Re: Rights and Morality: The Primethic Decision

Gary Lloyd (
Wed, 1 Oct 1997 18:52:50 -0400 (EDT)

At 08:31 PM 9/30/97 -0400, Michael Lorrey wrote:
>Gary Lloyd wrote:
>> At 11:28 PM 9/29/97 -0700, Ken Wiebe wrote:
>> >At 09:25 PM 9/29/97 -0400, Gary Lloyd wrote:
>> >>At 06:05 PM 9/28/97 -0700, Ken Wiebe wrote:
>> >>>At 12:13 PM 9/28/97 -0400, Gary Lloyd wrote:
>> >
>> By your definition. How about when humans aggress against animals? Is that
>> immoral?
>If true universal morals are only those which are prosurvival, then the
>only violence against animals is that which may cause negative
>environmental impact that would impact another human. In this way,
>hunters are morally obligated to hunt wild animals at a level which
>sustains the populations in the ecosystem.

As I see it, there is only one true universal moral; the primethic. Clearly
implied by the primethic decision is the right to consent. In making the
primethic decision, I claim the right to consent for myself, and reciprocoly
offer the same, equal right to all others, while stipulating that it is
moral to defend myself. All morals systems, ethics, laws, etc. are by
agreement, flowing from the right to consent, which comes from the primethic

>> >>>>Where does the *concept* of morality come from if not the primethic
>> >>>>decision?
>> >>>
>> >>>Presumably, the concept arose originally from somebody's imagination.
>> >>
>> >>For what purpose?
>> >
>> >Who knows? Maybe it just seemed like a good idea at the time.
>> You're being evasive. Where does the concept of morality come from? For what
>> purpose?
>Morality is a result of a culture's memetic system. How well that
>culture survives and grows is a result of how closely the memetically
>established morality system dovetails with prosurvival activities.

The question concerned the origin of the *concept* of morality, not morality

>> >>>> Why, when we view a dispute between humans, do we
>> >>>>judge who is *right* and who is *wrong*? Do *all* people do this, or just
>> >>>>those who have made the primethic decision?
>> >>>
>> >>>Beats me. Does it matter?
>> >>
>> >>If all people do this, then the primethic is not a decision, but a human
>> >>instinct.
>> >
>> >Are you suggesting that morals are instinctual?
>> Possibly. The primethic does seem to be widespread. It's entirely possible
>> that amorality vis a vis A/D could be learned behavior, with the primethic
>> being instinctive.
>> >>>>>> If
>> >>>>>>defense against aggression is amoral...
>> >>>>>
>> >>>>>It isn't, ever.
>> >>>>
>> >>>>Why?
>> >>>
>> >>>Because of the definition of 'aggression'.
>> >>
>> >>Only in your dictionary.
>> >
>> >Perhaps, but my definition of 'aggression' is not much different from
>> >common useage, and the dictionary definition works well in all but very odd
>> >situations. Your definition of 'primethic' has more serious problems.
>> Such as?
>> >>>>What real world phenomenon forms the basis of your definition?
>> >>>
>> >>>Language. In my particular case: the english language.
>> >>
>> >>You're being evasive. Words describe things. Aggression is not limited to
>> >>human interaction, nor does the word describe a moral judgement.
>> >
>> >I disagree. In order to label something as 'aggression', it is necessary to
>> >have already made a moral judgement of the 'aggressive' act in question.
>> >'Aggression' is a morally-loaded word, and 'aggression' is _always_ a 'bad'
>> >thing. I agree that the word is sometimes mis-used and applied to animals,
>> >but I think that is simply a mistake - anthropomorphism. Similarly, the
>> >word 'aggression' is sometimes mistakenly used to describe violence
>> >employed in self-defence.
>> >
>> >Consequently, I think it might be important to be rigorous about the
>> >definition of 'aggression', to avoid confusion and misunderstanding. I've
>> >stipulated a definition for 'aggression' that makes sense to me and isn't
>> >too different from correct common-useage. If you prefer a different
>> >definition, we can certainly look at different one.
>> Virtually any statement can be made valid by simply changing a few
>> definitions here and there. Be that as it may, even if your definitions were
>> widely accepted, they prove nothing. Argument by definitions is nothing more
>> than argument by assertion, substituting, "because the dictionary says so"
>> for "because I say so."
>Note the caveat at the biginning of this particular thread. The
>definition of agression used is that of the english language, which
>necessitates that the cultural view of the word "agression" be that of
>the Judeo-Chirstian memeplex. Other cultures have different memetic
>relationships with their words for agression.

For words to have universal meaning, they must, directly or indirectly, be
linked to an objective phenomenon. Both defense and aggression are
objectively observable phenomena. If the primethic is universal, defense and
aggression, in the human context, must be defined non-controversially, i.e.
in their most obvious forms. I'm still working on it. Here is my latest
version of these definitions:

***"Defense" is an individual's proportionate resistance to a threat of
subjectively valued loss of life, liberty, or possessions, while
"aggression" is another individual's deliberate attempt to cause such loss.***

>As an example of this difference, I'd like to examine the word
>"gratitude". Gratitude is seen as a positive moral behavior that one
>expresses when one is the beneficiary of another's intended or
>unintended generosity. In no form do english speaking peoples see the
>word gratitude as having a negative cultural connotation. However, in
>the chinese, korean, and japanese languages, there are numerous words
>synonymous with differing levels of gratitude, and the ideograms for
>those words all contain ideograms that represent varying levels of
>> >>>Like all concepts, they come from the imagination - the mind. The
>> >>>interesting question is, how do some things come to be deemed 'moral' and
>> >>>other things come to be deemed 'immoral' and many other things fall into
>> >>>neither category and are therefore 'amoral'?
>> >>
>> >>The primethic decision.
>> >
>> >If the primethic is truly a decision, then some thought must go into the
>> >decision-making process. What thoughts would be relevent? What factors
>> >would be considered prior to making this "primethic decision"? Certainly
>> >not any self-defense or survival issues, we've already agreed that those
>> >are instinctual and instinctual responses require no thought at all. So...
>> >What remains?
>> The primethic may very well be instinctive, but I haven't thought of any way
>> to prove it...yet. Not all survival tactics are instinctive. For those who
>> are less successful at aggression, or prefer to sleep without one eye open,
>> the primethic may present a means of peaceful coexistance with their
>> neighbors. If many share in that decision, then all are safer.
>> The fact that people feel that defense (against human aggression) *itself*
>> is moral, and human aggression *itself* is immoral, as opposed to just
>> aggression against oneself being immoral, would tend to indicate that the
>> primethic may be instinctive.
>Actually, British courts have found that sadomasochists can be
>prosecuted even though those being inflicted on agree to the treatment.


When the boot of government is on your neck,
it doesn't matter if it's left or right.