AYN RAND:THE RUSSIAN RADICAL

AYN RAND:THE RUSSIAN RADICAL

PUBLISHED REVIEWS

LESLIE ARMOUR, LIBRARY JOURNAL (15 SEPTEMBER 1995)


Armour writes:  "Rand is an enduringly popular figure; her books have sold 30 million copies, respondents to a Library of Congress survey said her work was second only to the Bible in its impact on their lives, and The New Yorker has just rediscovered her sex life (July 24, 1995). But her impact was through her fiction, and attempts to extract her philosophy have usually resulted in thin intellectual chicken soup. This book is an exception. Sciabarra, a visiting scholar in politics at NYU, goes back to Rand's Russian roots, arguing that she rejected both Russian religious mysticism and Marxism but clung to what they had in common -- a rejection of mind-matter dualism and a concentration on the concrete. He also argues (more doubtfully) that she developed her own dialectic of the mutual implication of mind and matter, thought and action, reason and feeling. Sciabarra thinks it is this dialectical tension that gives Rand's ideas power, but he admits that she would have rejected the word dialectic and that he is bringing a hidden structure to light. Essential for Rand fans and for academics who want to analyze her thought."

Leslie Armour, University of Ottawa


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