Ayn Rand Matters to Ethicist Elaine Sternberg

In honor of Rand’s Centennary, Elaine Sternberg, a research fellow at the University of Leeds (U.K.), delivered an address titled “Why Ayn Rand Matters: Metaphysics, Morals and Liberty” to the Adam Smith Institute. An adapted version of Dr. Sternberg’s address is posted on the Adam Smith Institute‘s weblog, The Social Affairs Unit. With quotes from Atlas Shrugged and The Virtue of Selfishenss, Sternberg’s address is a remarkable tribute to Rand’s groundbreaking achievements in the realms of metaphysics, ethics, and politics.
Anticipating the academic preconceptions about Rand, Sternberg begins her address with an apt statement:
“Ayn Rand deserves to be taken seriously, because she was right about three things of immense importance: metaphysics, morals and individual liberty.”
The address concludes with a compact but thorough summary of Rand’s achievements:

Challenging most philosophers since Aristotle, she outlined a comprehensive, realist metaphysics. And challenging both philosophical and conventional ethics, she presented strong arguments against altruism in its various forms, and in favour of a realist morality based on happiness and rational self-interest. Finally, in drawing out the implications of her realist philosophy, and demonstrating the proper relations between morality and freedom, she provided an extremely robust defense of both individual liberty and laissez-faire capitalism.

To read the entire address, check The Social Affairs Unit.