Philosophy put forth by Ayn Rand

Objectivism is a philosophical system developed by Russian-American writer Ayn Rand. Rand first expressed Objectivism in her fiction, most notably The Fountainhead (1943) and Atlas Shrugged (1957), and later in non-fiction essays and books. Leonard Peikoff, a professional philosopher and Rand's designated intellectual heir, later gave it a more formal structure. Rand described Objectivism as "the concept of man as a heroic being, with his own happiness as the moral purpose of his life, with productive achievement as his noblest activity, and reason as his only absolute". Peikoff characterizes Objectivism as a "closed system" that is not subject to change.

The Objectivist


"And the Pursuit of Happiness": Nathaniel Branden, RIP, by Sheldon Richman, 12 Dec 2014
Memorial essay, including some personal recollections, with emphasis on Branden's work on self-esteem and self-responsibility
"The Objectivist movement became an integral part of the budding libertarian movement in the late 1950s and '60s. ... Nor will I explore what I believe are epistemological and ethical shortcomings in Objectivism. (But I will again recommend Roderick Long's Reason and Value: Aristotle versus Rand). ... One of Branden's most important contributions would be to show that the Objectivist inclination to disparage emotions constituted a gross misunderstanding of human nature and thus a misapplication of Rand's philosophical fundamentals."
John Hospers - Hero of the Day, The Daily Objectivist, 2000
Highlights of Hospers "Memories of Ayn Rand", followed by two excerpts from his Full Context interview
"Unlike most of Rand's intellectual companions of those years, Hospers was no 'student of Objectivism,' no callow youth to be intellectually molded by her will. ... When I finish reading those ten pages [Hospers' favorite scene in Atlas Shrugged] aloud to the class, half of them don't understand it or don't care, and the other half is thunderstruck—they have been hit over the head with new ideas, which they have never heard before, and they don't quite know how to handle it or what to do about it. Many a future Objectivist has taken root from that reading in my class—and I've done it annually for about thirty years."
Related Topics: John Hospers, Ayn Rand
Nathaniel Branden, by Nathaniel Branden, Karen Reedstrom, Full Context, Sep 1996
In two parts; topics range from David Kelley, objectivisim, Ayn Rand, his memoir Judgment Day, Barbara Branden, Leonard Peikoff, homosexuality, self-esteem and more
"In the real world 'Objectivism' stands for a set of ideas formulated by Rand. ... They are intellectual tools, really. Ways to understand the world. It's unrealistic to think one can freeze that philosophy into a static set of concepts and insist that no further implication, derived from the same base, is 'Objectivism.' We may not call our new thoughts 'Objectivism,' if we wish to stress that they were not originated by Rand, but we may certainly insist they are entailed or implied by Objectivist premises—for example, the importance of benevolence in human dealings, benevolence taken seriously as a virtue."
New Zealand's New Zealots, by R. W. Bradford, Liberty, Mar 1997
Examines the two New Zealand political parties with libertarian tendencies, including the animosity between them
"Perigo was a conventional socialist until 1980 when he, in his words, 'encountered some crackpot writer named Ayn Rand and became weird [himself].' ... In 1994, he launched The Free Radical, a delightful political magazine publishing a variety of libertarian thinking, with an emphasis on Objectivism. ... Given Perigo's wit, it surprised me to learn that his libertarianism has its roots in Objectivism. In New Zealand, unlike the U.S., involvement with Objectivism does not generally involve a humorectomy."
Related Topics: Libertarianz, New Zealand
Objectivism as a Religion, by George H. Smith, The Daily Objectivist, 30 Mar 2000
Six essays, previously published in Atheism, Ayn Rand, and Other Heresies
"Considering that Rand's philosophy of Objectivism is diametrically opposed to religion in letter and spirit, a 'religious' adherence to Objectivism itself may appear paradoxical. But the phenomenon of religious Objectivism is fairly common, as anyone familiar with Rand's more ardent followers can attest."
Objectivist Ethics in the Information-Age Economy, by Nathaniel Branden, Navigator, Feb 2001
After reviewing human progress, from hunter to farmer to laborer to thinker, argues that what he calls "Objectivist ethics" are more relevant to current society
"The values and virtues that I have in mind include rationality, realism, respect for facts, self-esteem, independence, autonomy, initiative, creativity, innovativeness, self-responsibility, personal integrity—all of which are celebrated in The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged ... However, should the Objectivist ethics ever gain widespread social acceptance, you may be sure of one thing—it will not be called 'the Objectivist ethics.' It will be called, 'Well, of course. It's obvious. Wake up, man, don't you realize this is the twenty-first century? What we're talking about—it's only common sense.'"
Playboy Interview: Ayn Rand, by Ayn Rand, Alvin Toffler, Playboy, Mar 1964
Topics discussed include objectivism ethics, guilt, having a productive or creative purpose, emotions, women and family, romantic love, sex, marriage, religion, compassion, other writers, government, various politicians and altruism
"Objectivism ... begins with the axiom that existence exists, which means that an objective reality exists independent of any perceiver or of the perceiver's emotions, feelings, wishes, hopes or fears. Objectivism holds that reason is man's only means of perceiving reality and his only guide to action. By reason, I mean the faculty, which identifies and integrates the material provided by man's senses."
Rand, Ayn (1905-1982), by Chris Matthew Sciabarra, The Encyclopedia of Libertarianism, 15 Aug 2008
Biographical essay
"In Atlas Shrugged, she presented the rudiments of a systematic philosophy that she later termed Objectivism. Her philosophy rested on the premise that reality is what it is, independent of what human beings think or feel, and that reason is the only means of knowing it. Rand defended objective values, viewing human life as the standard by which to judge good and evil. ... In the years after Atlas Shrugged, Rand worked with her closest associate, Nathaniel Branden, who organized the Nathaniel Branden Institute to disseminate the principles of Objectivism."
The Libertarians' Albatross, by Butler Shaffer, 3 Nov 2004
Recounts the author's introduction to objectivism and provides critical analysis of the philosophy's shortcomings
"One would have hoped that the Objectivist philosophy – with its stated emphasis on 'reason,' 'individualism,' 'liberty,' and hostility to 'collectivism' and 'statism' – might have provided a base for understanding and resisting the collective insanity of our politicized world. But such, alas, has not been the case, for Rand's philosophy is infected with the same virus as other destructive belief systems: the insistence upon the doctrine of absolute truth. "
Related Topic: Libertarianism
The Power of Persuasion, by Jeff Riggenbach, Mises Daily, 20 May 2011
Historical account of the Persuasion magazine, edited by Joan Kennedy Taylor between Sept 1964 and May 1968
"Leonard Peikoff ... [was] a member of Ayn Rand's inner circle. Henry Mark Holzer was Ayn Rand's attorney; he and his wife Phyllis were contributors to Rand's monthly, The Objectivist. So was Robert Hessen ... As for Martin Anderson, he too ... had contributed to The Objectivist Newsletter. As Joan herself put it in her 2004 interview with Duncan Scott of the Objectivist History Project, the National Conference on Forced Service 'was very much an Objectivist front.' It was a very successful Objectivist front to boot."
The Story of Roy A. Childs Jr. (1949–1992), by Jeff Riggenbach, 21 Jan 2011
Biographical essay; transcript of "The Libertarian Tradition" podcast of 12 Jan 2011
"'... in the Spring of 1968 Rampart Journal brought out his first published article, "The Contradiction in Objectivism."' The 'contradiction' that Childs believed was bedeviling Objectivism from within was essentially the same one Murray Rothbard had identified about a decade earlier: if you followed Ayn Rand's arguments about the nature of government and individual rights to their logical conclusion, you would have to conclude that the state was an illegitimate institution that should be abolished."
Why We Consent to Oppression: Self-suppression paves the way for political suppression, by Peter Breggin, Reason, Sep 1977
Examines the questions posed by La Boétie in his "Discourse" from a psychological perspective, particularly how childhood self-suppression leads most adults to more easily accept government oppression
"The failure to recognize love as separable from esteem is the major theoretical failure of Objectivism. Objectivism bases human value wholly upon human accomplishment. When Randian characters fall in their own esteem, the bottom falls out of their value for themselves. This is especially obvious in the lives of Ayn Rand's women characters, who start out as non-Objectivists who hate themselves. ... Hence the specter of something hateful toward most people in a philosophy allegedly based upon valuing the individual."


