Ayn Rand

Leave comments
or questions:
contact Suzi via e-mail


Suzi's Lair HOME

Suzi's Cyber Lair: You are now at Philosophy Pinnacle
Philosophy Essays
by Suzi
History of Western Philosophy Trips/Vacations Scrapbook-
Ayn Rand &
Humanities: Renaissance to Mid-20th Century Bob - memorial Norris Red Hat Dame  
Personal Identity
Darwin, Evolution,
& Galapagos Islands
Photos -Birds Sophie & Kramer



aynrand.jpg (6608 bytes)

Suzi's    Home Page
Suzi's Bird Photography







Lecture Series:
Personal Identity
History of Western Philosophy
Humanities: Renaissance to Mid-20th Century
Darwin, Evolution,
& Galapagos Islands

 Ayn Rand's Life, Novels, & Objectivism Philosophy
  • “My philosophy, in essence, is the concept of man as a heroic being, with his own happiness as the moral purpose of his life, with productive achievement as his noblest activity, and reason as his only absolute.” - Ayn Rand

  • “Art is the technology of the soul” - Ayn Rand

  • Ayn Rand’s Ethical code of Rational Egoism is derived from abstract moral principles. What does it mean to be selfish? It means, to be concerned with oneself—with one’s self, consisting of the values that one chooses, and the thinking/judgment one uses to do the choosing. Rand challenges 2,500 years of moral philosophy. The purpose of Rand’s Literature: to provide a concretized model for the application of these philosophical principles in action.

Ayn Rand's Life

A Sense of Life (Part 1): Presentation based on a documentary film of same title

A Sense of Life (Part 2) Presentation (power point)

A Sense of Life - Discussion Notes (for power point Presentation Parts 1 & 2) 

  • Ayn Rand developed the theory that everyone has a subconscious view of the universe and of man’s place in it. It is a person’s most personal, emotional response to existence and what she termed a “sense of life.”
  • A Sense of Life is a 1996 American feature-length documentary film written, produced, and directed byMichael Paxton. Its focus is on novelist and philosopher Ayn Rand, the author of the bestselling novels The Fountainhead  and Atlas Shrugged, who promoted her philosophy of Objectivism through her books, articles, speeches, and media appearances.
  • A Sense of Life illustrates the author's own sense of life. It paints a portrait of a woman whose work has remained in print for over sixty years and continues to inspire new generations of readers. It incorporates interviews with the people who knew Ayn Rand best, photos from her personal archives, film clips and original animated sequences to tell her remarkable story- a story of a “life more compelling than fiction.”
  • This presentation is an overview of Ayn Rand’s life, highlighting some of the main concepts underlying her philosophy of Objectivism.
  • For details about A Sense of Life documentary (awards, etc.), plus for more things that Ayn  Rand wrote about the concept "sense of life" in her various books/writings, Click here.

Chronology - Ayn Rand's Life: a detailed list of significant events & periods

Selected Bibliography - Ayn Rand's Works:

Anecdotes about Ayn Rand: observations from: Notes from 100 Voices: An Oral History of Ayn Rand book by Scott McConnell (published 2010)

Quotes about Ayn Rand (various internet sources/authors cited in document)

Ayn Rand's Novels & Movies based on those novels

We The Living: Powerpoint presentation about the novel and the film

We The Living - Discussion notes for presentation

  • How an “impossible” film came to be

  • Novel published, 1936;
    Setting: Russia during 1920’s – chaotic years after Russian Revolution in 1917;

  • Ayn Rand emphasized: Airtight (original title) is not a novel about Russia. It is a novel about the problem of the individual versus the masses, a problem which is the latest, the most vital, the most tremendous problem of the world today, and about which very little has been said in fiction. I have selected Russia as my background merely because that problem stands out in Russia more sharply, more tragically than anywhere on earth. . . It is a novel about Man against the State. Its basic theme is the sanctity of human life....

  • In 1926, Rand had arrived in America, having escaped the bleak tyranny of Soviet Russia. The world she depicted in the novel We The Living was based on her own first-hand experiences, although the characters and plot were largely the products of her imagination. Still, she called it “as near to an autobiography as I will ever write. It is not an autobiography in the literal, but only in the intellectual, sense.”

