Philosophy: Who Needs It by Ayn Rand, Introduction by Leonard Peikoff
Indianapolis : The Bobbs-Merrill Company, 1982. First Printing. Hardcover. 276 pages ; 25 cm. $15.95 dust jacket with minimal wear. Pages are clean and unmarked. Binding is firm.
Philosophy: Who Needs It
In these essays, Ayn Rand reveals the hidden philosophic premises at work in the human soul. Her powerful mind ranges to every corner of the culture; her brilliant pen writes with the dispassionate clarity and passionate eloquence that are her literary trademarks.
The book's theme is expressed in the title essay, originally given as an address to a graduating class at West Point. To the question: "Who needs philosophy?" Miss Rand answers: "Everyone." "A philosophic system," she writes, "is an integrated view of existence. As a human being, you have no choice about the fact that you need a philosophy. Your only choice is whether you define your philosophy by conscious, rational, disciplined process of thought ... or let your subconscious accumulate a junk heap of unwarranted conclusions. ..."
Philosophy, according to Ayn Rand, is the fundamental factor in human life; consciously or subconsciously, it is the basic factor that shapes the character of men, and the culture and destiny of nations. It shapes them for good or for evil, depending on the kind of philosophy they accept.
Our choice, Miss Rand holds, is this: a philosophy of reason, rational selfishness, and laissez-faire capitalism — or a philosophy of irrationalism, altruism, and collectivism. Today's world, she believes, is being destroyed by these latter ideas. The philosophy of reason she offers as the alternative is called Objectivism.
This collection of essays, taken largely from the newsletter "The Ayn Rand Letter," is the last work planned by Ayn Rand before her death. None of the essays has been published before in book form.
The essays are introduced by Leonard Pei-koff, Ph.D., a longtime associate of Ayn Rand.
Born in Russia, Ayn Rand came to the United States in 1926 and ten years later published her first novel, We the Living, which drew upon her experiences as a young woman in post-revolutionary Russia. The Fountain-head, her second novel, first published in 1943, brought her international renown and placed her philosophy in the mainstream of modern American thought. She wrote two other novels, Atlas Shrugged and Anthem, as well as numerous nonfiction works.
Philosophy: Who Needs It
"Ayn Rand's writings have altered and shaped the lives of millions. This selection of essays is an example of her best." —Dr. Alan Greenspan
"I am not primarily an advocate of capitalism, but of egoism, and I am not primarily an advocate of egoism, but of reason. If one recognizes the supremacy of reason and applies it consistently, all the rest follows. This — supremacy of reason — was, is and will be the primary concern of my work, and the essence of Objectivism." —Ayn Rand, The Objectivism September, 1971
Man needs philosophy. He needs it by his essential nature and for a practical purpose: in order to be able to think, to act, to live.
In these essays, Ayn Rand explains some of the steps necessary to achieve a conscious, rational philosophy. She teaches the reader how to identify, and then evaluate, the hidden premise at work in his own soul or nation. She makes clear the mechanism by which philosophy rules men and societies, and the forms that abstract theory takes in daily life.
PHILOSOPHY: WHO NEEDS IT is the last work planned by Ayn Rand before her death in March, 1982.
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