The Philosophy of Ayn Rand Analytical Essay by Ally

Looks at the Ayn Rand's philosophy of objectivism as demonstrated in her writings, "Atlas Shrugged", "The Fountainhead", "The Only Path to Tomorrow", "The Romantic Manifesto" and "The Virtue of Selfishness".
# 151662 | 3,710 words | 5 sources | MLA | 2012 | US
Published on Aug 24, 2012 in Literature (American) , English (Analysis) , Philosophy (History - 20th Century)


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Description:

This paper explains that the philosophy of Ayn Rand, called objectivism, delineates the concept of man as a heroic being with his own happiness as the moral purpose of his life, with productive achievement as his noblest activity and with reason as his only absolute. Next, the author demonstrates Rand's concept of the "active man" and the "passive man" in her novels "Atlas Shrugged" and "The Fountainhead". The paper concludes that, although it has been more than fifty years since her books were published, Rand's philosophy of objectivism continues to impact her readers. Several quotations are included in the paper.

From the Paper:

"Psycho-epistemology is the study of man's awareness process from the view of the interaction between the conscious mind and the automatic functions of the subconscious. The second part deals with the application of man's knowledge, such as evaluating the facts of reality and choosing his goals and actions accordingly. To accomplish this, he needs another chain of concepts, a chain of "normative" abstractions. While cognitive abstractions recognize the facts of reality, normative abstractions evaluate the facts, thus creating a set of values and a course of action. Cognitive abstractions address what is; normative abstractions suggest that which ought to be (within the boundaries open to man's choice).
"Ethics, the normative science, is based on two cognitive branches; metaphysics and epistemology. Metaphysics is the science that deals with the basic nature of reality. Epistemology looks at the origin, methods, and limits of human knowledge. To suggest what man should do, he must first know what he is and where he is. For example, what is his nature and the nature of the universe in which he acts? Can man discover happiness, or is he doomed to frustration and despondency? Is man, by nature, to be valued as good, or to be scorned as evil? These are metaphysical questions, but the answers to them resolve the kind of ethics a man will accept and practice."

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Rand, Ayn. Atlas Shrugged. New York: Random House, 1957. Print.
  • ---. The Fountainhead. New York: Bobbs-Merrill, 1943. Print.
  • ---. "The Only Path to Tomorrow." Reader's Digest Jan. 1944: 88-89. Print.
  • ---. The Romantic Manifesto. New York: World Publishing, 1962. Print.
  • ---. The Virtue of Selfishness. New York: New American Library, 1964. Print.

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