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To Whom It May Concern [Letter 587]

Item Reference Code: 144_Nxx_022_001

Date(s) of creation

November 21, 1980

Recipient

To Whom It May Concern

Transcript

Leonard Peikoff had asked for a reference as an academic teacher of philosophy.

November 21, 1980

To Whom It May Concern:

I am happy to comply with Dr. Leonard Peikoff’s request for a reference. I have known Dr. Peikoff since the 1950’s. I have attended lectures he has given on my philosophy, Objectivism, and on other subjects. For eight years, I employed him as an Associate (later Contributing) Editor of my publications The Objectivist and The Ayn Rand Letter (1968–1976).

Dr. Peikoff has a superlative understanding of the philosophy of Objectivism, and is able to communicate it expertly. He grasps not only its well-known ideas in ethics and politics, but also their base in the Objectivist epistemology. In particular, he has a detailed grasp of my theory of the role of mathematics in concept-formation, and of the implications of this theory for the analytic-synthetic, a priori–a posteriori dichotomy. I am often asked for an endorsement by aspiring teachers of my philosophy, but I know of no philosopher who is Dr. Peikoff’s equal on this subject.

Dr. Peikoff is an outstanding teacher. His amterial is well-structured, his examples colorful and arresting, his pace lively, his emphases definite. At the same time, his lectures are deliberate enought to encourage his students to think, to understand, and to evaluate for themselves the ideas presented. I once saw Dr. Peikoff explain Kant’s Transcendental Deduction to a class of undergraduates; I marvelled at his ability to include a wealth of technical elaboration, to convey it with full clarity, and to retain the unflagging interest of the students. I was also impressed by the balance he struck between student and teacher participation; the students were active in volunteering questions or comments, but the class did not dissolve into random discussions or side issues.

I have recently written an Introduction to Dr. Peikoff’s forthcoming book, The Ominous Parallels. I regard this work as an extremely important intellectual achievement, which deserves—and may well gain—a wide influence, when it is published next year. One day soon, I think, Dr. Peikoff will have a national reputation in the field of the philosophy of history.

Sincerely,

 

Ayn Rand

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