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Objectivism: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand

3.72  ·  Rating Details ·  4,038 Ratings  ·  70 Reviews
THE 25TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION—The definitive statement of Ayn Rand’s philosophy as interpreted by her best student and chosen heir.

This brilliantly conceived and organized book is Dr. Leonard Peikoff’s classic text on the abstract principles and practical applications of Objectivism, based on his lecture series “The Philosophy of Objectivism.” Ayn Rand said of these lectur
Paperback, 512 pages
Published December 1st 1993 by Plume (first published December 9th 1991)
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Community Reviews

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Feb 03, 2008 Ben rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone, atheists, philosophers, intellectuals, politicians
Shelves: philosophy, atheism
This is by far the most systematic explanation of Objectivism anyone is ever likely to get. While there is nothing here that can't be found in Ayn Rand's numerous essays and fictional novels this book collects all of the thoughts and puts them in order so that they are easier to understand for those who are new to Objectivism.

For those who don't know what Objectivism is I will try to provide a brief explanation here. Objectivism is the philosophy of writer and philosopher Ayn Rand. Rand created
Second supplemental to multi-part review series.

Ayn Rand was not a systematic thinker or writer, so Peikoff must serve as her interpreter, drawing together into a relatively coherent whole her disparate, repetitive tantrums that randomly re-surface like Whac-a-Mole on crack rock. Peikoff is much more charming than Rand, too, which is a virtue. But precisely because all of Objectivism is presented here in a centralized narrative, it becomes vulnerable to a decapitation strike. Let Objectivism be
Mar 22, 2011 Patrick rated it did not like it
Rand's philosophy begins with three axioms: existence, identity, and consciousness and this is the root problem. I did a little looking around and couldn't find any other philosophy that uses an axiomatic system. Math and geometry have used axiomatic systems for thousands of years with great results. Using an axiom and corollary system approach with philosophy will be totalitarian when applied to large populations because, at least in the case of objectivism, they leave no room for mythology, tr ...more
Jan 29, 2014 Mark rated it really liked it
Objectivism is the full explanation of Rand's often misquoted and even more often misunderstood philosophy. Objectivism is not a novel, but a full and well organized approach to living life starting with her metaphysical definition and methodically leading to her aesthetic concepts through epistemology and ethics. For those who are not readers of philosophy this book may be difficult, but if you are interested in understanding or refuting Rand's viewpoints, reading this book is a must.

The concep
Aase Maren
Feb 02, 2014 Aase Maren rated it it was amazing
I thought this was a very good book. I disagree with the fundamentals, but the book does exactly what you expect, and does it really well. Five stars because I disagree with the notion of giving a low rating to a book about objectivism on the grounds that it's a book about objectivism.
Kelly Murray
Mar 23, 2009 Kelly Murray rated it it was amazing
Shelves: philosophy
Pretty much all the questions I still had about Objectivism were cleared up after reading this book.
Haider Al-Mosawi
May 07, 2011 Haider Al-Mosawi rated it it was amazing
This is by far one of the best books I've read. Period.

While it deals with deep philosophic issues, they are extremely relevant to the problems we face on an individual and social level.

The book deals with the five main branches of philosophy (metaphysics, epistemology, ethics, politics and esthetics), and presents the Objectivist view of each.

Objectivism can be summed up in the following way:

Reality exists independent of human consciousness. Everything that exists has a definite nature (identit
paul redman
Jan 21, 2012 paul redman rated it it was amazing
First I read "Atlas Shrugged" and connected with the heroes of that book. I knew I would need to read it again in the near future. I then thought I would see if Ayn Rand wrote any other books (oh, boy did she!) and discovered that she was a Philosopher and the inventor of a Philosophy called "Objectivism". I read this book as a way to introduce myself to Ayn Rand's Objectivism and found my self very intrigued. I will be re-reading this book and will start making my way through the rest of Ayn Ra ...more
Jeff Yoak
2012 Reading
It was a delight revisiting this book. It has been a long time since I've methodically considered all of Objectivism straight through. I was surprised how many new thoughts re-reading triggered, particularly in metaphysics and epistemology.

I was also captivated by the historical perspective thinking back to reading this book immediately after it was published. Nowadays, everyone knows and understands the logical structure of Objectivism and understands its various parts and how they
If you're a beginner or just starting to read philosophy this is a great book to start with. This book not only changed my entire outlook in life, it also altered the way I looked at religion. 'Objectivism:The Philosophy of Ayn Rand' is the most comprehensive and all inclusive exposition that you will need to begin your first steps, and it helps you understand explicitly the complexity of many original ideas, not to mention----the fundamental laws that drive mankind.
Matt Powell
Nov 03, 2010 Matt Powell rated it it was amazing
A thrilling read. The only authoritative work on Ayn Rand's system of thought.
Jun 08, 2009 Lois rated it really liked it
Okay, so I didn't really read this WHOLE book, just skimmed through and read parts of it all. I gave it 4 stars because I thought the author could have done a much better job of putting it in layman's terms. I get that he is a philosophy professor, but this was not supposed to be a text book. I would say this is for the doctorate level reader, I was seriously struggling through some of it! (But really great for bedtime reading if you need help falling asleep!)

