Read For the New Intellectual: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand by Ayn Rand Online


This is Ayne Rand's challenge to the prevalent philosphical doctrince of our time and the "atmosphere of guilt, of panic, of despair, of boredom, and of all-pervasive evasion" that they create. One of the most controversial figures on the intellectual scene, Ayn Rand was the proponent of a moral philsophy - an ethic of rational self-interest - that stands in sharp oppositiThis is Ayne Rand's challenge to the prevalent philosphical doctrince of our time and the "atmosphere of guilt, of panic, of despair, of boredom, and of all-pervasive evasion" that they create. One of the most controversial figures on the intellectual scene, Ayn Rand was the proponent of a moral philsophy - an ethic of rational self-interest - that stands in sharp opposition of the ethics of altruism and self-sacrifice. The fundamentals of this morality - "a philosophy for living on earth" - are here vibrantly set forth by the spokesman for a new class, "For the New Intellectual."...

Title : For the New Intellectual: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand
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ISBN : 9780451163080
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 224 Pages
Status : Available For Download
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For the New Intellectual: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand Reviews

  • sologdin
    2019-05-31 16:48

    Part III of multi-part review series.A greatest hits: introductory essay and selections from the four novels. Will reserve commentary on the novels for those reviews. Introductory essay develops two sets of binaries: Attila/Witch Doctor and Producer/Parasite. The latter is crass unexamined producerism--so it’s standard proto-fascistic aggressiveness.Preface proclaims that the volume “presents the outline of a new philosophical system” and a “new theory of the nature, source, and validation of concepts“ (vii). By the end, we see that, vanity of vanities, there’s nothing new under the sun.Introductory essay contains the master figure of her writings: “When a man, a business corporation, or an entire society is approaching bankruptcy” (10). This is neo-spenglerianism, tacitly admitted to be erroneous at the end of The Virtue of Selfishness. Nevertheless, “America is culturally bankrupt” (id.), whatever the hell that means. (Rand has no law, so the precise meaning of bankruptcy can’t be deployed here.) Worse than bankrupt, “America is a country without a voice or defense” (id.), a fundamentally odd proposition to utter in 1961, when the US was launching coups d’etat with impunity and issuing nuclear threats with sprezzatura. Her indictments of particular fascist states notwithstanding, we see the fascist roots of the doctrine here: “In times of danger, a morally healthy culture rallies its values, its self-esteem, and its crusading spirit to fight for its moral ideals with full, righteous confidence” (11). Mussolini wrote that--or could have, anyway, if he didn’t. Instead of rallying around objectivism, the US committed a “tragic error” by believing “the solution is to turn anti-intellectual and rely on some cracker barrel sort of folksy wisdom” (11). Ersatz epistemology in how humans must “integrate perceptions into conceptions by a process of abstraction,” but “he must perform it by choice” (14): “volition begins with the first syllogism” (15). None of this happens automatically as an apparatus of consciousness. Rather, one must choose as an act of volition to integrate two particular tall green & brown leafy things to achieve the concept of tree. Death-choosers apparently choose to evade the integration and therefore have no arboreal concepts. It’s odd: it seems for “choice” to be meaningful, even in the most naïve sense, the separate alternatives must be knowable, at least to a basic extent--and if the alternatives of “I’ll integrate the concept of treeness” or “I won’t integrate the concept of treeness” are available prior to the choice being made, it would seem that the point is mooted, as the concept must have been available when the rational mind evaluated the ramifications of the conceptual fork. So, yeah, it makes no sense in reality, but it probably makes a perverse sense in Randland. Nifty comment that Witch Doctor provides “an insurance against the dark unknown of tomorrow” to Attila, “to sanction his actions and to disarm his victims” (19). I regard this comment, like “folksy wisdom,” supra, to be entirely unintentionally self-reflexive in this volume.The text unravels completely when “it is not the case that Attila and the Witch Doctor cannot or do not think; they can and do--but thinking, to them, is not a means of perceiving reality, it is a means of justifying their escape from the necessity of rational perception. Reason to them is a means of defeating their victims” (19). This is odd when juxtaposed with the comments in VoS that humans are distinguished from animals by volitional thinking, equated with reason. That text then lays out the argument that capitalism, good governance, and whatnot arise out of reason. So: Witch Doctor and Attila use reason to beat their victims. Does the objectivist merely shrug away this tacit equivalence?Text thereafter develops as a reading of history from the perspective of the simpleton Attila/Witch Doctor binary. It’s very schematic and puerile. But: “the first society whose leaders were neither Attilas nor Witch Doctors, a society led, dominated and created by the Producers,” was predictably enough the US (24). Let’s back up for a moment: Attila “never thinks of creating, only of taking over. Whether he conquers a neighboring tribe or overruns a continent, material looting is his only goal and it ends with the act of seizure: he has no other purpose, no plan, no system to impose on the