A Companion to Ayn Rand, edited by Allan Gotthelf and Greg Salmieri. West Sussex, UK: John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., 2016. 538 pp. $195 (hardcover).
This Companion is the first volume in three decades to offer a comprehensive examination, by professional intellectuals (most of whom have academic positions), of Ayn Rand’s thought in all of its dimensions—metaphysics, epistemology, ethics, politics, and aesthetics. Overall, it’s a meritorious work, which surpasses a prior effort (see The Philosophic Thought of Ayn Rand, edited by Douglas J. Den Uyl and Douglas B. Rasmussen in 1984), partly because intervening decades have seen the release of more of Rand’s writings (her correspondence, journals, interviews, Q&A sessions, etc.) and partly because these contributors are generally more knowledgeable and more incisive about the distinctiveness of her philosophy. The most integrated, authoritative, and accessible account of Rand’s unique system of thought remains Leonard Peikoff’s Objectivism: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand (1991), but this Companion effectively showcases the truth and importance of Objectivism through the reasoning and writing of scholars who have closely studied Rand and Peikoff. With it, one can better grasp the depth and originality of Rand’s philosophic thought, especially in relation to conventional academic thought and her critics. . . .