Talk:Ayn Rand

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Good article Ayn Rand has been listed as one of the Language and literature good articles under the good article criteria. If you can improve it further, please do so. If it no longer meets these criteria, you can reassess it.

Should she be described firstly as a novelist or a philosopher?[edit]

Consensus support describing her first as a novelist.--v/r - TP 18:40, 18 November 2014 (UTC)

The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

It seems more appropriate that she be described as a "philosopher, novelist, etc." rather than as a "novelist, philosopher, etc". Seeing as her written work revolves around her philosophy, one can reasonably conclude that the development of the philosophy came before the writing of the novels. The thing about her that the majority of people remember most is her philosophy, so it seems more logical to have her described firstly as a philosopher. Reverse polish (talk) 16:53, 16 November 2014 (UTC)

Thank you for your comments - the original text re Ayn Rand as a novelist first seems more appropriate - several relevant earlier discussions may apply - including => "Talk:Ayn Rand/Archive 45#Is Atlas Shruged best described as a "love story" in wikipedia" - as well as - perhaps - a relevant reference in the "National Review" - hope this helps in some way - in any case - Enjoy! :) Drbogdan (talk) 17:31, 16 November 2014 (UTC)
Philosophy can mean "a discipline comprising as its core logic, aesthetics, ethics, metaphysics, and epistemology" or "the most basic beliefs, concepts, and attitudes of an individual or group". (Merriam-Webster) Some editors have argued that Rand should be described as a philosopher because some of her lesser known writings met the first definition, even though they have been universally ignored. The novels represent her philosophy in the second sense. (For example, they provide a clear message of individualism, but not a lot about epistemology.) But the same could be said of most writers - their writings represent how they see the world. TFD (talk) 17:49, 16 November 2014 (UTC)
So what exactly differentiates a "philosopher" from a "writer"? If the primary motive behind Rand's writing was to endorse her philosophy, then why is she considered a writer first and philosopher second? Would a famous pastor be considered an "orator" first and a "religious leader" second? Reverse polish (talk) 20:18, 16 November 2014 (UTC)
Philosophers write about philosophy, that is to say, logic, aesthetics, ethics, metaphysics, and epistemology. As for pastors, C. S. Lewis' article lists him first as a novelist, because he is better known for his Narnia series than for his pastoral work, These books revolve around her philosophy, too, and one can reasonably conclude that the development of the philosophy came before the writing of the novels. And of course we do not call pastors who orate "philosophers", even though they are talking about their personal philosophies. TFD (talk) 20:36, 16 November 2014 (UTC)
So what would be an example of an individual who was a philosopher first and a writer second? Also, C.S. Lewis is not predominantly known for his philosophy, he is known for his novels. Rand is known predominantly for her philosophy. Again, if the primary motive behind Rand's writing was to endorse her philosophy, then why is she considered a writer first and philosopher second? This is the third time I have brought up this point, and it has not been addressed. Reverse polish (talk) 22:43, 16 November 2014 (UTC)
You evidently have never studied philosophy or you would not have said that. How does she resolve the mind-body problem, causation, etc., in her novels? Has anyone tried to make the Prolegomena to any Future Metaphysics or Word and Object into works of fiction or motion pictures?" OTOH, what difference is there between her books and any other books that reflect a writer's view of the world? You are not using the term "philosophy" in the way it is normally understood. TFD (talk) 23:33, 16 November 2014 (UTC)
I never proclaimed to have studied philosophy. I've never even read any of Rand's books. I'm just interested in biographies, and I found it puzzling that the creator of a whole philosophy would not be described firstly as a philosopher. Rand's philosophy addresses specific academic topics in philosophy, so that would be the difference between her books and any regular novelists' books. According to your own words, "philosophers write about philosophy, that is to say, logic, aesthetics, ethics, metaphysics, and epistemology", and all of these topics are discussed in her work. I'll ask this question again, since you did not answer it the first time: what would be an example of an individual who was a philosopher first and a writer second? Reverse polish (talk) 00:55, 17 November 2014 (UTC)
  • This has been beaten to death, see the archives. Someone who claims not to have even read Rand starting this debate is just shaking up a bottle of soda he expects someone else to drink. She studied philosophy at University, but says she had decided to be a writer at age 9. She had success first as a playwright, screenplay writer, and novelist, but spent the last 25 years of her life writing and lecturing almost exclusively on philosophy. I think novelist philospher sounds more natural. In any case, changing the order will not be worth the blood, sweat and tears that will be shed in accomplishing it, and we will simply have the same argument to reerse the order again in six months. μηδείς (talk) 02:20, 17 November 2014 (UTC)
"What would be an example of an individual who was a philosopher first and a writer second?" -- And, of course, this question was once again left unanswered. You do not need to have read Rand to figure out that it is extremely questionable to give secondary importance to the philosophy that she created, which is the main thing she is remembered for. Someone who claims to be well-versed in philosophy should perhaps try to understand a person's arguments before being immediately dismissive. Reverse polish (talk) 02:47, 17 November 2014 (UTC)
She is not remembered for her philosophy. TFD (talk) 05:24, 17 November 2014 (UTC)
The only reason I knew who she was in the first place was because of her philosophy. "What would be an example of an individual who was a philosopher first and a writer second?" This is the FIFTH time I'm asking this question. You would think that "philosophy experts" would be able to answer a simple question... Reverse polish (talk) 10:54, 17 November 2014 (UTC)
Also, notice how I made valid points about Rand writing about philosophy, therefore making her a philosopher according to your own definition, and you avoided addressing that argument too. That is very telling... Reverse polish (talk) 10:45, 17 November 2014 (UTC)
It is frustrating that my questions and points are being ignored, when we are supposed to be having a discussion. Reverse polish (talk) 11:23, 17 November 2014 (UTC)