That said, I love a lot about her p
Roberto Guzman
Jul 05, 2016 Roberto Guzman rated it it was amazing
As an avid reader of Ayn Rand's fiction, it was always disappointing to me that I did not get a chance to read a full-scale treatise on her philosophy. In truth, her philosophy is an updated form of Aristotelianism that builds upon itself from solid foundations to her ultimate political and aesthetic conclusions. In works such as "Atlas Shrugged," "Anthem" and "The Fountainhead," the characters embody Rand's ideals, but there is never an explicit blueprint given as to how all of these ideals are ...more
This is an important book, and I have to commend Leonard Peikoff for executing the task. To my knowledge, there is no other comprehensive treatment of Objectivism, and Peikoff has done a great service in processing this material for the lay reader. I have to wish, however, that Rand had chosen as her intellectual heir someone even close to her skill and intellect. Peikoff, though he is a clear enough writer, lacks Rand's talent for vividness and lucidity, her wit and aptitude at turning a phrase ...more
D. B.
Jan 31, 2015 D. B. rated it really liked it
This is a very dry, technical work, so you stand warned. Peikoff does a good job of expanding on Ayn Rand's novels and Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology, building it into a complete philosophical system. It's helpful for any reader who reads Rand's fiction and thinks, "This makes sense to me," yet struggles to integrate its concepts into their own thought process.

At the end of the day, Rand's two most famous works are fiction; some find them tedious and pedantic (I disagree), but they are
Feb 19, 2008 laura rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: wannabe objectivists (like me!)
Shelves: fiction
Ayn Rand’s novels portray Objectivism by putting them into a storyline that helps paint a picture that is easy to understand. This works well because it takes the initial “shock” value out of Objectivism by slowly wading you into the philosophy. The only problem with her method though, is that it becomes quite difficult to learn the “bread and butter” of Objectivism this way. It’s complicated enough to keep the storyline and characters straight, let alone all of the underlying messages. However, ...more
Oct 26, 2012 Preet rated it liked it
"My philosophy, in essence, 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."
— Ayn Rand, Appendix to Atlas Shrugged

Definitive Ayn Rand philosophy. However I am not really an Objectivism fan...not very comfortable with its laissez faire political approach. More importantly I don't agree with the idea of being shackled whilst in pursuit of happiness or individual r
Michael Connolly
Jul 05, 2012 Michael Connolly rated it it was amazing
The most interesting idea in this book is the idea of the arbitrary. An assertion can be true, false or arbitrary. An arbitrary assertion is one for which there is neither evidence for nor evidence against. My interpretation of this idea is that it is an extension of the correspondence model of truth. An idea in my mind is true if it is similar to something in the real real world out there. That is the correspondence model of truth. Ayn Rand requires a further condition to be satisfied. The thin ...more
Tyler L.
Dec 19, 2014 Tyler L. rated it really liked it
I read this book on and off for over a year. Lenny is not quite as good of a writer as Rand. He does not connect with me quite like Rand does and is certainly not as fun-loving. But he did a more than adequate job of explaining this philosophy. His chapters on metaphysics, the morality and epistemology of capitalism and his epilogue were the most helpful parts for me.

I read this in spurts so it would have my undivided attention. I read about metaphysics and epistemology in late summer 2013. I r
Apr 16, 2007 taarak rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Objectivists
Definitive work for the serious student of Objectivist philosophy, this book is neither easy or quick BUT it is well worth the effort it takes to understand it.

This brilliantly conceived book is based on a lecture course given by Dr. Leonard Peikoff in 1976 entitled, "The Philosophy of Objectivism". The lectures were attended by Ayn Rand, who helped prepare them and who also joined Peikoff in answering questions. Ayn Rand said of these lectures: "Until or unless I write a comprehensive treatise
Sep 02, 2012 Michael rated it it was amazing
Covers the ideas quite well. I considered myself an Objectivist for a number of years after reading a deluge of Rand's ideas. I learned a lot about thinking during this time, exploring base concepts such as writng a definition of the word "table". You never think about low level words, you just sort of know what they mean. How can you think clearly without having a solid foundation for your ideas? Words as abstractions are tools, but it is not the words, it is the abstrations that make higher le ...more
Jan 10, 2015 Diane rated it liked it
If you are looking for a way into Objectivism that doesn't involve reading Atlas Shrugged, then you couldn't do better than Objectivism: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand.

