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Objectivism: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand (Ayn Rand Library) Paperback – December 1, 1993

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Peikoff, a leading scholar and advocate of Rand's work, offers a lengthy study of her philosophical views.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From 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
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Series: Ayn Rand Library
  • Paperback: 493 pages
  • Publisher: Meridian; Reprint edition (December 1, 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0452011019
  • ISBN-13: 978-0452011014
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 1.2 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (120 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #311,714 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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63 of 68 people found the following review helpful By Mark Da Cunha on December 24, 2000
Format: Paperback
Rands philosophical ideas are spread through hundreds of fiction and non-fiction works, radio addresses, taped and untaped lectures, seminars, and discussions.
Until the publication of Peikoff's magnum opus *Objectivism*, there was no single book, the interested student of philosophy could turn to, that presented Rand's philosophy as a single integrated whole.
Thanks to Dr. Peikoff this is no longer the case.
Leonard Peikoff's *Objectivism: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand* covers every philosophical topic that Ayn Rand held as important--from the objectivity of concepts and the metaphysical nature of man, to the virtue of selfishness and the purpose of art, this book covers it--and more.
It is clear (Peikoff is a lucid writer), organized (the book presents Rand's philosophy from the ground up, thus showing how her philosophical statement that capitalism is the moral system is inseperably tied to the metaphysical observation that A is A), and tightly written (Peikoff focuses only on essentials).
If you ever had any questions on the philosophy that Ayn Rand presented in her novels, or on the subject of philosophy in general (college students take note), this book has the answers you are looking for.
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61 of 66 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 21, 1997
Format: Paperback
While other books on Objectivism are ignorant of its content and openly contemptuous of Miss Rand, OBJECTIVISM: THE PHILOSOPHY OF AYN RAND avoids the errors of other commentators. If you ever want an idea of the structure of Ayn Rand's philosophy, this is the ONLY book available for doing it. It starts at the starting premises of Rand's philosophic system and moves step by step through the entire structure.

Dr. Peikoff (whom I have seen explain Objectivism to large audiences) is by far the best authority on the subject. He studied under Ayn Rand for 30 years, so he knows her philosophy well, and is, of course, very fair in his presentation of it.

When I started reading the book, by annotations were about technical philosophical issues, but my reading experience became more and more personal as I progressed through the book; I stopped saying things like "This philosophical error that Peikoff is explaining sounds like Descartes" and started saying things like "My friend John Smith needs to read this part."

This book is, of course, nothing near the reading experience of Ayn Rand's own writings, but it is a must-read for those interested in her philosophy, especially since some aspects of Objectivism were never committed to paper by Rand herself. And, if your interest is not in Objectivism but in philosophy in general, I think you will be pleased to have this book in your collection. It is excellent in selling the importance of philosophy in general (and, of course, the best at explaining Objectivism in particular).
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46 of 49 people found the following review helpful By LaszloWalrus on June 22, 2006
Format: Paperback
Reviews of this book seem to be divided into two camps; those who agree with Objectivism give it high marks while those who disagree denounce it. Whether one agrees with Objectivism or not, however, Leonard Peikoff's explanation of Rand's system is clear and penetrating. It starts from fundamentals and works up logically, so that, even in areas where one may disagree with Peikoff, one always knows his (and Rand's) stand on a given philosophic issue. The book has the added value of being written for laymen in philosophy (as opposed to academics), and is therefore accessible to anyone with an active mind and an interest in the subject matter.
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41 of 48 people found the following review helpful By Dr. Lee D. Carlson HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on October 26, 2002
Format: Paperback
The philosophy called Objectivism, which is expounded in this book, is both an interesting one and, if judged by comparison with what was developed in philosophy in the 20th century, very original. In addition, it is one of the last attempts to build a full-scale "system" of philosophy, integrating epistemology, ethics, aesthetics, ontology, and politics. This is to be contrasted with the "microscopic" approach to philosophical problem solving, which was, one can argue with some confidence, the dominant strategy in mainstream 20th century philosophy. This is not to say of course that this strategy is not an effective one. After all, specialization in any field has the advantage of being thorough, whereas comprehensive system building is both time-consuming and exhausting for the investigator. Objectivism was constructed outside the academy and its elaboration was not reported in the accepted academic journals. This being the case, its statements and positions on philosophical matters may take a considerable amount of time to be accepted by academic circles. Even if Objectivism does not gain respect in such circles, it still could serve as an alternative to the accepted ideas and concepts that are entrenched in the academic journals. The advent of the Internet and more accessible methods of publication will no doubt encourage more thinking outside the academy. It remains to be seen if this strategy results in philosophical theories that are both non-trivial and interesting.
Space does not permit a detailed review of this book, but some of the more interesting ideas that are elaborated on include: 1. The "stolen concept fallacy".
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