conquered, no values” (16). (This will of course be contradicted soon thereafter--“Attila herds men into armies, the Witch Doctor sets the armies’ goals. Attila Conquers empires--the Witch Doctor writes their laws” (2)--but never mind that.) The Witch Doctor “provides Attila with values” (16) and “preempts the field of morality” (17).So: the US, with its slavery, and genocide of natives, and coverture for women, and property qualifications for voting, and exclusion statutes, and domestic torture, and starvation, and interminable war on the frontier, and religious supernaturalisms, is led by neither Attila nor Witch Doctor. Gotcha. We are assured that “during the nineteenth century,” again, as in VoS, “the world came close to economic freedom, for the first and only time in history” (25). Nevermind all the slavery and poverty and whatnot. Instead, we get the bizarre inversion that capitalism “released men from bondage of their physical needs, has released them from the terrible drudgery of an eighteen-hour workday of manual labor for their barest subsistence” (27). Then comes the survey of philosophy, and it is a parade of sophomoric horribles, in which the summaries of others’ ideas is mendacious beyond measure:Descartes is ridiculed for “the belief that the existence of an external world is not self-evident, but must be proved by deduction” (28). This is dismissed merely as the Witch Doctor, no explanation. After all, the material world is obvious, no? Hume is mocked for seeing “objects moving about, but never saw such a thing as ‘causality’” (29). This is dismissed merely as Attila (with some confusion of Hume’s ideas with Berkeley’s). Kant is pooh-poohed for the noumenal/phenomenonal distinction (31) and the categories, which are dismissed, without refutation, as “preposterous,” a “pre-determined collective delusion” (id.); even if that correctly states Kant’s theory of ideology (and I’m not sure that it does), Rand has not refuted it. Rather, her dismissal is premised on a logical fallacy: “his argument amounted to a negation, not only of man’s consciousness, but of any consciousness, of consciousness as such” (31-32). I’m fairly sure that this is untrue, but the fallacy is argumentum ad consequentiam, i.e., she has argued that Kant must be wrong because otherwise consciousness is not true--and we can‘t have that. Hegel is dismissed in a sentence as he “proclaimed that matter does not exist at all, that everything is Idea […] and that Idea operates by the dialectical process” of contradiction (33). The presentation of Marx demonstrates conclusively the unreliability of this text:“While businessmen were rising to spectacular achievements [detail of achievements that looks as though it were lifted from The Communist Manifesto] (against the scornful resistance of loafing ex-feudal aristocrats and the destructive violence of those who were to profit most: the workers [!])--what philosophy was offering, as an evaluation of their achievements and as guidance for the rest of society was the pure Attila-ism of Marx, who proclaimed that the mind does not exist [error], that everything is matter [mostly error], that matter develops itself by the dialectical process of its own ‘super-logic’ of contradictions, and what is true today will not be true tomorrow [?], that the material tools of production determine men’s ‘ideological superstructure’ (which means machines create men’s thinking, not the other way around, and the seizure of omnipotent machines will transfer omnipotence to the rule of brute violence) [chain of error]” (33-34). It’s a litany of sleights of mind, misreading, silliness. I’d assume that it were plain dishonesty had I any confidence that the text of Marxism had been read--but as there are no citations, I suspect that this is reported second hand, mixed with incidental prevarication. Thereafter follows equally bogus discussion of pragmatism, logical positivism, positivism proper, utilitarianism, Nietzsche, Spencer. Very much textbook Dunning-Kruger on display. A revealing slip toward the end: “The intellectuals, or their predominant majority, remained centuries behind their time: still seeking the favor of noble protectors, some of them were bewailing the ‘vulgarity’ of commercial pursuits [who? no citations], scoffing at those whose wealth was ‘new,’ and, simultaneously, blaming those new wealth-makers for all the poverty inherited from the centuries ruled by the owners of nobly ‘non-commercial’ wealth'" (39). Here is a rare sense of historical effect in Rand. Rand will never give the Soviet Union the benefit of the doubt for inheriting a feudal economy and for being destroyed by world war and civil war and world war again. Nor will she give the individual worker a break. But here the industrialist can’t be blamed for the poverty under capitalism--that was all inherited. Or is the result of government interference. Or caused by shiftless proletarians. Whatever. It’s deplorable.Another tiresome refrain: “they [who? no citations] refused to identify the fact that industrial wealth was the product of man’s mind” (40). A silly idealism, buttressed by an even sillier idealist collectivism--as though no actual physical work was involved and capitalists dreamed up “wealth” ex nihilo, whatever that might mean. The lack of citations is a real problem; it is more in the style of streetcorner jeremiad, impugning the alleged evils of a decadent society, than rigorous, researched colloquy. That fits the trite good/evil moralism and the spenglerian sky-is-falling paranoia. Eponymous “new intellectuals” are revealed to be “any man or woman who is willing to think. All those who know that man‘s life must be guided by reason” (50). But isn’t Attila a thinker (supra)? Doesn’t the Witch Doctor use reason (supra)? A contender for one of the worst books ever written--but likely not the winner, as greatest hits collections are mostly forgettable.

