Objectivism: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand

“Until or unless I write a comprehensive treatise on my philosophy, Dr. Peikoff’s course is the only authorized presentation of the entire theoretical structure of Objectivism, i.e., the only one that I know of my own knowledge to be fully accurate.” — AYN RAND

 

Objectivism: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand (OPAR) by Leonard Peikoff

Ayn Rand’s 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 (OPAR) ,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 inseparably 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.

Said Ayn Rand on the lecture course given by Dr. Peikoff on which this later book is based: “Until or unless I write a comprehensive treatise on my philosophy, Dr. Peikoff’s course is the only authorized presentation of the entire theoretical structure of Objectivism, i.e., the only one that I know of my own knowledge to be fully accurate.”

Table of Contents

1. Reality
Existence, Consciousness, and Identity as the Basic Axioms
Causality as a Corollary of Identity
Existence as Possessing Primacy Over Consciousness
The Metaphysically Given as Absolute
Idealism and Materialism as the Rejection of Basic Axioms

2. Sense Perception and Volition
The Senses as Necessarily Valid
Sensory Qualities as Real
Consciousness as Possessing Identity
The Perceptual Level as the Given
The Primary Choice as the Choice to Focus Or Not
Human Actions, Mental and Physical, as Both Caused and Free
Volition as Axiomatic (excerpt)

3. Concept-Formation
Differentiation and Integration as the Means to a Unit-Perspective
Concept-Formation as a Mathematical Process (excerpt)
Concepts of Consciousness as Involving Measurement-Omission
Definition as the Final Step in Concept-Formation
Concepts as Devices to Achieve Unit-Economy

4. Objectivity
Concepts as Objective
Objectivity as Volitional Adherence to Reality by the Method of Logic
Knowledge as Contextual
Knowledge as Hierarchical
Intrinsicism and Subjectivism as the Two Forms of Rejecting Objectivity

5. Reason
Emotions as a Product of Ideas (excerpt)
Reason as Man’s Only Means of Knowledge
The Arbitrary as Neither True Nor False (excerpt)
Certainty as Contextual (excerpt)
Mysticism and Skepticism as Denials of Reason

6. Man
Living Organisms as Goal-Directed and Conditional (excerpt)
Reason as Man’s Basic Means of Survival
Reason as an Attribute of the Individual

7. The Good
“Life” as the Essential Root of “Value”
Man’s Life as the Standard of Moral Value
Rationality as the Primary Virtue
The individual as the Proper Beneficiary of His Own Moral Action (excerpt)
Values as Objective

8. Virtue
Independence as a Primary Orientation to Reality, Not to Other Men
Integrity as Loyalty to Rational Principles
Honesty as the Rejection of Unreality
Justice as Rationality in the Evaluation of Men
Productiveness as the Adjustment of Nature to Man
Pride as Moral Ambitiousness
The Initiation of Physical Force as Evil

9. Happiness
Virtue as Practical
Happiness as the Normal Condition of Man
Sex as Metaphysical (excerpt)

10. Government
Individual Rights as Absolutes
Government as an Agency to Protect Rights
Statism as the Politics of Unreason (excerpt)

11. Capitalism
Capitalism as the Only Moral Social System (excerpt)
Capitalism as the System of Objectivity
Opposition to Capitalism as Dependent on Bad Epistemology

12. Art
Art as a Concretization of Metaphysics
Romantic Literature as Illustrating the Role of Philosophy in Art
Esthetic Value as Objective
Epilogue: The Duel Between Plato and Aristotle

 

Objectivism: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand (OPAR) by Leonard Peikoff

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