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Subject: FAQ: Ayn Rand's Philosophy of Objectivism

This article was archived around: 11 Jun 1997 18:56:53 GMT

All FAQs in Directory: objectivism
All FAQs posted in: alt.philosophy.objectivism, humanities.philosophy.objectivism, sci.philosophy.meta, sci.philosophy.tech
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Archive-name: objectivism/faq Last-modified: 1997/6/11
[Changes: 1. Added humanities.philosophy.objectivism by request of moderator 2. Follow-up line changed to humanities.philosophy.objectivism cww ] Please sent suggestions and corrections to cwalker@ece.utexas.edu Copies of this FAQ and may be found at the following sites via ftp: ftp.uu.net under /usenet/news.answers/objectivism rtfm.mit.edu under /pub/usenet in the *.answers directories The document is available in HTML format through WWW (Netscape, etc) at: http://www.dreamscape.com/willp/phil/obj-faq.html -------------------- CUT HERE --------------------------------------- Frequently Asked Questions Objectivism: The philosophy of Ayn Rand Author: Chris Walker Date: June 11, 1997 Questions Answered ------------------ I. What is the Role of Philosophy in Human life? II. What is Objectivism? III. Who is Ayn Rand? IV. Ayn Rand and Aristotle V. Was Ayn Rand a Conservative or a Libertarian? VI. Where can one find out more about Ayn Rand's ideas? VII. What about other electronic forums where her ideas are discussed? VIII. What about audio and video recordings of Ayn Rand and others? IX. What about campus clubs? Where can I find out how to start my own? X. Bibliography of Published Articles in Academic Journals XI. Reading List on Objectivism XII. Major Objectivist Events XIII. Local Events and Groups XIV. Suggestions and Corrections Acknowledgements ---------------- Based on suggestions from several users of alt.philosophy.objectivism and OSG either posted publically or sent to me privately. My thanks to Austin Moseley, Brian Yoder, Magnus Kempe, Jay Allen and many others for their assistance in compiling this FAQ. It was originally published in March 1993. (10/12/95) Minor rewordings, removed obsolete references, submit for FAQ moderator approval. (6/5/96) Major content revision, update author attributions (5/26/97) Clean up minor errors, update list of available documents and add minor camp comments. (6/11/97) Add to humanities.philosophy.objectivism & administrativa References for Quotes --------------------- "The Ayn Rand Lexicon", edited by Harry Binswanger. Copyright 1986 by Harry Binswanger. Publisher, New American Library "The New Left: The Anti-Industrial Revolution," by Ayn Rand. ARI (Ayn Rand Institute) biography of Ayn Rand Purpose of this FAQ ------------------- The purpose of this FAQ is to provide pointers to the best information on Objectivism that is available. It intentionally does not reference material that misrepresents Objectivism, the philosophy of Ayn Rand. Extensive information on Objectivist organizations and publications may be found in Mark Gardner's "Objectivist Resource Guide" available on the web. Disclaimer ---------- Copyright 1997 (C) by Chris Walker except where specified. This is not an official presentation of Ayn Rand's philosophy. The author supports the activities of the Ayn Rand Institute and associated organizations but does not represent these organizations in any way. Distribution ------------ This list may be distributed anywhere provided that it is distributed in full and that all of the header information is retained. The bibliography and reading list may be distributed separately provided that appropriate credit is given. Otherwise, no extractions, deletions or modifications may be made. Some quotes are from copyrighted works. Any new version posted on USENET by me supersedes any previous version. If any altered versions of this file are being distributed, please notify me at cwalker@ece.utexas.edu or chris937@austin.email.net. Corrections ----------- Please send suggestions and updates to cwalker@ece.utexas.edu QUESTIONS --------- I. What is the Role of Philosophy in Human life? ------------------------------------------------- Ayn Rand had the following to say about the nature of philosophy: "Philosophy is the science that studies the fundamental aspects of the nature of existence. The task of philosophy is to provide man with a comprehensive view of life. This view serves as a base, a frame of reference, for all his actions, mental or physical, psychological or existential. This