  • Christopher
    2019-05-23 20:57

    "I swear - by my life and my love of it - that I will never live for the sake of another man, nor ask another man to live for mine." There is a quality in Ayn Rand's writing that I find supremely attractive: the unflinching, unapologetic assertion of the sanctity of the individual human mind and that any system of thought, government, or economy which seeks to destroy the individual man's reliance on his own rationality is evil. Ayn Rand is not the first writer to speak of these things; Emerson, Thoureau, Nietzshce, and Steinbeck are all writers that I favor for a similar sentiment expressed. At points I vehemently contend with her, at other points I unreservedly agree - but that's the point isn't it, to think for myself. I took up Rand's book because I knew nothing about her writing except that most people who say something about her are almost angry with her and those who like her are angry at everyone else. For my part: I am not angry and I think that though there are merits to the philosophical criticisms of her shortcomings these do not eclipse the value of her work.

  • Samson Blackwell
    2019-05-25 15:59

    A great explication of Ayn's philosophy, and the primary reason I think she's an idiot.

  • Christopher
    2019-05-19 17:57

    This book by novelist and philosopher Ayn Rand, (author of "Atlas Shrugged" and "The Fountainhead") consists of one brilliant essay analyzing the backward and mystical state of the humanities throughout all of man’s history, and the most philosophical selections of Rand’s fiction.This book is wonderful for studying some of the grand speeches Rand’s characters make without having to mark up your fiction copies, and for the sheer convenience of having all these noteworthy expositions in one book. Plus, the title essay is one of Rand’s finest, stressing the importance of thought, and the necessity of new thinkers to study her unique philosophy of Objectivism in order to replace the irrational intellectuals of the present--that a commitment to a philosophy of reason is needed to revolutionize the humanities and to provide the proper foundation for the special sciences.

  • Gary
    2019-06-04 20:03

    I usually don't review comic books but I'll make an exception for this book. There is no grey in her world, and this book read like a comic book. The real world is such that you can't have perfect liberty with perfect equality (moreover she doesn't care about anything but the individual so inequality would have no meaning for her). She's got this weird worldview that the business man is the ideal man. Critical reasoning and intellectual thought must agree with what she says it is or what a 17 year old says it is otherwise she will reject it without explication. She really does mean the things she said in her novels. The individual is everything the group is nothing. Greenspan, one of her accolades, said after the finically crisis became real, "I'm shocked, I can't believe it, the bankers self interest did not lead to protecting shareholders equity".

