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A Logic Definition Of Right Versus Wrong

This is a little something that I came up with about 20 years ago. I’ve had it posted on my own private web site for a long time and even included it in Maldene XIII as a sort of cherry on top to the story. It concerns the millennia old question of what is Right vs. Wrong.

Most people define right vs. wrong from what some list of commandments out of their chosen holy book says is right or wrong. This leaves a definition tainted by the particular local religious views, and never gives a definition that everyone (other religions) can agree on. And what about those without religion? What defines right or wrong for them? We all have an instinct for what is wrong, but there has never been a solid definition for it.

This void is even more blatant when you consider that every religion on the planet does more to teach selfishness than anything else. Think about it; the reason why people want to do good in the first place is to get a seat by their god or to not be thrown into some dark hot place for eternal punishment. All selfish motives; doing right for the wrong reasons. So, I think our society is ready to abandon religion in favor of more solid philosophical groundings. But here's the problem: everyone's definition or sense of Right vs. Wrong is based on a religious definition, and it's these conflicting definitions from different religions that have caused a great deal of misery over the years.

Solution? A definition of what is Wrong that is independent of any religious influence, and yet encompasses everything that everyone would agree as being wrong. With that in mind, I present my definition of Wrong, a definition that does not conflict with anyone's basic instincts for Right or Wrong, religion or not.

My definition is written in Logic format, that is, words such as AND or OR which are written in all capitals are considered as being logical operators acting on the two sets of phrases given in enclosing parenthesis to either side. This method of defining allows the most versatile style of defining and allows me to craft my definition most carefully to include every possibility and circumstance I could think of while still keeping it simple (and I thought through a lot of circumstances).

So for example, the statement {(condition A) AND (condition B)} is only true if both conditions are true, while the statement {(condition A) OR (condition B)} is true if either or both conditions are true. (That has been our brief lesson in logical operators for today; for your homework please do problems 1-14 in your workbooks.)

So, read on and enjoy. The definition of Wrong comes first, followed by a few corollaries and then the definition of Right (which is merely the logical opposite of Wrong). Note that in between these definitions of Right and Wrong there is a narrow area that can sometimes arise for things which are neither Right or Wrong– an intentional circumstance which arises in real life and for which there isn't any Right or Wrong (just one's decision to participate in the event or not). Anyway, have fun analyzing my statements, I'm sure they'll keep you busy for a while.


A Religion-Independent Philosophical Definition Of "Wrong"

To be "wrong" is:

[ (that which interferes detrimentally with the lives of others)


(limits the freedoms of others) ].


(Limits the fulfillment of one's full potential).

Corollary 1: To permit a wrong to continue when you are able to make it right, is Wrong.

Corollary 2: If an act one does causes wrong but the person doesn't realize it, then while the act itself is wrong, the person hasn't committed a Wrong if he hasn't realized it; but once he finds out he's done wrong, then if he doesn't set about correcting it, then he's done Wrong.

Corollary 3: Lying is wrong because it interferes detrimentally with one's life by causing wrong decisions and opinions to be made due to the influence of the lie.


Definition of "Right"

(taken as the logical opposite of "Wrong")

[ (That which does not interfere with the lives of others)


(expands, or at the least does nothing to interfere with, the freedoms of others) ]


[ (expands the fulfillment of one's potential)


(at least doesn't limit one's potential) ].

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