For the New Intellectual: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand (50th Anniversary Edition) by Ayn Rand (EPUB)



Ebook Info

  • Published: 1963
  • Number of pages: 198 pages
  • Format: EPUB
  • File Size: 0.23 MB
  • Authors: Ayn Rand


Here is Ayn Rand’s first non-fiction work—a challenge to the prevalent philosophical doctrines of our time and the “atmosphere of guilt, of panic, of despair, of boredom, and of all-pervasive evasion” that they create. As incisive and relevant today as it was sixty years ago, this book presents the essentials of Ayn Rand’s philosophy “for those who wish to acquire an integrated view of existence.” In the title essay, she offers an analysis of Western culture, discusses the causes of its progress, its decline, its present bankruptcy, and points the road to an intellectual renaissance.One of the most controversial figures on the intellectual scene, Ayn Rand was the proponent of a moral philosophy—and ethic of rational self-interest—that stands in sharp opposition to the ethics of altruism and self-sacrifice. The fundamentals of this morality—”a philosophy for living on Earth”—are here vibrantly set forth by the spokesman for a new class, For the New Intellectual.

User’s Reviews

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⭐In my Theory of Knowledge course I had my students write a few paragraphs on the proposition: “It is a wise man who knows what he does not know.” Only a few students understood that this statement actually meant that a wise man knows what he is ignorant of. Socrates, who had been informed by the Oracle of Delphi that he was the wisest man in Athens, did not believe this because he knew the extent of his ignorance. He eventually determined that that was precisely what made him wise. Ignorance, per se, is nothing to be ashamed of. We are all laymen, ignorant of nearly everything outside of a narrow range in which we might be experts, or at least comparatively knowledgeable. As long as we acknowledge this ignorance, it is “innocent ignorance.” Unfortunately, it is all too common to not acknowledge our ignorance. Arrogant ignorance — having strong convictions about something that you are not qualified to have an opinion on — is a good definition of stupidity.If the opinion of an expert seems questionable to you, it is wise to not blindly accept it, but still, you should treat that opinion with respect. Unfortunately, laymen aren’t always capable of judging who the expert actually is, and there is no end of people claiming to be experts who are not. It is therefore common to only listen to the “experts” who tell us what we want to be true. An objective thinker makes an attempt to be free of this bias. This means that when you really want something to be true, if you want to be objective, you have to go out of your way to try to understand why some people have the opposite opinion. Ayn Rand does not do this.Rand asserts that philosophy has collapsed, and this is leading to the collapse of modern science. She declares that technology is riding on the accomplishments of the past, and that “in the field of scientific theory, unable to integrate or interpret their own data, scientists are abetting the resurgence of primitive mysticism.” These are things that Rand wants to be true because she insists that the disintegration of innovation and creativity is the necessary consequence of government regulation of capitalism. Anyone who has paid any attention to the development of computers, nanotechnology, and biotechnology can see that technological development is not coasting along on past achievements. Moreover, however deplorable Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union undoubtedly were, German scientists developed rocket science, and the Soviet Union’s Sputnik spurred the space race. Rand is referring to quantum theory when she implies that scientists were too inept to interpret their data. But for all of the weirdness of quantum physics, it is now recognized as the most successful theory ever devised. But then, one of her mantras is the impossibility of contradiction, “A is A,“ and quantum theory is rife with seeming contradictions. If this is so even in physical science, it is likely to be even more so in the social sciences. One of the accomplishments of philosophy since the time of Aristotle is the discovery that reason is merely a tool for thinking, not a source of knowledge, as Rand insists. Once consequence of this is a much clearer understanding of how difficult objective thinking really is. Even in mathematics, self-evident premises from which to deduce sound conclusions have gone the way of the unicorn.When Rand declares: “As to depression and mass unemployment, they are not caused b the free market, but by government interference in the economy,” she is merely stating the dogma of a True Believer. This statement is not even a hypothesis but mere conjecture, since a hypothesis by definition, must be testable. The fact that the economies of the Nordic countries are doing just fine is evidence against it. “Laissez-faire capitalism is not a solution to poverty,” is also mere conjecture, but it is consistent with Rand’s insistence that people do not have a right to a job, nor to jobs that pay a subsistence wage, nor to public education to train for a job. “The economic value of a man’s work is