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Reconsidering Ayn Rand

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Ayn Rand is one of the most influential writers of the twentieth century. As the author of two best-selling novels, The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged, and numerous nonfiction works, Rand has influenced a generation of readers with her controversial ideas about reason, atheism, egoism, and capitalism. Rand's ideas have penetrated every level of society, and her influence has not diminished since her death in 1982. She continues to have an impact on contemporary culture, and her...
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Overview

Ayn Rand is one of the most influential writers of the twentieth century. As the author of two best-selling novels, The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged, and numerous nonfiction works, Rand has influenced a generation of readers with her controversial ideas about reason, atheism, egoism, and capitalism. Rand's ideas have penetrated every level of society, and her influence has not diminished since her death in 1982. She continues to have an impact on contemporary culture, and her ideas are now experiencing a second renaissance.

Like many of Rand's admirers, Michael B. Yang, was influenced by Rand's writings as a teenager and adopted her philosophy of Objectivism. However, as Yang completed his undergraduate work at Johns Hopkins and embarked upon his studies at Harvard Medical School, he discovered a number of inconsistencies in Rand's writings. These problems prompted him to reexamine her philosophy and ultimately led him to discover a different source of truth.

Reconsidering Ayn Rand tells the story of how an ordinary person who once believed in the philosophy of Ayn Rand ultimately came to understand differently. It considers Rand's fiction from a critical point of view exploring the themes of self-esteem, human worth, productive work, and romantic love. Finally, Reconsidering Ayn Rand is a comprehensive analysis of Objectivism. It covers the entire spectrum of Rand's philosophy from reason and reality to morality, government, science, and theology.

Reconsidering Ayn Rand is self-contained. It includes a valuable synopsis of Rand's two major novels and a brief survey of her philosophy. The book accomodates the beginning as well as the seasoned reader of Rand.

With the recent resurgence of interest in her ideas, it becomes clear that Reconsidering Ayn Rand is a vitally important contribution to the growing body of works on the fiction and philosophy of Ayn Rand.

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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
From a Christian point of view, a California ophthalmologist and former Rand admirer, surveys and questions her Objectivist philosophy as espoused in (1943) and (1957). Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781579212551
  • Publisher: WinePress Publishing WA
  • Publication date: 2/28/2000
  • Pages: 394
  • Product dimensions: 6.36 (w) x 9.34 (h) x 1.42 (d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments 15
Chapter 1. Introduction 17
Part 1 The Fiction and the Practice
Chapter 2. Establishing the Foundations: A Synopsis of Rand's Two Major Novels 29
The Fountainhead 30
Atlas Shrugged 36
Chapter 3. Self-Esteem, Confidence, and Human Worth 45
Altruism and Christianity: The Missing Link 48
The History of Altruism 50
The Psychology of Altruism 55
An Unconventional Christian 57
A Crack in the Edifice 58
A Mistaken Interpretation 62
The Source of Human Value: A Contrast in Views 66
A Remaining Question 75
Chapter 4. The Code of Competence 77
Productive Work as Central Purpose 80
The Spiritual versus the Material 85
Chapter 5. Romantic Love: Objectivism and Christianity 93
The Drama of Love 95
The Psychology of Romantic Love 99
A Turning 101
Hostility toward Physical Existence and Life 102
Christianity and Sexual Love 102
What Did Paul Say? 105
Woman: Domesticated Animal or Fellow Heir of Life? 109
Full Integration and the Unity of Love 112
Chapter 6. In Pursuit of Objectivist Love 115
The Romantic Life of Dagny Taggart 117
Sobering Thoughts 119
The Pursuit of the Highest Type 121
Objectivists in Pursuit of Objectivist Love 126
Personal Cost 129
Further Consequences 130
Redeeming Love 133
Part 2 The Philosophy
Chapter 7. A Survey of Objectivism 139
Metaphysics 142
Epistemology 142
Ethics 144
Politics 145
Chapter 8. Reason and Reality 149
Axioms: A Preliminary Consideration 152
Preliminary Questions about Existence and Consciousness 155
Objectivist Epistemology 158
The Validity of the Senses 160
The Stages of Consciousness 163
Concept Formation 165
Truth, Contextual Absolutes, and Open-Ended Concepts 170
The Problem of Individuation 175
Hume 177
Metaphysics 182
Materialist Implications for Volitional Consciousness 187
Materialist Implications for Truth 191
Reconsidering Axioms 193
A Christian Construction 194
Chapter 9. Morality and Government 203
Moral Absolutes 204
Failure of Materialism to Arrive at Truth 205
Failure of Empirical Ethics 205
The Objectivist Ethics: The Basic Choice 207
Life and Death: The Alternative 208
Life as Ultimate Value 212
Deriving the Ought from the Is 213
What Is Man? 215
Longevity or Quality of Life 217
The Predator and the Prey 219
Planning for a Lifetime 225
Sensations and Emotions: Pleasure and Happiness 227
Purpose and Standards 235
Summary 238
Politics 240
Individual Rights: Source and Definition 242
Rights: Inalienable or Conditioned? 244
Inalienable Rights: Implications 246
Inalienable Rights: The Derivation of Government 247
Inalienable Rights: How They Are Lost 252
Recapitulation 257
A Christian Construction 258
Chapter 10. Science and Christianity 269
Preliminary Problems 270
The Problem of Measurement and the Philosophy of Science 276
The Success of Science versus the Truth of Science 287
Christianity and the Rise of Modern Science 289
Galileo versus Aristotle 297
Resolution of Conflict 299
The Laws of Thermodynamics 299
Creation and Evolution 302
The Creation Event 303
The Six Days of Creation 307
Evolution 310
Natural Selection 315
Prebiotic Soup and Probabilities 317
Human Ancestors 320
Conclusion 325
Chapter 11. Bridging the Chasm 327
Antitheism: The Universal Negative 330
The Ontological Argument 335
The Cosmological Argument 336
The Contingency Argument 339
The Design or Teleological Argument 341
Prophecy as Design 346
Chapter 12. Epilogue: In the Name of the Best within Us 359
Bibliography 367
Index 375
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