Empathy; (the Golden Rule, trust, honesty, fairness, emotional contagion, body language,
perspective taking, sympathy, mind-reading, sense of separate self, targeted helping,
evolution, circle of concern, cooperation)
Evolution; (the Healing Principle, empathy, cooperation)
Fairness; (reciprocity, egalitarianism, proportionality, justice and rights, objectivity,
perfect compassion, cooperation, empathy, the Golden Rule, sharing, relative flourishing)
Morality can be thought of as similar to mathematics, in that (at least at this interpersonal
level) it consists of a collection of facts, logical relations between the facts,
and principles arising from this situation.
The moral principles outlined above are simply necessary when people interact together
in small groups, with certain goals in mind. Probably, a computer could be programmed
with those facts and goals, and would arrive at the same principles.
Importantly, these principles are closely linked, in that any one contains elements
of others, and they are generally used in combination and balanced together. For
example, the Golden Rule contains elements of reciprocity, fairness, mutual respect,
and potentially, all three kinds of empathy (cognitive, emotional, empathic concern).
We may employ any and every principle at any one time.
Some aspects of morality have ethical content – they represent what is considered
the best of moral behaviour, since they are directly concerned with primary goals/values
(such as thriving). The corresponding interpersonal moral principles, concerned
with maximising these primary values or goals in a cooperative way, would probably
consist of: helping in response to need, fairness, unconditional love, and at least
in the West in the 21st century, human rights.
... the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also
bearing witness, and their thoughts sometimes accusing them and at other times even
Paul the Apostle – Romans 2:15
We all need some kind of moral authority to refer to. This makes perfect practical
sense, as morality can be considered the art of living well. Religious people are
able to refer to God as the authority, which is perfectly valid, except that opinions
vary widely over what “God” thinks is the right thing to do.
We may construct objectivity by several different means, for example:
the universal ethics that all healthy people feel in their hearts (in fact, every
healthy individual member of any Homo species).
ethical principles that achieve what are considered the “highest” values.
Currently in the West, the highest value seems to be “thriving”, in that human rights
are considered paramount in every situation. (See Perfect Compassion.) Other ethical
systems may prioritise other values, such as “controlling female sexuality”, some
cultural values, or perhaps “warriorship”, “loyalty”, etc., whatever it might be.
If we prioritise human rights, we are saying that people are the most important thing.
If we combine these two kinds of objectivity, and choose cooperative thriving and
fairness as our primary value, then we arrive at Perfect Compassion, and by extension,
human rights and unconditional love. This has the automatic corollary that encouragement
and enforcement of some kind are necessary, in order to help prevent people from
defaulting on their moral obligations.
Culture; (sanctity / purity, loyalty to in-group, large groups, authority / tradition)
Groups; (cooperation, loyalty to in-group, large groups, interdependence)
Interdependence; (groups, cooperation)
Large groups; (groups, culture, authority / tradition, loyalty to in-group)
Loyalty to in-group; (groups, large groups, culture, authority / tradition)
Sanctity / purity / disgust; (the Healing Principle, cooperation, culture)
The Healing Principle; (sanctity / purity)
Using the moral elements to do moral philosophy – an example
We can turn a question into answers, if we express the question as a ‘moral question’
in terms of moral elements, and [combine them using?] question-asking elements, and
if we then go on to associate ideas using both conceptual links (e.g. “is associated
with”) and moral properties (e.g. “maximising”) to reach new ideas and conceptual
If we put together the following elements into a question using both physical and
biological logic (which automatically maximises the Healing Principle), and an attempt
at consistent grammar of expression:
[the reality is, we ‘need’ (‘courage’)]
[what? is our ‘goal (=’aim’)’ of (‘courage’)];
We can express the same question in subtly different ways, expressing various shades
of philosophical meaning:
[why? do we ‘need’ (‘courage’)];
[what? is ‘courage’ for?];
[the ‘goal’ (‘courage’) is what?];
[what? is the ‘goal’ (‘courage’)].
[(‘biological strength’ is associated with ‘courage’)]
[‘biological strength’ is inherently maximising, among other things]
[‘biological maximising’ is associated with ‘the Healing Principle’]
[‘courage’ ‘is inherently maximising’,]
[maximal‘courage’ is associated with ‘the Healing Principle’].
Courage is a maximising attitude, intention, or policy of action that is associated
with (“used for”) the ethical pressures of biological strength and the Healing Principle,
and from there, maximally, with the ethical principles of fairness, helping in response
to need, and cooperation,
Associating more ideas:
[‘helping in response to need (= ‘targeted helping’)’ is associated with ‘the Healing
[‘compassion’ is associated with ‘the Healing Principle’]
[‘compassion’ is associated with ‘helping in response to need (= ‘targeted helping’)’]
[‘the Healing Principle’ is associated with ‘thriving’, ‘surviving’, ‘reproducing’,
[‘cooperating’ is an ‘ethical principle’]
[‘‘the Healing Principle’ and ‘cooperating’ are associated with ‘fairness (=’Perfect
[‘courage’ is associated withmaximal ‘fairness (=’Perfect Compassion’)’ and ‘helping
in response to need (= ‘targeted helping’)’]