The Definition of Morality

this definition is derived from my own introspection of the subject of morality, based on what most people mean when they say morality, and borrows some things (the worst possible suffering thing) from Sam Harris’ moral landscape, and is intended to provide an objective criteria from which to judge and compare the morality of any phenomena(s).

To that end, I define morality as

a phenomena’s affect on the experience of conscious entities

a moral claim as

the measurement of overall suffering a phenomena affects on the experience of consciousnesses in general

and by extension, the criteria for immorality to be

the closer a phenomena comes to bringing all consciousness to experience the worst possible suffering, the more immoral the phenomena.

The benefits to having a clear concise criteria is that morality no longer becomes a subjective matter with “no right answer”, nor would it be subject to the whims of any king or supreme being, making the issue less a matter of unqualified personal judgement, but rather objectively measurable.


How did I devise these definitions, you ask?

There are many questionable and uncertain things about the universe, but one thing is certain: I feel stuff.

And I bet you can feel stuff as well. In fact, it is fairly proven that people and animals in general can feel stuff.

It doesn’t matter if we are secretly brains in a vat or if we are computer simulations, whether we have free will or even if everything is an illusion and we are just the universe exploring itself through the perspective of meat-sacks on a tiny gas-coated rock – the pain is real, and the ability to feel it is called being conscious. Bad feelings feel bad, and therefore are bad.

That is the one universal property of morality, we can seem to generally agree that suffering is bad. And even when suffering is good, its so that other things can suffer less (eg. Buddhist mosquito feeding, or Jesus getting killed so we don’t have to go to hell, or even resisting the enemy’s torture so that you don’t give away the position of your comrades and screw up your plans for a better world) – in actions of perceived morality someone or something is always suffering less.

So, logically it follows that, the less suffering, more moral. The less intense the suffering, the more moral. The less quantity of suffering, the more moral. And that is what morality basically boils down to, and hence the definition.

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