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Philosophy: Who Needs It

3.83 of 5 stars 3.83  ·  rating details  ·  1,848 ratings  ·  81 reviews
This collection of essays was the last work planned by Ayn Rand before her death in 1982. In it, she summarizes her view of philosophy and deals with a broad spectrum of topics. According to Ayn Rand, the choice we make is not whether to have a philosophy, but which one to have: rational, conscious, and therefore practical; or contradictory, unidentified, and ultimately le ...more
Paperback, 308 pages
Published November 1st 1984 by Signet (first published 1982)
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Jan 25, 2009 Kevin added it
Ayn Rand is completely misunderstood in the popular culture- she was not a heartless selfish individualist without a care for her fellow man. Ayn Rand was a principled philosopher in the tradition of Aristotle- who realized that human beings are ends in themselves and can only flourish by being free to act according to the dictates of reason and conscience. Ayn Rand isn't opposed to love, to friendship, to organized groups of people with a common purpose. She was opposed to coercion in all forms ...more
This book changed my life! The first work I read by novelist and philosopher Ayn Rand, (author of "Atlas Shrugged" and "The Fountainhead") is the stunningly clear rationality I’d always been searching for in her philosophy of Objectivism.

Objectivism, according to Miss Rand is: "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 reason as his only absolute."

Rand's ability to reduce the most compl
Kelly Murray
The bottom line is, we all live by a philosophy- whether or not we're aware of it. This book shows you why it's so important to know what kind of philosophy you're living and making choices by, and makes one aware of how their pattern of coming to conclusions affects everything about their being. A must read for anyone interested in understanding their inner workings better.
Part VI of a multi-part review series.

Rand’s last work, but it’s just more of the same.

Peikoff’s introduction indicates that Rand showed, in Atlas Shrugged, that bad epistemology leads to “train wrecks, furnace breakouts, and sexual impotence” (vii). Good to know! Same introduction dismisses non-randian philosophy as “a senseless parade of abstractions to fill out the ritual at cocktail parties” and “a ponderous Continental wail of futility resonating with Oriental overtones” (viii).

Matthew W
Easily the worst book I have read thus far by Rand. I grew respect for Rand after reading "The New Left: The Anti-Industrial Revolution." I found the "The New Left" to be enlightening as to why modern academia is an irrational and corrosive bad joke. Sadly, "The New Left" is the only book I can recommend by Rand that I completely agree with. Rand seemed to have a pathological hatred of Emmanuel Kant that gets old quite quick. I was also annoyed to see Rand besmirches her former influence Friedri ...more
Marts  (Thinker)
Ayn Rand presents her philosophical views via this collection of essays, including letters and lectures / presentations, in an exploration of varying topics...

These statements in chapter 17 were of particular interest:
"Do not keep silent when your own ideas and values are being attacked.
Do not proselytize indiscriminately, do not force discussions and arguments on those who are not interested or on those who are not willing to argue it is not your job to save everyone's soul. If you do the thin
Otto Lehto
No small contribution to philosophy; in fact, no contribution whatsoever.

(It does get better by the end, though, and there are a couple of good essays between long, uninteresting diatribes against Kant, Hegel, American pragmatism and every other kind of philosophy not written by Ms. Rand herself.)

PS. If you want to read Ayn Rand at her best, read Virtue of Selfishness instead: it's succinct and doesn't stray too far from Rand's strengths (Romantic hero worship of strong individuals, and proselyt
Haider Al-Mosawi
While this book is a great reference to understanding Ayn Rand's philosophy, Objectivism, its true value is in explaining what philosophy is and why it's important.

An extremely important lesson in today's world, especially when so many discussions are fruitless exchanges of opinion, without knowing - let alone questioning - basic philosophical assumptions.
Nope. just not going to happen.
The only people I can see this book appealing to are one's with the same psychopathic tendencies and Rand herself.
This book would resonate with people looking for a way to make selfishness justifiable in every aspect of life, for those who have a complete lack of empathy and think compassion an unnecessary weakness... or those who have no idea what either of those actually are.
This was just too depressing to finish, especially when I realised there is a whole mess
John Martindale
I was Curious about Ayn Rand's philosophy, so I checked out this book. Having finished it, Rand seems to me a mix of Nietzsche and Rush Limbaugh.

