The Instigator
Yep
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
OMGJustinBieber
Con (against)
Winning
11 Points

Altruism does not exist.

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 3 votes the winner is...
OMGJustinBieber
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 2/23/2012 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 4,991 times Debate No: 21439
Debate Rounds (2)
Comments (5)
Votes (3)

 

Yep

Pro

Before accepting this debate, please read over the following notes.

My Position aims to attack not Altruism(The idea), but how we as human beings look at it(How we describe certain ideas as altruistic when in reality they are not). I believe Altruism does not exist in our Moral Society.

Definitions-

Exist- To occur

Altruism- The principle or practice of unselfish concern for or devotion to the welfare of others

After the following rules and definitions are accepted, the first round will be for acceptance. This will be a 1 Round Debate (not including the first round), where I as Pro will State my case, then the negative will proceed to refute the arguments. IF the negative successfully refutes the arguments, they win (not just stating a case for why it exists, instead look towards why i am wrong) If any points are left up by the affirmative, or are not successfully refuted by the negative, then the affirmative wins.
OMGJustinBieber

Con

Accepted.
Debate Round No. 1
Yep

Pro

Thank you for accepting this debate, hopefully this will be as intellectually stimulating for you as it will be or me!

I affirm, Altruism does not exist.

There are a number of reasons why Altruism does not exist, which i will cover in this speech through points.

1st and foremost, the most common argument against altruism is human selfishness.
If there is anything that humanity has proven, it is that every action we as human beings do is met with some sort of selfish reason. Picture the generally assumed "altruistic" situation, where a man finds a beggar on the street, and may in fact give him some sort of currency. In our minds, we see this as an unselfish action, however the man is still gaining self satisfaction, which relays a constant. The constant, is the consequences of our actions, not on others, but on ourselves as well. The man feels as if he must help, but knows he will gain some sort of self-satisfaction out of helping, therefore it i a personnel gain, one that we as human beings define as selfish. There is no end to selfishness in reality, every action committed by a human being is bent on somehow benefiting that human being, whether it is clearly deliberate (Killing someone who threatens your life) or hidden (The man helping the beggar, achieving self-satisfaction.

2nd, Philosophy
When looked at from a philosophical point of view, no motive exists that would make one man help another, out of "Pure" kindness, rather than achieving anything at all. Everything done on this planet is done because each and every human being gains from every action. Any hypothetical situation can prove that Altruism does not exist in a human moral world, based on the fact that nothing in this world is done WITHOUT a motive. For instance, I "WANT TO" (emphasis) help someone, is still a motive, even if it is based on one's consciousness, because no human being is capable of fulfilling a duty or action without a motive.

3rd, Emotions deter Altruism.
Emotions are self interests, because of this, they are a direct deterrence to Altruism. If i as a human being were to create an orphanage, out of what looks like pure kindness, it would be for one of two reasons. 1) I feel as if i am morally obligated to, thus letting my emotions get in the way of my judgments, and therefore creating a self interest for myself, or 2) Just plain motivated towards it, in that i feel as if it would be great to help these orphans, i will gain self gratification from this, therefore it is in my self- interests to build this orphanage. Clearly Altruism is not upheld by Emotions.

4th, We do not enter into a relationship with another human being without needs and wants.
To fulfill those needs and wants, we utilize others in the form of relationships. If you have no needs and wants and do not utilize others, you are on a level with a rock on the ground. Rocks neither need nor want, hence they neither utilize nor use other things. Along the same lines, almost all of our actions are driven by selfishness and narcissism at least in part. Hence, altruism is a lie. We are friendly to be nice, to keep relationships going smoothly, and as part of our morals. I say that nice people are also motivated in part by selfishness. They are nice to give themselves "nice person" points to feed their egos.

5th, Our human minds do not allow for Altruism

Motivation moves forth what we as human beings see. We commit acts of kindness and valor through our cognitive ability to produce an outcome from such acts. These products of the human mind, or outcomes, are what drive us forward. We do EVERY SINGLE ACTION because of our brain, and i don't mean just processing, i mean developing motivation for every action as well. No human being on this planet, and i can proudly say this, can think of an act without a motivation, and an outcome. Thus, we are not altruistic, an altruism does not exist in humanity.