FWIW - According to the Encyclopædia Britannica, Rand was a "Russian-born American writer" and failed to gain acceptance among academic philosophers "due to the fictional form in which the best-known statements of her philosophy appeared, which necessarily rendered them imprecise by professional standards." - in any case - the following may apply => WP:ONEAGAINSTMANY - hope this helps in some way - Enjoy! :) Drbogdan (talk) 14:07, 17 November 2014 (UTC)

Abstract arguments about how philosophy is defined, etc., should take a back seat to what independent reliable sources say. The sources are clear enough here -- although there are many that call her a philosopher (which is why we include that in her description), there are many more that call her a novelist. --RL0919 (talk) 14:58, 17 November 2014 (UTC)
  • The purpose of a talk page is improving the article, not debating the subject, things in general, or eductaing someone unfamiliar with the topic. I suggest this thread be closed on that basis. μηδείς (talk) 18:36, 18 November 2014 (UTC)
Medeis is right; Rand should be described first as a novelist, then a philosopher. ImprovingWiki (talk) 08:29, 18 November 2014 (UTC)

The discussion above is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

Citizenship ?[edit]

Currently our article seems to say she arrived from Russia on a tourist visa but decided to stay and got US citizenship. It's usually not that simple, though. Did she defect and request asylum ? If not, I'd expect her to have been deported when her tourist visa expired. StuRat (talk) 19:08, 29 December 2014 (UTC)

She received several visa extensions (Heller suggests her movie industry contacts probably helped her with this), and when those ran out, she married an American citizen, which fast-tracked her to citizenship. Keep in mind that this was over 80 years ago, and immigration was not handled exactly the same as it is now. For instance, I don't think political asylum existed in US law in the 1920s. --RL0919 (talk) 19:49, 29 December 2014 (UTC)
Thanks. Shouldn't this info be added to the article ? StuRat (talk) 19:56, 29 December 2014 (UTC)
Added a bit. --RL0919 (talk) 00:01, 30 December 2014 (UTC)
Thanks ! StuRat (talk) 00:44, 30 December 2014 (UTC)

Ayn Rand in Popular Culture[edit]

Is it alright if I put down an appearance of Ayn Rand in "Popular Culture" or in "In Fiction" in a separate section on the article? What I wanted to put down is below me.

In the North American Confederacy Series novel The Probability Broach by L. Neil Smith, in which the United States becomes a Libertarian state after a successful Whiskey Rebellion and the overthrowing and execution of George Washington in 1794, Ayn Rand served as the 22nd President of the North American Confederacy from 1952 to 1960. After Harriet Beecher Stowe and Rose Wilder Lane, she was the third woman to hold the office of the presidency.

I would have wrote down what I said on the article, but I was afraid of it being removed. Like what happened to Sequoyah, since he also was mentioned as being President of the NAC in the series. -- (talk) 19:51, 9 March 2015 (UTC) Jacob Chesley the Alternate Historian

