Philosophy, Who Needs It / Ayn Rand: In

ISBN: 0672527251
ISBN 13: 9780672527258
By: Ayn Rand

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Reader's Thoughts

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 There are few chapters that are outdated, but overall you can simply derive values valid for any situation.

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.


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 de uma mesma moeda. O livro é um libelo por vezes iluminista por vezes utilitarista do modelo democrático e do estado de direito. Estou lendo outro livro dela agora que está me parecendo mais estruturado. Não se consegue concordar com tudo que Ms Rand fala mas suas críticas são tão contundentes que merecem ser ouvidas. Seu estilo trafega entre Roberto Campos, Merquior e Nelson Rodrigues, só quem lê-la vai entender o que eu digo.

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 our existence if we are to live rational, moral lives. Most importantly she stands for taking pride in one’s own labours and not settling for anything less than the best. She makes a big deal about freedom, and personal freedom to think and trade as one wishes without feeling ashamed of one’s strengths. Also, that one should deal with truths and that which is, instead of that which one imagines something *should* be.Mostly, Rand encourages people to think for themselves without blindly following conventions, and to encourage the development and application to reason. She advocates intellectual honesty – in admitting what one knows and what one does not know, then working from there. She advocates sticking to one’s convictions and looking at living a life that has integrity on a basic level. And not, thankfully, to proselytise. She is harshly critical of some of the philosophic and political efforts of her day, and it’s somewhat frightening to see how some of her observations are very much apt for this day and age.

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 - which she makes abundantly clear throughout the first twelve or thirteen essays - Rand has a affable quality in her writing, despite her coarse prose, which often comes off as arrogance.Even still, the books treatment of reason, as the foundation for metaphysics is made clear the first ten essays, but she takes the last four or five essays dealing with political-theory, and discussed subjects from economics and moral cause vs. duty of an individual citizen. Since a lot of this book is just re-hashed objectivism, if one has already read her other works which make her philosophy very clear such as The Virtue of Selfishness and Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal, this book would still be worth the purchase for the last essay alone, entitled "Don't Let It Go." A clarion call to Americans, who value individualism, reason, and integrity, to be the change, lest our ominous future of chaos and tyranny befall us before it's too late.-Brent McCulley (10/4/13)


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).

Mat Anderson

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

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.


I love the severity of her novels and can almost hear her reading the dialogue to me with a great intensity. But to have to deal with that narrative intensity outside of fictional characters and to imagine this rigid capitalist immigrant sitting next to me prattling about the evils of babying your brother.. well I just find it easier to absorb through the analogy of her fictions.

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...Прочети цялото ревю:

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.

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 default) will inevitably result in contradictions and errors which will, in turn, follow us into our daily life.Philosophy has always been my favorite subject, but before Rand, I did not identify it as such. I called it "mind set," and the term was vague and full of contradictions. she helped me build a stable, consistent, PRACTICAL "mind set." In the process, she challenged almost every belief I ever had. I didn't just build a philosophy, I REBUILT one.This is the book I would most recommend to people who do not especially like Ayn Rand. At the very least, it will tell you that you need A philosophy, even if Objectivism isn't the one you choose. People, and hence the world, could benefit greatly from consistent thinking, and from knowing WHY they think certain things. Even if you don't agree with her, you can agree to that much.


I enjoyed this book, as I do most Ayn Rand books, but I found this one to be a little bit repetitive at times. (That's maybe to be expected from a collection of articles she wrote for various audiences over the years.)That said, I did finally get some explanations to some questions I'd had about her philosophy for a while. For example she delves into theoretical economics and academic philosophy more than in her novels, which are riveting but leave some things unanswered.I'd say this is good overall for those who've read her novels and have more questions, but certainly not for someone new to Rand.

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, lest the be torn aside by the world. That much I can agree with. When she begins her diatribe against Kant I being to lose her. It seems like Ayn is upset with the current state of the world in '74 and has given Kant the role of whipping-boy for all the failures that she's attributed to the baby-boomers. That much aside, I can agree with her on the point that to evade any personal philosophy is to let yourself run emotionally naked through a world that only seeks to satisfy our most base needs and urges.

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."

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