- “Life” as the Essential Root of “Value”
- Man’s Life as the Standard of Moral Value
- Rationality as the Primary Virtue
- The Individual as the Proper Beneficiary of His Own Moral Action
- Values as Objective
Metaphysics and epistemology, like the natural sciences, are factual subjects. Their concern is to describe the universe and man’s means of knowledge. Ethics or morality—I use the terms as synonyms here—is an evaluative subject. Its concern is not only to describe, but also to prescribe for man. Ethics is the branch of philosophy that, in Ayn Rand’s words, provides “a code of values to guide man’s choices and actions—the choices and actions that determine the purpose and the course of his life.”1
According to Objectivism, such a code must deal with three basic, interrelated questions. For what end should a man live? By what fundamental principle should he act in order to achieve this end? Who should profit from his actions? The answers to these questions define the ultimate value, the primary virtue, and the particular beneficiary upheld by an ethical code and reveal thereby its essence.
The Objectivist position can be indicated in three words. The …
Read the rest in Objectivism: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand.