No American philosopher has sold more books to the general public than Rand—over thirty million at last count, with over a half million being sold on a yearly basis. Rand’s legacy is widespread and enduring. Yet, despite the extent of her influence, her ideas have not received much attention from scholars and critics.
Her philosophical views, many of which are extremely controversial, literally cry out for interpretation and criticism. But little along these lines has appeared.
Ayn Rand Contra Human Nature represents a major contribution to a critical understanding of Rand’s so-called “Objectivist” ideology. Based on extensive research of Rand’s writings, including her journals and letters, the book demonstrates how Objectivism sprung from Rand’s romantic and idealistic view of human nature. Rand repeatedly claimed that the goal of her writing was “the projection of an ideal man” and that her philosophy was merely “a necessary means to that end.” Using this insight as an interpretive touchstone, the book proceeds to explain how Rand’s views on history, human knowledge, morality, and aesthetics were profoundly influenced by her idolatry of the “ideal man” and where she went wrong in developing her unique but flawed vision of human society.