It lays everything out in simple and straight forward language. Every single aspect of the philosophy is covered and discussed, without delving into Rand's personal life at all, if I remember correctly. (It's been a few years since I read this)

Very accessible book if this is a philosophy you're interested in learning anything about.
Sunny Fugate
Sep 07, 2007 Sunny Fugate rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone
Shelves: philosophy, aynrand
Superb overview of Objectivisim from the ground up. I find Peikoff very clear and concise. He presents Ayn Rand's ideas in, well, an objective manner. He begins by presenting an overview of objectivist epistemology (theory of knowing things) and presents sound reasons why one should think rationally. I recommend this book to anyone who has read any of Ayn Rand's fiction or works on philosophy.
Nishant Sharma
Not Everything I agree with but it puts across a strong point. I have always loved fiction and the environments that it creates to shape the charchters of the novel. and I love Ayn Rand for that, and the philosophy is awesome but as time changes so does many principals of the same philosophy. Above all it is a good read for some thought provoking, otherwise for people like me get bored in this mundane world.
May 22, 2013 Shoomg rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A thorough presentation of Ayn Rand's philosophy of Objectivism, from its foundational axioms in metaphysics, to its views on epistemology, ethics, politics, and art. Logically organized and easily readable. Leonard Peikoff, the author of this book, was a friend and student of Ayn Rand's for over 30 years, and was designated by her as her "intellectual heir", so no one is better qualified than he is to write this book
Michael Mangold
Apr 22, 2014 Michael Mangold rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"Everything happens for a reason," is a statement often heard from those with a mystical sense of life. What that reason is, and any proof in its support, are rarely forthcoming. "My response to everything happens for a reason," is a deceptively-similar statement that presupposes thought, purpose, and a goal-directed life. This book presents a philosophic system for devising those reasons with the goal of a long, happy life, here on this earth, as the overriding purpose.
May 18, 2013 JP rated it liked it
Peikoff describes how philosophy is the only field abstract enough to cover everything else and very succinctly conveys Ayn's ideas about the debate between Plato and Aristotle as it has progressed through the ages. Kant set the stage for the modern era and the ideas of Aristotle were never fully recognized because they were not quite fully connected back to the basic axioms.
Jeff Gaffney
Aug 07, 2010 Jeff Gaffney rated it really liked it
Very interesting philosophy. Much different than anything I have encountered. If you liked the ideas in "The Fountainhead" or "Atlas Shrugged" (which I would recommend reading first!), than you should read this book and dive deeper in the philosophy.

Objectivism has a great many ideas that are intelligent and wel;-thought out, and just opposition to many differing viewpoints today.
Mars Dorian
Jun 16, 2013 Mars Dorian rated it really liked it
Good overview of Ayn Rand's thinking.

Although it's merely an essay collection of her thoughts on freedom, individualism and capitalism, you can get a deep insight into her philosophy.

At times, I find the writing a bit too dry and repetitive, but the value I get from this work even-Stevens it out.

Recommended if you want to know more about free-market capitalism.
Makenzie Tanner
Jan 30, 2013 Makenzie Tanner rated it it was amazing
Leonard Peikoff was gentle, but firm.
I would recommend this book for an introduction to Objectivism--but, be weary if you believe in God.
I made a lot of connections and gained a better understanding of "meaning" through understanding metaphysics and epistemology.
The chapter "Happiness" is great.
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  • Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology
  • Ayn Rand Answers: the Best of Her Q & A
  • The Passion of Ayn Rand
  • The God of the Machine
  • The Logical Leap: Induction in Physics
  • Free Market Revolution: How Ayn Rand's Ideas Can End Big Government
  • The Capitalist Manifesto: The Historic, Economic and Philosophic Case for Laissez-Faire
  • Ayn Rand and the World She Made
  • My Years with Ayn Rand
  • In Defense of Selfishness: Why the Code of Self-Sacrifice is Unjust and Destructive
Leonard S. Peikoff (born October 15, 1933) is a Canadian-American philosopher. He is an author, a leading advocate of Objectivism and the founder of the Ayn Rand Institute. A former professor of philosophy, he was designated by the novelist Ayn Rand as heir to her estate. For several years, he hosted a radio talk show.
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“An individual can be hurt in countless ways by other men's irrationality, dishonesty, injustice. Above all, he can be disappointed, perhaps grievously, by the vices of a person he had once trusted or loved. But as long as his property is not expropriated and he remains unmolested physically, the damage he sustains is essentially spiritual, not physical; in such a case, the victim alone has the power and the responsibility of healing his wounds. He remains free: free to think, to learn from his experiences, to look elsewhere for human relationships; he remains free to start afresh and to pursue his happiness.” 46 likes
“Every argument for God and every attribute ascribed to Him rests on a false metaphysical premise. None can survive for a moment on a correct metaphysics....

Existence exists, and only existence exists. Existence is a primary: it is uncreated, indestructible, eternal. So if you are to postulate something beyond existence—some supernatural realm—you must do it by openly denying reason, dispensing with definitions, proofs, arguments, and saying flatly, “To Hell with argument, I have faith.” That, of course, is a willful rejection of reason.

Objectivism advocates reason as man’s sole means of knowledge, and therefore, for the reasons I have already given, it is atheist. It denies any supernatural dimension presented as a contradiction of nature, of existence. This applies not only to God, but also to every variant of the supernatural ever advocated or to be advocated. In other words, we accept reality, and that’s all.”
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