I have no opinion on such a section, but she is also mentioned in the Simpson's Episode "A Streetcar Named Marge" as well as on Futurama, in Bill Buckley's fictionalized account and in Heinlein's The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, as well as the movies Heaven Can Wait and Dirty Dancing. μηδείς (talk) 20:16, 9 March 2015 (UTC)
I would oppose such an addition as being unnecessary trivia. The article currently notes that Rand has appeared as a character in a number of novels, been mentioned on TV shows, etc., but it doesn't list them, because at an individual level this is not significant information about her. If she is an important character in the novel (or other work), then it could be mentioned in the article about that work. If not, then this may be the type of detail that just doesn't belong on Wikipedia. --RL0919 (talk) 20:27, 9 March 2015 (UTC)
Years ago, the article for a while had a list of cultural personages who were significantly influenced by Rand, partly as a counterbalance to the attempt in the article at that time to marginalize her impact. (More of that occurs above in this page.) After a lot of arguing and editing, the consensus seemed to be that it was too close to being "trivia." Some attempts to wedge in minor academic criticisms also were excised. I suggest that unless there has been a major new development, facts about Rand belong in the article while spotting isolated mentions of her do not. — DAGwyn (talk) 02:00, 29 March 2015 (UTC)
I concur. FreeKnowledgeCreator (talk) 02:53, 29 March 2015 (UTC)
Couldn't a separate article be made for Ayn Rand's appearances in media and popular culture? It really shouldn't be that hard to do so and shouldn't require so much Bureaucracy,regulations, and waiting forever to get something done. -- (talk) 13:43, 11 April 2015 (UTC)Jacob Chesley the Alternate Historian

The phrase "popular culture" used in this way is merely a euphemism for trivia, and trivia does not belong in the article. Obviously there will be references in "media" to virtually all famous people, and Wikipedia readers understand this; they don't need a list of specific examples. TheScotch (talk) 06:25, 8 May 2015 (UTC)

Find a Grave[edit]

User:DrKiernan removed an external link to Find a Grave, citing guidance around when to link to this site. User:Srich32977 subsequently restored the link, stating that it "has unique image (gravestone) & is under editorial control of FAG". I can't speak to the editorial control, but we already have a gravestone image and burial details in the article. Unless there is some other unique information on the linked page that I'm missing, it seems that DrKiernan was right to remove the link. --RL0919 (talk) 13:58, 16 March 2015 (UTC)

I hadn't noticed the gravestone image in the article. But given that Rand is a popular figure in culture, I think the link is appropriate. It is not being used as RS (per template guidance) and the other justification cited is simply an essay (not guidance). I'll favor keeping it. In accordance with WP:ELMAYBE it is a helpful and noteworthy link for those readers who enjoy tracking such details. – S. Rich (talk) 14:24, 16 March 2015 (UTC)
Per WP:EL, which is a guideline, external links should be kept to a minimum and those that provide no further information than that already found in the article are usually avoided. DrKiernan (talk) 14:38, 16 March 2015 (UTC)
I'm not seeing what WP:ELMAYBE criteria this link addresses. It appears to be superfluous, in an article that has a lot of ELs (probably too many) even without it. --RL0919 (talk) 14:52, 16 March 2015 (UTC)
In this case the FAG page has (relatively) numerous "virtual flowers" and fame star ratings, which indicates that Find a Grave readers are enjoying it. Accordingly, providing the link is helpful to WP readers who may wish to contribute there as well. As for this EL section, it is pretty clean – the additional short link hardly serves to clutter it. (Let's see if others agree before we remove it.) – S. Rich (talk) 15:14, 16 March 2015 (UTC)

Lead photo[edit]

The recent change to the infobox photo (this diff) doesn't strike me as an improvement; it is informal and from an era well before she came to fame as a writer. The previous image, although tagged fair use, is of excellent quality for a lead photo, showing Rand in a relaxed but formal pose with her trademark cigarette. The recent photo is marked as public domain on account of it being a passport photo, but it doesn't look really look like one. How do we know this is actually the case? It is sourced to a writer's blog which does not state the date of the photo, and I haven't been able to find any other instances of the photo other than Pinterest. Pinterest say the image was found on, but the image does not appear to be published there either. Verification of the passport's issue date comes from other sources (eg here), but without an example of the image. If someone could shed some light on the provenance of this photo, that would be of help. My preferred option would be to reinstate the previous image and move the new image to the section on Rand's early life (providing appropriate licensing is possible). --Yeti Hunter (talk) 13:34, 16 July 2015 (UTC)

The same image appears in Anne Heller's Ayn Rand and the World She Made, where it is described in the caption as "Rand's Russian passport photograph, dated October 29, 1925, when Rand was twenty years old." So the origin of the image appears accurate. I agree that it is not representative of the era of Rand's life in which she was notable, so on that basis it might be acceptable to switch back to a fair use photo of the mature Rand. Our content guidelines allow non-free images only when there is no free image "that would serve the same encyclopedic purpose" -- an arguable point in this instance. However, if this is going to be reverted it should happen soon, because the non-free file is subject to deletion tomorrow as an unused non-free image. --RL0919 (talk) 13:52, 16 July 2015 (UTC)