Objectivism: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand

Overview


This brilliantly conceived and organized book is based on a lecture course given by Dr. Leonard Peikoff in 1976, entitled "The Philosophy of Objectivism." The lectures were attended by Ayn Rand, who helped prepare them and also joined Peikoff in answering questions. Ayn Rand said of these lectures: "Until or unless I write a comprehensive treatise on my philosophy, Dr. Peikoff's course is the only authorized presentation of the entire theoretical structure of Objectivism--that is, the only one that I know of my ...
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Objectivism: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand

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Overview


This brilliantly conceived and organized book is based on a lecture course given by Dr. Leonard Peikoff in 1976, entitled "The Philosophy of Objectivism." The lectures were attended by Ayn Rand, who helped prepare them and also joined Peikoff in answering questions. Ayn Rand said of these lectures: "Until or unless I write a comprehensive treatise on my philosophy, Dr. Peikoff's course is the only authorized presentation of the entire theoretical structure of Objectivism--that is, the only one that I know of my own knowledge to be fully accurate."

Dr. Peikoff, Rand's designated heir and foremost interpreter, reveals the abstract fundamentals of Objectivism and its practical applications in the everyday world. He covers every branch of philosophy recognized by Rand and every philosophic topic she regarded as important--from certainty to money, from logic to art, from measurement to sex. Illustrated with quotes from her published works, complete with an abundance of new material that Ayn Rand offered only in private conversations with Peikoff, these clear, cogent chapters illuminate Objectivism--and its creator--with startling clarity. Now the millions of readers who have been transformed by Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead will discover the full philosophical system underlying Ayn Rand's stories about life "as it might be and ought to be."

The definitive statement of Ayn Rand's philosophy, written by the preeminent Rand exponent and scholar. Illustrated with excerpts from her published works, complete with an abundance of new material that Rand communicated only in private conversation with Peikoff, this book illuminates Objectivism--and its creator--with brilliant clarity.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Peikoff, a leading scholar and advocate of Rand's work, offers a lengthy study of her philosophical views. (Dec.)
Library Journal
Peikoff, Rand's heir and authorized evangelist, tries to present the definitive apologetic for her individualist gospel. Libraries could certainly use a book explaining a writer whose works still sell half a million copies a year. But Rand's success is rooted in the unsubtle but dramatic Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged , not in tracts like Capitalism, the Unknown Ideal . And this book mostly summarizes those tracts. There are sophisticated defenses like those in Robert Nozick's Anarchy, State, and Utopia LJ 1/15/75 for some Rand doctrines, but Peikoff, as official expositor, is bound to the received word. Odd claims like, ``monopolies achieved under capitalism . . . depend on merit and do no harm'' abound. In pursuit of Randian orthodoxy, he must denounce leftists, but he goes further and holds that ``historically, from the Sherman Act to Herbert Hoover to the Bush Administration, it is the conservatives, not the leftists, who have always been the major destroyers of the United States.''-- Leslie Armour, Univ. of Ottawa
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780452011014
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 12/28/1993
  • Series: Ayn Rand Library Series , #6
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 512
  • Sales rank: 496,109
  • Product dimensions: 7.92 (w) x 5.20 (h) x 1.06 (d)

Meet the Author


Leonard Peikoff is universally recognized as the pre-eminent Rand scholar writing today. He worked closely with Ayn Rand for 30 years and was designated by her as her intellectual heir and heir to her estate. He has taught philosophy at Hunter College, Long Island University, and New York University, and hosted the national radio talk show "Philosophy: Who Needs It."
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Table of Contents


