The Primary Choice as the Choice to Focus Or Not

An excerpt from chapter 2 on Sense Perception & Volition from Objectivism: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand by Leonard Peikoff.

Man, according to Objectivism, is not moved by factors outside of his control. He is a volitional being, who functions freely. A course of thought or action is “free,” if it is selected from two or more courses possible under the circumstances. In such a case, the difference is made by the individual’s decision, which did not have to be what it is, i.e., which could have been otherwise.

To identify the exact locus of human freedom is a difficult task since it requires that one describe and distinguish complex states of consciousness. Once this has been done, however, the fact that man is free follows readily. Before we turn to validate free will, therefore, we must devote considerable space to defining its nature.

Let us begin with an overview of the Objectivist position. Consciousness is …

Read the rest in Objectivism: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand.

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