Ayn Rand


A Russian-born American writer who originated a philosophy known as Objectivism, Ayn Rand, b. Feb. 2, 1905, d. Mar. 6, 1982, advocated capitalism in economics and individualism in ethics. Two novels, The Fountainhead (1943) and Atlas Shrugged (1957), contain the heart of her philosophy: that rational self-interest should be the basis of action and that self-fulfillment is an individual's moral responsibility, with productive achievement the noblest activity. She saw altruism as both a personal and a political weakness. Rand collected her philosophical writings in For the New Intellectual (1961) and, from 1962 on, edited a newsletter called The Ayn Rand Letter. Her private letters, edited by Michael S. Berliner, were published in 1995.