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I can often run into people that state that Ayn Rand was a writer, not a philosopher, or she made no real contributions to philosophy. Is it possible we could list some of Ayn Rand's prominent philosophical accomplishments (either uniquely her own or even in cases where she has succeeded based on applying Objectivism to foundations placed by other thinkers) and distribute them into the branches? I have not yet had the pleasure to read Introduction to an Objectivist Epistemology however I only became recently aware that Rand has supposedly solved "the problem of universals", for instance. I am well aware, for instance, that her most prominent achievements are supposed to be in the area of concept-formation.



Solved Problem of Universals -(potential brief explanation here) Concept Formation (potential brief explanation) Unit measurement/ommission


Further development of a coherent system for individual rights within a laissez-faire society (potential brief explanation).

I would like to do what was done in another thread, have a bunch of people answer this question, and then have someone reorganize all of these answers into a single master list, as is being done with...I believe..the book list.

asked Sep 28 '10 at 15:53

capitalistswine's gravatar image

capitalistswine ♦

edited Sep 29 '10 at 00:13

Greg%20Perkins's gravatar image

Greg Perkins ♦♦

In my own mind I've answered that question by considering Ayn Rand to be the first person to discovered a philosophy. All previous philosophers have 'reached' into another dimension to find justifications for their beliefs and so invented an unrealistic world view in their own minds. As such, Objectivism is the first philosophy to be truly man centered and life enhancing.

Ayn Rand is the first to say that this reality and existence is all that there is. Hence, it is the first philosophy that has the potential of being recognized universally.

(Sep 29 '10 at 01:13) garret seinen garret%20seinen's gravatar image

No, Rand is not the first Atheist.

(Nov 07 '10 at 15:11) Mindy Newton ♦ Mindy%20Newton's gravatar image

Rand's philosophical accomplishments are too many to list here, but I'll name a few of the top ones:

  • Her theory of concepts, especially the idea of concept-formation by measurement omission
  • Her concept of "objective" (as distinguished from "subjective" and "intrinsic")
  • Her meta-ethics, which grounds morality in reality; especially the idea of life as the root and the standard of value
  • Her identification of force as the only way to violate individual rights

For a more comprehensive treatment, I refer to you to the series on this topic published in The Objectivist Forum shortly after her death in 1982.

answered Sep 29 '10 at 04:33

jasoncrawford's gravatar image

jasoncrawford ♦

edited Nov 07 '10 at 16:43


Mindy, the concept "objective" was certainly around before Rand, but she gave it a new, fuller, more profound definition and meaning.

(Nov 05 '10 at 19:08) jasoncrawford ♦ jasoncrawford's gravatar image

The link you provided doesn't seem to work for me Jason. Thanks

(Nov 07 '10 at 16:24) capitalistswine ♦ capitalistswine's gravatar image

Oops, fixed the link, thanks.

(Nov 08 '10 at 03:08) jasoncrawford ♦ jasoncrawford's gravatar image
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Harry Binswanger's article, referenced by Jason Crawford, is — I say unabashedly — a brilliant analysis. It's worth paying for the whole volume, just for that one article, which he intended initially as a two-part article but ended up devoting the better part of four issues to.

I get no kudos or kickbacks for this, but (as a philosophy professor) I find The Objectivist Forum to be the most idea-dense and user-friendly Objectivist periodical since Ayn Rand's own works. Everyone should have it.

answered Nov 11 '10 at 12:21

Robert%20Garmong's gravatar image

Robert Garmong ♦

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Asked: Sep 28 '10 at 15:53

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Last updated: Nov 11 '10 at 12:21