determined on a free market, by a single principle: by the voluntary consent of those who are willing to trade him their work or produce in return.” Obviously, the employer will pay as little as he can get away with. And since wealthy employers are typically far more powerful than workers, they can get away with paying very little. For instance, when corporations destroy rainforests for development, the indigenous people, whose ancestors have lived there for thousands of years, are rendered homeless and with no job skills. Rand insists that the wealthy are under no obligation to provide education, nor job training, and certainly not jobs, so poverty is not a problem to be solved. Individuals are required, by objective reality, to take care of themselves. So how will people existing below the poverty line take care of themselves? They will turn to crime. Self-evident statement: Societies in which there are many poor people and a few rich people are not stable.Rand Never Uses the Word “Democracy”Rand writes: There are two fundamental questions that regard the nature of a social system: (1) Does it recognize individual rights? (2) Does it ban physical force from human relationships?” “Capitalism is a social system based on recognition of individual rights, including property rights.” “In a capitalist society all human relationships are voluntary. . . . It is the right to disagree that is crucial.” It is the institution of private property that protects and implements the right to disagree — and thus keeps the road open to man’s most valuable attribute . . . the creative mind.” Actually, it was the implementation of democracy that assured individual rights, banned physical force, and assured property rights. Many oppressive dictatorships have capitalist economic systems — China and Cambodia — just as some of the most socialist countries protect individual rights — Sweden and Denmark. In fact, laisser-faire capitalism thrives best under an oppressive dictatorship. Democracy primarily assures the rights of the non-wealthy man, since the rights of the wealthy were never a problem. In fact, it is an self-evident objective observation that the wealthy comprise the government. This is even true in the so-called “socialist” countries of Cold-War-era China and the Soviet Union, where, as Rand points out, “with the exception of a minuscule clique of rulers, the entire population has existed in subhuman misery.”People “voluntarily” work for poverty-line wages because the federally-enforced minimum wage has not kept pace with inflation. If wages were determined by the “free market,” they would be even lower. It is not true that the economic value of a man’s work is determined, in a free market, by . . . the moral meaning of supply and demand.” It is determined by power, plain and simple, and the wealthy are always the most powerful. Need it be pointed out that the standard of living, the contentment of the people, and trust in their government are all much higher in the more social-minded, and also more democratic, countries than the United States.One of the ideals of democracy is that extraordinary men can arise from the “common” populace. But they are far more likely to do this if they are not working twelve-hour days for subsistence wages, ill-fed and unhealthy, and poorly educated. Rand writes: “It is morally obscene to regard wealth as an anonymous tribal product” (p. 23). It is morally obscene, and objectively incorrect, not to regard it as such. The wealthy obviously rely upon the workers for their wealth. Even Elvis Presley relied upon his fans for his exorbitant wealth. Workers work long hours, usually under far more miserable conditions than their employers. Few people, except a lunatic fringe, object to the greater wealth of the employer, nor do they insist upon an “equal distribution” among all. But the gap has obviously become absurd in the United States, and democracy cannot exist in such a stratified society. Nor can a stratified society ever be stable, since it is stratified societies in which the lunatic fringe start to become powerful.Rand writes: “A great deal can be learned about society by studying man . . . nothing can be learned about man by studying society.” This is palpably false. Little can be learned about man as an individual by studying separate individual men. A man is a product of society so little can be learned about him without a knowledge of the society that produced him. Rand uses several spurious examples to support her claim: “A science of astronomy that gazed at the sky, but refused to study individual stars, planets . . . A hospital as a whole, never focusing on individual patients.” Gravitational attraction, elliptical orbits, and stellar distances can only be understood by studying these bodies collectively. Since a hospital is a building, nobody has ever suggested studying one in relation to disease, but all that can be learned by studying one patient in isolation is his symptoms. To learn how or whether diseases are spread requires studying all individuals collectively. Man is not a member of a hive comprising one collective individual, but man exists as a member of society, and essentially nothing could be learned about society, or individuals, by concentrating on individuals.Check you premises Rand. You’re thinking might be logical, but it isn’t sound.

