Philosophy, Who Needs It

ISBN: 0672527952
ISBN 13: 9780672527951
By: Ayn Rand

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Reader's Thoughts

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 piece of Rand's philosophical works at some point in their lives, weather they agree or disagree with her philosophy if only to better understand what they oppose. And everyone should read her fictitious works, as they are classics and weather you love or hate her (there's usually no in-betweens with Rand) she is a fantastic writer with excellent command of language. All that being said, this just isn't her best work. I recommend starting somewhere else, perhaps with THE VIRTUE OF SELFISHNESS or one of her novels. Only when you've read all of her larger works should you come to this one. And just be aware that this was written in her old age, it gets a bit bitter sometimes, especially with her STRONG hatred of Immanuel Kant.

Mat Anderson

I prefer Rand's fiction as a vessel for communicating her ideals.


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 complex of issues to simple-to-understand fundamentals is unparalleled in history, except for perhaps, Aristotle.This particular book focuses on proving the crucial need of philosophy in everyone’s lives, of the necessity of a reality-based philosophy knowable by reason, and that regardless of whether or not one has a conscious philosophy that everyone operates by some kind of philosophy. Reading this book was the most important thing I’ve ever done, and I can’t recommend it more highly.

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. Little did I know before this book, Kant is the villain who managed to deceive the world with his blasphemous (against reason) teaching of duty and altruism and now were all going to hell (the wastelands of irrationalism)Because Kant is so vague, he managed to slip his anti-reason poison in all our minds without us knowing it!! Even right now, you who are reading this are under the sway of Kant!!!! shutter and repent and turn to almighty reason (well, her version of reason that is)Interesting that one of the main conservative philosophers is a militant atheist and is pro-choice. She thinks pride is a virtue, and so does nothing to hide her ego and arrogance, making her writings rather untasteful to me. She is not the kind of person you would want to have a conversation with! Rush Limbaugh at least says he is only right 98.8% of the time, Ayn Rand would not even humble herself with that 1.2% of error, she could make it on the short list of stuck up, full of themselves people.But with all that aside, I loved what she shared on politics, she indeed was a genius, there is no doubt about that


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 of people who follow this way of life like a religion.maybe one day, for purely academic purposes, I'll return to it... but I hope that day never comes.


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 religion.If there's one downside to this work, it's that, 40 years later, its critique of the state of rationality in human society, the continued primacy of altruism and its derivations, is not any less relevant, but rather alarmingly more. Anyone poisoned or about to be willingfully poisoned by a dive to ideological daydreams such as "utopian" socialism might do their minds (and finite lives) much good by waking up, reading Rand, and breathing the real.

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.

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 сипе огън и жупел връз всеки, който според нея застава на пътя на капитализма и цивилизацията, едно тъждество и тържество на разума над духа.

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 weren't as good as the one's in "Virtue" and "Capitalism", as they discussed the same basic principles/ideas for the most part. So, I would suggest that you read "Virtue" and "Capitalism" before you read this; as they are superior in my opinion, and explain Rand's philosophy and ideas far better than this. Now I'm off to start "For the New Intellectual."

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 proselytizing for capitalism). She was never a good philosopher, let's admit it; but she was, at times, a decent writer. After Virtue of Selfishness, you might as well do better by just reading Atlas Shrugged. All her other works are merely footnotes to her magnum opus (which I found unbearably tedious and overlong). This book, an amateur's scribbles on philosophy, is perhaps her weakest, because she doesn't understand any other philosopher except herself: she doesn't, for example, have a clue of Kant's philosophy, American pragmatism - or even of her only philosophical hero's, Aristotle's, philosophy, beyond a few stale slogans. She has the grasp of philosophy of a first-year undergraduate student. Psychologically, she fails even more miserably: she fails to understand the intellectual motivations of her enemies. She simply imagines motivations to people where they don't exist. She substitutes malevolent paranoia for a real attempt at understanding differences of opinion. She categorizes people as evil - i.e. everybody except herself and her disciples. That's as close to a totalitarian doctrine as any "liberal" ever came. She was truly unique: the only true totalitarian liberal in the history of the world. She was a powerful woman, worthy of admiration; but her philosophy doesn't deserve such a lengthy book of exposition, since it can be best expressed in a few powerful slogans - and one 1000-page book.I judge this book to be superfluous.

Andrej Drapal

It is simply amazig how Ayn uses her rather narrow vcabulary of concepts to explain thought and lifestyle situations with chrystal precision. This is not any kind of comprehensive philosophy, but stll far the best positioning of a man vesrus a collective. There are few chapters that are outdated, but overall you can simply derive values valid for any situation.

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 invitation to be active learner and defender of freedom.

Matt Faus

The first few chapters of this book are incredible. They do an outstanding job of describing the obligation of every person to analyze their personal philosophy to become the person they want to be.The "Egalitarianism and Inflation" chapter had the best description of inflation due to government I've ever read.The rest of the book is very zealous prose of Rand bashing other thinkers or ways of life.


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 eliminated, then when scaled up to large populations (which is the main theme of this book as a way of fighting Kant's altruism) the roadways become so dangerous as to eventually guarantee death by automobile wreck; unwanted death is the ultimate ripping away of liberty of the individual.


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 of furthering their socialistic/communist principles. As Ayn Rand mentions, the socialists/communists could not win on a majority vote by providing the public with a clear statement of what their goals are. However, the socialists/communists--which are dressed up in the Green movement--instead confuse the public through evasions, contradictory statements, censorship, brainwashing them through the government-run school system, in order to get the public to subscribe to these views.What I liked most in particular is Ayn Rand's statement that one has a right to live for one's own sake--and no one else. Rand's view is that capitalism and individualism must be argued on a moral basis, not on an economic one. The economic argument is that capitalism promotes economic growth, and thus, for this reason alone, it must be tolerated. Instead, Ayn Rand's view is that, regardless of the economics, one has a right to live for their own sake, and for the sake of others. A person cannot be compelled to be a slave nor enslave others. (The current welfare system, for instance, requires that one take on unearned obligations to others, and thus, one is living one's life for that of another.) Further, Ayn Rand also discusses how our current mixed economy system (read: Social Security, government-run schools, Medicaid) will eventually result in a dictatorship because in order to keep this sytem going, it requires subjecting the individual to the state. When the individual fails to comply, as is most certainly likely to happen as time goes on, the only way the state will be able to enforce the rule of altruism is at the point of a gun.IN PRACTICE, Ayn Rand's views have been endorsed by reality. The freest states in America--the ones that believe in individualism, and limited government--have had the highest degree of population growth, economic growth (thus, more productivity from the most productive), and, I dare say, happiness (since they are able to pursue their happiness to the maximum extent, without government-control).

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