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Ayn Rand  1905 - 1982

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Objectivism : The Philosophy of Ayn Rand (The Ayn Rand Library, Vol. 6) by Leonard Peikoff
What Art Is:  The Aesthetic Theory of Ayn RandWhat Art Is : The Esthetic Theory of Ayn Rand by Louise Torres, Michelle Marder Kamhi

Cultural icon Ayn Rand (1905-1982) was known as much for her philosophy as for her fiction. Her original theory of esthetics, which attacks many "masterpieces" of modernist art, is as combative and controversial as any of her work, but until now has received little serious scrutiny. In What Art Is, the authors demonstrate that Rand's ideas are supported by evidence from other academic fields.

What is art? The arts establishment has a simple answer: anything is art if a reputed artist or expert says it is. Though many people are skeptical about the alleged new art forms that have proliferated since the early twentieth century, today's critics claim that all such work, however incomprehensible, is art.

A groundbreaking alternative to this view is provided by philosopher-novelist Ayn Rand (1905 1982). Best known as the author of The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged, Rand also created an original and illuminating theory of art, which confirms the widespread view that much of today's purported art is really not art at all.

In What Art Is, Torres and Kamhi present a lucid introduction to Rand's esthetic theory, contrasting her ideas with those of other thinkers. They conclude that, in its basic principles, her account is compelling, and is corroborated by evidence from anthropology, neurology, cognitive science, and psychology.

The authors apply Rand's theory to a debunking of the work of prominent modernists and postmodernists from Mondrian, Jackson Pollock, and Samuel Beckett to John Cage, Merce Cunningham, and other highly regarded postmodernist figures. Finally, they explore the implications of Rand's ideas for the issues of government and corporate support of the arts, art law, and arts education.

From the Author:

As a thinker, Ayn Rand has occupied a remarkably polarized status in American culture. Her novels and collections of nonfiction essays have for decades attracted a large popular readership, worldwide, and her ideas have generated a multifaceted philosophic movement, with a discernible influence on political and economic thought in the culture at large. Yet she is still regarded with a mixture of suspicion and contempt by many intellectuals, including most academics. In truth, such negative feelings were, in large measure, mutual during her lifetime, for she began her career as a popular author and, like Tolstoy and other well-known Russian writers, she deliberately pursued her literary and philosophic goals as an academic outsider.

Although Rand was a frequent speaker on college campuses in the 1960s (usually under student rather than faculty auspices), her status as an outsider never altered, for she was relentlessly and severely critical of the leftist tendencies of mainstream academic and intellectual thought. As a result, political bias often distorted assessments of her work. Nevertheless, aspects of her philosophy were debated in scholarly journals even during her lifetime. And since her death in 1982, her ideas have been included in philosophy anthologies widely used in college classrooms.

In the past five years, Rand studies have accelerated, with important university press titles and the foundation of the peer-reviewed Journal of Ayn Rand Studies. Feature articles on recent Rand scholarship have appeared in Lingua Franca ("The Heirs of Ayn Rand," September 1999) and the Chronicle of Higher Education ("Ayn Rand Has Finally Caught the Attention of Scholars," April 9, 1999).

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Ayn Rand Institute

This site is divided into three major sections.


Objectivism: Includes a synopsis of Objectivism, a bibliography of Objectivist writings, and essays applying Objectivism to current events.
Ayn Rand: Includes a short biography, a timeline of major events in Ayn Rand’s life, as well as photo and video archives.
The Ayn Rand Institute: Learn about ARI’s activities, including our annual essay contest and Leonard Peikoff’s weekly radio show.


Ayn Rand Links

Unofficial website for the Journals of Ayn Rand
Ayn Rand: A Sense of Life - website for the movie documentary directed by Michael Paxton
Objectivism-L - website that accompanies this large and active email discussion list
Objectivism site at
The Intellectual Activist
Objectivism WWW service
Mark Gardner's Objectivism Resource Guide
Lyceum International
TCNJ Ayn Rand Society
Washington Metro Objectivism Group
The Free Radical
MonoRealism - from Robin Craig, a collection of neo-Objectivist essays
Nathaniel Branden's homepage - website for the psychologist and former associate of Ayn Rand
Rand page at Bjorn's site


Biography at The Ayn Rand Institute
Rand Biography at The Window


Kevin Whited's Reason Forum

The publishing forum for my thoughts, integrations, essays, daily journal, and more -- from the general perspective of Ayn Rand's philosophy Objectivism.

Site includes essays on Ayn Rand, writing projects on objectivism and more.



The goal of the Objectivism WWW Service is to make Objectivism related information available to WWW users. There are two components to this goal: first, to provide locally-sponsored content such as essays and bibliographies. Second, to provide pointers to other resources---both on and off the net---that may be of interest to people interested in Objectivism. 

Site Includes:

Concepts in a Hat
About Objectivism
Objectivism in brief
Bibliographies of Ann Rand and related works
Online discussion forums
Book services
Arts and entertainment


Working Minds

Original Contribution Award

By G.E. Nordell

This series of books presents an innovative and very practical Philosophy of Empowerment based partly on the ideas of Ayn Rand [Objectivism], Albert Camus [Existentialism], Eric Berne [Transactional Analysis], Carlos Castaneda, a little quantum physics and many other ideas... plus a host of original thought.  


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