There seems to be a lot of agreement between Ayn Rand and Friedrich Nietzsche in a lot of ways: especially related to individualism and selfishness. How much was Nietzsche actually an influence on Ayn Rand?
asked Sep 18 '10 at 03:23
Andrew Miner ♦
I am no expert on this and whilst there are some scant resources of Objectivists discusing Nietzsche from an Objectivist perspective (and hence, as Ayn Rand would have essentially viewed him), I know little of Nietzsche, and cannot really judge how well they do.
But I can recommend Shoshana Milgram's paper, found in 'Essays on Ayn Rand's The Fountainhead', entilted 'From Notebook to Novel'. It contains a section on Frederich Nietzsche, on the admiration Ayn Rand expressed for his ideas, early on in her life and around the time of writing The Fountainhead. It also shows how she came to reject his ideas, as inconsistent with her understanding of individualism and selfishness, and how this showed in the changes she made to 'The Fountainhead'.
Something I thought to add, upon returning to this after a while: people who ask about the connection often have not actually read one or the other of Nietzsche or Ayn Rand. Brian Leiter, an academic philosopher, has done a lot of good work exposing the common misconceptions of Nietzsche. His ideas, through and through, just are not the kind Ayn Rand would assent to. They were superficial statements she liked, expressing a certain spirit which she admired. As far as any actual study goes Rand had more in common with Hegel than Nietzsche.