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My guess is that Rand deliberately and provocatively used the term "egotist" in The Fountainhead at first because it was the stronger version of "egoist," even tho' it was technically a mistake, based on common dictionary definitions. Thus her explanation for the change afterward was slightly disingenuous. And, it's worth noting, she never did uplift herself enough to embrace the term "hedonism" (another discussion found in my book). But this is just a guess, and obviously people (especially AR!) get the benefit of the doubt and are innocent until proven guilty.

We'll probably never know what Rand was thinking when she used the term "egotist" though it was incompatible with her mature philosophy as is hedonism which she explicitly denounced on several occasions.

From the Ayn Rand Lexicon:

I am profoundly opposed to the philosophy of hedonism. Hedonism is the doctrine which holds that the good is whatever gives you pleasure and, therefore, pleasure is the standard of morality. Objectivism holds that the good must be defined by a rational standard of value, that pleasure is not a first cause, but only a consequence, that only the pleasure which proceeds from a rational value judgment can be regarded as moral, that pleasure, as such, is not a guide to action nor a standard of morality. To say that pleasure should be the standard of morality simply means that whichever values you happen to have chosen, consciously or subconsciously, rationally or irrationally, are right and moral. ...

Playboy Interview: Ayn Rand
Playboy, March 1964


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Rand explained in the Introduction to the 25th an. ed. of The Fountainhead how she had relied on an unreliable dictionary and that it was a mistake on her part--that she should have used "egoist." Unfortunately, I no longer take her word for such things. She rewrote too much history as about with the changes she made to We the Living.


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