In this 1963 appearance on Columbia University’s campus radio station, Ayn Rand reviews Aristotle, a book by Columbia philosophy professor John Herman Randall, Jr. Praising its “concise, lucid presentation of Aristotle’s system,” Rand declares the book a “rare value,” despite its flaws. Throughout her review, Rand offers her own comments on various aspects of Aristotle’s philosophy, including his metaphysics, epistemology, and theory of biology.

Aristotle, Rand observes, is the “philosophical Atlas who carries the whole of Western civilization on his shoulders…Whenever his influence dominated the scene, it paved the way for one of history’s brilliant eras; whenever it fell, so did mankind.” However, she points out, in modern culture Aristotle’s seminal contributions are frequently misrepresented and dismissed.

In this appearance you will also hear Rand discuss:

  • What she considered to be the “root of Aristotle’s greatness”
  • Whether Aristotle would be an advocate of the modern welfare state
  • The “philosophical ancestors” of totalitarianism


An edited version of this review was published in the May, 1963, issue of The Objectivist Newsletter, a periodical edited and published by Rand.