"Concepts in a hat" is an "objectivist party game" aimed at developing a deeper understanding of Objectivist ideas. In a 1987 tape lecture, philosopher Leonard Peikoff said that when he was first learning Objectivism, he was helped by playing this game. Nathaniel Branden has also said that that he found this game useful.
The rules are quite simple: just take 25 or more ideas central to Objectivism, write them on slips of paper, put them in a bowl or hat, draw two at random, and then try to explain the relationship between the ideas. (When played as a party game, the players should define the ideas first and then explain how they are connected. On our Web version, however, you should just explain the connections.)
For example, Peikoff says that when he started playing the game many years ago, he was stumped when he was asked to explain the connection between "private roads" and "the validity of the senses." But eventually he made the following connection: Private roads are an expression of the fact that the purpose of government is only the protection of individual rights. Individual rights are defended on the basis that man is a rational being who survives by the exercise of his mind, so he has to be left free. Finally, the validity of man's mind depends on the validity of the senses because the mind is the conceptualization of sensory data. Therefore you can see from this rough analysis that it is useless to argue for private roads with someone who rejects the validity of the senses.
In this on-line version of the game, the computer picks two ideas at random, and you fill in your answers using an HTML form. Our server stores your answers in a database and makes them available for others to browse.