The Instigator
Con (against)
8 Points
The Contender
Pro (for)
5 Points

2011 November-December LD

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 3 votes the winner is...
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 11/6/2011 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,894 times Debate No: 19148
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (11)
Votes (3)




Full Resolution-
Resolved: Individuals have a moral obligation to assist people in need

This first round will be for rule/acceptance/clarifications/etc.

+ Although this is the current LD topic, this debate will not take place in an LD format.
+ All arguments should be written to be as clear and concise as possible.
+ Arguments do not have to include data. However if data is not included, then clear philosophical warrants should be made.

I will be arguing that individuals do not have a moral obligation to assist others in need. My opponent will be arguing that Individuals do have a moral obligation to assist people in need.

The Voting period will be two weeks.
There will be three rounds of debate, and one round of acceptance.
There will be 72 hours to argue during each round.
There will a character limit of 8,000.



You may beigin ASAP.

But i have one question:

Do you want to ask questions as well?
Debate Round No. 1


= Clarifications =
First off, let me thank Grapeness for accepting this debate! I will begin by clarifying a few points, setting some groundwork, and finally presenting my arguments.

So to answer my opponent's questions, no we will not ask questions as a function for the debate itself. However by all means feel free to ask me a question either in your "speeches" or in the comments section. I'm sure my arguments will inevitably be scattered-brained, I've only just begun to really think about this topic.

So all of this said I will get into the bulk of my arguments.

= Arguments =
1. It is good to assist others in need-
Do not get me wrong, by standing in negation of this topic I do not think that it is bad to help those in need. Nor do is there a good reason, on par, not to help others in need of assistance when the opportunity and means present them-self.

2. There is a societal obligation to assist people in need-
In order for a society for function properly, it's members absolutely must be willing to assist and help one another. If this is not done, then the infrastructure of the society will crumble bringing it's members back into the original stte of nature.

3. Morality is not a universal concept-
a. Or similarly put, morality is subjective. For each and every person there will be a different sense of morality. This is true even among people of similar lifestyles and beliefs. The mental process that determines the moral from the immoral is a personal one, thus each person cannot hold the same sense of morality.

b. Even if another person where to completely understand the moral code of another, it is not their moral code and they are not bound to it.

4. The obligation to assist others is not a moral one-
The greatest end we must always strive for, is that of societal welfare. Any action we commit must be made to be in the best interest of the society. At the point that it is not, it is detrimental to the society and contradicts with the societal obligation each person has (as established in point two).

Since morality is subjective, a person's moral code to assist others in need could cause great harm to their society. A few example include, but are not limited to:
+ The Nazi's moral obligation to their country to exterminate the Jewish people.
+ The KKK's moral obligation to their white kindred to exterminate the Black scum.
+ Al Quieda's moral obligation to their God to kill infidels.


“Every kind of peaceful cooperation among men is primarily based on mutual trust and only secondarily on institutions such as courts of justice and police”- Albert Einstein

Since I agree with Einstein, I stand in the affirmation of the resolution, resolved: individuals have a moral obligation to assist people in need.

To better understand the resolution I offer the following definitions:

individuals: members of society

Moral obligation: an obligation arising out of considerations of right and wrong

Assist: act of helping

People in need: 1. A condition or situation in which something is required or wanted


  • Do you agree or disagree that without life, defined as the existence of humans, that there would be no society?

  • (if yes) Since it takes human life to have society, as you have so previously agreed, should then that society not cooperate to progress into a civilization?

  • (if yes) So you agree that cooperation is needed for a progressed civilization?

CONTENITON ONE: The responsibility to assist people in need is essential to the proper functions of society.

A) Many jurisdictions have a established a legal requirement to assist persons in need.

Jeremy Waldron, (Pro. Law, Columbia U.) SANTA CLARA LAW REVIEW 2000.

The law requires the ordinary citizen to remain at the scene of an accident in which his car has been involved and there is no question but that it expects him to do this on the basis of a desire to render and summon help, and assist the authorizes. it is nonsense to suppose that the law discounts such motivations or seeks to supplant them with fear of penalties. The penalties are there to ensure that, in the unlikely event the moral motivation fails, there will be something else with which to deter flight or the evasion of responsibility. And the same is evidently true of those many countries in which there is a general duty to rescue.

Now Waldron makes a good point. Only furthing the need of cooperation from humans since without cooperation human life will become road kill and would cease to exists. Therefore there would be no civilization. There would be no justice. There would be no duty. There will only be anarchy of the road kill.

B) Justice demands that individuals care for the needs of others.

Kathryn Tanner, (Prof., Semantice, Yale Diversty School), THE JOURNAL OF RELIGIOUS ETHICS, SPRING. 1996.

Finally the idea of justice itself is reconciled along the lines of an ethic of care. A just society us not simply a society that allows people to go their own way; a just society is one that actively cares for its member by providing the "institutional conditions enable people to meet their needs and express their desires" A just society is a "liberating and enabling society" that makes it possible for its members to achieve the goods specific to their own particular capacities and needs.

Jeanne M. Liedtka (Prof Business U.. Virginia) BUSINESS ETHICS QUARTERLYY.

A majority of philosophers would embed care within an ethic of justice.

Melody Stewart, (Prof. La U. Toledo College of Law) AMERICAN JOURNAL OF CRIMINAL LAW.

All fifty states and the district of Columbia require a motorist involved in an automobile accident to remain at the scene and many require the rendering of aid or assistance to anyone injured. Other statues that subject people to criminal prosecution for failing to assist in specific instance include e the failure to assist in preventing or suppressing fires, failure to assist a law enforcement officer or firefighter when requested, and failure to act on behalf of an elder person to prevent pain and suffering or being placed in a dangerous situation.

