Leonard Peikoff (born in Winnipeg, Manitoba in 1933) is an Objectivist philosopher. He befriended Ayn Rand in 1951 and became heir to her estate after she died in 1982. In 1985 Peikoff, who Rand had said knew and understood her philosophy better than anyone else, founded the Ayn Rand Institute.
Born in Canada, Peikoff later became a naturalized United States citizen. He received his Ph.D. in philosophy from New York University; his advisor was the famous American Marxist and Pragmatist philosopher, Sidney Hook. His dissertation dealt with the law of non-contradiction in Classical philosophy. He taught philosophy for around ten years at CUNY's Hunter College.
Peikoff's article, "The Analytic-Synthetic Dichotomy," appeared as a postscript to Rand's 1968 book, Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology. Peikoff's first book, The Ominous Parallels, was simultaneously an Objectivist explanation of the rise of the Third Reich and the Holocaust, and a warning that America was being led down the road to fascism. Since the publication of this book in 1982, Peikoff has given many lectures on philosophy, politics, and culture, the most important of which is probably 1985's Understanding Objectivism, which is now available as a 30-CD set. He also revised his 1976 lecture course on Objectivism into book form, producing his magnum opus, Objectivism: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand, which was published in 1991.
As Rand's executor, Peikoff handles the copyrights to all of Rand's works (with the exception of Anthem, which might have passed into the public domain). He can thus control the translation of Rand's works into other languages. He has the power of editing and releasing Rand's unpublished works, and has written forewords for all the current printings of her fiction.
Currently, Peikoff is writing a book called The DIM Hypothesis, where he explains the three varieties of decision-making and applies Objectivist theories of induction to philosophical questions in physics, economics, education, politics and other fields. Peikoff has previously helped define and validate the Objectivist theory of induction in the lecture series "Objectivism Through Induction" and the course "Induction in Physics and Philosophy."
- The Ominous Parallels (1982) ISBN 0452011175
- Objectivism: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand (1991) ISBN 0452011019
- The First Problem: Are There Any Absolutes? (1994) ISBN 1931089191
- The First Answers and Their Climax: the Triumph of the Metaphysics of Two Worlds (1994) ISBN 1931089205
- The Metaphysics of Two Worlds: its Results in this World (1996) ISBN 1931089213
- A Revolution: the Birth of Reason (1999) ISBN 1931089221 , ISBN 193108923X (2 Parts)