  • Sara Murphy
    2019-06-09 14:45

    Boy, where do I start? First, I chanced upon Ayn Rand thanks to Netflix and the documentary I watched that focused on Atlas Shrugged. Intrigued, I went to my local used book store and all I could find was "For the New Intellectual" which, I now know was possibly the best book I could have encountered in the first place, as far as Rand's works are concerned. It does a good job of featuring excerpts from some of her other works and giving the general layout of her philosophy. Now, I found myself feeling deeply disturbed, deeply engrossed, utterly fascinated and a part of my soul was delightfully touched while I read things I always felt and never dared utter aloud. Things that talk about givers and takers, morality and independence. Much of what she has said is contrary to how we are raised or how our society actually maneuvers. I don't see any harm in her philosophy, though I am aware how controversial it is, and I was happy to entertain every bit of what I read. Her writing does require someone with an open mind and certain degree of intelligence. Having also read the communist manifesto, multiple Buddhist texts and other books that promote the greater good or some kind of selfless sacrifice, I find myself agreeing, in part, with each of them. Both sides of the argument have merit. However, the dedication to independence, to caring for oneself above all others, to actually earning your keep I find to be the greatest endeavor in regards to the greater good. The greater good starts with a greater individual. She does not preach evil selfishness. She does not preach theft, quite the contrary. She holds a great contempt for corruption, for it is the opposite of what she believes earning to be. She seems to admire the fair trade so much that her plausible and intelligible argument is exquisitely and perfectly rational. One must find it hard to argue against her, though there were some things I had to disagree with. One thing that I cannot deny, Rand writes with such a fiery passion, the likes of which, I have never encountered before. Each excerpt was as passionate as the last. Her writing is superb and flawless. Her stories are interesting and engaging. It is refreshing to read something of this nature, written with language that does not condescend but seeks to treat the reader as an equal, as someone with a mind. Her respect for her readers and their intellect is astounding and I found such pleasure in reading her work, I even had to read some of it out loud to my husband. The parts that stood out the most, aside from the introduction was The Fountainhead excerpts and several sections from Atlas Shrugged, including, "The meaning of sex", "From each according to his ability, to each according to his need", and of course, "This is John Galt speaking". I know this in not everyone's cup of tea and that there are some out there who can probably pick this apart in mere moments, but I kept an open mind despite my personal reservations and was glad to have done so. I will read Atlas Shrugged in the future. In the meantime, I recommend this book to anyone curious, anyone bold and anyone who likes to think.

  • Alan Johnson
    2019-06-13 15:40

    This is an interesting presentation of Ayn Rand's Objectivist philosophy. Although it simplifies the views of many past philosophers, it provides a nonrelativist (ergo, "Objectivist") approach to philosophical thinking. In the latter respect, it is similar to the approach of Leo Strauss (1899-1973). However, Objectivism differs from Strauss in many respects, including its premise of economic libertarianism and its understanding of philosophy as a dogmatic tool in the service of preservation rather than skeptical, rational inquiry as an end in itself.Ayn Rand (1905-1982) has been co-opted by the right wing of American politics. Although she shared with some (not all) conservatives the postulate of economic liberty, she differed from many of them in her atheism (she famously told William F. Buckley, Jr. that he was too intelligent not to be an atheist) and in her insistence that the basis of individual rights is not historical custom or divine revelation but rather philosophic natural rights. Aristotle and Locke were her favorite philosophers. She eschewed the emerging libertarian movement, writing that it was bound to end up as a hippie phenomenon because it lacked a philosophical basis for ethics. She similarly criticized Milton Friedman and "Chicago School" economic conservatives. Although she sympathized with Austrian School economics, she thought that Friedrich von Hayek's concessions to governmental actions were heretical, and she did not accept the fact-value dichotomy of Ludwig von Mises. She kicked the Austrian School theorist Murray Rothbard (1926-75) out of her inner circle (ironically called by the members themselves "the Collective") because he advocated anarchocapitalism as distinguished from her teaching that limited government was necessary. Needless to say, she would have been appalled by the theocratic turn of the Ludwig von Mises Institute (as would Rothbard himself). She never proved, to my satisfaction, how limited government could be consistent with her nonaggression principle, which I believe she obtained from Locke. Specifically, taxation and other governmental requirements cannot, in my view, be possible if one adheres strictly to her principles. She seemed to support some sort of voluntary financial support of government, which is self-evidently absurd. Similarly, the logical conclusion of the nonaggression principle, Rothbard's anarchocapitalism, is, as Rand herself said, totally unrealistic. Accordingly, one must find a different rational basis for government than that proffered by either Rand or Rothbard.When one reads Rand herself instead of the writings of her many epigones, one often finds nuggets of wisdom. Unfortunately, however, Rand's philosophy itself has its limitations.(Originally posted 3/16/2016; revised 3/17/2016.)

