The Virtue of Selfishness
A New Concept of Egoism
The provocative title of Ayn Rand’s The Virtue of Selfishness introduces an equally provocative thesis about ethics. Traditional ethics has always been suspicious of self-interest, praising acts that are selfless in intent and calling acts that are motivated by self-interest amoral or immoral. Ayn Rand’s view is exactly the opposite.
This collection of nineteen essays is an effective summary of Ayn Rand’s philosophy, which holds the value of the individual over and above that of the state or any other collective. The thread running through all of the essays is Rand’s definition of selfishness as “rational self-interest,” with the idea that one has the right to assure one’s own survival, to pursue happiness, and to own the fruits of one’s labor without having to sacrifice any of these to others against one’s will.
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