R. HUDELSON, CHOICE 33, no. 5 (JANUARY 1996)

"Dismissed as a shallow autodidact by most academic philosophers, Ayn Rand continues to hold the allegiance of a significant lay following. Contrary to his fellow academics, Sciabarra argues that Rand's works rest on a sophisticated philosophical core created by Rand's critical appropriation of a specifically Russian dialectical method, a method Rand learned during a period of her life devoted to serious study with major figures of prerevolutionary Russian philosophy. In the first part of the book Sciabarra provides a historical sketch of Rand's philosophical development and the prerevolutionary philosophical milieu within which it occurred. In the remainder of the book, Sciabarra aims to show how the philosophy Rand formed on the basis of her studies provided a unifying foundation for all of her works. Despite its length and serious intent, Sciabarra's argument suffers from two defects: as biographer he is unable to show that Rand ever took more than one course in philosophy, and as philosophical analyst he offers us a conception of Russian dialectics that is too vague to serve its intended function. General; undergraduate; graduate; faculty."

Humanities - Philosophy

R. Hudelson, University of Minnesota - Duluth

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