Podcast #23: Explore Atlas Shrugged, Session 6

 Posted by on 19 November 2009 at 10:00 am  Podcasts
Nov 192009

For Monday’s episode of Philosophy in Action Radio, I posted a preview of my podcast and study questions for “Explore Atlas Shrugged, Session 6.”

The online version of Explore Atlas Shrugged – meaning, all 20 sessions of podcasts and study questions, plus other resources – can be purchased for just $20. The written materials are also available from Amazon in paperback and kindle formats, and purchasers of those editions pay just $10 for access to the podcasts. For more information, including previews of other sessions, visit Explore Atlas Shrugged.

Session 6 of Explore Atlas Shrugged covers:

  • Part 1: Chapter 10: Wyatt’s Torch (Sections 5-9)
  • Part 2: Chapter 1: The Man Who Belonged on Earth

Preview the Podcast

Listen or Download:

Preview the Study Questions

Note: The pagination of the hardcover, softcover, and kindle editions differs from that of the small mass market paperback. The study questions cite only the pagination from the larger editions. I don’t recommend using the mass market paperback.

Part 1: Chapter 10: Wyatt’s Torch

Section 5 (309-313)

Dagny Taggart speaks with Eugene Lawson about the history of the Twentieth Century Motor Company.

Core Question

  • What does Eugene Lawson reveal about his values and motives in his conversation with Dagny? What did he seek and gain from the needy people to whom he granted loans, if not wealth? (309-13)

Extra Questions

  • Why is Lawson proud of his work as president of the Community National Bank? What is the moral significance of his own financial losses? Do they exonerate him as he claims? (309, 312, 313)
  • Why can’t Lawson recall the names of any workers at the Twentieth Century Motor Company? What does that reveal about his values? (310-1)
  • Why does Lawson repeatedly attempt to steer Dagny into a conversation about Taggart Transcontinental? Why does she refuse? What does his reaction reveal about him? (310-3)
  • Why didn’t Lawson care about the motor at the Twentieth Century Motor Company? What were his alleged concerns instead? (311)
  • How does Lawson respond to Dagny’s reference to the suffering and poverty that his bank failure caused? Why? (312)
  • Why does Dagny condemn Lawson’s self-proclaimed badge of honor: “I have never made a profit!”? What does that mean, in reality? (313)

Section 6 (313-321)

Dagny Taggart speaks with Lee Hunsacker about the history of the Twentieth Century Motor Company.

Core Question

  • What was the nature and cause of the conflict between Lee Hunsacker and Midas Mulligan over the Twentieth Century Motor Company? How was the conflict resolved? (313-21)

Extra Questions

  • What kind of person is Lee Hunsacker? How is that revealed by his present and past behavior? Why were his plans for the Twentieth Century Motor Company doomed to failure? (313-21)
  • What is the basic story of Midas Mulligan’s rise and disappearance? What were his business principles? Were they just? Why has Dagny long felt uneasy about his disappearance? (315-7)
  • What was Judge Narragansett’s role in the lawsuit brought by Hunsacker against Mulligan? What happened to Judge Narragansett after the trial? (317-8)
  • How did Hunsacker manage the Twentieth Century Motor Company after receiving the loan from Eugene Lawson? What principles guided his actions? Are those principles right or wrong – and why? (319-20)

About Explore Atlas Shrugged

Explore Atlas Shrugged is a series of 20 sessions of podcasts and study questions by me, philosopher Dr. Diana Hsieh. Each session covers about 65 pages of the novel, organized chapter-by-chapter and section-by-section. The podcasts are an in-depth look at the events, characters, and ideas from that portion of the novel. The whole series contains over 22 hours of lively and engaging discussion in podcast form. The study questions will help you better understand the novel on your own – or help you lead an engaging reading group. The series includes over 1400 questions, organized into “core” and “extra” categories.

You can preview the full series of podcasts and questions, as well as purchase access for just $20, here: Explore Atlas Shrugged. You can also purchase the series below.

Also, the written materials are available from Amazon in paperback and kindle formats, and purchasers of those editions pay just $10 for access to the podcasts.

Purchase Explore Atlas Shrugged

Access to the online version of Explore Atlas Shrugged costs just $20. It’s half off – just $10 – for purchasers of the paperback and kindle editions of the book version. Also, if you contribute to Philosophy in Action’s Tip Jar via recurring weekly or monthly contributions (or the equivalent), please email me for free access.

Terms of Sale: (1) You may share the podcasts with members of your household, but not beyond that. (2) You may share the study questions with members of your household, as well as with participants in your online or in-person Atlas Shrugged Reading Group. (3) Do not ever post the podcasts or study questions in any public forum.

Items:Course: Explore Atlas Shrugged ($20)
Course: Explore Atlas Shrugged (Half Price Discount) ($10)
Note: This half-price discount is only available to purchasers of a paperback or kindle edition of Explore Atlas Shrugged. Please email me a screenshot or picture as proof.

Praise for Explore Atlas Shrugged

The response to Explore Atlas Shrugged has been overwhelmingly positive, including the following remarks:

I require students to read Atlas Shrugged in my introductory economics class. Dr. Hsieh’s Explore Atlas Shrugged podcasts were an essential tool to help communicate the novel’s lesson and hold effective class discussion. Do not attempt to teach the book without consulting the podcasts first!

— Bailey Norwood, Associate Professor, Department of Agricultural Economics, Oklahoma State University


Thank you, thank you, thank you, Diana – our GLO Atlas Reading Group is going so very well. We have about 12-13 people attending, and it is truly the most fun we’ve had in a long time. So much rewarding fun comes out of your ideas and organization. Can’t thank you enough for your efforts!!!


I just wanted to send you a quick note and thank you for your efforts on Explore Atlas Shrugged. As part of the Charm City Objectivists Society we used your questions and podcast to help kick off our reading group yesterday for session one. We had epiphanies all around the table from someone who is a firm student of Objectivism to a person who had read Atlas Shrugged but is new to Objectivism. I know that neither Ray (our moderator) or myself could have undertaken this kind of thing without the wonderful resource you have created. You have helped me make a difference in my community and I thank you for it.


The other day, I began listening to your Explore Atlas Shrugged podcasts. I have read and listened to the book several times, but it has been admittedly too long since the last time. Although I can not adequately express how much experiencing your podcasts has meant to me and the extent to which they have reinvigorated me, I did want to thank you…Thank you.

About Philosophy in Action Radio

Philosophy in Action Radio focuses on the application of rational principles to the challenges of real life. It broadcasts live on most Sunday mornings and many Thursday evenings over the internet. For information on upcoming shows, visit the Episodes on Tap. For podcasts of past shows, visit the Show Archives.

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