In philosophy, the universal ethic is a set of moral rules that expresses natural moral law. If it exists, the universal ethic is a unique moral imperative for humanity. Its function is to provide the foundation for proper laws and policies. The claim for its existence is a set of criteria which the universal ethic should satisfy. The universal ethic has five basic rules:
1. A "benefit" is an act welcomed by the recipient.
2. A "harm" is an act which directly and actually invades the legitimate domain of a victim.
3. Acts which benefit others are good.
4. All acts, and only those acts, which coercively harm others are evil.
5. Acts which are neither good nor evil are morally neutral.
The criteria for the universal ethic are: 1. The ethic should apply universally to all persons.
2. The ethic should be comprehensive for all acts.
3. The ethic should be logically consistent with the premises from which it is derived.
4. The ethic should not be based merely on arbitrary beliefs, values, or on any particular culture or practice.
The premises from which the universal ethic are derived are those proposed by the British philosopher John Locke in his Second Treatise of Government. These are: 1. Human beings are morally equal, having an equal moral worth, there being no inherent master-slave relationship in human biology.
2. Human beings are independent in their thinking and feeling.
3. Each person has a personal ethic by which acts are deemed to be good, evil, or neutral.
- The Soul of Liberty, by Fred Foldvary.