view tells him the nature of the universe with which he has to deal (metaphysics); the means by which he has to deal with it, i.e., the means of acquiring knowledge (epistemology); the standards by which he is to choose his goals and values, in regard to his own life and character (ethics)--and in regard to society (politics); the means of concretizing this view is given to him by esthetics." "The Chicken's Homecoming," from "The New Left: The Anti-Industrial Revolution," p107 Philosophy is the first science, the science of living. It is a science that does not require specialized abilities, knowledge or training to apply to one's life. Though a religion has philosophic content, a philosophy is not the same as a religion. A philosophy appeals to the intellect, the faculty of reason. It is through one's faculty of reason, ie. by observation and persuasion, that one comes to profess allegiance to a philosophy, not an appeal to one's fears in order to elicit faith. Fundamental branch vs derivative branch II. What is Objectivism? ------------------------ Objectivism is the name that Ayn Rand gave to the philosophical system that she discovered. It is the answer to the questions posed in the five main branches of philosophy as Plato defined them. (See above.) Ayn Rand is an Aristotelian philosopher. Since Objectivism answers the fundamental questions that Plato posed on the nature of the universe, of the mind, of human life on this earth and man's life in society, it is also a Western philosophy. This means that Ayn Rand is in the same tradition as other great Western philosophers such as Aristotle, Plato, St. Thomas Aquinas, John Locke, Baruch Spinoza and Rene Descartes. This includes her declared enemies including the philosopher Immanuel Kant and the myraids of twentieth-century professional philosphers who do not merit that label. In contrast to the great majority of philosophers and philosophies of the last two millenia, Objectivism is a secular philosophy. But most importantly, Objectivism is true. As a result, it has practical consequences and beneficial consequences for life on this earth if properly applied to one's life. Since the beginning of the twentieth century, philosophy as a guide to life has become a dead subject. Ayn Rand through Objectivism has rescued philosophy and has once again given legitimacy to the Enlightenment ideal of living a life of reason. Ayn Rand summarized her philosophy in "The Objectivist Newsletter" in 1962: 1. Metaphysics: Objective Reality 2. Epistemology: Reason 3. Ethics: Self Interest 4. Politics: Laissez-faire capitalism 1. Reality exists as an objective absolute--facts are facts, independent of man's feelings, wishes, hopes or fears. 2. Reason (the faculty which identifies and integrates the material provided by man's senses) is man's only means of perceiving reality, his only source of knowledge, his only guide to action, and his basic means of survival. 3. Man--every man--is an end in himself, not the means to the ends of others. He must exist for his own sake, neither sacrificing himself to others nor sacrificing others to himself. The pursuit of his own rational self-interest and of his own happiness is the highest moral purpose of his life. 4. The ideal political-economic system is laissez-faire capitalism. It is a system where men deal with one another, not as victims and executioners, nor as masters and slaves, but as traders, by free, voluntary exchange to mutual benefit. It is a system where no man may obtain any values from others by resorting to physical force, and no man may initiate the use of physical force against others. The government acts only as a policeman that protects man's rights; it uses physical force only in retaliation and only against those who initiate its use, such as criminals and foreign invaders. In a system of full capitalism, there should be (but historically has not yet been) a complete separation of state and economics, in the same way and for the same reasons as the separation of state and church." The Ayn Rand Lexicon (HC) p344 quoted from "Introducing Objectivism," TON, Aug. 1962, 35. With regard to aesthetics, Ayn Rand characterized her school of art as "romantic realism." See "The Romantic Manifesto" for details. II. Who is Ayn Rand? --------------------- Ayn Rand (1905-1982) was a Russian-born American writer. She grew up in St. Petersburg during the Russian Revolution and graduated from the University of Petrograd in 1924. As a child at the age of nine, she