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On Existentialism:

[Kierkegaard] proposed that each individual—not society or religion—is solely responsible for giving meaning to life and living it passionately and sincerely ("authentically").

On Randian Objectivism:

My philosophy, in essence, is the concept of man as a heroic being, with his own happiness as the moral purpose of his life, with productive achievement as his noblest activity, and reason as his only absolute.

— Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged

As a layman who took an entry-level ethics course a few years ago, it would seem to me that both of these theories advocate pursuing that which an individual subjectively values, and to do so without the consideration of others (unless the consideration of others happens to be valuable to you selfishly).

What are the nuances that I am missing?

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One could say that the existentialists advocated second-order values (authenticity, free choice, responsibility, caring) while Rand also advocated specific first-order values (like being financially independent). So that, for example, in a conflict between a capitalist and a communist, an existentialist could view both sides as commendable (as authentic). Rand would describe the capitalist as good, and the communist as evil.

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I can't say much about existentialists since I haven't read them. But Objectivism is not accurately stated here:

As a layman who took an entry-level ethics course a few years ago, it would seem to me that both of these theories advocate pursuing that which an individual subjectively values, and to do so without the consideration of others (unless the consideration of others happens to be valuable to you selfishly).

According to Rand, morality is about choices and actions. It deals with issues like whether you need a code of values, and if so why you need them. You then have to decide what sort of values fulfil the purpose of having values. Rand argues that the point of morality is to help you live your life. This contradicts other moral codes that advocate serving others and that sort of thing. Rand holds that reason is man's means of survival, so you should not act in such a way as to undermine reason.

For example, if, in your judgement, somebody you know is bad, then you shouldn't support him, e.g.- you shouldn't give him money. So the welfare state is bad since it requires you to support people regardless of whether you think they are good or not. A person who subjectively values the welfare state has bad values. A good short account of Rand's moral ideas is her book "The Virtue of Selfishness".

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Rand regarded values as being derived objectively from the ultimate root of all value - life. It is not an accurate characterisation of her philosophy to say that this involves "pursuing that which an individual subjectively values". Rand argues that values are objective, and discoverable by reason, though of course the specific values of different people may differ according to their differences.

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