Objectivism puts values at the center of the ethical universe. It's the results of your actions that determine whether they're good or bad. We also judge means as well, since only appropriate means can achieve those values. But the values are the ultimate standard of judgment on whether an action is right or wrong.

Other systems sometimes uphold means as standard of morality. For them, it's more important to live your life in a particularly way than to have it be successful. The means are often called virtues. Sometimes the virtues are destructive, since they're not tied to the end result. For instance, the conventional view of honesty is that you should always tell the truth. Objectivism disagrees and says sometimes you should lie, as in the case of a murderer asking you for some information that he needs to commit his crime.

Objectivism also has virtues, but the virtues are not given primacy over values. We judge whether a virtue makes sense by the values it achieves. But they are an important part of the Objectivist ethics, so they're worth looking into in more detail. Instead of repeating what I've written elsewhere, I'm providing you with links to articles I've written on the topics.

And one on benevolence.

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