kindle, just waiting for you to tackle it, there is no better way to start than with this course, which will be followed by subsequent courses taught by Mises Academy faculty, covering the rest of Human Action.

Lectures

The video lectures are online. Lectures will be Wednesday evenings, 6:30-8:00 pm Eastern time. They will be recorded and made available for enrolled students to download.

Reading:

All readings will be free and online. A full hyper-linked syllabus with readings for each weekly topic will be available for all students.

Grades and Certificates

The final grade will depend on quizzes. Taking the course for a grade is optional. This course is worth 3 credits in our own internal system. Feel free to ask your school to accept Mises Academy credits. You will receive a digital Certificate of Completion for this course if you take it for a grade, and a Certificate of Participation if you take it on a paid-audit basis.

Refund Policy

If you drop the course during its first week (7 calendar days), you will receive a full refund, minus a $25 processing fee. If you drop the course during its second week, you will receive a half refund. No refunds will be granted following the second week.

Register Now!

About David Gordon

David Gordon is a senior fellow at the Ludwig von Mises Institute. He was educated at UCLA, where he earned his PhD in intellectual history. He is the author ofResurrecting Marx: The Analytical Marxists on Exploitation, Freedom, and JusticeThe Philosophical Origins of Austrian EconomicsAn Introduction to Economic Reasoning, and Critics of Marx. He is also editor of Secession, State, and Liberty and co-editor of H.B. Acton’s Morals of Markets and Other Essays.

Dr. Gordon is the editor of The Mises Review, and a contributor to such journals as AnalysisThe International Philosophic Quarterly,The Journal of Libertarian Studies, and The Quarterly Journal of Austrian Economics.

Free Online Education on Objectivism, the philosophy founded by Ayn Rand

I am happy to learn that more online Free services are been made available for those interested in studying Philosophy.  The news was sent by the Atlas Society,
The Atlas Society is launching a new video education series, theAtlas University. And we need your input as we get the first units ready for public launch. This is your chance to get an inside, first look at one of our biggest initiatives for 2012.

Atlas University is a video course series offering accessible, engaging, and enriching courses on Objectivism, the philosophy founded by Ayn Rand.  Our primary target audiences for this particular course are students interested in an “Objectivism 101” course and adults interested in an introductory continuing education curriculum focused on Objectivism.  If you are familiar with The Teaching Company’s Great Courses (http://www.thegreatcourses.com/) imagine this as an addition to their catalog.

The first Atlas University series is going to be a 10-part course called “Reason,” a survey of Objectivist epistemology. The instructors are TAS founder and chief intellectual officer David Kelley, PhD, and TAS director of programs William R Thomas, MA.

The planned ten parts of the “Reason” course are:

  1. What is reason? I (Speaker: David Kelley)
  2. What is reason? II The Conceptual Faculty (Speaker: William R Thomas)
  3. Volitional nature of reason (Speaker: William R Thomas)
  4. Objectivity I: Objective reality (Speaker: David Kelley)
  5. Objectivity II: Objective Knowledge? (Speaker: David Kelley)
  6. Reason and Emotion (Speaker: William R Thomas)
  7. Certainty (Speaker: David Kelley)
  8. Religion, God, and the supernatural (Speaker: David Kelley)
  9. Reason vs. mysticism and subjectivism (Speaker: William R Thomas)
  10. Conclusion: Living by Reason (Speaker: William R Thomas)

The first two 30-minute videos in this course are now ready for viewing.

In lecture 1, “What is Reason,” David Kelley introduces the course by considering what reason is and what role it plays in human life and civilization. Kelley surveys the history of modern philosophical thought to offer the viewer a grasp of how reason is viewed in the culture today and what challenges a defender of reason faces.


Lecture 2,“The Conceptual Faculty,” with William R Thomas takes up the most essential of these challenges, giving the distinctively Objectivist view of reason as the human faculty that allows us to mentally grasp universal terms via abstraction from the particular existents that we experience. Thomas presents Ayn Rand’s “measurement-omission” theory of concepts in an accessible, fresh manner, showing what makes it possible for our words to have objective meaning. Objective concept-formation is key to clear thinking.


We’re looking for individuals willing to preview these video programs and give us feedback on the content and the production values and general advise us on how make this course, and the Atlas University as whole, the best it can be.

Would you like to participate?

Just send an email to atlasu@atlassociety.org and enter “Atlas U” into the subject field of the email.

If you are accepted to take part, we will give you free access to these videos over a ten-day period (July  13-23).

You will be sent a link to two surveys, one relating to each video. You can use these surveys to offer your feedback. But please complete the surveys by Monday, July 24.

We will consider your feedback as we revise these two videos for full public release and as we continue creating videos in this and other Atlas University courses.

We would very much appreciate your participation.

Thanks,
The Atlas Society

Live-streaming of The Atlas Summit Available for June 28-July 1, 2012!

