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Philosophy: Who Needs It? - Ayn Rand Speech

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On March 6, 1974 Ayn Rand gave her speech "Philosophy: Who Needs It?" to the West Point Military Academy graduating class of Ð''74. I do believe she did an excellent job introducing/ proving her argument. She defines philosophy as the solution to the questions that every person attempts to answer.

She begins this speech with a story. In this story your values and emotions are determined by your fundamental view of life. The story is about an astronaut who crashes on a planet. She tells the audience that they are the main character of the story. This automatically gets the audience to start thinking. She then continues with the first three questions in your mind would be: Where am I? How can I discover it? What should I do?" At this point I would agree that these are the basic questions that we ask ourselves. She has got the audience to think in a particular logical manner that she will then apply to the larger theme. The story ends with you, failing to seek out answers to these questions and instead deciding to let some alien creatures tell you what to do.

She then goes on and links her story to reality by claiming that this is the way most men live their lives. Evading the questions of Where am I? How can I discover it? What should I do? She uses these questions to guide her audience to the conclusion that by studying the subject of philosophy can you correctly answer these questions. During her speech, she uses questions to get her listeners to follow a certain logical path. She continues the rest of her speech with the same logical approach. She focuses her


argument on opponent philosophies that are common at the time. She goes on to explain

why people dislike the military. I really like how she compares normal everyday living and people's occupations to Philosophy. One quote from her speech compares the military to Philosophy "In your own profession, in military science, you know the importance of keeping track of the enemy's weapons, strategy and tactics and of being prepared to counter them. The same is true in philosophy: you have to understand the enemy's ideas and be prepared to refute them, you have to know his basic arguments and be able to blast them." She then goes on to show her gratitude to West Point and to thank the graduating class for their service to the country.


I believe the argument is a Hypothetical Argument.

1) If A, Then B

2) If B, Then C

3) If C, Then D


If A, then D



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