Ayn Rand

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Ayn Rand : biography

February 2, 1905 – March 6, 1982

Philosopher Michael Huemer has argued that very few people find Rand’s ideas convincing, especially her ethics, which he believes is difficult to interpret and may lack logical coherence. He attributes the attention she receives to her being a "compelling writer", especially as a novelist. Thus, Atlas Shrugged outsells not only the works of other philosophers of classical liberalism as Ludwig von Mises, Friedrich Hayek, or Frederic Bastiat, but also Rand’s own non-fiction works.

Political scientist Charles Murray, while praising Rand’s literary accomplishments, criticizes her claim that her only "philosophical debt" was to Aristotle, instead asserting that her ideas were derivative of previous thinkers such as John Locke and Friedrich Nietzsche. According to Murray, "By insisting that Objectivism had sprung full blown from her own mind, with just a little help from Aristotle, Rand was being childish, as well as out of touch with reality."

Although Rand maintained that Objectivism was an integrated philosophical system, philosopher Robert H. Bass has argued that her central ethical ideas are inconsistent and contradictory to her central political ideas.

Objectivist movement

In 1985, Rand’s heir Leonard Peikoff established the Ayn Rand Institute, a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting Rand’s ideas and works. In 1990, philosopher David Kelley founded the Institute for Objectivist Studies, now known as The Atlas Society.; In 2001 historian John McCaskey organized the Anthem Foundation for Objectivist Scholarship, which provides grants for scholarly work on Objectivism in academia. The charitable foundation of BB&T Corporation has also given grants for teaching Rand’s ideas or works. The University of Texas at Austin, the University of Pittsburgh, and University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill are among the schools that have received grants. In some cases these grants have been controversial due to their requiring research or teaching related to Rand.;