Thus, i conclude, that Altruism does not exist. Vote Affirmative, and thank you for taking the time to read this. Good luck to my opponent as well, and once again thank you for accepting this debate.
OMGJustinBieber

Con

Con Case

Lets start this off with a quote.

"In Britain, blood needed for medical purposes comes exclusively from people who voluntarily give their blood to the National Blood Transfusion Service. These donors are not paid. They do not get preferential treatment when they themselves need blood, for the National Health Service provides blood free of charge for all those in Britain who need it. Nor can donors be rewarded - or even given a grateful smile - by the patients whose lives are saved by their gifts. Donors never know who receives their blood, and patients never know who gave the blood they receive." [1]

Do donors exist? Yes it draws on over a million donors each year. [2]

What are their stated motivations? The vast majority of those polled stated altruistic motivations. [3]

I don't know how Pro can respond to this, nevermind the countless other acts where individuals have literally ensured their own self-destruction to save others. Take, for instance, the royal Marine who jumped on a hand grenade to save his fellow soldiers [4].

Lets go back to the definition here of altruism:

Altruism- The principle or practice of unselfish concern for or devotion to the welfare of others

How can that royal Marine or the millions of Britains who have donated blood with no benefits for doing so be charged with acting selfishly? Pro needs a very, very broad definition of the term to satisfy that condition and thus far he has not done so.

Pro Case

Selfishness: Pro makes a broad and unsupported generalization ("If there is anything that humanity has proven, it is that every action we as human beings do is met with some sort of selfish reason.") He then goes on to "prove" this with his hypothetical beggar example. Pro claims that even in that case the man is receiving self-satisfaction. However, clearly, Pro is only speculating. This puts Pro in the uncomfortable and untenable position that the millions who donate blood without improved prospects of repayment do so because it makes them feel better. Every one of them. Is this the reported motivation? No. Does this explain the instance of the Marine who jumped on the grenade? Not at all. This first point can be excused as speculation.

Philosophy:In claiming that there is no philosophical motivate for non-self interested behavior Pro is literally wiping away all secular and religious morality in one swoop. Again, we see Pro "prove" his point without actually having to do so "Any hypothetical situation can prove that Altruism does not exist in a human moral world, based on the fact that nothing in this world is done WITHOUT a motive." The entire "motive" line of argument is a straw man, the fact that there is a motive does not necessitate that that motive is selfish or that altruism does not exist. Nor does the motive always, or even generally, take the form "I want to."

Emotions: "Emotions are self interests" is a completely bizarre definition. If we're going by the typical definitons then Pro's point is non-sensical and even if we grant Pro all of this he only describes it as "deterrence" to altruism, not a factors that completely demolish any prospect of its existence. Additionally, this in no way counters the "marine on hand grenade" example. There is no possible way one's self-interest can be promoted through that.

Relationships: Who says you even need to enter into a relationship with the person you're helping? See the blood example. Again, we have these broad claims on Pro's part that are utterly unsupported ("Along the same lines, almost all of our actions are driven by selfishness and narcissism at least in part. Hence, altruism is a lie.")

Minds: This claim is actually enormous, and Pro needs to provide neurological evidence for it but of course fails to cite even one study. Again, just because humans have motivations does not mean those motivations are necessarily selfish. That said, Pro basically concludes his argument with a restatement of his broad, unsupported conclusions that apparently hold for every human being who lives or who has ever lived.

Summary: Pro never even considers the case that individuals can completely demolish themselves for a higher purpose. Pro repeatedly tries to stretch the meaning of selfishness here to even having motivations which is a complete distortment of the argument. Pro repeatedly makes sweeping claims about humanity that he cannot, or ever hope to, corroborate. I have provided definitions where individuals have made sacrifices for strangers with no prospect of a benefit and cause direct harm to themselves. These would appear to fit the definition of "altruistic" acts despite Pro's utterly unsupported insistence that every human action is selfish.

