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From AynRandLexicon on businessmen...

The professional businessman is the field agent of the army whose lieutenant-commander-in-chief is the scientist.

Is it the philosopher?

asked Apr 13 '13 at 14:07

Humbug's gravatar image


The excerpt cited by the questioner is a very long paragraph in FNI describing the relation between scientists and businessmen. The excerpt, quoted from The Ayn Rand Lexicon, is cited as appearing on p. 27 in the edition of FNI used for the Lexicon, but appearing on p. 23 in the Signet paperback edition of FNI. In FNI, the paragraph describing scientists and businessmen is immediately preceded by another very long paragraph (pp. 22-23) that begins:

The professional intellectual is the field agent of the army whose commander-in-chief is the philosopher.

As far as I know, Ayn Rand never offered further identification of the exact correspondence between the scientist-businessman "army" and the philosopher-intellectual "army." My own best assessment is that Ayn Rand probably meant that philosophers and intellectuals provide the framework (context of basic ideas) within which scientists (especially in the physical sciences) and businessmen (bringing technology to the market) both operate. Ayn Rand seems to have wanted to stress the scientist-businessman hierarchy specifically, and also wanted to avoid implying that the scientists are at the same hierarchical level as the philosophers. In my understanding, scientists are almost at the level of the intellectuals. There is often great overlap between the two categories, especially depending on what specific kind of intellectual is under consideration. That, however, would make scientists field agents, not lieutenant-commanders-in-chief. So I doubt that Ayn Rand consciously intended the "army" of the scientists and businessmen to be viewed as the same "army" as the "army" of the philosophers and intellectuals, or as an extension within a single army. It's certainly a single hierarchy, however, an unbroken hierarchy with philosphers at the top and businessmen two or three levels down.

answered Apr 13 '13 at 21:36

Ideas%20for%20Life's gravatar image

Ideas for Life ♦

There's also an assumption to then that the philosopher will have ideas that lead to the creation of businessmen and not Atillas.

(Apr 14 '13 at 02:45) Humbug Humbug's gravatar image

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Asked: Apr 13 '13 at 14:07

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Last updated: Apr 14 '13 at 02:45