Skip to Navigation
University of Pittsburgh
Print This Page Print this pages

October 12, 2006


To the editor:

The Dec. l, 2005, issue of the London Review of Books reported Pitt was the recipient of an Anthem Foundation Fellowship. The Anthem Foundation is a legal entity separate from but connected to the Ayn Rand Institute, which is dedicated to spreading Ayn Rand’s philosophy of Objectivism.

A routine check of Pitt’s web site confirms that the University has received this $435,000 award. Neither a pre-doctoral nor a post-doctoral fellowship, it is being used to fund a three-year visiting professorship in the Department of History and Philosophy of Science for Professor Alan Gotthelf, who was formerly on the faculty of The College of New Jersey. The only book of which he is the sole author is “On Ayn Rand” (Wadsworth: 2000).

Transparency then is not the issue. Neither is Professor Gotthelf’s entitlement to his opinions regarding Ayn Rand’s philosophy. There are, nevertheless, some questions that perhaps merit public discussion.

l. Have any other teaching and research units of the School of Arts and Sciences received fellowships on terms that are even remotely similar to this one?

2. A major theme of Ayn Rand’s philosophy can bluntly but accurately be said to address itself to the question, “What’s in it for me?” What does the Ayn Rand Foundation wish to gain from its relationship with HPS?

3. Is the intellectual tone of the neighborhood raised or lowered by the open propagation of Ayn Rand’s ideas?

There are doubtless other questions as well. I look forward to hearing the views of the Pitt community.

Joe White



University Times letters policy

Letters should be submitted at least one week prior to publication. Persons criticized in a letter will receive a copy of the letter so that they may prepare a response. If no response is received, the letter will be published alone.

Letters can be sent by e-mail to or by campus mail to 308 Bellefield Hall.

The University Times reserves the right to edit letters for clarity or length. Individuals are limited to two published letters per academic term. Unsigned letters will not be accepted for publication.

Leave a Reply