Register for Live-streaming! I am very happy to inform you that The Atlas Summit that is going to be held in the following days in Washington, D.C. is going to be available for Live-streaming.Here is a link to the Speaker Bios and information on the topic of their talks.

I am very exciting about this event since I will be talking this time on the History of Capitalism in two sessions.  I will be more than happy if you can join and send any questions during the Q&A Sessions: The History of Capitalism 1 and The History of Capitalism 2

If you can’t be in D.C. for the Atlas Summit you can still view all of the presentations by purchasing a live-streaming ticket. You will even be able of submitting questions for the Q&A sessions.Cost: $99 for entire conference.Students: $19 for entire conference. Sign up now!


Book Review: Free Will

Free Will

Harris explores the notion that free will is an illusion in this nimble book (which, at 83 pages, can be read in one sitting or a couple of Metro rides), amiably and conversationally jumping from point to point. The book’s length is one of its charms: He never belabors any one topic or idea, sticking around exactly as long as he needs to in order to lay out his argument (and tackle the rebuttals that it will inevitably provoke) and not a page longer. Go to article

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On the fallacies of an Emerging Global Left

Socialism is unrealizable as an economic system because a socialist society would not have any possibility of resorting to economic calculation. This is why it cannot be considered as a system of society’s economic organization. It is a means to disintegrate social cooperation and to bring about poverty and chaos.” Ludwig von MisesMoney, Method, and the Market Process.

Recently, an article from the blog Poverty Matters (supported by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation) authored by Jayati Ghosh in the Guardian elaborates on how a new global left is emerging as a result of a transcendance of the traditional socialist paradigm.  Ghosh explains that this new global left has is currently transcending the traditional socialist emphasis on “centralised government control over an undifferentiated mass of workers, to incorporate more explicit emphasis on the rights and concerns of women, ethnic minorities, tribal communities and other marginalised groups, as well as recognition of ecological constraints and the social necessity of respecting nature.”  This transcendance is occurring via what Ghosh considers to be seven common threads that are not new but a result of a “collective failure of memory”.

These threads are:

  1. An attitude to what constitutes democracy,
  2. the rejection of overcentralisation,
  3. a more complex approach to property rights,
  4. a discourse in the language of “rights”,
  5. a realization that addressing issues only in class terms is not sufficient,
  6. a emphasis on gender as a a cause for addressing issues,
  7. an emphasis on environmental conservation, the protection of ecosystems, biodiversity and the integrity of a country’s genetic assets.

I wonder what Ghosh considered to be the traditional socialist paradigma.  Socialism and the ideas behind this socioeconomic system of collective ownership of the means of production is very diverse and it is incorrect and inaccurate to speak of a single socialist paradigm.  More so, what seems a New emergence of the left is in fact not occurring anywhere in the world.

Collectivism (inaccurately generalized as “the left”) in its many names and shapes continues developing itself within the same framework of ideas that have been used for centuries. While the historical context has changed the principles continue being the same.  As such, the thread number 1 which seems for Ghosh as a new attitude toward democracy is the result of the failure of the previous collectivist governments that have ruled the world.  There is no real change in the attitude toward democracy since collectivist ideas consider democracy as a means to the value they aim to achieve: collective power over the collective.  The only way of having a new attitude toward democracy would be in fact to reject it as a mean to achieve any end successfully.  This of course is not happening anywhere in the collectivist groups of the world.

As well, the point number two of overcentralisation is false since collectivism is a centralized system of organization in which at the end of the day the sole power over everything resides in the collective government.  The only change is not of how centralization happens but on how many people are to be managing that collective government (the Party, elites, corporations, oligarchies, et al).

Point number three and four have nothing new and are the same exact approaches that collectivism has had since it origin in regard to property and rights.  Collectivist philosophies consider all in essence the private ownership of the means of production to be evil, static in nature and inefficient to satisfy the needs of humanity. Its approach to rights is rooted on the principle that the only important rights are those of the collective and thus reject the individual rights of its members.

Points five, six and seven have also not changed in the collectivist mindset since they are rooted in the principles of class struggle that have only continued the trend of understanding society as a competing/destructive system based on gender, race, culture, religion, etc.  The principle continues the same: The so called  tension or antagonism continues to exists in their interpretation of society due to competing socioeconomic interests between people.

By definition, the only way in which any real change, evolution or overcoming of a collectivist philosophy in the globe will arise when the discourse starts by rejecting the philosophical principles in which they are rooted.  As such, unless they understand how and why the collectivist philosophy is full of fallacious principles that have caused death and poverty for centuries, there is nothing that will change.  There is no emergence of a new left, there is no resurgence of collectivism and the dialectics of historical materialism continue existing in the core of all collectivist philosophies.  It will be only until intellectuals have the common-sense and moral courage to question their philosophies of life that we may seem an end to centuries of collectivist failed projects of organizing society.  Until that day what we will continue seeing is the same social system that has destroyed the best within man for ages.