In this 1961 interview about her first nonfiction book, For the New Intellectual, Ayn Rand discusses the collapse of intellectual leadership in the modern world and the need for “new intellectuals” to fill the vacuum. Among the topics Rand discusses are the role of the intellectual in society, the widespread denial of reason’s efficacy, the cultural effects of mysticism, the influence of Plato and Kant, the emergence of businessmen and professional intellectuals during the Industrial Revolution, the achievements of Aristotle and America’s Founding Fathers, and the lengthy process involved in understanding and advocating a new philosophy.
This video interview lasts 31 minutes.
About the Author
Ayn Rand created and defined her philosophy, Objectivism, in the pages of her best-selling novels, particularly The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged, and in a series of nonfiction books that address a wide range of fundamental issues in philosophy.
Born Alisa Rosenbaum in Tsarist St. Petersburg in 1905, Rand witnessed the Russian Revolution as a teenager and promptly condemned communism as immoral for sacrificing the individual to the collective. In 1926, shortly after graduating from the University of Leningrad, she fled to America, adopting the pen name Ayn Rand to shield her family from possible persecution once her anti-communism became well known.
In Hollywood, she wrote scenarios for famous director Cecil B. DeMille and met her future husband on a movie set, but the couple struggled financially for years. Then came a string of writing successes: a Broadway play, followed by her first novel, We the Living (1936), then a novella called Anthem (1938), and later her first best seller, the story of a fiercely independent architect named Howard Roark in The Fountainhead (1943). All these works of fiction feature gripping stories and exalted, egoistic, this-worldly heroes.
In writing Atlas Shrugged (1957) — the story of a man who said he would stop the motor of the world, and did — Rand had to define fully her new philosophy of reason, rational self-interest, and laissez-faire capitalism.
Thereafter, and until her death in 1982, Rand amplified and explicated her “philosophy for living on earth” in a stream of books whose theoretical essays and cultural commentaries cover important topics across the five major branches of philosophy: metaphysics, epistemology, ethics, politics and esthetics.
A selection of key philosophic passages from Ayn Rand’s novels along with a lengthy historical essay contending that America desperately needs both a new moral philosophy and “New Intellectuals” to propagate it.
Leonard Peikoff argues that philosophy is the fundamental factor shaping the course of human history. Peikoff places Objectivism in cultural context, assessing its current status and weighing the potential for a philosophical revolution, with Objectivism...
Leonard Peikoff offers an Objectivist critique of key points of Kant’s philosophy. Peikoff explains what he regards as Kant’s fundamental error and why Objectivism agrees with Kant’s contemporary, Moses Mendelssohn, in branding him “the all-destroying...