The Major Virtues: Rationality and Honesty

The Major Virtues: Rationality and Honesty

2 Mins
April 6, 2013

“’Value’ is that which one acts to gain and keep,” wrote Ayn Rand , “’virtue’ is the action by which one gains and keeps it.” This six-session course, filmed in 2010, focuses on the distinctive virtues highlighted by Objectivism : their basis in fact, their contrast with traditional moral ideals, and their role in a rational, value-seeking human life. TAS Director of Programs William R Thomas goes into depth on the meaning and importance of  pride, rationality,  integrity, productiveness, independence, and justice, devoting one 50-minute lecture to each of these six virtues. Discussions of honesty and benevolence are integrated into the course as well. The course presumes some basic familiarity with Objectivism , but should be intelligible to anyone with a sincere interest in ideas.


A. Rationality: the prime virtue

B. The Cardinal Value of Reason

  • The role of reason in human life

C. Elements of Rationality

  • Choosing to think
  • Accepting reason as an absolute
  • Open-mindedness

D. Objectivity and the virtue of honesty

E. Conclusion: A clear-eyed way of life.