Every chapter she rants against altruism i.e the Christian ethic, thinking its the root of all evil, stunting civilization and the brain. She passionately hates Immanuel Kant. like a hyper-Charismatic who thinks there is a demon behind every bush, so she see Kant behind every bush, practically every chapter she can't help but make another stab at hi. Li
Nerine Dorman
While I’m a big fan of Ayn Rand’s works I am, by equal measure, aware of the fact that she can and does froth a little when she hits particular topics. While my own knowledge of philosophy is still very sketchy at best, I did find this slim volume to be a somewhat useful supplement to her other titles that I’ve read, though don’t feel as if this collection of essays covered any fresh ground.

She examines why we need philosophy (of course we do) and the realisation that this is an integral part of
Ben Weeks
I haven't read the whole book as Goodread's entry for this work suggests. What I have read is a 12 page pamphlet from the Ayn Rand Institute of the same title. I found it one rainy day while I was working a shift at a bookstore. It was one of those days that makes stepping out of the door a strain on your will, but upon finding this talk, I was glad I did. In the talk, which Ayn Rand gave to West Point's graduating class of '74, she clarifies the need for people to have a personal philosophy, le ...more
José Antonio Lopez
It was interesting to see how current still are Rand's concerns. The book also opened the door of other authors who she critique. Important to understand the roots of the opposite views.

Since the book is a collection of essays it is easy to read and reflect one at a time.

In the end the battle for freedom is an intellectual battle. Lots has been said about other sciences yet the enemies of freedom get stronger under the shade of indifference and ignorance. "Philosophy Who needs it" is an invitati
Michael Lewyn
Someone with whom I was not getting along with once said "Who you are speaks so loud that I can't hear what you say." That would be an accurate summary of my feelings about this book. Rand's furious rhetoric speaks so loud that her message gets overshadowed; I get the impression that if Rand was alive today, her emails would be full of angry CAPITAL LETTERS to show how FURIOUS she is that people were too stupid to see the world the way she does.

Her treatment of 18th-c. philosopher Emanuel Kant i
Abstract principles are a part of our life whether we acknowledge it or not. That is the message of Ayn Rand's book, "Philosophy: Who Needs It." In a vigorous and thoughtful list of essays, Ayn Rand talks about how we must return to the original abstract principles that animate our thinking. This book is particularly significant today since capitalism is being challenged on a moral basis, especially from the radical environmental movement. This movement is trying to use emotionalism as a method ...more
Have you read and studied philosophy in the past and still not learned much of how it applies to life or for that matter, remember much of anything related to philosophy save for some worn out names? This is the book on philosophy that reviews what it is and why we need it in every aspect of our lives.
By far, Ayn Rand's best nonfiction book for making the case for objectivism as a serious branch of philosophy that embraces the nontheological portions of Saint Thomas Acquinas's Aristotlean school of thought. Every libertarian should read this book, because here is where Ayn Rand definitively rejects portions of the libertarian creed. In this book, she effectively dismantles libertarians' disdain for all limits on the individual's behavior as immoral, because if, say, speed limits were eliminat ...more
Roslyn Ross
Rand is a pleasure as always. So glad she said finally explained to me the draw of chess! Was a little disappointed with her response to Skinner's Beyond Freedom and Dignity. She complains that no one has refuted him by defending man's mind, yet she doesn't really do much to defend man's mind. She just makes fun of all the dumb he things he says in his book and is appalled that anyone would fall for it. But people DO. And they need a better response than the one she provides. Guess that's where ...more
Ayn Rand's "Philosophy:Who Needs It" is a collection of philosophical articles written from 1960-1974 before her death in 1984. She lecture how "us" as an individual being has a necessity to view the world around us of understanding what goals and values we seek to possess in life.

