AUSTIN, Texas—On the 50th anniversary of the publication of "Atlas Shrugged," the Anthem Foundation for Objectivist Scholarship renewed a $300,000 fellowship for research on Ayn Rand's philosophy of objectivism in the College of Liberal Arts at The University of Texas at Austin.
Since its inception in 2001, the fellowship has been renewed twice, bringing the Anthem Foundation's total contribution to the university to $900,000 through 2010.
The fellowship funds an array of research, conferences, guest lectures and objectivism-related scholarship in the College of Liberal Arts. Tara Smith, professor of philosophy, has published several articles on Rand's philosophy and the 2006 book, "Ayn Rand's Normative Ethics: The Virtuous Egoist" with Cambridge University Press.
The philosophy of objectivism holds reason as the only source of human knowledge, rational self-interest as the proper end of human action and respect for individual rights as the guiding principle for the political domain, Smith explained.
"Rand continues to be influential today, because she boldly challenges entrenched conventional assumptions," the Rand scholar said. "As a philosopher, she drills to the most fundamental questions concerning reality, knowledge and values. Her incisive questions and often radical conclusions compel readers to confront the very foundations of their beliefs."
Rand, a Russian-born American philosopher and novelist is best known for her magnum opus, the 1,200-page "Atlas Shrugged," which marks its 50th anniversary Oct. 12. Since 1957, an estimated six million copies have been sold. According to a joint survey conducted by the Library of Congress and the Book of the Month Club, "Atlas Shrugged" is the "second most influential book for Americans today" after the Bible.
"Over the last 50 years, 'Atlas Shrugged' has inspired millions and widely influenced American culture and politics," said John P. McCaskey, president of the Anthem Foundation. "For six years, The University of Texas has been a leader in the field of objectivism scholarship, and we are honored to renew our commitment to supporting the institution's teaching and research on Ayn Rand."
The Anthem Foundation for Objectivist Scholarship is a non-profit organization that supports teaching, writing and research on Rand's philosophy of objectivism with grants and fellowships to colleges and universities in the United States and abroad.