⭐Ayn Rand was truly ahead of her time. Reading this was so enlightening and inspiring. In a world where atheism is always unfairly associated with the horrors of socialism, Rand paved the way for many free thinkers who have the potential to change society for the better. One of capitalism’s greatest defenders.

⭐Great book

⭐I can’t help but think of Nora Ephron’s comment from her book of essays “Crazy Salad” on “The Fountainhead” ‘what’s the point!’ My sentiments exactly I think Ayn Rand in many respects is an Airhead. No pun intended! Laissez-faire of which Greenspan was a great proponent was part of the building blocks of the 2007-08 financial debacle. Rand’s philosophy for better or worse created the Me Generation. I would argue Rand that Where money is involved human nature cannot be left to its own devices. However no matter what you may think about Rand I recommend this book. A good case against collectivism. Excellent fodder for a thinking mind!

⭐Ayn Rand’s philosophical musings has struck a chord with me, because it challenges the generally accepted norms in society that do not stand the test of reality. She challenges ideas that at its root requires people to ignore or distort reality. The idea of the noble savage as a ideal to aspire to. She is the torch bearer for reason and freedom as the basis for a vibrant healthy society and not faith and force. I like her archetypes, “Attila” and the “witch-doctor”, as they are an apt description of the type of the destructive “leadership” that pervades society today.”I swear – by my life and my love of it – that I will never live for the sake of another man, nor ask another man to live for mine.” If the thinkers in the western world would start to think like her, we could perhaps turn the tide towards totalitarianism sweeping the western world and be the “free world” in reality and not in name only.

⭐It’s always great to remember what is true and this book refreshes all of Ayn rands ideas and was a pleasure to read, this book sums up her ideas from all of her books.

⭐Great book. Docked a star because the back cover was a little bent when it arrived.

⭐I read this book 51 years ago when I was just out of college and into my career. It helped me understand and articulate why I was a conservative. The only thing I disagreed with the author on was that she was an atheist. I certainly don’t think you have to be an atheist to be a conservative. I felt that it was time to now reread the book again. It is loaded on my Kindle and ready to go when I work my way to it.

⭐Everyone living in the west should read this – excellent capitalist manifesto.

⭐The world needs Ayn Rand, a must read for everyone

⭐I knew I was purchasing a pocket sized MMP(mass market paperback) so set my expectation way below average, and found this a pretty decent copy. Of course, its pulp paper and of course it wont last decades. But currently this seems to be the only book available. Only major disappointment was that it got sent in an evelope. Also I felt it to be a bit on the expensive side for a pocket book but I wanted it, and thus got it. Check the pics for reference.

⭐This book is a kind of a summary from others written by Ayn Rand. It means if you are in a hurry to get all about Objectivism and is a little bit laze to read hundreds of hundreds of pages from books written by she, this is, probably, a good book for you (personally, I would recommend read all hers book instead just this one).But, simple put, if you have already read all hers books this could be said as a kind of poor repetition of some Objectivism ideas. Finally, relevant to note that if you have already read the others books you will find here just 60 pages with new content.

⭐Ayn Rand at best though she misses out deliberately misinterpreting eastern mysticism, she is bang on for the the uninitiated.Take it as a staring point with next one William Durant … draw analogies gather more substance and suspend any premature conclusions.


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