Peikoff’s Eighth Podcast

Leonard Peikoff has published his eighth podcast. Here I briefly summarize the questions and Peikoff’s basic answers (though my summaries should not be taken as substitutes for the podcast).

1. How does the role of consciousness in activating the body fit with the Objectivist view of the “primacy of existence?” Peikoff notes that the mind and body constitute “one total organism.” The mind has a unique relation to the body that it does not have with external existence. Thus, for example, we can decide to move our hand. However, even in the body “existence has primacy;” what we can will our body to do “depends on physical conditions.”

2. What is the source of the music played at the start of the podcast? I won’t spoil Peikoff’s story by summarizing it. He also tells the story in Leonard Peikoff: In His Own Words, which I was able to watch at a friend’s house. It’s a fun and informative documentary.

3. Is there such a thing as “Objectivist music?” Peikoff answers no. Objectivism is a philosophy, and particular concrete applications cannot be derived from philosophy. Peikoff argues that even Atlas Shrugged is not “Objectivist art,” though of course it has an Objectivist theme and it reflects the Romantic view of free will.

4. Should the definition of “plot” contain “conflict?” Peikoff replies that, while conflict is implicit in the definition, it is not an essential part of it.

5. Should one put off artistic creation (such as writing a novel) in the midst of great emotional upheaval? Peikoff answers, “Within limits, yes, put it off.” He discusses some examples and offers some qualifications.