Now falling back on Liedtka, a professor at the University of Virginia, stated "we need justice and most philosophers embed caring into the concept of Justice. Therefore understanding that Justice is only held up through a community and civilization that cooperates: then through this mindset the resolution is upheld. Tanner, a professor at Yale, follows through with this mindset "A just society makes it possible for it’s members to achieve the goods specific to their own needs". Now seeing as it takes cooperation to uphold any value for a civilization to last, then it would be valuable to say that without cooperation- Justice defined as fairness, would fail therefor the civilization would fail; and seeing as without thought and caring, there would be no cooperation, therefore no other values or criteria can uphold the resolution.

Debate Round No. 2


= Opening Statements =
I thank my opponent immensly for his arguments!
As as briet road-map, I will cover my opponent's opening statements, answer my opponent's questions, and finally refute my opponent's arguments themselves.

It should also be noted that my opponent has no attacked my case as of yet. This means that any argument offered at a later point in this debate should no be considered as a voting issue, as it will unfairly skew the round to my opponent's favor. I will only have one speech to be able to refute it, whereas he will have two speeches to make further the warrant. The second of which I will not have the oppurtunity to respond to.

= Opening Rebuttals =
In regards to the Einstein quote, it is incredibly important to point out that Einstein is speaking of the social contract here, not moral obligation. Furthermore it is also apparant to note that this quote frames the direction in which my opponent takes this debate.
This debate is not however about social contract theory, nor about utilitarianism: It is one of moral obligation. This will be a crucial voting issue later in the debate.

I accept my opponent's definitions, and must point that right and wrong are relative concepts. Thus my opponent's definition of "moral obligation" doesn't serve to make much of a point for him in this debate.

= Q&A =
1. Yes.
2. Yes is the most basic comcept behind social contract theory
3. Yes.

1. What is the link between the Ultilitarian system you establish in your case, and the moral obligation that is the burden of the resolution?
2. Should a person assist another if it benefits the one being assisted, but harms another person?
3. Is there one universal standard of morality?

= Argument Rebuttal =
My opponent has not directly attacked any aspect of my case as of yet. I even want to go so far as to say that he shouldn't be allowed to make any direct arguments toward my case at this point, as it would be new material to cover in the final speech. However if he doesn't make an argument then this debate will have been pointless, so whatever my opponent should choose to do ought to be acceptable.

Contention 1 The responsibility to assist people in need is essiential to the proper funstions of society
a. Many Jurisdictions have established a legal requirment to assist persons in need
+ There is no warrant to suggest that those who follow these law do so by moral obligation instead of simple adherence to social contract law.
+ Moral Nihlism proves that moral obligation has an incredibly high chance of failing. Furthermore even where one to perscribe to morality, many would sooner abandon moral motivation to benefit oneself. A prime example, would be a person running away from a crash scene by fear of their own safety.
+ My opponent ultimately argues for social contract theory, not moral obligation. The former is something one agrees to when being born in, and choosing to remain in the social contract. The latter is an inborn sense of right and wrong which is not universally defined.

b. Justice
+ Extend prior argument on social contract theory. My opponent is not arguing for moral obligation, but comforming to the social contract.
+ My opponent makes a strong case for justice, utilitarianism, and the social contract, but not for proving that this obligation is a moral one.

= Closing statements =
At this point I feel it is necessary to point out that the argument concerning subjective morality has not been addressed. If it goes unrefuted then the vote absolutely must go to con because of my own argument number four.


Grapeness forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3


Please vote in the affermation.
Debate Round No. 4
11 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Cobo 4 years ago
Bad Debate that looked good in beggining.
Posted by BangBang-Coconut 4 years ago
Metsari, it looks like you where a bit too late to accept. But I still need to get more practice in on this topic before December, so feel free to challenge me at a later date. Once grapeness and I get into round three or four I'll start over with you.
Posted by logicrules 4 years ago
lol...sounds like our new education
Posted by Mestari 4 years ago
You do not both need to share values in LD.
Posted by logicrules 4 years ago
@mest....well no, I didn't say theory I said operant, and it is LD....requires shared values with disagreement on implementation.
Posted by Mestari 4 years ago
Just saw that it's acceptance only; I must have missed it the first time around, sorry. I'll think about taking this debate soon.
Posted by Mestari 4 years ago
Logic, an agreed moral theory would affirm or negate the resolution before the debate began.

BangBang, is round 1 only for acceptance, or will the pro present their case?
Posted by logicrules 4 years ago
We would need an agreed moral operant or we are spinning wheels.
Posted by BlackVoid 4 years ago
Look forward to reading. I have a feeling Mestari will go after this.
Posted by larztheloser 4 years ago
I love this topic! And I love arguing the pro case! If only I had a little more time right now ... if anyone would be keen to debate this with me after Thursday I'd be very happy.
3 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Vote Placed by logicrules 4 years ago
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Total points awarded:05 
Reasons for voting decision: Asserting the negative is always a loser.
Vote Placed by larztheloser 4 years ago
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Total points awarded:40 
Reasons for voting decision: Coconuts squash grapes, what did anyone expect? No seriously, pro shouldn't forfeit, fail to counterattack con's case, or fail to defend his case against con's attacks. Con could have done more to emphasize his strongest points, particularly on social contract theory.
Vote Placed by cameronl35 4 years ago
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Total points awarded:40 
Reasons for voting decision: Better arguments from CON and complete Rebuttal...Forfeit from PRO