But I gradually lost interest in her as my understanding of other branches of philosophy grew. I eventually quit thinking about Objectivism and Ayn Rand, altogether. When I revisited it recently, I realized why. It's a half-baked, fake philosophy. It has such gaping deficiencies and limitations that philosophers from other disciplines (Continental, Analytic, Epistimological, Empiricists, etc) don't even consider it to be a real philosophy. They don't just disagree with it - they think of it as a pretender, wanna-be philosophy. It has a degenerate ethics. It has no place for altruism, no place for social welfare, for living as a member of society. It focuses entirely on doing everything for exactly one person - yourself. To do otherwise is not only considered incorrect and illogical, but evil and immoral. Objectivism is a thin intellectual, academic veneer on top of sheer greed. It excuses sociopathic behavior by dressing it up in elevated language. Prior to the advent of Objectivism in the mid 20th century, someone's only excuse for being a greedy, uncaring, selfish asshole was that they were greedy, selfish, uncaring assholes. Now they can say, "I'm following a philosophy - I'm an Objectivist!"
In addition to its ethics being repugnant and disgusting (neither of which prove it to be incorrect), the Objectivist ethical framework also does not sit on firm ground. It assumes one's highest value should be one's self, but its so-called proof (a multi-step syllogism) has problems and deficiencies at every step. See "Problems with selfishness". It is at odds with cognitive science and neuroscience, which show that Human Reason alone (the idol of Objectivism) is incapable of generating good ethical choices. The Objectivist assertion that “Reason is the ultimate virtue” and “Emotions are not tools of cognition” are startling out of synch with everything we know today about how human moral judgements are made. To want the world and Human Nature to be different than they are, or ever could be, or ever were, makes Objectivism simply irrelevant. We have seen the Communist "New Soviet Man", and Adam Smith's "rational self-interest" put forth as models for how humans are, or ought to be. Neither is consistent with how humans beings actually are. Any philosophy or social program that starts off with disregard for human nature is doomed to failure from the start.
Functional MRI and other newly developed brain analysis techniques show that many portions of the brain are involved in generating value judgements - Rationality comes from the prefrontal lobe and frontal Lobe (logical moral judgement, analytical weighing of consequences). Emotional influences originate in the temporoparietal junction (intuitive judgements, empathy). The ventromedial prefrontal cortex (VMPFC) allows us to evaluate all moral alternatives against each other. To deduce that only logic should be used in moral decision making is simply out of step with evidence about how Human Beings actually work. It is unrealistic, to say the least. When either logic/reason or emotion/empathy are taken out of the picture (through injury or through experimental manipulation) bizarre and ineffective moral judgements are made. When the VMPFC is temporarily neutralized through Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), all moral decisions become extremely difficult, as hard (for example) as deciding between several different models of refrigerator to buy. You become overwhelmed with choices even for what should normally be simple choices. Even figuring out what food to eat, what to wear, or whether to go to work or not. In fact the decisions you would think are purely logical are just as hard, because you lack the motivation to even solve those problems. This demonstrates dramatically Humes famous quote, "Reason is and ought only to be the slave of the passions". In summary, the utopian Objectivist ideal of a purely logical decision making process is fiction - the kind of fiction found in one of Ayn Rand's books, but not found in real life. Thomas Jefferson, who obviously predated modern brain research, put today's findings very succinctly when he characterized what he called our "moral sense" or "moral instinct": "Nature [has] implanted in our breasts a love of others, a sense of duty to them, a moral instinct, in short, which prompts us irresistibly to feel and to succor their distresses".
Although her presentation of a proof that self-interest is the only true goal someone should have is structured as a deductive proof, it is both invalid and unsound. Other critics have shown her arguments for selfishness as the highest value to be circular. There is no logical reason one could not have a goal outside one's self (for example, to help others), or even prefer death to life, or to live a completely amoral life. Objectivism begs the question (i.e., engages in circular reasoning) in this regard. It assumes that selfishness is the highest value, and then uses that fact to prove that it is illogical to behave unselfishly.
Additionally, it is riddled with inconsistencies, contradictions, circular reasoning, and other logical errors. It is out of step with modern science, rejecting both Quantum Theory (because of its reliance on random events) and Evolution (because it does not draw a clear separation between Man and other animals). Anti-environmentalism and outright climate-change-denial are closely tied to Objectivism.
For a good summary of what Objectivism is, and a straightforward explanation of its problems, see "Rational Wiki - Objectivism"
perception and the external world
other areas of weakness