had decided that she would become a writer. Being directly exposed to the Soviet system, she rebelled even as a child against the doctrines and practices of that oppressive culture. In 1926, at the age of 21, she went to the United States to become a Hollywood screen writer and married in 1931. She went on to write not only several screen plays but eventually several novels including the "We the Living" (1936), the best-seller, "The Fountainhead (1943)" and "Atlas Shrugged (1957)". Ayn Rand considered her novels to belong to the school of art known as Romanticism, as opposed to Naturalism. Additional works include a novelette called "Anthem" and several plays including the intriguing "Night of January 16th." "'The Fountainhead', the story of an intransigent creator who refuses to surrender his integrity or his intellectual independence to a world of second-handers, was published in 1943--after having been rejected by twelve publishers. It brought Ayn Rand international fame. With the publication of 'Atlas Shrugged' in 1957, Ayn Rand's position in history -- both as novelist and philosopher -- was established. 'Atlas Shrugged' tells the story of what happens to the world when its most intelligent and productive members, the men of the mind, go on strike against the creed of self-immolation. This novel challenges at the root the altruist and philosophical ideas of the 2000-year-old Judeo-Christian tradition." (Ayn Rand Institute) After writing "Atlas Shrugged", Ayn Rand published several newsletters including "The Objectivist Newsletter (1962-1965)", "The Objectivist (1966-1971)", and "The Ayn Rand Letter (1971-1976)" All of these newsletters are still available in print. In the last 20 years of her life, Ayn Rand published several non-fiction works including "Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal (1966)", "Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology (1979)", "The Virtue of Selfishness (1964)", "For the New Intellectual (1961)", "The Romantic Manifesto (1969)", and "The New Left: The Anti-Industrial Revolution (1971)" In addition, she appeared on radio and television talk shows, wrote editorials in such newspapers as the "LA Times", spoke to enthusiastic audiences at events sponsored by such institutions as "The Ford Hall Forum" in Boston, and taught and helped teach courses on her philosophy and romantic fiction. After her death, the seminal "Philosophy: Who Needs It (1982)", "The Early Ayn Rand", and "The Ayn Rand Column" were published by her intellectual heir, executor, and closest associate Dr. Leonard Peikoff. Ayn Rand is buried in a cemetery near Valhalla, New York. There is some biographical information in the now out-of-print "Who is Ayn Rand?" written in the early sixties. Subsequent works by the authors Nathaniel and Barbara Branden are more dramatic and speculative in nature and do not provide an accurate picture of Ayn Rand's later life. A biography based upon the complete records from Ayn Rand's estate called "Ayn Rand in Her Own Words" by Richard Ralston will soon be published. (mid-1997) A film called "Ayn Rand: A Sense of Life" has already had limited engagements. The focus of the film is on the positive aspects of Ayn Rand's life. Additionally, "The Letters of Ayn Rand" provides valuable autobiographical information on Rand's life. For a personal testimony of the type of woman that Ayn Rand was, obtain Leonard Peikoff's "My Thirty Years with Ayn Rand". A taped set on Ayn Rand's early life was written and presented by Dr. Harry Binswanger. "Ayn Rand's Journals" by David Harriman are due to be published in 1997. III. Ayn Rand's Debt to Aristotle ---------------------------------- Just as Ayn Rand works within the philosophic tradition established by Plato, she owed a great debt to the man who answered most of Plato's questions, Aristotle. "The only philosophical debt I can acknowledge is to Aristotle. I most emphatically disagree with a great many parts of his philosophy--but his definition of the laws of logic and of the means of human knowledge is so great an achievement that his errors are irrelevant by comparison." "About the Author," Appendix to "Atlas Shrugged" quoted from "The Ayn Rand Lexicon", p344 IV. Ayn Rand on Aristotle -------------------------- There has been and is a "life or death" battle for man's mind thoughout Western history. The choice that Western man has faced is the fundamental philosophy to guide his life--to choose reason or faith, live in accord with reality or a "higher" dimension, seek happiness on this earth or sacrifice one's life in the name of duty, live as a free, sovereign individual or as a slave. This battle is embodied in the conflict between the views of Aristotle and Plato. Ayn Rand put her lot with Aristotle. "Aristotle's philosophy was the intellect's Declaration of Independence. Aristotle, the father of logic, should be given the title of the world's first intellectual, in the purest and noblest sense of that word. No matter what remnants of Platonism did exist in Aristotle's system, his incomparable achievement lay in the fact that he defined the basic principles of a rational view of existence and of man's consciousness: that there is only one reality, the one which man perceives--that it exists as an objective absolute (which means: independently of the consciousness, the wishes or the feelings of any perceiver)--that the task of man's consciousness is to perceive, not to create, reality--that abstractions are man's method of integrating his sensory material--that man's mind is his only tool of knowledge--that A is A. If we consider the fact that to this day everything that makes us civilized beings, every rational value that we possess -- including the birth of science, the industrial revolution, the creation of the United States, even of the structure of our language -- is the result of Aristotle's influence, of the degree to which, explicitly or implicitly, men accepted his epistemological principles, we would have to say: never have so many owed so much to one man." Quoted from "For the New Intellectual, HC(20),pb(22)" from "The Ayn Rand Lexicon", p35 V. Was Ayn Rand a Conservative or a Libertarian? ------------------------------------------------- The answer to both parts of this question is emphatically no. While no one is likely to mistake Ayn Rand for a liberal, some of her statements sound similar to that of Conservatives and Libertarians. However, she is neither. In one way or another, both conservatives and Libertarians repudiate the principles of a rational philosophy. Conservatives by believing in an all-powerful, all-knowing God repudiate existence, reason and any possibility of a rational ethics. On that basis, claims to support individual rights can only be regarded as lip-service. Libertarians hold the idea that there are many roads to liberty, all equally valid and true, including religion or a relatively new aberration, communitarianism. There is only one road to liberty, one price to be paid for freedom, reason. Here is a quote from Objectivist philosopher Dr. Harry Binswanger: "The "libertarians"...plagiarize Ayn Rand's principle that no man may initiate the use of physical force, and treat it as a mystically revealed, out-of-context absolute.... In the philosophical battle for a free society, the one crucial connection to be upheld is that between capitalism and reason. The religious conservatives are seeking to tie capitalism to mysticism; the "libertarians" are tying capitalism to the whim-worshiping subjectivism and chaos of anarchy. To cooperate with either group is to betray capitalism, reason, and one's own future." Binswanger, "The Ayn Rand Lexicon", p254 from "Q & A Department: - Anarchism," "The Objectivist Forum", Aug. 1981, 12. Please refer to the article, "Libertarianism: The Perversion of Liberty" by Peter Schwartz for details. This tract and a condensed version which appears in "The Voice of Reason: Essays on Objectivist Thought" are available at Second Renaissance Books. (address below) Read "Religion vs America" by Dr. Leonard Peikoff for an explanation of why the revival of religion in America constitutes a threat to everyone's freedom. VI. Where can one find out more about Ayn Rand's ideas? -------------------------------------------------------- Ayn Rand's books and the most important works of the advocates of her philosophy, especially "Objectivism: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand" by Leonard Peikoff and "The Ayn Rand Lexicon" by Harry Binswanger can be found in most metropolitan bookstores or from Second Renaissance Books. The most complete collection of the works of major interpreters of Objectivism and of works which support the values of reason, individual achievement, and individual rights and capitalism may be found at: Second Renaissance Books 143 West Street, P.O. Box 1988 New Milford, CT 06776 For information, call 800-757-6149, or fax (203) 355-7160. Look for their upcoming World Wide Web page at http://www.secondrenaissance.com/ For free information on Ayn Rand's ideas including the following pamphlets: "Playboy's Interview with Ayn Rand" "Philosophy of Objectivism: A Brief Summary" by Leonard Peikoff "Man's Rights and the Nature of Government" by Ayn Rand "Philosophy: Who Needs It?" by Ayn Rand before West Point and many more, please contact: The Ayn Rand Institute 4640 Admiralty Way, Suite 715 Marina del Rey, CA 90292 Their web page is located at "http://www.ayn-rand.org". Additional sources of information about Objectivism: (The TIA publishes articles, reviews and information on current events including an Objectivist Calendar.) The Intellectual Activist P.O. Box 262 Lincroft, NJ 07738 http://www.nationweb.com/t/TIA/tia-1.html Lyceum International P.O. Box 4315 South Colby, WA 93384-031 Phone: (360) 876-5868 Fax: (360) 876-2902 http://www.olympus.net/lyceumintl VII. What about other electronic forums where her ideas are discussed? ----------------------------------------------------------------------- There are several private e-mail discussion groups on which Ayn Rand's ideas are discussed. One such group is the Objectivism Study Group (OSG), a for pay e-mail group for serious students of Objectivism. It is moderated by the publisher of "The Intellectual Activist", Bob Stubblefield. Please send a message to "info-osg@osg.com" to receive a contract and application form. The official website is located at http://www.exit109.com/~integrity/osg/ Other public discussions on Ayn Rand's ideas occur on USENET groups such alt.philosophy.objectivism as well as the moderated humanities.philosophy.objectivism. Discussions also occur on Compuserve, America OnLine as well. In all cases, the best advice is, reader beware. Please consult http://www.hypermall.com/geekspk to find out about live Internet Relay Chat discussions on Objectivist-Related topics. VIII. What about audio and video recordings of Ayn Rand and others? ------------------------------------------------------------------- Ayn Rand appeared on several TV shows including the Tonight Show, Donahue, and others. She spoke before West Point, before businessmen and the aforementioned Ford Hall Forum. The majority of her extant recordings as well as those by other prominent Objectivists are available at Second Renaissance Books. Live broadcasts using various formats including Microsoft's "Netshow" have been made available through Lyceum International for a nominal fee. Other video clips are available through the Ayn Rand Institute website at http://www.ayn-rand.org. IX. What about campus clubs? Where can I find out how to start my own? ------------------------------------------------------------------------ An extensive list of campus clubs can be found in Mark Gardner's Objectivist Resource Guide which can be found at Will Pierce's website. The Ayn Rand Institute now supports more than 100 campus clubs throughout the world. It sponsors a broad range of activities including essay contests for high school students based on *The Fountainhead* and the Objectivist Graduate Center, an institute for the advanced study of Objectivism. To quote from the ARI Campus Club Manual, "Campus clubs operate independently of ARI. We do not officially endorse or sanction any clubs. We provide assistance to those in harmony with the principles described in our Intellectual Charter. Our role is solely that of helper as we work together to achieve our common goal: the advancement of Objectivism" (p. ii) Please contact the ARI at the following address: The Ayn Rand Institute 4640 Admiralty Way, Suite 715 Marina del Rey, CA 90292 The web page for the University of Texas Objectivist Study Group may be found at present at "http://uts.cc.utexas.edu/~osg". X. Bibliography of Published Articles in Academic Journals ------------------------------------------------------------- This bibliography is of works by individuals of whom I am certain are dedicated to the truth and use Ayn Rand's ideas as their philosophical roadmap. This bibliography contains works in academic journals, magazines or collections of articles. It has become almost absurd to keep such a list given the major changes in computer technology, but in the case of older works and authors, such a list has value, especially with regard to the past. Other Objectivist works are referred to in the "Reading List on Objectivism." This includes a bibliography posted on alt.philosophy.objectivism. An excellent source for other Objectivist works is to consult the book catalog from