  • Matt Sautman
    2019-05-31 15:04

    I was somewhat surprised to see that this volume is more like anthology of Rand's fiction and not a collection of essays on Objectivism. Despite this lack of original content (with the exception of the opening essay), I am pleased with the volume as it is composed of Rand's better moments with the lackluster ones minimized. Objectivism is a flawed philosophy, but those flaws are not as apparent here. Some of the flaws I've come across in the sampled volumes were even omitted here, which can be viewed as a cause of concern for those who are of a more impressionable mind and a cause of intrigue for those who wish to better understand Objectivist thought. My favorite aspect of this work, however, is its intertextuality. Reading this as a companion piece to the works excepted from here allows the reader to better understand the ideas Rand was trying to convey, which in turn allows one to compare how successful these books are at relaying said ideas.

  • John
    2019-05-28 16:37

    I think the most egregious part of this book is how she butchers Kant's ideas. In the tradition of a typical "straw man argument," she offers a simplistic version of his ideas, and then knocks it down. I am not a Kant follower, but if you are going to attack his philosophy, at least try to get it right.The two stars are for spelling and grammar.

  • Himanshu Chawale
    2019-05-25 21:44

    "Love is not self-sacrifice, but the most profound assertion of your own needs and values. It is for your own happiness that you need the person you love, and that is the greatest compliment, the greatest tribute you can pay to that person."

  • Tyler Hochstetler
    2019-06-01 18:03

    This was an inspiring book. Its all about creating value in the real world by being intellectually sound. The world changes in proportion to its greatest thinkers.

  • John
    2019-05-21 22:04

    A disappointing work, despite its ambitious title and underlying promise of potential. Written in what feel like the "mania years", there is a clear sense of bitterness in the short opening essay that takes away half the enjoyment in reading it, since the forceful (and sometimes repetitive) manner in which the ideals are presented make it be more of a manifesto and less of a refreshing new read. To this is added the laughable fact that the opening essay is merely that, and amounts to no more than 25% of the book -- the rest of which is a series of excerpts on Ayn Rand's novels. As someone who has read Ayn Rand, I cannot say this book was particularly interesting -- it is too synthetic a piece to provide sufficient insight into her philosophy, or excitement in what increasingly feel like hammered-down, one-size views on businessmen, the world, businessmen, politics, businessmen, ethics and men (of business).All in all, I was expecting a more detailed account of Objectivism as applied to modern society, especially as to how it relates to conflicting philosophical codes (an interesting and fundamental passage of which can be found in this work, but is too briefly approached to go beneath the surface). Instead, I got a short, averagely written essay compiling thoughts Ayn Rand has been heard saying too often to be surprising, and a series of loose quotes from novels I already own.The joke, clearly, is on me.

  • Mark Geise
    2019-06-16 16:40

    This is a ~50 page title essay with several excerpts taken from We the Living, Fountainhead, and Atlas Shrugged. The vast majority of the book consists of the title essay and John Galt's objectivism speech in Atlas Shrugged. I agree with Rand's philosophy, but I was hoping for more novel material in this book. The title essay is very good, so that was worth the $1 I paid for this at a thrift store. The title essay discusses the two categories of enemies to producers and men of thought: Attilas and Witch Doctors. Attilas are people that achieve goals through the use of and threat of force, while Witch Doctors are those that seek to influence people to go against their rationality. Attilas and Witch Doctors need each other to be complete and, though they may appear very different, they are actually similar and both cause human inventiveness and rationality to be suppressed. This is a good introduction to Rand's philosophy if you don't want to commit more time to reading The Fountainhead or Atlas Shrugged. Also, it's worth it for the Rand junkie that wants to read the well-written title essay.

