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philosophystudent231
Pro (for)
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The Contender
swagner713
Con (against)
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Anger can be a good moral motivation

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/23/2013 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 277 times Debate No: 42854
Debate Rounds (3)
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philosophystudent231

Pro

Aristotle argues that there are two kinds of virtues, those that are taught and those that are learned through habit. He seeks to show that through our habits we devlope our characters. He believes we must seek out a middle ground in all virtues, as it is the nature of things to be destroyed by defect or excess. Anger, as a virtue, must also have a middle ground, meaning that it too can be good.
1) Virtue can be either intellectual or moral in nature, with the intellectual being developed through teaching, requiring experience and time, and the moral being developed through habit.
2) Some men become self-restrained while others become irascible due to their tendency to behave in either manner; these characteristics become, through habit, part of each mans moral virtue.
3) The kinds of activities we undertake define our character, and thus our virtues, by encouraging us towards one kind of behavior or another.
4) Virtues are destroyed by excess and defect and are preserved by the mean.
5) The desirable amount of anger is the mean between too much anger and too little anger and is considered good-tempered.
6) The good-tempered man is praised because he tends to be unperturbed and not led by passion but is angry in the way the rule dictates.
7) Those who are not angry at things they should be angry at are thought to be fools unlikely to defend themselves.
8) Excessive anger has several manifestations, the worst being called bad-tempered which cannot be appeased until they inflict vengeance or punishment.
9) We idealize good temper and oppose excess more strongly than we oppose deficiency since bad tempered people are worse to live with.
10) It is difficult to determine acceptable factors for one's anger, which can only be decided on the particular facts and on perception.
Conclusion:
11) Anger is found to be good when a praiseworthy middle ground has been found.
swagner713

Con

I think your argument has valid points, however, IT IS NOT NECESSARILY THE CASE that anger is found to be good.

Anger is not useful because once you find the middle ground, which you consider to be ideal, it is no longer a form of anger. If it listens to reason and follows where led, it is no longer anger, the hallmark of which is willful disobedience. One premise in your argument addresses that excessive anger has several manifestations. This is not the case because once anger has developed into a positive form, it is no longer anger.

In addition, virtue needs no other vice to assist it, it is sufficient in itself. I can elaborate about that longer later.
Debate Round No. 1
philosophystudent231

Pro

It is IRRELEVANT that anger may not necessarily be found to be good because the issue at hand is whether or not anger can be a good moral motivation.
If we base our understanding of anger on Aristotle, anger is a natural human response. He believes that moral virtues are developed through habit. If we have the right kind of habits, our anger will tell us what is morally right and morally wrong. Through developing habits that are not contrary to nature, we discover what is right and wrong. When we understand these rights and wrongs, we develop a tendency to behave in certain ways. Finding and keeping to a middle ground in all virtues, but especially when angry, allows us to understand what is acceptable behavior and what is not.
Our anger informs us as to how we should respond to the behavior of others.
Anger can motivate us to take action we find to be morally wrong, forcing us to take a side in a moral issue.
Thus, anger can be a good moral motivation by guiding our understanding of what is and is not moral.
swagner713

Con

IT IS NOT THE CASE that anger can motivate us to take action we find to be morally wrong. Anger does not provide the equipment to aid to courage. Rather, anger acts as a superficial replacement for it. For example, let us say there is an issue at hand you find morally wrong, and you find that your beliefs are part of the outliers. Having anger towards others who do not share your beliefs will not help you rise to action simply because you find them to be morally wrong.
Moreover, some things are in our power, but after time they forcefully take control of us. If the mind throws itself into anger, or other affections, it is in the same way not allowed to restrain the impulse. The anger is bound to be swept along and driven downwards by its own weight. In this way, anger is inconsistent and it would be hard to find a middle ground.
Debate Round No. 2
philosophystudent231

Pro

IT IS POSSIBLE that anger may be a good moral motivation because this bears no relationship to providing the equipment to aiding courage. Whether or not we take action on our moral disagreement with a situation may require courage but our understanding of that situation and our moral stance requires nothing but comprehension of the moral virtues taught to us through habit. Anger is not a requirement to develop morals but it is a possible motivation.
Anger may transform into other things when it listens to reason and becomes controllable but that does not mean it does not assist in forming one's moral stance. Striking a middle ground and being good-tempered, according to Aristotle, implies that one has found a way to respond with anger justifiably and with good reason. These anger responses form and then become a result of our judgment of what is morally right or wrong. If you do not respond with any anger to a situation that clearly has a moral right and a moral wrong, you may be considered to be a fool because you have not indicated that you comprehend what is happening.
Anger can be help us decide what is right and what is wrong and thus to what we must respond. If it transforms after that decision has no bearing on its capacity to be a moral motivator.
swagner713

Con

IT IS NOT NECESSARILY THE CASE that anger may be a good moral motivation because Anger is often driven back by pity, and has no solid strength. Not only is it inconsistent, but it sometimes goes further than it should, or stops abruptly. Anger judges capriciously, refuses to listen, and leaves no room for defense.
On the other hand, reason is a better moral motivation. Reason wishes to pass fair judgment while anger wishes the judgment which it has already passed to seem far. Anger is often misguided by irrelevant trifles, whereas reason considers nothing but the issue. It is quite foolish that one would find anger useful for moral motivation when it produces bad temper, something unstable, untrustworthy, and unsound in seeking protection. Anger cannot help us decide what is right and wrong because it has all of the above attributes. It acts as a barrier in which we are unable to have the capacity to make proper moral decisions.
Debate Round No. 3
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