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):

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:

And now the value list, in no particular order:

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:

This page was last modified (UTC)