  • Христо Блажев
    2019-06-05 19:06

    Айн Ранд дефинира новия интелектуалец Произведенията на Айн Ранд определено ме въведоха в едно различно измерение на светоусещане и отношение към живота. Най-силно влияние ми оказаха, разбира се, романите й “Атлас изправи рамене” “Изворът” и “Ние, живите”, както и есетата от сборника “Капитализмът: непознатия идеал”. “За новия интелектуалец” е синтез на тезите й от горните произведения. Основната посока е дефинирането на досегашната човешка история като следствие от щенията на две фигури – Атила и Шамана, в чиито образи тя припознава военни/политически и религиозни лидери, които са налагали своята воля над обикновените хора или чрез сила, или чрез заблуди. А обединението между двете неща според нея е най-опасното нещо.

  • Tori
    2019-06-11 13:52

    Made up almost entirely of excerpts from her novels. Who is this "New Intellectual"? Only Ayn Rand and those who are willing to adhere to her philosophy. As far as her philosophy - she actually has me agreeing with her most of the time, but to a point. In order for her views to be plausible to the point of implementation, every child in America must be born with equal opportunity and privilege. I submit to you that this is hardly the case. I confess to socialistic tendencies, but I think if Rand's utopia = everyman for himself, I think we should at least even the playing field. But that would be fair, wouldn't it?

  • James
    2019-06-14 18:42

    Kind of a funhouse mirror of the intellectual giants who came up with the social contract notion of philosophy. It's a bit like a petulant child, crying out that nobody understands anything but her. Reason is good, sure, and I'll even accept that the Attila and Witch Doctor dynamic is an interesting thread to run through the eponymous essay. I just think it's pretty horrendous to call out, in my mind, some of history's most interesting people -- like Hume, Marx, and JS Mill -- although, this being the fourth of her books I've gone through, I can't say I'm surprised.

  • Jeremy Egerer
    2019-05-30 17:49

    Some of the best rhetoric I've ever read in defense of man's right to enjoy himself -- an extremely logical, extremely powerful, and easily digestible series of speeches on heroes, production, art, sex, and civilization. One of my new favorites of all time.

  • ♥ Ibrahim ♥
    2019-06-01 16:59

    That was the lousiest book I have ever read on philosophy and trying to educate a beginner, a new intellectual on philosophy. I would choose Durant instead or Sophie's World by Gaarder which is actually a work of art.

  • Sybe Starkenburg
    2019-06-11 16:05

    I've read all of Ayn Rand's books. The sub title of my book, A rational spirituality for the 21st century' was inspired by her philosophy 'Objectivism'. Her intellectual view on life continues to inspire.

  • Scottiev
    2019-05-24 21:39

    The best cannonfodder for debaters on the planet, I especially love her distaste for Kant. A part from these, a good spectrum of her devolopment of objectivism.

  • Avi Aharon
    2019-05-23 20:00

    Haven't read it for over 20 years. This read is part of my resolution to read all Ayn Rand (probably in a pace of a book every other month).

  • Chris Brimmer
    2019-06-09 13:43

    She thinks she's an uperman-and does a poor job of proving it

  • Matt Tomaso
    2019-05-24 17:41

    Rand should have stuck to less disguised versions of fiction.

  • Carolyn
    2019-06-18 16:38

    All my favorite speeches from the novels of Ayn Rand. A book that should be kept by everyone's computer.

  • Scott
    2019-05-19 16:43

    Great collection of excerpts from Any Rand. I love her writing.

  • Mariano Hdz
    2019-05-25 18:03

    I think should read this book but once they have finished at least " The Fountainhead " and of course " Atlas Shrugged " it's a more profound book on Mrs. Rand philosophy.

  • Mirela
    2019-06-17 19:05

    Wonderful food for the mind, the thinking one that is...

  • Adam Reilly
    2019-06-16 20:47


  • Non
    2019-05-27 13:48

    I think, therefore I am an "elitist." :)

  • Danng
    2019-06-16 20:45

    This book is a great explanation of why philosophy will be forever shaping our society with or without our choice.