She reasoned that whether we like it or not philosophy is inevitable. That it is a man's fundamental attribute---his basic means of survival. Therefore, whatever "reason" requires in order to function/serve is a necess
I was once an ardent supporter of Ayn Rand during my college years. However, my worldview has matured over time. I simply cannot live Ayn Rand's philosophy. Her philosophical positions do not seem natural to me. I would argue that Rand is a powerful writer and philosopher. Her arguments are rational. She writes clearly and persuasively. But her values do not match mine. I disagree entirely with her metaphysical views, which has a domino effect on the other branches of my philosophical worldview- ...more
This title is the first I've read of Ayn Rand and her Objectivist philosophy. The first several chapters were quite difficult to read. Not because the subject matter was particularly onerous to understand, rather Ms. Rand's continued blunt frontal assault of opposing philosophies had an effect I'm sure she didn't intend - it made me feel as if I wanted to reject all that she stood for. In these early chapters Ms. Rand came across with such a strong rationalistic argument I was wondering whether ...more
Nathan Titus
The philosophy of Ayn Rand changed my entire mindset when I first read Atlas Shrugged. For that reason, I enjoy all her non-fiction writing: it shows how it works in the real world. It also shows the power that philosophy of any kind has over every aspect of existence. As Rand says, we need it to deal with our daily lives. As she further explains, we can't help but have a philosophy, we can only choose to make it ourselves, or to let it self-assemble inside our subconscious. The later choice (or ...more
Brent McCulley
In "Philosophy: Who Needs It," Ayn Rand, through a collection of some of her lectures and essays which were compiled posthumously, revisits a lot of her objectivist philosophy that is more eloquently outlined in her book The Virtue of Selfishness. Nevertheless, this compilation was quite a delight to read, as there were little gems scattered throughout the book, that made the collection well worth the 200+ pages. Notwithstanding Rand's seething loath for Kantian epistemology and metaphysics - wh ...more
Danielle Mccormick
It's true that I am a huge fan of Rand's therefore, I am a bit prejudiced in her favor. This is more a conglomeration of essays addressing a variety of topics than it is a single philosophical work. Each essay is interesting in it's own way and each shares the underlying theme of individual rights (naturally, it's Ayn Rand) I particularly enjoyed the essays entitled "The Metaphysical versus the Man-made" and "Egalitarianism and Inflation"

I am convinced that everyone should read at least one piec
Readers who have read Leonard Peikoff's Objectivism: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand will naturally find the gist of most of her essays here familiar, for they precede and obviously inform Peikoff's distillation. This collection of Rand's essays present her characteristic precision in zeroing in for epistemological defeat the fundamental essence of the anti-life "morality" in play in the field. It also finally addresses a pet peeve of mine -- the marginalization of philosophy as a "handmaiden" of rel ...more
Uma série de palestras sobre a filosofia dessa famosa autora americana. O Objetivismo como ela chama seu pensamento filosófico e que foi e está sendo usado como base filosófica do modelo capitalista. O livro tem altos e baixos e algumas vezes é um pouco repetitivo como não poderia deixar de ser quando se reúnem artigos publicados em diversas épocas e em diversos meios. As críticas tanto à direita conservadora quanto à esquerda radical são o ponto alto mostrando como elas se encontram como lados ...more
Kyle Thompson
I'm on an Ayn Rand kick right now. I started off with "The Virtue of Selfishness", then went to "Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal", and now I just finished this. I really liked the two previous books, but this one was so-so for me. The first article/chapter in this book by the same name, was very good. A lot of the other chapters, though, were about how much Ayn hated Immanuel Kant. It kind of got repetitive after a while, like many other reviewers have said. I also felt that this book's articles w ...more
Tobiah Marks
Agree or disagree, Ayn Rand's writings are worth the read. A collection of shorter works. Although not as much depth as her other books, still a good variety of articles/speeches.
Христо Блажев
Айн Ранд създава интелектуално бойно поле във “Философията: кому е нужна”

Айн Ранд не може да не бъде полемична, не може да не бъде противоречива, не може да не бъде провокативна. Но във “Философията: кому е нужна” тя е нещо повече – тя е агресивна, настъпателна и гръмогласна. Убедена в собствената си философия, сигурна в моралното превъзходство на идеите си, опряна удобно на величествените романи “Изворът” и “Атлас изправи рамене”… И от този пиадестал тя с
(The answer is, of course, YOU DO!) A collection of lectures and essays from about 1960 to 1974, and still HIGHLY pertinent to present day life and issues. Well worth reading AT LEAST once. I'm already re-reading some of them. I particularly liked: 6. An Open Letter to Boris Spassky, 7. Faith and Force: The Destroyers of the Modern World, 12. Egalitarianism and Inflation, 16. Fairness Doctrine for Education, and 17. What Can One Do? (SPEAK!). I thought she gave B. F. Skinner wayyyy too much tim ...more
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Alisa Rosenbaum was born in pre-revolutionary St. Petersburg to a prosperous Jewish family. When the Bolsheviks requisitioned the pharmacy owned by her father, Fronz, the Rosenbaums fled to the Crimea. Alisa returned to the city (renamed Leningrad) to attend the university, but in 1926 relatives who had already settled in America offered her the chance of joining them there. With money from the sa ...more
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“Rationalization is a process of not perceiving reality, but of attempting to make reality fit one’s emotions.” 173 likes
“Serenity comes from the ability to say “Yes” to existence. Courage comes from the ability to say “No” to the wrong choices made by others.” 21 likes
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