Second Renaissance Books. ARTICLES IN ACADEMIC JOURNALS This is a sampling of articles by Objectivists in academic journals. Author: Harry Binswanger Title: Volition as Cognitive Self-Regulation Journal: Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes 1991, 50, 154-178 Author: Harry Binswanger Title: Life-based Teleology and the Foundations of Ethics Journal: *The Monist*, Jan 1992, v75, n1, p84. Author: Allan Gotthelf Title: Aristotle's Conception of Final Causality Journal: *Review of Metaphysics*, 1977, 30, 226-254 Author: Allan Gotthelf Title: 'The Place of the Good in Aristotle's Natural Teleology' Journal: 'The Proceedings of the Boston Colloquium on Ancient Philosophy', Vol. 4, p. 113-139, 1988. Author: Allan Gotthelf Title: Science and Philosophy in Classical Greece. (book review) Journal: *Review of Metaphysics* : June 1993, v46, n4, p834 Author: Allan Gotthelf Title: Theophrastus of Eresus: Sources for His Life, Writings, Thought and Influence. (book review) Journal: *Review of Metaphysics*, Sept 1994, v48, n1, p133 Author: Leonard Peikoff Title: 'Platonism's Inference from Logic to God' Journal: 'International Studies in Philosophy', Vol. 16, p. 25-34, 1984. Author: Edwin Locke Title: 'The Contradiction of Epiphenomenalism' Journal: 'British Journal of Psychology', Vol. 57, p. 203-204, 1966. Author: Edwin Locke Title: 'The Virtue of Selfishness' Journal: American Psychologist, Vol. 43 (6), p. 481, 1988. Author: Edwin A. Locke Title: The effects of goal setting, self-efficacy, competition, and personal traits on the performance of an endurance task. Journal: Journal of Sport & Exercise Psychology : June 1995, v17, n2, p138 / 15 page(s) Author: Robert Mayhew Title: 'Aristotle on Property' Journal: 'Review of Metaphysics', Vol. 46, p. 803-831, 1993. Author: Leonard Peikoff Title: 'Aristotle's Intuitive Induction' Journal: 'The New Scholasticism', Vol. 59, p. 30-53, 1985. Author: George Reisman Title: Getting Parallels Straight Journal: Reason, June 1983 Author: John Ridpath Title: 'Ayn Rand's Novels: Art or Tracts' Journal: The American Journal of Economics and Sociology, Vol. 35, p. 211-217, 1976. Author: Tara Smith Title: 'Why a Teleological Defense of Rights Needn't Yield Welfare Rights' Journal: 'The Journal of Social Philosophy', Vol. 23 (3), p. 35-50, 1992. Author: Tara Smith Title: 'Rights, Friends, and Egoism' Journal: in 'The Journal of Philosophy', Vol. 90 (3), p. 144-148, 1993. Author: Tara Smith Title: 'On Deriving Rights to Goods from Rights to Freedom' Journal: 'Law and Philosophy', Vol. 11 (3), p. 217-234, 1992. Author: Tara Smith Title: 'Why Do I Love Thee? - A Response to Nozick's Account of Romantic Love' Journal: 'Southwest Philosophy Review', p. 47-57, 1991. Author: Tara Smith Title: 'Moral Realism: Blackburn's Response to the Frege Objection', in Journal: 'The Southern Journal of Philosophy', Vol. 25, p. 221-228, 1987. ARTICLES IN MAGAZINES Author: Michael S. Berliner Title: Capitalism and Selfishness Journal: Commentary, March 1987 Author: Jerry Kirkpatrick Title: 'Ayn Rand's Objectivist Ethics as the Foundation of Business Ethics', p. 67-88 Journal:'Business Ethics and Common Sense', ed. Robert W. McGee, Quorum Books, 1992. Author: Edwin Locke Title: Microsoft vs. the Valley.(Microsoft's commitment to open-platform model,Letter to the Editor. Journal: Fortune, April 17 1995, v131, n7, p13 Author: Arthur Mode, Mike Berliner Title: Ayn Rand (Replies to Herbert) Journal: Book World Author: Cynthia Peikoff Title: Capitalism and Selfishness Journal: Commentary, March 1987 Author: Leonard Peikoff Title: Atlas Shrieked Journal: Esquire, October, 1962 Ayn Rand: 'A Screen Guide For Americans', Plain Talk, Nov. 1947. Ayn Rand: 'JFK- High Class Beatnik?', Human Events, Sept. 1960. Ayn Rand: 'The New Left Represents an Intellectual Vacuum', New York Times Magazine, 17th of May 1970. ARTICLES (OR CHAPTERS) IN BOOKS Author: George Reisman Title: Classical Economics Versus The Exploitation Theory Book: Essays in Honor of F. A. Hayek, 1984 Author: George Reisman Title: Freedom of Opportunity, Not Equality of Opportunity Book: Essays in Honor of Hans Sennholz, 1992 Author: George Reisman Title: The Toxicity of Environmentalism Book: Rational Readings on Environmental Concerns, Edited by Jay Lehr Author: Richard Sanford Title: Part of a collection Book: Rational Readings on Environmental Concerns, Edited by Jay Lehr XI. Reading List on Objectivism --------------------------------- This is my reading list for learning Objectivism. All