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Picture of Objectivism: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand

Objectivism: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand

By Leonard Peikoff

 


"The book presents Ayn Rand's entire philosophy, building it up step by step from its axiomatic base to its value-implications for man's life—from 'existence exists' to egoism in ethics, capitalism in politics and Romanticism in esthetics. The 12 terse chapter headings are indicative of the book's essentialized, absolutist approach: Reality, Sense Perception and Volition, Concept-Formation, Objectivity, Reason, Man, The Good, Virtue, Happiness, Government, Capitalism, and Art. The book is the product and pinnacle of a lifetime devoted to understanding Objectivism."


—Harry Binswanger in The Intellectual Activist

Table of Contents


Chapter 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


Chapter 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


Chapter 3: Concept-Formation

Differentiation and Integration as the Means to a Unit-Perspective

Concept-Formation as a Mathematical Process

Concepts of Consciousness as Involving Measurement-Omission

Definition as the Final Step in Concept-Formation

Concepts as Devices to Achieve Unit-Economy


Chapter 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


Chapter 5: Reason

Emotions as a Product of Ideas

Reason as Man's Only Means of Knowledge

The Arbitrary as Neither True Nor False

Certainty as Contextual

Mysticism and Skepticism as Denials of Reason


Chapter 6: Man

Living Organisms as Goal-Directed and Conditional

Reason as Man's Basic Means of Survival

Reason as an Attribute of the Individual


Chapter 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

Values as Objective


Chapter 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


Chapter 9: Happiness

Virtue as Practical

Happiness as the Normal Condition of Man

Sex as Metaphysical


Chapter 10: Government

Individual Rights as Absolutes

Government as an Agency to Protect Rights

Statism as the Politics of Unreason


Chapter 11: Capitalism

Capitalism as the Only Moral Social System
Capitalism as the System of Objectivity

Opposition to Capitalism as Dependent on Bad Epistemology


Chapter 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

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