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FAQ: Ayn Rand's Philosophy of Objectivism


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Archive-name: objectivism/faq
Last-modified: 1997/6/11

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-------------------- 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

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