I urge a Con vote.

[1] Peter Singer, "The Expanding Circle" p. 133
[2] ibid p. 134
[3] ibid p. 133
[4] http://ge-Cross-Marine-would-jump-on-hand-grenade-again.html...;
Debate Round No. 2
5 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Posted by Yep 5 years ago
Yep
If only i had extra room to write sources i'll post them here though if anyone wants them-

http://urbanphilosophy.net...

http://www.lewrockwell.com...

http://robertlindsay.wordpress.com...

http://www.enotes.com...
Posted by Yep 5 years ago
Yep
Charles, So basically your saying, altruism exists on a reality above a reality, but i don't understand how exactly this coincides in our moral society? The idea of Altruism isn't attacked in this debate, rather it's existence in reality. A solider who jumps on a grenade, feels as if he is morally obligated to, thus an emotional motivation for his actions deter altruism. If he didn't feel like he had to or should have, as stated, then he clearly wouldn't have. Those who do seemingly selfless actions FEEL as if they must. My3rd point says that "feeling" deters Altruism.
Posted by charleslb 5 years ago
charleslb
Altruism does not exist, some cynics say. On the contrary, it's pure selfishness that is an impossibility, from an ontological perspective. That is, the solid, utterly atomized and self-contained selves subsisting and functioning in the world in a purely individualistic fashion, which some people's denial of altruism is predicated on, in fact do not actually exist. That's right, upon a close examination of reality we find that ultimately there are no individual ego entities, which thus effectively precludes selfishness from being the ultimate motive actuating all of our behavior.

Say what?! Well, rather than reality consisting of a collection of autonomous solid entities, as it's conventionally portrayed in substance ontologies, in actuality existence is a relational process in which entities are all quite interconnected and interdependent. Which is all to say that what superficially present as separate, solid objects and beings are a part of the grand integrality of Creation; and are each themselves a product on the integration of many quanta of creativity and bits and particles of reality, configuring and consolidating into what only outwardly appear to be indissoluble individuals.

Well then, if there aren't any absolutely individual individuals, and if the fundamental nature and truth and drive of things is unity, creative unity, then it hardly makes any sense to think in conventional terms of selfishness, let alone to elevate selfishness to the status of the ultimate principle that explains all of life and being. Yes, I expect that my vote will have to be with con, it's indeed quite a crock to say that altruism doesn't exist, for altruism is merely the manifestation, on the social and ethical level, of the underlying solidary reality of reality.
Posted by Yep 5 years ago
Yep
Sorry, i haven't been on all day or else i would have. Please vote though! :)
Posted by Zaradi 5 years ago
Zaradi
24 hours to post an argument? Make it the max of 72 and I'll accept this.
3 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Vote Placed by nonentity 5 years ago
nonentity
YepOMGJustinBieberTied
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Reasons for voting decision: As per Pro's first round, if Con successfully refutes his points, she wins. I do think that it would have been better for Pro if there had been more rounds, in which he could respond to her counters. OMG won the argument when she pointed out Pro's argument was rooted in speculation.
Vote Placed by Man-is-good 5 years ago
Man-is-good
YepOMGJustinBieberTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Pro makes an interesting case that is unfortunately rounded in assumptions that are not entirely justified. How are the presences of motives indicative of selfishness (Pro also distorts selfishness)? How can emotions be defined as self-interests? How would Pro's contention explain the donors or the marine? These are a few of the questions that one can draw from Con's arguments, which ultimately showed the flaws of Pro's.
Vote Placed by 000ike 5 years ago
000ike
YepOMGJustinBieberTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Pro's argument was essentially that even the donors that Con speaks of, give blood because they will inevitably be recognized for it like in the quote Con gives, or to feel moral. However, Con correctly rebuts that this is mere speculation, which destroys the foundation of Pro's arguments. In a 1-round debate, Pro lacks the opportunity to reply, so ultimately only Con's argument stood by the end.