The twelve principles of Universally preferable behavior

published Sep 04, 2008, last modified Jun 26, 2013

Based on the following premises:

  1. We both exist.
  2. The senses have the capacity for accuracy.
  3. Language has the capacity for meaning.
  4. Correction requires universal preferences.
  5. An objective methodology exists for separating truth from falsehood.
  6. Truth is better than falsehood.
  7. Peaceful debating is the best way to resolve disputes.
  8. Individuals are responsible for their actions.

I present to you the twelve principles that compose the framework of Universally preferable behavior -- or, if you want to, a secular theory of morality. If you want to find out whether a moral principle is true, all you have to do is apply them to the moral principle and you'll know right away:

  1. Reality is objective and consistent.
  2. “Logic” is the set of objective and consistent rules derived from the consistency of reality.
  3. Those theories that conform to logic are called “valid.”
  4. Those theories that are confirmed by empirical testing are called “accurate.”
  5. Those theories that are both valid and accurate are called “true.”
  6. “Preferences” are required for life, thought, language and debating.
  7. Debating requires that both parties hold “truth” to be both objective and universally preferable.
  8. Thus the very act of debating contains an acceptance of universally preferable behaviour (UPB).
  9. Theories regarding UPB must pass the tests of logical consistency and empirical verification.
  10. The subset of UPB that examines enforceable behaviour is called “morality.”
  11. As a subset of UPB, no moral theory can be considered true if it is illogical or unsupported by empirical evidence.
  12. Moral theories that are supported by logic and evidence are true. All other moral theories are false.

Using them, you can verify that the most obvious moral principles are, in fact, obviously true:

  • Initiating aggression (use of force) is wrong.
  • Stealing is wrong.
  • Rape is wrong.
  • Murder is wrong.
  • Fraud is wrong.
  • Lying is wrong.