Egoism in Nietzsche and Rand

These are print and audiobook versions of my “Egoism in Nietzsche and Rand” [pdf], first published in The Journal of Ayn Rand Studies 10:2, Spring 2009, pp. 249-291.

Part One: On Critiquing Altruism [MP3] [YouTube] [64 minutes]

egoism-pt1Three Nietzsches and Ayn Rand
Some intellectuals on Nietzsche and Rand
Egoism, altruism, and “selfishness”
A Nietzschean sketch

     God is dead
     Nihilism’s symptoms  
     Two bio-psychological types 
     Psychology and morality

Comparing Nietzsche’s and Rand’s critiques of altruism
Rand’s break with Nietzsche’s critique

Part Two: On Egoism [MP3] [YouTube] [36 minutes]

egoism-pt2Rand’s egoism
Nietzsche’s rhetoric and system
The major differences between Nietzsche and Rand

     Are individuals real? 
     Do individuals have free will? 
     What is the source of moral values? 
     How does the self identify its nature and values?
     Are individual selves ends in themselves? 
     Are fundamental values universal? 
     Are the relations of individuals win/win or win/lose? 
     Rights, liberty, equality before the law? 
     Slavery and freedom, war and peace


The entire audio version [mp3] [YouTube] [101 minutes].
The print version [pdf].
Return to my Publications page.

2 thoughts on “Egoism in Nietzsche and Rand

  • April 19, 2017 at 6:17 pm

    Dr. Hicks,
    Thank you, an excellent and original essay.
    I have a single objection: “The life of the individual is the standard of value”.
    Surely not? – “Man’s life” is the … etc.
    (“A standard is an abstract principle that serves as a measurement or gauge to guide a man’s choices…”AR) If one’s own life is the “measurement” this becomes self-referencing or circular- with a possible outcome, subjective egotism. I think this distinction is crucial to Rand’s egoism. Do you agree with my re-interpretation?
    Again, a most valuable article. As well, your analysis of post-modernism of which I now have a clearer grasp.

  • July 19, 2017 at 1:23 pm

    @ Tony,

    “Life of the individual as standard of value” means that a man’s life if his own, not a means to the end of others, and that the good is that which furthers it. Don’t get caught up in definition games, it’s very basic- What furthers your life is not subjective, an action furthers your life or it does not. Those actions that do are good. I may want to eat ice cream all day long & think it’s going to further my life, but it wont.

    A man is a specific being of a specific nature and as such there are specific requirements to thrive, these requirements are not subjective. You should read Rand’s novels if you are interested, she has many examples throughout of this kind of thing.

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