Some of its themes include the identification and validation of egoism as a rational code of ethics, the destructiveness of altruism , and the nature of a proper government. The book contains 19 essays, 14 of them written by Rand and five by Branden, plus an introduction written by Rand.
All but one of the essays had previously been published in The Objectivist Newsletter , a magazine that Rand and Branden had launched in The exception was the book's first essay, "The Objectivist Ethics", which was a paper Rand delivered at the University of Wisconsin during a symposium on "Ethics in Our Time". Her other essays engage a variety of ethical topics, often challenging common perspectives on such issues as compromise and moral judgment. Branden's essays, such as "Counterfeit Individualism" and "The Psychology of Pleasure", present a more psychology-focused view of morality.
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Rand's characterization of selfishness as a virtue, including in the title of the book, is one of its most controversial elements. Philosopher Chandran Kukathas said Rand's position on this point "brought notoriety, but kept her out of the intellectual mainstream". The equation of selfishness with evil, Rand said, had caused "the arrested moral development of mankind" and needed to be rejected. Critics have disputed Rand's interpretation of the term. Libertarian feminist writer Sharon Presley described Rand's use of 'selfishness' as "perversely idiosyncratic" and contrary to the dictionary meaning of the term, Rand's claims to the contrary notwithstanding.
Presley believes the use of the term has caused Rand's arguments to be frequently mischaracterized. Den Uyl and Douglas B. Rasmussen described Rand's response to the question of why she uses the term as "neither antagonistic nor defensive, but rather profound. Uncomfortable with Rand's comparison of Kennedy to Adolf Hitler , Cerf asked that Rand choose a different title essay. She rejected this request and dropped Random House as well as ending her friendship with Cerf , choosing New American Library as the publisher for her new book. The Virtue of Selfishness not only bore a different title, it also did not include her piece on Kennedy.
He had been assassinated before it was released, making the point of the essay moot. The book became one of Rand's strongest-selling works of nonfiction, selling over , copies in the first four months of its release,  and over 1. Rand scholar Mimi Reisel Gladstein described the collection of essays as "eclectic" and "appealing to interested nonacademic or nonspecialist readers as well as to the more serious student of Objectivism".
Ringer said The Virtue of Selfishness is Rand's "masterpiece".
In a public appearance, writer Christopher Hitchens said, "Though I have some respect for The Virtue of Selfishness , a collection of essays I don't think there's any need to have essays advocating selfishness among human beings. I don't know what your impression has been, but some things require no further reinforcement.
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The instructor severely admonished the student and gave him an F for the assignment. But the roots of this problem go far deeper than an isolated case of ghostwriting. Essay writing has become a cottage industry premised on systematic flaunting of the most basic aims of higher education. The very fact that such services exist reflects a deep and widespread misunderstanding of why colleges and universities ask students to write essays in the first place.
These services have names such as WriteMyEssay. Some of these Web sites offer testimonials from satisfied customers.outer-edge-design.com/components/best/323-where-to.php
Another marvels at the scholarly standards and dedication of the essay writers, one of whom actually made two unsolicited revisions "absolutely free. Such claims raise troubling questions. First, is the use of these services a form of plagiarism? Not exactly, because plagiarism implies stealing someone else's work and calling it one's own.
In this case, assuming the essay-writing services are actually providing brand-new essays, no one else's work is being stolen without consent. It is being purchased. Nevertheless, the work is being used without attribution, and the students are claiming credit for work they never did. In short, the students are cheating, not learning. Most essay-writing services evince little or no commitment to helping their customers understand their essay topics or hone their skills as thinkers and writers.
They do not ask students to jot down preliminary ideas or submit rough drafts for editing and critique. They do not even encourage them to pose questions about the subject matter. Instead, the services do all the work for them, requesting only three things: the topic, the deadline, and the payment. Second, how do these essays manage to slip past an instructor undetected?
If most institutions knew their students were using essay-writing services, they would undoubtedly subject them to disciplinary proceedings.
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But the use of such services can be difficult to detect, unless the instructor makes the effort to compare the content and quality of each essay with other work the student has submitted over the course of a semester. But what if the entire semester's work has been ghostwritten? Another disturbing question concerns the writers who produce such essays. Why would someone who has earned a master's degree or Ph. One answer may be that many academics find themselves in dead-end, part-time teaching positions that pay so poorly that they cannot make ends meet, and essay writing can be quite a lucrative business.
The "works cited" portion of essays can generate additional revenue. Some struggling academics may also view ghostwriting as a form of vengeance on an educational system that saddled them with huge debts and few prospects for a viable academic career. A far deeper question is this: Why aren't the students who use these services crafting their own essays to begin with? Some may simply be short on time and juggling competing commitments. As the cost of college continues to escalate, more and more students need to hold down part-time or even full-time jobs.
Some are balancing school with marriage, parenthood, and other family responsibilities. The sales pitch of the essay-writing services reassures students that they are learning what they need to know and merely "lack the time needed to get it down on paper. But more disturbingly, some students may question the very value of writing term papers. After all, they may ask, how many contemporary jobs really require such archaic forms of writing? And what is the point of doing research and formulating an argument when reams of information on virtually any topic are available at the click of a button on the Internet?
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Some may even doubt the relevance of the whole college experience. Here is where the real problem lies. The idea of paying someone else to do your work for you has become increasingly commonplace in our broader culture, even in the realm of writing.
It is well known that many actors, athletes, politicians, and businesspeople have contracted with uncredited ghostwriters to produce their memoirs for them. T here is no law against it. At the same time, higher education has been transformed into an industry, another sphere of economic activity where goods and services are bought and sold. By this logic, a student who pays a fair market price for it has earned whatever grade it brings.