The Virtue of Selfishness

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Penguin, Nov 1, 1964 - Philosophy - 176 pages
A collection of essays that sets forth the moral principles of Objectivism, Ayn Rand's controversial, groundbreaking philosophy.

Since their initial publication, Rand's fictional works—Anthem, The Fountainhead, and Atlas Shrugged—have had a major impact on the intellectual scene. The underlying theme of her famous novels is her philosophy, a new morality—the ethics of rational self-interest—that offers a robust challenge to altruist-collectivist thought.

Known as Objectivism, her divisive philosophy holds human life—the life proper to a rational being—as the standard of moral values and regards altruism as incompatible with man's nature. In this series of essays, Rand asks why man needs morality in the first place, and arrives at an answer that redefines a new code of ethics based on the virtue of selfishness.

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User Review  - mvbdlr - LibraryThing

I read this book in order to understand Rand's philosophy before reading Atlas Shrugged. I figured that for such a big book, I needed to know what was going on before the fact, so I can follow along ... Read full review

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User Review  - LisaMaria_C - LibraryThing

Ayn Rand was once asked if she could present the essence of her philosophy while standing on one foot. She answered: Metaphysics: Objective Reality; Epistemology: Reason; Ethics: Self-interest ... Read full review

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Title Page Copyright Page Introduction
The Objectivist Ethics
Mental Health versus Mysticism and SelfSacrifice
The Ethics of Emergencies
The Conflicts of Mens Interests
Isnt Everyone Selfish?
The Psychology of Pleasure
Doesnt Life Require Compromise?
The Monument Builders
Mans Rights
Collectivized Rights
The Nature of Government
Government Financing in a Free Society
The Divine Right of Stagnation
Counterfeit Individualism

How Does One Lead a Rational Life in an Irrational Society?
The Cult of Moral Grayness
Collectivized Ethics
The Argument from Intimidation

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About the author (1964)

Born February 2, 1905, Ayn Rand published her first novel, We the Living, in 1936. Anthem followed in 1938. It was with the publication of The Fountainhead (1943) and Atlas Shrugged (1957) that she achieved her spectacular success. Rand’s unique philosophy, Objectivism, has gained a worldwide audience. The fundamentals of her philosophy are put forth in three nonfiction books, Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology, The Virtues of Selfishness, and Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal. They are all available in Signet editions, as is the magnificent statement of her artistic credo, The Romantic Manifesto.

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