Rand's theory of values can be called "relational" for the reason that values are always values to someone for some purpose. For this reason, moral principles must be applied within a particular context, and therefore Objectivism rejects the idea that morality can be understood as a list of commandments such as "Thou shalt not kill."
But the wider context is always human life as directed by a human mind, both of which have definite requirements that no individual or group can change through wishes, hopes, or fears. Thus the external world sets conditions that all humans must recognize and follow if they want to live.
Moral relativism, as it is commonly understood, is more precisely called moral subjectivism. This is the theory that moral standards are purely products of consciousness, either individual or collective. (The relativism part comes in when people inevitably disagree with one another; and so, the subjectivists claim, we can at most have "truth" relative to one person versus another, or relative to one group versus another.) The important thing missing from any form of moral subjectivism is a role for external reality, and human nature in particular.
Objectivism recognizes the fact of human nature and its crucial role in morality, and is therefore not subjectivist.
answered Sep 29 '10 at 21:04
Andrew Dalton ♦
No. See the entry on "Subjectivism" in The Ayn Rand Lexicon, specifically the subsection on ethics.
Some key quotes from "The Objectivist Ethics" (published in The Virtue of Selfishness):
answered Sep 30 '10 at 02:28