Ayn Rand’s Egoism: Theory and Analysis

Document Type : Research Paper


1 Assistant Professor, University of Zanjan, Iran

2 Professor, University of Religions and Denominations, Iran


Ayn Rand was a Russian-born American philosopher, novelist, and playwright, whose interpretation of ethical egoism is one of the most important interpretations of this theory.  Rand is a proponent of intellectual egoism, and rationalism is a fundamental element in her ethical theory. This article attempts to review, analyze, and criticize her interpretation of ethical egoism.   Additionally, an ethical theory known as ego-altruism will be introduced in opposition to Rand’s theory.  Ego-altruism proposes that the pivot of ethics is to maintain balance and equilibrium between the self and others.


Aristotle. 2004. Nicomachean Ethics. Edited By Roger Crisp. New York: Cambridge University Press.
Badhwar, Neera, and Roderick Long. 2012. “Ayn Rand.” In The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, edited by Edward N. Zalta. <http://plato.stanford.edu /archives/fall2012/entries/ayn-rand/>.
Barcalow, Emmett. 2007. Moral Philosophy Theories and Issues. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.
Bernstein, Andrew. 2008. Objectivism in One Lesson. Lanham: Hamilton Books.
Boss, Judith A. 2008. Ethics for Life. New York: McGraw-Hill.
Branden, Nathaniel. 1985. Honoring the Self. Los Angeles: Bantam Book.
Burkitt, Ian. 2000. Social Selves. London: Sage.
Burns, Jennifer. 2009. Goddess of the Market Ayn Rand And The American Right. New York: Oxford University Press.
Graham, Keith. 2004. Altruism, Self-Interest and the Indistinctness of Person. London: Frank Cass.
Lafollette, Hugh. 2007. The Practice of Ethics. Malden: Blackwell Publishing.
Martin, Mike. 2007. Everyday Morality: An Introduction to Applied Ethics. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.
Palmer, Micheal. 1991. Moral Problems. Cambridge: The Lutterworth Press.
Peikoff, Leonard. 1999. The Ayn Rand Reader. New York: Plume.
Pojman, Louis P. 2000. The Moral Life: An Introduction in Ethics and Literature. New York: Oxford University Press.
—————. 2005. How Should We Live? Cambridge: Wadsworth.
—————. 2009. Ethics Discovering Right and Wrong. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Cengage Learning.
Rachels, James. 1998. The Elements of Moral Philosophy. New York: McGraw-Hill.
Rand, Ayn. 1961a. For the New Intellectual. New York: A Signet Book.
————. 1961b. Romantic Manifesto, New York: A Signet Book.
————. 1964a. Atlas Shrugged. New York: A Signet Book.
————. 1964b. The Objectivist Ethics: New York: A Signet Book.
————. 1984. Philosophy: Who Needs It. New York: A Signet Book.
————. 1990. Our Cultural Value-Deprivation. New York: A Meridian Book.
————. 2009. Objectively Speaking: Ayn Rand Interviewed. Edited By Marlene Poditske, New York: Lexington Books.
Ryan, Scott. 2003. Objectivism and the Corruption of Rationality. New York: Club Press.
Seglow, Jonathan. 2004. The Ethics of Altruism. London: Frank Cass.
Smith, Tara. 2008. Ayn Rand Normative Ethics: The Virtuous Egoism. New York: Cambridge University Press.
Veenhoven, Ruut. 1991. Questions on Happiness. London: Pergamon Press.