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Ayn Rand's Fictional Characters as Philosophical Archetypes

Andrew Bernstein

Presented at: 21CC 1995

Date: May 26, 1995

(from conference program):

How is the conformism of Peter Keating an example of Kant's metaphysics? In what sense does Robert Stadler adhere to Plato's theory of human nature? Which fundamental premise of Kant's ethics is shared by Gail Wynand and Dominique Francon? What makes Guy Francon the best of the second-handers? These, and countless similar questions, can be answered only when it is understood that Ayn Rand's fictional characters are more than unique, unrepeatable individuals: they are dramatized instances of philosophy in action. Even the minor characters of Atlas Shrugged--e.g., Mr. Thompson, Floyd Ferris, Lillian Rearden--embody such philosophical principles as (respectively): Pragmatism, Skepticism, Nihilism. Focusing on The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged, Dr. Bernstein will analyze the philosophical principles that comprise the essence of many of Ayn Rand's leading characters.

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Parts: 2

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