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Philosophy: Who Needs It

3.86  ·  Rating Details  ·  2,170 Ratings  ·  93 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
Nov 19, 2009 Christopher rated it it was amazing
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
Marts  (Thinker)
Feb 18, 2016 Marts (Thinker) rated it it was amazing
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
Dec 20, 2012 Otto Lehto rated it it was ok
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
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
Nov 06, 2012 Matthew W rated it it was ok
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
Kelly Murray
Mar 22, 2009 Kelly Murray rated it really liked it
Shelves: philosophy
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.
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
Haider Al-Mosawi
Nov 30, 2010 Haider Al-Mosawi rated it it was amazing
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.
Michael Lewyn
Oct 13, 2014 Michael Lewyn rated it it was ok
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
John Martindale
May 31, 2011 John Martindale rated it it was ok
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
Jun 04, 2013 Nerine Dorman rated it really liked it
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
Mar 01, 2010 Ben Weeks rated it really liked it
Shelves: philosophy
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
Dec 21, 2012 José Antonio Lopez rated it it was amazing
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
Alex Lee
Oct 14, 2015 Alex Lee rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2015, philosophy, essays
This is the last book of Ayn Rand I intend to read. Her rigidity philosophically comes out here, to the point of being incoherent. She claims that philosophy is king -- conceptualization is necessary for living a full life, and yet her insistence on Objectivism, that Truth can be calibrated to through your raw senses is absolutely incoherent.

Hence we have anti-conceptualization at the heart of Rand's conceptual philosophy.

What I find to be of interest is that despite her rigidity she makes fairl
Jun 23, 2014 Michael rated it it was amazing
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
Apr 19, 2015 May rated it really liked it
Shelves: philosophy
This is a good supplemental piece to the fictional Fountainhead and Atlas shrugged. I find her logic pretty straight forward. I was intrigued by all the lovers of Kant who rate this book low because she does attack Kant's feelings about moral "stuff". I tend to think Kant was a bit full of crap myself, so this book doesn't bother me one bit. People don't just do things because it's right. They do things because they like doing things that are right, (morally right), but let's not fool ourselves, ...more
Jan 11, 2015 Joseph rated it liked it
Rand's non fiction can be a tough pill to swallow. I stand by so many of her ideas and philosophies but I cannot help feeling like the respective parts are greater than the "whole." In reading these speeches and essays I had dozens of "aha" moments and I certainly took some serious food for thought from these posthumous pages. As I've stated in other reviews, i subscribe to the mentality that developing your own set of ideals and philosophies should be pieced together from everything you read, n ...more
Петър Стойков
На мен лично ми бе изключително трудно – докато оформях начина си на мислене, трябваше практически сам да измислям базисната постановка на идеите, в които вярвам, тъй като не я откривах в нито една философска книга, в нито една лекция по философия...

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Jan 01, 2016 Jason rated it it was ok
There are a few things that are made explicitly clear by this collection of Rand's works:
1. She hates, I mean REALLY hates, Skinner and Kant.
2. It's easy to see how narcissists use her philosophy to justify their own self-perceived magnificence, because she is their patron saint.

I'll leave number 1 alone, because quite frankly I'm not quite equipped to handle it, mainly due to the fact that my cognitive capacities were reduced to TV fuzz the longer she prattled on about each man's work. Which is
Jun 19, 2016 Mirela rated it it was amazing
Shelves: philosophy
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.
Dec 23, 2014 Eric rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It was tempting to give it that fifth star, but I resisted. I only held back, I think, because I would contend that were Rand actually setting out to convince us of the imperative of having a philosophy, the work ought to have been somewhat more timeless. Enjoyable as most of the essays were, they were set in their own time and place - the first one to the class at West Point, others that spoke unflatteringly of Nixon, and so on. Her cautions against the inexorable American slide into socialism ...more
Aug 31, 2014 Dan'l rated it it was amazing
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
Enrique Mañas
Nov 22, 2015 Enrique Mañas rated it liked it
I have been an avid reader of Mrs. Rand for a few years. I do not take objectivism as a philosophy, and there are several areas that I strongly disagree with. But I like how Ayn Rand exposes his ideas and argues them.

"Philosophy: who needs it" shows however many of the contradictions in Rand's thinking. She often claims against Chauvinism as a representation of collectivism, but she argues as a Jacobin in several of the chapters. She falls in cliches and generalizations that she frequently rejec
Roslyn Ross
Mar 04, 2014 Roslyn Ross rated it really liked it
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
Sep 19, 2015 Zell rated it it was amazing
This book…is by far with the most highlighted phrases that I’d ever done on a book. Many of the points are worth reflecting on and to be inculcated as one’s personal values, or better yet, one’s philosophy. I know I have. However, there are other points that I highlighted that got me thinking on the absurdity of her thoughts. Ok, I might have some sort of a love-hate relationship with this book. But mostly, it’s love. Hence, the 5 stars.

Since Kant’s philosophy mostly appeals to theists – which A
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
Aug 31, 2008 Anthony rated it really liked it
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
Jul 07, 2013 Nick rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: philosophy
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
Jan 12, 2014 Nathan Titus rated it it was amazing
Shelves: philosophy
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
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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.” 198 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.” 22 likes
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