The goal of a moral system is to consciously understand the rules by which conscience operates. Protagonism specifies a number of moral values, and an action's merit (its effect on how good the doer is) is based on its exhibition of these values and the temptation overcome to do it. No temptation or negative temptation means the act is not virtuous at all. More rigorously, the formulas are (obviously given the information the agent had at the time):
Any action that promotes moral values to a greater extent than it demotes them (it's inevitable that they come into conflict sometimes) is "good" and the amount of merit is the temptation overcome. You might object that this means it's morally better to do a worse but still good action if it's harder. That loophole is plugged by the axiom of necessary motivation - in short, such a thing isn't possible and if you think it is it's because you have an emotional incentive to take the less good action, such that it isn't actually the harder one.
Any action that demotes moral values to a greater extent than it promotes them is "evil" and the degree of guilt (negative merit) is equal to the degree of net demotion of the values times the ratio of that to the temptation. The rationale for this formula is that: A) raising the magnitude while keeping the ratio the same raises the guilt; B) sufficiently high temptation can render a horrible act essentially nil, and likewise in reverse.
Obviously, to compare virtue and vice, these formulas require us to establish a "baseline" 1:1 ratio of viciousness to temptation. This ratio is derived from peacefully causing X suffering to another (this could be done by saying something hurtful for example) to gain X pleasure for yourself when the two of you are offset in faring just so that the emotional factors pertaining to inequality would balance out exactly. As per the virtue formula, any good act that requires a sacrifice of X magnitude balances this exactly, regardless of how much effect it has.
A Protagonist also accounts for prudence: when necessary, we should sacrifice any of the below goals in the short-term for the long-term strategic interests of the same (ie. of making up for it later). This isn't on the list because it doesn't get weighed against the others; it oversees the others.
However, I believe that things closer to the present are worth more than things farther in the future. This is the reason for the occasional apparent exceptions to prudence I make, such as any situation where you give up reusable power for a sufficiently large good effect that won't ripple into the future. Without this principle, it would seem that a good person should devote all of their effort to accruing power so they can do more good in the future (or pass on the power to someone who will), and never give any thought to helping people in the short-term, since there's no telling how long the world will be here and it has a positive feedback loop where the more power good people get over the world the easier it becomes to gain more and so this would always be the best investment.
A few definitions:
To redeem oneself is to exhibit enough virtue to balance one's sin.
To "repent" is to intend either (depending on context) to redeem yourself or to make restitution. (See the Notes on Choice and Morality for an exploration of the concept of intention.)
And now the value list, in no particular order:
Compassion - good behavior aims to alleviate suffering.
Peace - good behavior aims not to affect others without their consent, provided they afford others the same option. Longer exploration here; and here's the impetus for believing it's a prime value.
Agency - good behavior aims to give people the ability to take meaningful actions.
I deliberated for a long time on how to phrase this. I wanted to name the value freedom since that word is such an ideograph for me, but that's actually kind of a bad word because to many people (particularly libertarians), the definition of freedom is closer to peace, and not agency.
Truth - good behavior aims to inform everyone.
- Purity - good behavior aims to avoid deriving pleasure from degrading the sacred.
Note that all of these values involve a subject - someone who's suffering is alleviated, etc. The following rules affect the relative priority of a subject:
Merit - the admirable are more important than the deplorable.
Equality - the unfortunate are more important than the fortunate.
Fairness - benefactors are more important than freeloaders. It's more deplorable to not help someone who's helped you in the past than to not help someone you've helped in the past.