The Instigator
Logician
Pro (for)
Winning
21 Points
The Contender
grahamreiver
Con (against)
Losing
0 Points

CCTV cameras in public places are morally justified

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 4 votes the winner is...
Logician
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/27/2010 Category: Society
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 6,048 times Debate No: 11562
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (30)
Votes (4)

 

Logician

Pro

As a Brit, I'm always fascinated by the differences in cultural / political norms between America and Britain. One such difference, which is the focus of this debate, is that of CCTV cameras. Practical difficulties aside, they are by and large accepted by the British public as a given - clearly something worthwhile, if only they'd be used effectively - whereas the American public seems, as far as I can see, much more wary of the whole issue.

That's why this debate is set up: I will argue that there is a moral case for CCTV cameras in public places, and that the moral arguments against CCTV are flawed; and my opponent, naturally, will argue the contrary. We will both have the burden of proof in these regards.

I define "public places" as places where the general public are allowed access without any legal barriers. The most obvious example of this would be outdoors, on public-access streets and highways, but this would also apply to such places as state-funded schools, libraries and museums. Essentially, this is the state deciding to place CCTV cameras on its own property, in an attempt to have visual evidence of criminal activity and catch criminals accordingly. Hopefully this definition is clear and uncontroversial. I ask that prospective opponents seek any necessary clarifications in the comments section, rather than unnecessarily derail this debate on semantics.

Note that I draw a general distinction between any practical arguments for/against CCTV (e.g. whether it deters crime, whether it, as currently constituted, catches criminals etc.) and any moral arguments for/against CCTV. My opponent will obviously be within his/her rights to argue that, in certain circumstances, this distinction is a false one...and dependent on the circumstances I may or may not concede the point...but I wanted to make the general distinction clear, just to avoid this debate being taken up on a false understanding of what will be argued.

I ask that this first round be used only to accept this debate, and to define any suitable terms / make any definitional challenges as my opponent may deem necessary. A three-round debate would then proceed as per usual.
grahamreiver

Con

You wrote the following:

"there is a moral case for CCTV cameras in public places"

What moral standpoint are you taking? Are you talking about Satanic morals, Christian morals, Zoroastrian morals, your morals, my morals, or Tony Blair's morals?

From what I can gather, it seems that most definitions of 'morals' are concerned with the principles of right and wrong. Assuming what is right or wrong is subjective, we must both debate through the eyes of the same specific mode of morality. What is right to a Satanist may not be the same as what is right to a Christian. Likewise, what is wrong to a Satanist may not be wrong to a Christian. Therefore, we need to set up those paremeters.

Lead the way, captain.
Debate Round No. 1
Logician

Pro

I thank my opponent for accepting this debate, and hope it will be a good one.

=== ON THE META-ETHICAL CHALLENGE PROVIDED BY MY OPPONENT ===

As with most ethical debates, I am arguing what I believe, and nothing more. Were the resolution to say, "Christians should accept the need for CCTV cameras", or "There is room in Satanic morality for CCTV", then clearly I would be arguing within a certain framework, and my opponent by implication would be as well. The resolution in fact doesn't say anything like this, and so my opponent is free to challenge my argument however he wants.

"Assuming what is right or wrong is subjective, we must both debate through the eyes of the same specific mode of morality."

No, we don't. It is equally possible for us to argue _between_ modes of morality. One of many examples of this happening on this very website can be found here: http://www.debate.org.... Indeed, the entire point of meta-ethics is to debate between alternative ethical theories to see which (if any) are successful.

Accordingly, my opponent has two possible avenues of attack in this debate. He can either accept my premises/assumptions and then attack my conclusion ("debating through the same mode of morality") or he can argue that my premises/assumptions themselves are flawed ("debating between modes of morality"). Accordingly, I need not specify which "mode" I'm taking, as the arguments will speak for themselves.

=== MY SUBSTANTIVE ARGUMENTS ===

Onwards, then, to my arguments. There are three of them, which I will outline very quickly in syllogistic form - making my argument clear, but without wasting too much time writing out prose on what my opponent may very well concede without problem :-) I'll be happy to expand on premises in later rounds, if and when it becomes clear exactly which ones my opponent will be attacking.

