ANOOP VERMA, FOR THE NEW INTELLECTUAL
The full text of the review also appears here.
Annop Verna mentions that this is not a formal review of the second edition of Ayn Rand: The Russian Radical, as much as it is a discussion of some of the provocative theses it proposes. In this post, he focuses specifically on the question, "Is There a Connection Between Ayn Rand and Karl Marx?" He writes:
Chris Matthew Sciabarra proposes that while Rand was a student in Russia, she was influenced by a number of philosophers, including Marx. . . . The parallels that Sciabarra discovers are in many areas of philosophy. For instance, he says that "Rand's emphasis on the primacy of existence is equally a recognition of the fundamentality of ontology in the hierarchy of philosophy. In this regard, Rand may have learned much from her Marxist professors at Petrograd University, who emphasized the primacy of existence over consciousness… Rand’s metaphysics echoes the Marxist preoccupation with "the world as it is."
He points out that Rand's theory of abstraction is similar to what some Marxist scholars have been preaching. He says that since Rand "posits a cultural revolution as necessary to the establishment of a genuinely free society, she seems to mimic the totalistic approach of the Marxists."
He quotes an interesting passage from Capital in which Marx has expressed a profound respect for the integrated nature of human labor. . . . Sciabarra draws an allusion between these words from Marx's Capital and character of Howard Roark in The Fountainhead: "It is fitting that Marx used the example of the architect as the paradigmatic case for specifically human, productive work. Howard Roark, Rand's protagonist in The Fountainhead, reflects everything in Marx's passage and more. He epitomizes the creative architect and laborer, integrating the material and spiritual in each of his productive efforts."
Overall,Ayn Rand: The Russian Radical is an interesting book—it provokes thought about the process by which Ayn Rand may have developed her philosophical ideas. But I can't make a judgement on how accurate this thesis is, because I don't have enough evidence. In my view more corroboratory evidence is required to develop an outlook on the roots of Rand's philosophy.
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