Ayn Rand: The Russian Radical

Overview

Author of The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged, Ayn Rand (1905–1982) is one of the most widely read philosophers of the twentieth century. Yet, despite the sale of nearly thirty million copies of her works, there have been few extended scholarly examinations of her thought. Ayn Rand: The Russian Radical provides the first comprehensive analysis of the intellectual roots and philosophy of this controversial thinker.

Chris Sciabarra views Rand's "Objectivism" as a rejection—and ...

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Overview

Author of The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged, Ayn Rand (1905–1982) is one of the most widely read philosophers of the twentieth century. Yet, despite the sale of nearly thirty million copies of her works, there have been few extended scholarly examinations of her thought. Ayn Rand: The Russian Radical provides the first comprehensive analysis of the intellectual roots and philosophy of this controversial thinker.

Chris Sciabarra views Rand's "Objectivism" as a rejection—and affirmation—of key elements in the Russian tradition. Born in Russia during the Silver Age, Rand was educated at Leningrad University and studied with N. O. Lossky. She absorbed a dialectical method of inquiry that profoundly influenced her literary and philosophic project. Her distinctive libertarian synthesis is presented as a major contribution to radical social theory. Ultimately, Sciabarra challenges Rand's followers and critics to reassess her thought and its place in intellectual history.

In writing this book, the author conducted original historical research, using materials from the Leningrad archives, interviews with Lossky's descendants and other Russian contemporaries of Rand, and an astounding diversity of sources within the vast written and oral tradition of Objectivism.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Rand is an enduringly popular figure; her books have sold 30 million copies, respondents to a Library of Congress survey said her work was second only to the Bible in its impact on their lives, and The New Yorker has just rediscovered her sex life (July 24, 1995). But her impact was through her fiction, and attempts to extract her philosophy have usually resulted in thin intellectual chicken soup. This book is an exception. Sciabarra, a visiting scholar in politics at NYU, goes back to Rand's Russian roots, arguing that she rejected both Russian religious mysticism and Marxism but clung to what they had in commona rejection of mind-matter dualism and a concentration on the concrete. He also argues (more doubtfully) that she developed her own dialectic of the mutual implication of mind and matter, thought and action, reason and feeling. Sciabarra thinks it is this dialectical tension that gives Rand's ideas power, but he admits she would have rejected the word dialectic and that he is bringing a hidden structure to light. Essential for Rand fans and for academics who want to analyze her thought.Leslie Armour, Univ. of Ottawa
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780271014418
  • Publisher: Penn State University Press
  • Publication date: 6/28/1995
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 496
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Chris Matthew Sciabarra is a Visiting Scholar in the Department of Politics at New York University. He is the author of Marx, Hayek, and Utopia (1995).

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