Whilst surfing for something else I happened across this description of Ayn Rand’s philosophy as “really nothing other than a Solipsistic ethical system thinly shrouded with Aristotle,” popular only because “a lot of college age kids want to hear … a philosophical rationalization for greed and selfishness.”
I think one of the chief explainers of the divide between those who take Rand seriously as a philosopher and those who don’t may well be the interpretive divide between those who see her philosophy as a solipsistic ethical system thinly shrouded with Aristotle and those who see it as an Aristotelean system thinly shrouded with ethical solipsism. Obviously I’m in the latter camp.
So here’s a question for those in the former camp: if Rand’s ethics is just a rationalisation for greed and selfishness (in the conventional sense) and the Aristoteleanism is just a thin shroud, then what exactly is the contrast in The Fountainhead between Roark on the one hand and Wynand and Keating on the other supposed to be about? What is supposed to be wrong with Wynand’s and/or Keating’s modus operandi, from Rand’s point of view? If anyone can give a plausible answer that’s consistent with the view of Rand cited above, I’ll eat my conical hat. If not, then I’ll stick to my view that such readings of Rand are the product of a tin ear.