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Friday, March 10, 2017

On The Objectivist Lectures Of The 1960s

The Vision of Ayn Rand: The Basic Principles of Objectivism 
Nathaniel Branden

Of late I have been inquisitive about the lectures on Ayn Rand’s Objectivist philosophy that Nathaniel Branden delivered under the auspices of the Nathaniel Branden Institute (NBI). I have read a few accounts which claim that these lectures were very well conceived.

NBI was founded in 1958 by Nathaniel with the blessings of Ayn Rand. But the  organization was shut-down in 1968 after Rand evicted him from her circle.

Last week, I listened to two lectures by Nathaniel. Yesterday I purchased the book called The Vision of Ayn Rand which has the transcription of the major lectures that he delivered in the 1960s. Till now I have read the book’s “Introduction” which is by Barbara Branden.

Here’s an excerpt from the “Introduction” in which Barbara seems to suggest that Nathaniel played a critical role in the development of Rand’s philosophical system:
It is unlikely that Rand would have done the work undertaken by Nathaniel—that is, presented her ideas not merely as separate concepts spread over separate novels in separate speeches by her characters, but as a total system that could be studied by those interested and that ultimately would be recognized as a new philosophical system. At the time, she had no interest in writing nonfiction. She sometimes said that she would not write a comprehensive statement of her philosophy until she was 80. And when she did turn to non-fiction writing, she focused primarily on presenting various important aspects, applications, and extensions (such as her work on epistemology) of her ideas rather than on structuring and completing the system as a whole. 
It is possible that Barbara is overhyping Nathaniel’s role. But I will have more to say on the value of the lectures on Objectivism that Nathaniel delivered during the 1960s after I finish reading The Vision of Ayn Rand.

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