Acknowledgements
Preface
Chapter 1: Reality
Existence, Consciousness, and Identity as the Basic Axioms
Causality as a Corollary of Identity
Existence as Possessing Primacy over Consciousness
The Metaphysically Given as Absolute
Idealism and Materialism as the Rejection of Basic Axioms
Chapter 2: Sense Perception and Volition
The Senses as Necessarily Valid
Sensory Qualities as Real
Consciousness as Possessing Identity
The Perceptual Level as the Given
The Primary Choice as the Choice to Focus or Not
Human Actions, Mental and Physical, as Both Caused and Free
Volition as Axiomatic
Chapter 3: Concept-Formation
Differentiation and Integration as the Means to a Unit-Perspective
Concept-Formation as a Mathematical Process
Concepts of Consciousness as Involving Measurement-Omission
Definition as the Final Step in Concept-Formation
Concepts as Devices to Achieve Unit-Economy
Chapter 4: Objectivity
Concepts as Objective
Objectivity as Volitional Adherence to Reality by the Method of Logic
Knowledge as Contextual
Knowledge as Hierarchical
Intrinsicism and Subjectivism as the Two Forms of Rejecting Objectivity
Chapter 5: Reason
Emotions as a Product of Ideas
Reason as Man's Only Means of Knowledge
The Arbitrary as Neither True nor False
Certainty as Contextual
Mysticism and Skepticism as Denials of Reason
Chapter 6: Man
Living Organisms as Goal-Directed and Conditional
Reason as Man's Basic Means of Survival
Reason as an Attribute of the Individual
Chapter 7: The Good
"Life" as the Essential Root of "Value"
Man's Life as the Standard of Moral Value
Rationality as the Primary Virtue
The Individual as the Proper Beneficiary of His Own Moral Action
Values as Objective
Chapter 8: Virtue
Independence as a Primary Orientation to Reality, Not to Other Men
Integrity as Loyalty to Rational Principles
Honesty as the Rejection of Unreality
Justice as Rationality in the Evaluation of Men
Productiveness as the Adjustment of Nature to Man
Pride as Moral Ambitiousness
The Initiation of Physical Force as Evil
Chapter 9: Happiness
Virtue as Practical
Happiness as the Normal Condition of Man
Sex as Metaphysical
Chapter 10: Government
Individual Rights as Absolutes
Government as an Agency to Protect Rights
Statism as the Politics of Unreason
Chapter 11: Capitalism
Capitalism as the Only Moral Social System
Capitalism as the System of Objectivity
Opposition to Capitalism as Dependent on Bad Epistemology
Chapter 12: Art
Art as a Concretization of Metaphysics
Romantic Literature as Illustrating the Role of Philosophy in Art
Esthetic Value as Objective
Epilogue: The Duel Between Plato and Aristotle
References
Index
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Sort by: Showing 1 – 18 of 16 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 23, 2008

    A SCHOLARLY WORK OF AN AMAZING GENIUS

    In my lifetime I have read this book a number of times, and I love it. I am however quite partial to Objectivism, and am a big fan of Leonard Peikoff and Ayn Rand, and have been for many years. In fact I'm the biggest Ayn Rand enthusiast I know, but I live in Utah, Utah being the citadel of intellectual expression that it is, I doubt there are many Objectivist in my vicinity. But anyway, OPAR is a great book, and *the* comprehensive expression of Ayn Rands philosophy written by *the* worlds foremost expert on the philosophy. Though the book is not too complicated or technical it is often overlooked in its brillant presentation of the worlds greatest, and soon-to-be-discovered, philosophy. And as far as the Peikoff-bashers that one comes across from time to time, you know, those who claim that he is some philosophical-phony, a pretentious cultist cashing in on a best-selling novelists corpse I would bet money that in actual life Dr. Peikoff is an amazing man, a remarkable thinker, a top-notch philosopher with unbelievable integrity. And it would be a dream come true to actually spend time with this man, because no matter how exciting it is to read the writings of great philosophers such as Russell, Spinoza, Blanshard, Plato, Neitzche, etc., there is *nothing* like reading the work of a great Objectivist!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 14, 2007

    Finally, a Philosophy One Can Understand

    For those people who have read Ayn Rand¿s novels and want to learn more about her ideas, Objectivism: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand is the book to read. For those people who haven't read any of Ayn Rand's novel, this is still the book to read. One unique feature of Ayn Rand¿s novels We the Living, The Fountainhead, and Atlas Shrugged is that they help to express her very original philosophical ideas, which she later called Objectivism. But from these novels, it is difficult to understand the logical structure of Rand¿s philosophy. Some people might get the impression that Ayn Rand was primarily concerned with politics, but in fact, she wrote on all branches of philosophy, from metaphysics to epistemology to esthetics. Leonard Peikoff is very knowledgeable about Objectivism because he knew Ayn Rand and studied her philosophy for most of his life. His purpose in writing this book is to put her philosophical ideas together in one text starting with the foundation of metaphysics and epistemology, and then showing how these fundamental ideas logically led to Rand¿s views on ethics, politics, and esthetics. Even though Peikoff takes on some very abstract subjects, he never fails to write in a very clear style, using several concrete examples to help in understanding. One doesn¿t need a degree in philosophy to understand this well-written book.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 2, 2003

    A Great Mind

    Brilliantly rational, or, to steal a line, '...but of course.'

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