Picture of Ayn RandAyn Rand

American Novelist and Objectivist Philosopher


Ayn Rand was born in Russia, and came to the US after her education at the University of Stalingrad, in 1926. She moved from Chicago, where she was living with relatives, to Hollywood shortly after her arrival in the states.

In 1931 she received citizenship. During this time she worked on a number of unsuccessful plays, while she was employed as a wardrobe girl at one of the major movie studios. Some of her early works include We The Living(1936) and Anthem(1938). These two novels describe the evils of totalitarianism, as she experienced it in Russia. Deeply seated in the phiolosophy of Aristotle, she used his rationality to defend individuals and their rights.

Moving towards the theme of egoistic genius, she produced The Fountainhead(1943), and in Atlas Shrugged(1957) she produced a fully developed philosophy of individualism.

She defined Objectivism as "the concept of man as a heroic being, with his own happiness as the moral purpose of life, with productive achievement as his noblest activity, and reason as his only absolute."

Atlas was the end of Rand's fiction writing. From this point on she devoted all her time to defense of her objectivism.

She espoused a form of "naive realism," stating that conciousness is always the conciousness of something.

Rand was bitterly criticized for not defending many of her views. She never refuted subjectivism. Rand lived in a black and white world; there was right and wrong only.

Happiness was her highest value and sole moral purpose. Stating: reason is humanity's and morality's standard, she justified her hedonism, though she never described whose reason was the standard.

Championing forthright egoism, Rand had many of her ideals based in the motto: "To thine own self be true." She felt that rational self-interest was important and integral.

Her last work, Philosophy, Who Needs It? was published posthumously in 1982.

Some of her other works included:

  • For the New Intellectual(1961)
  • The Virtue of Selfishness(1964)
  • Capitolism, the Unknown Ideal(1966)
  • The Romantic Manifesto (1969)
  • The New Left: The Anti-Industrial Revolution(1971)
  • Intro to Objectivist Epistemology(1979)

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