The Fountainhead (Introduction to Philosophy this week)

fountainhead-100x165In my Introduction to Philosophy course this week we are reading and discussing The Fountainhead, a great novel on the themes of independence and integrity.

In Part One, Rand’s primary purpose is to contrast the characters Howard Roark and Peter Keating. Here is a table (click to enlarge) summarizing the main events in each young man’s early career.


Roark’s career goes on a downward trajectory, and his independence and integrity seem to have made it impossible for his career to progress. Meanwhile, Keating’s career goes on an upward trajectory, and his use-and-be-used strategy seems to have made possible his financial and reputational success.

Abstracting: Roark’s character is moral but he is a practical failure, but Keating’s character is immoral and he flourishes practically.

So the question at the end of Part One is: Is there a dichotomy between morality and practicality?

Related: more posts on The Fountainhead
* Roark and Keating: First meetings.
* Toohey’s five strategies of altruism.
* Gail Wynand’s power strategy (Part 1). Part 2 forthcoming.
* Gordon Prescott: Heidegger’s disciple?
* Marcel Duchamp and Lillian Rearden.

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