  • The book did not sell well initially, and became successful only decades later, after Rand became famous as author of The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged.

  • If these events of making the film were presented as fiction, they would probably be dismissed as too far fetched.

The Fountainhead- Part 1:  Powerpoint presentation about the novel and the film

The Fountainhead- Part 2: Powerpoint (continuation of Part 1)

Abstract: The Fountainhead power point presentation (Parts 1 & 2):

        Who is Ayn Rand? The presentation begins with a chronology list of important events & periods in Ayn Rand’s life.

        fountainhead means original source, as in the fountainhead of a river: theme is that the independent, reasoning mind is the original source of all human progress and prosperity

        “Let me stress this: my purpose is not the philosophical enlightenment of my readers . . .  My purpose, first cause and prime mover, is the portrayal of Howard Roark [or the heroes of Atlas Shrugged] as an end in himself . . . to present an image of things not as they are but as they “ought to be”” Ayn Rand

       “I write—and read—for the sake of the story . . . My basic test for any story is: ‘Would I want to meet these characters and observe these events in real life? Is the story an experience worth living through for its own sake? Is the pleasure of contemplating these characters an end in itself?’” Ayn Rand

        THEME: Individualism versus Collectivism, not in politics but in men’s souls. In the 1930s, as Rand was writing the novel, collectivism was rapidly engulfing the world: Communists – in Russia;  Facists: Mussolini- Italy; Hitler & Nat’l Socialists- Germany.  Many in U.S. thought of the Communist and Nazi systems as “noble experiments” – as new attempts to emphasize an individual’s moral responsibilities to his fellow man. Even after World War II, and continuing to present: there is extreme intellectual support for Socialism/Welfare States.

        In one sense, Rand wrote The Fountainhead as a warning about the unmitigated horrors of collectivism, no matter which variety: evils of the concentration camps, extermination of millions of innocents, precipitation of world war. She witnessed these horrors firsthand in Russia and Europe.

        THEME: An independent thinker’s devotion to the facts, not to the opinions of society

        Plot: Story of innovative architect’s lifelong battle to build his type of buildings– according to his designs only. Roark is opposed by three main types of collectivists; all who permit others to dominate their lives in some form: traditionalists, conformists (& nonconformists), and socialists. These three types of collectivists are described in this presentation.

        The Fountainhead Characters: There is an analysis of each of the main characters and some of the minor characters: Rand created characters based on essential ideas they embodied. The characters are presented in her novels in stark terms (often termed ‘black & white’).

Ayn Rand wrote the screenplay for the movie The Fountainhead

Atlas Shrugged: Powerpoint presentation about the novel and the film

Atlas Shrugged: Discussion notes for presentation

Who is John Galt? That question is the opening line of Atlas Shrugged. This becomes answered throughout the epic tale about our world; a world where we could become doomed to dreadful desolution, spiritual emptiness, hopelessness, confusion, dullness, fear.  Atlas Shrugged has many heroes and protagonists. Rand shows the relations to each other through a thrilling plot.  It is political novel about society: the action alone shows that capitalism and the proper economics rest on the mind, keeping in mind at all times how the physical proceeds from the spiritual. As of 2019, nine million copies of Atlas Shruggged has been sold, and many more have read the novel. Published in 1957, in 2009, 2010, & 2011 it sold about 500,000 copies each year (Obama was president). Although Rand had begun to write a screenplay for a TV miniseries of Atlas Shrugged before her death in 1982, it took 54 years since its publication for this movie to be produced.


Course: Introduction to Western Philosophy
             Introduction to Ayn Rand's Objectivism

(Power Point presentations & Discussion Notes created by Susan Fleck)

Historical Background: Introduction to Philosoophy: Powerpoint Presentations

     Ancient Greek Philosophy: Socrates, Plato, Aristotle
                        Discussion Notes: Click on "Notes" tab by side of presentation

     4th through 16th Centuries: Dark Ages, Renaissance, Reformation
                        Discussion Notes: 4th through 16th Centuries

     17th & 18th Centuries: Enlightenment, Scientific & Political Revolutions
                         Discussion Notes: 17th & 18th Centuries

     18th & 19th Centuries: Idealism, Transcendentalism, Socialism, Materialism, Evolution
                          Discussion Notes: 18th & 19th Centuries

