Virtues, according to Rand, are the actions (both mental and physical) necessary to sustain one’s life and achieve happiness; i.e., one’s method of obtaining and using the values (both material and non-material) that one needs to sustain one’s existence and flourish.
The fundamental virtue is rationality — holding reason as one’s only means of knowledge and one’s only guide to action.
All other virtues (productivity, integrity, independence, justice, honesty, pride, etc.) are applications/corollaries of the principle of rationality to various contexts:
- Productivity is the application of reason to one’s physical means of survival. To be productive is to apply reason to create/produce the physical values one needs for one’s survival.
- Integrity means to act according to your rational conclusions, in word and deed.
- Independence is to use one’s own mind to grasp reality, as opposed to blindly following others.
- Justice is the principle of evaluating others rationally and acting accordingly.
- Honesty is the principle of not faking reality; of not pretending things are other then they are.
- Pride (the crown of virtues) is the reward (self-esteem) for virtue — of a life well-lived.