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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 over thirty million copies of her works, there have been few serious scholarly examinations of her thought. Ayn Rand: The Russian Radical provides a comprehensive analysis of the intellectual roots and philosophy of this controversial thinker.

It has been nearly twenty years since the original publication of Chris ...

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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 over thirty million copies of her works, there have been few serious scholarly examinations of her thought. Ayn Rand: The Russian Radical provides a comprehensive analysis of the intellectual roots and philosophy of this controversial thinker.

It has been nearly twenty years since the original publication of Chris Sciabarra’s Ayn Rand: The Russian Radical. Those years have witnessed an explosive increase in Rand sightings across the social landscape: in books on philosophy, politics, and culture; in film and literature; and in contemporary American politics, from the rise of the Tea Party to recent presidential campaigns. During this time Sciabarra continued to work toward the reclamation of the dialectical method in the service of a radical libertarian politics, culminating in his book Total Freedom: Toward a Dialectical Libertarianism (Penn State, 2000).

This new edition of Ayn Rand adds two chapters that provide in-depth analysis of the most complete transcripts to date documenting Rand’s education at Petrograd State University. It includes a new preface that places the book in the context of Sciabarra’s own research and the recent expansion of interest in Rand’s beliefs. And finally, this edition adds a postscript that answers a recent critic of Sciabarra’s historical work on Rand. Shoshana Milgram, Rand’s biographer, has tried to cast doubt on Rand’s own recollections of having studied with the famous Russian philosopher N. O. Lossky. Sciabarra shows that Milgram’s analysis fails to cast doubt on Rand’s recollections—or on Sciabarra’s historical thesis.

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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: 9780271062273
  • Publisher: Penn State University Press
  • Publication date: 10/15/2013
  • Edition description: Updated
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 496
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Chris Matthew Sciabarra received his Ph.D. in political philosophy, theory, and method in the Department of Politics at New York University. He is the author of Total Freedom: Toward a Dialectical Libertarianism (Penn State, 2000) and co-editor, with Mimi Reisel Gladstein, of Feminist Interpretations of Ayn Rand (Penn State, 1999). He is also one of the editors of the Journal of Ayn Rand Studies.

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Table of Contents

Contents

Preface to the Second Edition

Acknowledgments

Introduction

PART ONE: THE PROCESS OF BECOMING

1 Synthesis in Russian Culture

2 Lossky, the Teacher

3 Educating Alissa

4 The Maturation of Ayn Rand

PART TWO: THE REVOLT AGAINST DUALISM

5 Being

6 Knowing

7 Reason and Emotion

8 Art, Philosophy, and Efficacy

9 Ethics and Human Survival

10 A Libertarian Politics

PART THREE: THE RADICAL RAND

11 Relations of Power

12 The Predatory State

13 History and Resolution

Epilogue

Appendix I: The Rand Transcript (1999)

Appendix II: The Rand Transcript, Revisited (2005)

Appendix III: A Challenge to Russian Radical—and Ayn Rand (2013)

Notes

References

Index

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