Objectivism: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand
    by Leonard Peikoff, 1991
Contents: Preface - Reality - Sense Perception and Volition - Concept-Formation - Objectivity - Reason - Man - The Good - Virtue - Happiness - Government - Capitalism - Art - Epilogue: The Duel Between Plato and Aristotle
Related Topic: Ayn Rand
The Ayn Rand Lexicon: Objectivism from A to Z
    by Harry Binswanger (Editor), 1986
Covers about 400 topics, organized alphabetically, with excerpts of Rand's writings on the relevant topic, annotated to the original sources
Related Topic: Ayn Rand
The Objectivism Research CD ROM: The Works of Ayn Rand
    by Leonard Peikoff, Ayn Rand, 2001
Partial contents: Anthem - We The Living - The Fountainhead - Atlas Shrugged - The Objectivist - The Objectivist Newsletter - The Virtue of Selfishness - For the New Intellectual - Capitalism: the Unknown Ideal - The New Left - The Romantic Manifesto
The Voice of Reason: Essays in Objectivist Thought
    by Ayn Rand, 1988
Partial contents: One: Philosophy - Introducing Objectivism - To Young Scientists - Two: Culture - The Intellectual Bankruptcy of Our Age - Our Cultural Value-Deprivation - Three: Politics - Representation Without Authorization - The Pull Peddlers

The introductory paragraph uses material from the Wikipedia article "Objectivism (Ayn Rand)" as of 14 Oct 2018, which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.