1) Limits of the right to privacy

There are two types of people: people who are guilty of a crime, or are suspected of committing a crime; and those who are law-abiding citizens, and recognised as such.

a. For guilty people

- When you commit a crime, or are suspected of one, the state has a right to infringe your privacy insofar as it helps them investigate this crime.
- CCTV cameras, where they are put, provide recorded evidence of any crime committed under its gaze.
- Therefore, if someone commits a crime in the vicinity of the cameras, s/he has given up his right to privacy in this regard.

b. For law-abiding people

- When someone is in public, they recognise that their actions may be seen, and that they may be watched by regular passers-by.
- People therefore concede elements of their right to privacy every time they leave their home (or other such private places) and go into the public realm.
- When put in public places, CCTV cameras record what takes place in public.
- Therefore, such CCTV cameras do not infringe upon the right to privacy.

2) Property rights

- Public areas are the property of the state
- People have a right to do what they want with their own property, so long as it doesn't infringe unnecessarily upon other people's rights.
- For the reasons outlined in 1) above, no such unnecessary infringement happens with the installation of CCTV in public places.
- Therefore, the state has a right to place CCTV cameras in public areas.

3) Solving crime

- The primary point of CCTV cameras is to record crimes happening, and to facilitate the capture of the guilty after the fact. They may also be used in real time, by the police who wish to track and catch criminals on the run.
- The state, being charged with the duty of defining "crime", has the right to better ensure the capture of criminals.
- Therefore, the state is justified in setting up CCTV cameras, and in making sure that they catch as many criminals as possible.

I may as yet have reason to introduce more substantive arguments as the debate goes on. But so far, for all of these reasons, the resolution is affirmed. I await my opponent's response.
grahamreiver

Con

My opponent wrote the following:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
***********************"As with most ethical debates, I am arguing what I believe, and nothing more. Were the resolution to say, "Christians should accept the need for CCTV cameras", or "There is room in Satanic morality for CCTV", then clearly I would be arguing within a certain framework, and my opponent by implication would be as well. The resolution in fact doesn't say anything like this, and so my opponent is free to challenge my argument however he wants.

"Assuming what is right or wrong is subjective, we must both debate through the eyes of the same specific mode of morality."

No, we don't. It is equally possible for us to argue _between_ modes of morality. One of many examples of this happening on this very website can be found here: http://www.debate.org....... Indeed, the entire point of meta-ethics is to debate between alternative ethical theories to see which (if any) are successful."*****************************
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Since there are no parameters in regards to morality, then I can use any form of morality in my argument. This is true because my opponent wrote the following: "No, we don't. It is equally possible for us to argue_between_modes of morality."

I choose to use my own morality. Based on my own morality, CCTV cameras in public places are NOT morally justified. My opponent cannot argue against this because my opponent did not set up parameters in regards to morality. Therefore, CCTV cameras in public places are NOT morally justified.

Thank you.
Debate Round No. 2
Logician

Pro

My opponent, unfortunately, does not seem to understand how ethical debates work. Either that, or he has deliberately derailed this debate in an attempt to capitalise on what he believes to be a tactical error on my part. If it is the former, then I will take this opportunity to rebut him. If it is the latter, then I will show how he is wrong to take the approach that he has.

Yes, he has chosen his own morality. That much was clear the moment that he took the CON side of this debate. Yes, I have my own morality - that much was obvious when I set up this debate, such that I was the PRO side of this debate.

According to my opponent, I "cannot argue against [his morality] because [I] did not set up parameters in regards to morality." This is simply not the case. Indeed, to support his point he quoted the very part of my Round 2 where I said that: "It is equally possible for us to argue _between_ modes of morality." This sets up a clear parameter for debate: we can debate between our moral frameworks in order to determine which one is correct. I gave an example of this in Round 2 where, on debate.org itself, the resolution was: "Objectivism fails to describe an adequate meta-ethical answer for the is-ought problem." [1] Clearly the only way to have such a debate is to engage in meta-ethics: a discussion between moral frameworks to determine which framework is correct.

In this instance, my moral framework leads me to the conclusion that CCTV cameras are morally justified; his does not. Therefore, the point of this debate is to see whose position on this issue is correct, and which one should be accepted. Indeed, I clarified this point even further when I said that:

"...my opponent has two possible avenues of attack in this debate. He can either accept my premises/assumptions and then attack my conclusion ("debating through the same mode of morality") or he can argue that my premises/assumptions themselves are flawed ("debating between modes of morality")." [Round 2, Pro]

In conclusion, I set up clear parameters for moral debate, and a methodology by which we could determine whose moral position is correct. In my substantive, I proceeded to provide argumentation for my framework, and against my opponent's. Until he extends my arguments and provides substantive material and/or rebuttal of his own, thereby making any attempt to rebut my challenge on his morality, I win by default.

