Abstract

This article argues that the egoism of nihilists Nikolai Chernyshevskii and Dmitrii Pisarev was a significant influence on the thought of Ayn Rand. Chernyshevskii and Pisarev are usually cast as influences on Russian socialists. Rand was an unapologetic proponent of capitalism. But these differences in economic philosophy should be seen as secondary to the egoism that was primary for all three thinkers. The claim that Chernyshevskii and Pisarev may have influenced Rand is one that provides a new way to think about the historical significance of nihilism.

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