Justice as Rationality in the Evaluation of Men

An excerpt from chapter 8 on Virtue from Objectivism: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand by Leonard Peikoff.

“Justice” is the virtue of judging men’s character and conduct objectively and of acting accordingly, granting to each man that which he deserves.

In order to achieve one’s goals in any field, one must choose among alternatives—which requires that one know the things around one and judge them rationally. This applies even to the humblest undertakings, such as picking out today’s wardrobe, furnishing the spare room, or selecting a spot for a picnic. It applies to one’s dealings with men, also.

The necessity of knowledge and judgment is especially important in regard to men because the differences among them are more consequential than those among shirts, sofas, or parks. Men are beings of self-made soul; they have the faculty of volition, with everything this implies. The wrong shirt can ruin your appearance; the wrong man can kill you.

The science that defines a criterion for evaluating volitional beings is …

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

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