works listed are by Ayn Rand unless specified otherwise. In addition, I list some other works recommended in the past by Objectivists to broaden your study. Credit goes to Austin Moseley for his suggestions and thanks to everyone else for their corrections and assistance. For those who have little or no familiarity with philosophy, the best introduction to Objectivism is through Ayn Rand's fiction. Ayn Rand was primarily a novelist. In order to write the novels about the kinds of men can and should exist in the world, she developed Objectivism to support it. This philosophy of hero worship captures the spirit of youth and its concomitant love of life. A note on selection. I have freely borrowed from the reading list in the Second Renaissance Books catalog and from other sources. My general criterion is to point people to works whose writers provide models of rational discourse and will enable readers to find the same spirit in whatever works they encounter on their own. Ayn Rand's Novels ----------------- "We The Living" -- Ayn Rand considered this novel to be the ideal Romantic novel. This novel is about the destruction of the human spirit under dictatorships. The specifics are the Soviet dictatorship, but it addresses all such societies. It was made into a movie in Fascist Italy without permission and when the authorities finally realized its anti-authoritarian message, the movie was banned. "The Fountainhead" -- The leitmotif of this novel is independence, of the worship of man as heroic creator of values through means of the use of his own mind. Howard Roark is the hero who remains true to himself in the entire novel, never allowing his work to be compromised no matter the temptation. He wins. "Atlas Shrugged" --This is Ayn Rand's 'magnum opus', a great novel beyond ordinary greatness. It is a novel of the role of man's mind in civilization, of its enslavement to the looters who refuse to use their own mind to produce the values they need to live. The plot is in answer to the question, "What if the men of the mind were to go on strike?" Read it and find out. "Anthem" -- This is a novel of the rediscovery of the most important word in all of human life, without which, true human existence is impossible. Introductory Philosophical Works by Ayn Rand -------------------------------------------- These works present basic aspects of Objectivism and discuss the value of philosophy. They also address the most important issues of philosophy for everyday life. "Philosophy: Who Needs It?", edited by Leonard Peikoff "For the New Intellectual" Basic Philosophical Essays by Ayn Rand -------------------------------------- "The Virtue of Selfishness: A New Concept of Egoism" "Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal" "The New Left: The Anti-Industrial Revolution" "The Romantic Manifesto" Introductory and Intermediate Objectivist Works ----------------------------------------------- These works are intended for those who already know the basic principles of Ayn Rand's ideas and are ready to flesh out their knowledge. "The Ayn Rand Lexicon" by Harry Binswanger "Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology" by Ayn Rand "Objectivism: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand" by Leonard Peikoff "The Ominous Parallels" by Leonard Peikoff "The Voice of Reason: Essays in Objectivist Thought" by Leonard Peikoff Posthumous Publications ----------------------- "The Letters of Ayn Rand" edited by Michael Berliner "The Ayn Rand Column" edited by Leonard Peikoff "The Early Ayn Rand" edited by Leonard Peikoff An early work by Ayn Rand on Hollywood was recently discovered in St. Petersburg. It should be available for sale from Objectivist bookstores when it becomes available. Study Aids ---------- "A Study Guide to Leonard Peikoff's Objectivism: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand" by Gary Hull (Highly Recommended) "How to Study Ayn Rand" by Dr. Harry Binswanger, Audiotape Recommended Courses/Lectures by Leonard Peikoff ----------------------------------------------- These courses and taped lectures are currently for sale from Second Renaissance Books. Having heard the majority of these courses, I believe that they are of superior quality. Objectivism courses: "The Philosophy of Objectivism" -- 12 lecture introductory course presented in 1976 with Ayn Rand in the Q&A "Understanding Objectivism" -- 12 Lecture course. This is his best course to my knowledge. "Objectivism: The State of the Art" -- 6 lecture