The question of what is and is not open to one’s choice — the so-called problem of free will — has been a subject of controversy among philosophers, psychologists and theologians for centuries, but it is not simply a theoretical question; it is an important practical question that everyone must face.
Each entry in the Ayn Rand Lexicon contains information on one discrete topic, but reading two entries together can generate dividends too. Taken together, the entries for “‘Duty’” and “Responsibility/Obligation” show different sides of the same issue and help to distinguish a widespread view in ethics from the Objectivist approach.
“We dare not brush aside unexplained a horror such as Nazism,” writes philosopher Leonard Peikoff in The Cause of Hitler’s Germany. “We must find out what, at root, is required to turn a country, Germany or any other, into a Nazi dictatorship; and then we must uproot that root.”