Virtue as Practical

An excerpt from chapter 9 on Happiness from Objectivism: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand by Leonard Peikoff.

The concept of “practical” is not restricted to the field of ethics. It pertains to the adapting of means to ends in any field. If knowledge is one’s goal, observation is practical, prayer is not. If the conquest of typhoid is the goal, immunization is practical, the beating of tom toms is not. If human efficacy is the goal, the wheel or the computer is a practical invention, a perpetual motion machine is not.

The “practical” is that which reaches or fosters a desired result. Since the concept denotes a type of positive evaluation, it presupposes a standard of value. The standard is set by the result being pursued.

By extension, one may describe a man as practical, if the …

Read the rest in Objectivism: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand.

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