The Contested Legacy of Ayn Rand: Truth and Toleration in Objectivism Online Edition
The book that launched the Objectivist debate about moral judgment, toleration, and the nature of Objectivism itself.
Read the Introduction from the first edition of Truth and Toleration. [html]
Read the complete second edition text from The Contested Legacy of Ayn Rand. [419 kb Adobe PDF format]
In Contested Legacy
, philosopher David Kelley analyzes the conflicts that led him to break ranks with orthodox Objectivists and create an independent branch of the movement. Originally published in 1990 as a manifesto, the work has been revised as an analysis of the principles of intellectual collaboration--the terms on which intellectuals and activists can work together in a common cause. Going beyond the immediate issues, Kelley discusses the nature of individual responsibility for the spread of ideas and for their historical consequences. He offers a new argument for toleration based on a nonrelativistic theory of truth. And he describes the nature of tribalism among intellectuals, showing how the troubled legacy of Ayn Rand has followed a pattern familiar from the not-so-civil wars among followers of other original and charismatic thinkers such as Marx and Freud. The Postscript for the 2nd
edition reviews the growth in Objectivist scholarship and the influence of Rand’s ideas.
Contested Legacy is an engaging introduction to the Objectivist movement, its core ideas, and its central fissures. At the same time, it offers a case study in the sociology of intellectual movements and a frank discussion of the issues that arise whenever thinkers leave their studies to promote their ideas in the public realm.