     20th Century: History & Philosophy
                           Discussion Notes: 20th Century

Handout / Reference Materials:
 Philosophers Chart: Chronological sequence - important Philosophers & Events
            Philosophy Glossary: Philosophical terms & concepts

            Philosophical Dichotomies: List of major dichotomies throughout philosophy
            Mind-Body Dichotomy: Prevalent in religion/philosophy
            Common Bromides throughout society

OBJECTIVISM: Ayn Rand's Comprehensive Philosophical System
(Charts developed by Susan Fleck based on Rand's works)
              (Power Point presentations & Discussion Notes created by Susan Fleck)

Objectivism: Overview Chart/Diagram

    Metaphysics: Chart/Diagram
    Metaphysics: Powerpoint Presentation

     Metaphysics: Dicussion Notes

     Epistemology: Chart/Diagrm 1: Concept Formation
     Epistemology: Concept Formation Discussion
     Epistemology: Chart/Diagram 2: Reason & Emotion

     Ethics: Chart/Diagram
     Ethics: Powerpoint Presentation
     Ethics: Presentation Outline Notes
     Ethics/Epistemology/Metaphysics: "Man's Nature" Discussion

     Ethics: Additional Notes
     Ethics Essay: 
Rational-Duty meets Rational-Selfishness (See full abstract  & charts below)
       compares and contrasts Immanuel Kant's ethical system and Ayn Rand's ethics, including their views of values, human relations, human nature, rationality, emotions, and self-esteem.
By Susan Fleck


     Politics: Chart/Diagram 1: Rights & Government
     Politics: Chart/Diagram 2: Economics; Capitalism
     Politics: Chart/Diagram 3:
Relationship of Capitalism with six derivative virtues of rationality
     Politics: Powerpoint Presentation
     Politics: Outline Notes: Corresponds with Politics Charts
     Politics: Faith and Force outline: about the "Witch Doctors" & "Attilas" in world
     Politics: Miscellaneous Notes

       Politics: "Negative" argument about Capitalism

     Aesthetics: Chart/Diatram 1: Nature of Art
     Aesthetics: Chart/Diagram 2: Art Judgment
     Aesthetics: Powerpoint Presentation

       Aesthetics: Presentation Outline / Extended Notes
       Aesthetics: Altruism definitions


Suzi's Essays on Objectivism

In Defense of Processed Knowledge.    This essay explains the basic structures of Objectivism's Epistemology (how do we obtain knowledge?).   In addition, there are comparisons and contrasts with other major schools of thought on the subject of knowledge. Here you will find Rand's theory of concept formation, Unit Economy and abstraction.  You will also discover how she debunks the so-called analytic-synthetic dichotomy.

Beyond Ethical Egoism.   In his article, Egoism and Moral Skepticism,  James Rachels presents some convincing arguments exposing the weakness of both the psychological egoism and ethical egoism positions.  However, his paper is fraught with problems.  I intend to reveal the weaknesses in Rachels’ arguments, and will expose his gross distortion of Ayn Rand’s view.  Along the way, I will compare classical ethical egoism with Rand’s “rational-selfishness”, and demonstrate that her views withstand Rachel’s objections.  I will show how Rand can take us beyond ethical egoism while bypassing the lure of altruism.

Rational-Duty meets Rational-Selfishness.     Did you know that Immanuel Kant's ethical system has a deeply rational basis?  Did you know that he, like Rand, views persons as "ends in themselves?"  . . . that, Kant, like Rand, is opposed to tyrannical governments which intrude far too much on personal liberty? . . .  that, like Rand, he believes we should bring quality to our lives and strive for happiness? . . . and that self-esteem plays a key role in his ethical system?  If this is all true, as I demonstrate in this essay, then why is Kant epitomized as the "enemy of Objectivism, including his views on ethics?  I explain why:  This essay compares and contrasts Kantian and Randian ethics, including their views of values, human relations, human nature, rationality, emotions, and self-esteem.

Charts created by Susan Fleck:
Ayn Rand:  Ethical Egoism Chart

Immanuel Kant's Duty: Categorical Imperative Chart

Chart comparing Kantian and Randian ethical systems.