course "Objectivism: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand" -- 15 lecture advanced course 1-6 (1990), 7-15 (1991) "Certainty and Happiness"--achieving success in thought and action "Seminar on OPAR: Ayn Rand's Philosophy of Objectivism" Grammar, Rhetoric and Logic: (This is the trivium of classical heritage) "The Philosophy of Education" -- 5 lecture course "Introduction to Logic" -- 10 lecture course "Principles of Grammar" -- 8 lecture course "Objective Communication" -- 10 lecture course (Principles of Communication, Writing, Speaking, Arguing) Ayn Rand in Q&A on lecture 1 "The Art of Thinking" -- An excellent course on common problems encountered when thinking about philosophical issues. "Objectivism Through Induction" -- Currently being offered. Expected to be made available for sale in mid to late 1998. Ford Hall Forum Presentations: "The American School: Why Johnny Can't Think" "Assault from the Ivory Tower" "Medicine: The Death of a Profession" "Modernism and Madness", 1994 "My Thirty Years with Ayn Rand: An Intellectual Memoir" "The Ominous Parallels" "Religion vs. America" "Some Notes about Tomorrow" "Philosophy and the Real World Out There" "What to do about Crime", 1995 Important Polemical Essays --------------------------- "Libertarianism: The Perversion of Liberty" by Peter Schwartz "The Toxicity of Environmentalism" by George Reisman (available through the Jefferson School) "Education and the Racist Road to Barbarism" by George Reisman (ditto) OTHER WORKS TO EXPAND YOUR HORIZONS ----------------------------------- These works have been recommended in the past by Objectivists or I have found them valuable in my own personal studies. Philosophy ---------- "The Basic Works of Aristotle" by Richard McKeon "Aristotle" by John Hermann Randall, Jr. "A History of Western Philosophy" by W.T. Jones (in 5 volumes) "Philosophical Issues in Aristotle's Biology" edited by Allan Gotthelf and James G. Lennox. "Religion vs Man" by John Ridpath (2 lecture course) "A History of Philosophy", Wilhelm Windelband, 2 vols., New York: Harper Torchbooks. (This book is out of print but it sometimes reappears in used book stores) Economics --------- "Capitalism" by Dr. George Reisman, a major treatise on economics. "The Government Against the Economy" by Dr. George Reisman "Economics in One Lesson" by Henry Hazlitt "Socialism" by Ludwig von Mises "Human Action" by Ludwig von Mises "Introduction to Pro-Capitalist 'Macroeconomics'" -- 6 lecture course "Economic Sophisms" by Frederic Bastiat "Economic Harmonies" by Frederic Bastiat "Principles of Economics" by Carl Menger "Planning for Freedom" by Ludwig von Mises History ------- "The God of the Machine" by Isabel Paterson "The Enlightenment" by Peter Gay "Modern Times" by Paul Johnson "History of Christianity" by Paul Johnson "Birth of the Modern" by Paul Johnson "The Discoverers" by Daniel Boorstin "The Creators" by Daniel Boorstin "The Story of Civilization" by Will and Ariel Durant "How the West Grew Rich" by Nathan Rosenberg and L.E. Birdzell "John Locke's Political Philosophy" by Harry Binswanger -- 3 lecture course Science ------- "The Beginnings of Western Science" David C. Lindberg "Flim-Flam" by James Randi Environmentalism ---------------- "Rational Readings on Environmental Concerns" edited by Jay H. Lehr "Trashing the Planet" by Dixie Lee Ray "Environmental Overkill" by Dixie Lee Ray "Toxic Terror" by Elizabeth Whelan "Panic in The Pantry" by Elizabeth Whelan and Fredrick J. Stare Politics -------- "The Law" by Frederic Bastiat "Second Treatise on Civil Government" by John Locke XII. Major Objectivist Events ------------------------------ It is no longer practical to list upcoming Objectivist events. There are too many and keeping up with them would require at least monthly updates to this FAQ. Instead, one should partake of two organizations for a good sampling of Objectivist activities, the Ayn Rand Institute and Lyceum International. In addition, World Wide Web searches will provide extensive information on other Objectivist activities. Lyceum International is planning a series of international conferences. Contact them at the number above for specific listings. Major activities focus on two organizations, Lyceum International and The Ayn Rand Institute. XIII. Suggestions and Corrections --------------------------------- Please direct your suggestions, complaints, praise, and updates for this FAQ to Chris Walker, cwalker@ece.utexas.edu. -- Chris Walker cwalker@ece.utexas.edu