Thank you.

Source:
[1] http://www.debate.org...
grahamreiver

Con

My opponent wrote the following:

"Yes, he has chosen his own morality. That much was clear the moment that he took the CON side of this debate. Yes, I have my own morality - that much was obvious when I set up this debate, such that I was the PRO side of this debate."

How was it clear what mode of morality I was going to debate when I "took the Con side of this debate"?? Can you read minds? I would be interested in how you perform such sorcery.

My opponent then wrote the following:

"According to my opponent, I "cannot argue against [his morality] because [I] did not set up parameters in regards to morality." This is simply not the case. Indeed, to support his point he quoted the very part of my Round 2 where I said that: "It is equally possible for us to argue _between_ modes of morality." This sets up a clear parameter for debate: we can debate between our moral frameworks in order to determine which one is correct. I gave an example of this in Round 2 where, on debate.org itself, the resolution was: "Objectivism fails to describe an adequate meta-ethical answer for the is-ought problem." [1] Clearly the only way to have such a debate is to engage in meta-ethics: a discussion between moral frameworks to determine which framework is correct."

When you write "clearly the only way to have such a debate is...blah blah blah", you obviously do not understand what the debate is about. Your premise is that "CCTV cameras in public places are morally justified". You did not set up parameters for the argument. Therefore I used my own morality to argue against your premise. My morality states that CCTV cameras in public places are NOT morally justified. Given the fact that you did not set up any parameters in regard to modes of morality, you cannot argue against my premise.

Then my opponent continues:

"In this instance, my moral framework leads me to the conclusion that CCTV cameras are morally justified; his does not. Therefore, the point of this debate is to see whose position on this issue is correct, and which one should be accepted. Indeed, I clarified this point even further when I said that:
"...my opponent has two possible avenues of attack in this debate. He can either accept my premises/assumptions and then attack my conclusion ("debating through the same mode of morality") or he can argue that my premises/assumptions themselves are flawed ("debating between modes of morality")." [Round 2, Pro]"

All I needed to do was to show that based on some set of morality, CCTV cameras in public places are NOT morally justified. I did this in the last round.

I rest my case.
Debate Round No. 3
Logician

Pro

It is unfortunate that my opponent hasn't engaged with the spirit of this debate. Nonetheless, I could understand his approach if I had actually made some semantic error in my resolution, allowing him to argue on some marginal case. I have, however, not done so - in his attempt to argue from semantics, my points have been misrepresented and misunderstood.

My opponent said:

"How was it clear what mode of morality I was going to debate when I "took the Con side of this debate"?? Can you read minds? I would be interested in how you perform such sorcery."

Re-reading my statement, I said: "Yes, he has chosen his own morality. That much was clear the moment that he took the CON side of this debate." This does not imply that I knew exactly how my opponent would argue his case. It only says that I knew he would take a position in this debate (i.e. that he would choose his own morality). How did I know that he would take a position in this debate? Because he accepted the debate, as CON. And, indeed, he has taken a position - namely, that, "CCTV cameras in public places are NOT morally justified" - even if it is an unargued one. QED.

My opponent further said:

"Your premise is that "CCTV cameras in public places are morally justified". You did not set up parameters for the argument."

This is simply false, for the reasons that I painstakingly laid out in the last round, and the one before that. Furthermore, it is not a "premise" that CCTV cameras in public places are morally justified - that is the "resolution". There are multiple arguments that I have deployed in favour of this resolution, each of which have their own premises. For each of these multiple arguments, there are various ways that my opponent could have attacked them. I set out parameters for the debate, clearly showing my opponent how he could have argued against the resolution. He did not.

My opponent finished his round by arguing that:

"All I needed to do was to show that based on some set of morality, CCTV cameras in public places are NOT morally justified. I did this in the last round."

No, that is not accurate. I have given arguments for my morality. I have set out a framework by which it is possible to argue against this morality. (Which, by the way, I shouldn't have needed to do, but I did anyway.) Given the framework set out, and the arguments that I have given in accordance with this framework, he would need to actually GIVE arguments for his morality. As he has not done so, I win by default. Furthermore, were he to try and attack my arguments now, it would be grossly unfair: this being the last round of this debate, I would not have any reasonable chance to respond in kind. Even under this scenario, I urge a straight PRO win due to the circumstances; or, at the very least, a 4-3 vote for PRO, in alignment with the voting categories.

I rest my case. Vote PRO!
grahamreiver

Con

My opponent's argument is: "CCTV cameras in public places are morally justified."

I asked my opponent to specify what mode of morality he and I would be using as a parameter for the debate.

He then wrote that we would not be using parameters regarding morality.

I then wrote that based on my own morality, CCTV cameras in public places are NOT morally justified.

Therefore, CCTV cameras in public places are not morally justified. This is true based on the parameters that MY OPPONENT set up.

My opponent needs to understand that you must set up some parameters for your debate.

I rest my case.
Debate Round No. 4
30 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Ninja_Tru 4 years ago
Ninja_Tru
I understand where grahamreiver is coming from, in fact, he's right in that he has his own morality. However, this only means he won Step 1 in a 2-step argument...

Logician, you set up your framework and he set up his framework. Debates have to have clash (which there is, he says it's morally unjustified and you say it's morally justified).

But, even though he's logically correct that his morality doesn't justify CCTV, in order to win (unless he's happy with just having said his case and doesn't care about the score) he needs to convince US, the voters. He needs to give reasons to *prefer* his framework. Since the Pro is the only side that gives us reasons to prefer his morality and view the topic under his moral lens, we shy out of the Con's morality. So, we the voters who are standing between the moralities will go towards the Pro one because it has arguments convincing us to choose it.

I mean, the Con made compelling points as to why his morality *exists*, but not any as to why we should choose it.
Posted by Spaztoid 4 years ago
Spaztoid
scriptcoder: You are correct, I do appoligize for being childish. I do have the ability to produce a case, however it is against the law as the case involves minors. I can describe it, however you would have to trust that I was telling the truth as there would be way to prove the case to have happened.
Posted by abard124 4 years ago
abard124
@Logican: I could take the debate if you want me to, and I will give real arguments, but I cannot say that it is an issue for which I feel very strongly about, so my arguments could possibly reflect that. I will leave it to you to decide whether on not to challenge me, but I will certainly take it if you do.
Posted by scriptcoder 4 years ago
scriptcoder
grahamreiver: Can you please list a few different types of morality and how they differ?
Posted by grahamreiver 4 years ago
grahamreiver
@Logician:

I am done arguing with you. You are a fool. Go take a class in logic.
Posted by Logician 4 years ago
Logician
Would you be willing to take the CON side for a re-debate, abard124? Because I'm sure that, with two people willing to thrash out the issues, it would prove a very interesting debate on both sides...
Posted by Logician 4 years ago
Logician
Grahamreiver: can you please explain how repeating one assertion over and over again (i.e. that "CCTV cameras are NOT morally justified") constitutes "proving" your premise?

It's also ironic that I DID give parameters for debate - you even quoted the part where I gave the parameters, in round 2. To repeat: "It is equally possible for us to argue_between_modes of morality." Therefore, I provide arguments for my "mode of morality", you provide arguments for yours, and we debate between the two. I did my part, but you didn't do yours. Shame, really - could've been a good debate.
Posted by grahamreiver 4 years ago
grahamreiver
@abard124:

You're completely missing the point. Obviously you didn't read what I wrote. The point was not about proving it one way or the other. The point was that my oponent did not set up parameters to the debate. Since he did not do so, it was not even necessary for me to justify my stance. My opponent basically told me that we could argue any morality. You just don't get it, do you? I didn't NEED an argument. I proved my premise. That was the point. That was the only point. Get it? It doesn't matter what the reasoning behind my morality is. I think many people using this site do not have one brain cell amongst their collective heads.
Posted by abard124 4 years ago
abard124
However, while I agree with CON, he needs more substantiative arguments, and not just, I believe they're wrong, so they're wrong. Technically you could justify that, but he doesn't.
Posted by abard124 4 years ago
abard124
Personal freedoms...That's one of the main reasons we left England...
4 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Vote Placed by Ninja_Tru 4 years ago
Ninja_Tru
LogiciangrahamreiverTied
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Vote Placed by abard124 4 years ago
abard124
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trendem
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sidobagga
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