The Instigator
TheUnexaminedLife
Con (against)
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The Contender
hugojoy
Pro (for)
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Can guilt be separated from the idea of debt?

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 2/20/2017 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 889 times Debate No: 100092
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (30)
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TheUnexaminedLife

Con

Nietzsche argues that all guilt and 'bad conscience' first derives from this notion of 'debt'. Was he right?
hugojoy

Pro

I do believe that conscience is not the reason why someone is on debt. Conscience occurs when you do something bad or other thing that makes you bad. Debt is about a human needs, they just think they really need the money so bad that they want to borrow some money. Having a debt is just a nature for humans.
Debate Round No. 1
TheUnexaminedLife

Con

Bad conscience, suggests that you have done something bad. If you have transgressed against someone, then you are indebted to them. You have taken something that needs to be returned. Breaking a moral code and feeling guilty is simply the feeling of being on the wrong side of that belief system, of transgressing against a code. You feel bad not because it's intrinsically wrong but because you have broken the code everyone tells you is right. Being told not to do something and then doing it, makes you feel like you're challenging the system and therefore liable to be punished/disapproved of by the system. You owe it obedience, it has made you. Yet you rob it of it's right to supremacy and elevate yourself...
hugojoy

Pro

As everyone have a debt. to someone , its necessarily that if they help you in the past , you should help them too, because you will feel guilt at the same time, you'll realize that when the time you need help they are their. Its about paying what they help to you, not in money but the trust they give you when they help you. I thoughts this is about money but i just realize it's about the debt that not includes money.
Debate Round No. 2
TheUnexaminedLife

Con

Yeah, so that's right. It's about feeling that you owe someone something because they have caused you to have something in your life. When the bank gives you a loan, you feel guilty if you don't pay it back; in fact, you become so guilty, you are often convicted in a court of law if you don't 'pay up'. Likewise, when someone gives you their time, or even a smile, you feel like you owe them something back in return. Maybe you smile too. If you don't you start to feel guilty being a debtor.

Do you agree with this? Or are there any problems?
hugojoy

Pro

Yes there is because if you help someone you shouldn't think the pay back , you help them because you want to. Not about helping them because in the future if you have problems they gonna help. It's okay to owe someone a money and pay them back because debt is a responsibility. While in the other side guilt should be spared because not every time the people you help in the past will help you. So people should help someone with unconditional. Some people may feel guilt but it's not all the time.
Debate Round No. 3
30 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by TheUnexaminedLife 1 year ago
TheUnexaminedLife
I realise Latin is still quite conceptually distant from our earliest tribal communications; I naturally struggled to find many tribal words on the internet. All I was using it to show was how the more antiquated idea of 'contract' derives from the notion of a mutual agreement over an explicit, plainly expressed modern contract. Though, I still like to think that the tribal chieftain before accepting someone new to the community had a fully-suited lawyer to draw up terms on the back of a cow the new member would have to sign.

I concede in the case of parental bonds, guilt may come from impeaching one's own instincts and primal urges (which can only metaphorically be seen as a contract with the self, given retrospect). It is actualised from urge before duty. But, all strangers, including the numerous spouses the man would copulate with (and sometimes discard), I think to stay together must have required a mutual understanding, a silent contractus, where both understood they were part of one unit. Only after this, may intuitive care further unite and integrate these people.

(I suppose we would need some actual psychological evidence to see whether intentions of gift-giving originated from innate ethics of care or the desire to get something in return for your gift first). Giving for nothing in return suggests that you have an excess, whereas giving for an obliged something in return (strength in numbers) suggests you are risking resources to make an agreement with another.
Posted by 3RU7AL 1 year ago
3RU7AL
Ok, I think we can maybe agree that if you want to equate the words "contract" with "implicit proto promise" that could bring us closer to a conclusion. Although I feel compelled to point out that Latin is still quite conceptually distant from our earliest tribal instinctive conventions.

I would also like to point out that even when resources are scarce we still feel compelled to provide for our family members and I contend that this instinct is our most fundamental model for interacting with all humans and as such it is possible to informally adopt outsiders into our innate concept of family.

We do seem to have traveled far afield from the original discussion of "Can guilt be separated from the idea of debt?" I would say "yes", at least in some circumstances in cases involving immediate family members and by extension in some circumstances involving close friends that we think of and treat as close family members.

The idea of debt seems to be a device that allows us to interact with people we consider untrustworthy. It is a mechanism explicitly for risk mitigation. The idea of formal contracts and the associated debt also seem to be dependent on a trusted third party (government and/or system of established law) in order to enforce the details of the agreement.
Posted by TheUnexaminedLife 1 year ago
TheUnexaminedLife
Yes, a contradiction by modern semantics. But the Latin root, contractus, derives just from the simple notion of agreement. When I say 'contract', I don't mean it in the modern legalistic sense with all the bureaucratic connotations around it; we are talking about primal man. Pre-judicial. I think the modern contract derives from this notion of self-interest driven agreement.

Nietzsche writes that when we have an abundance, we start to be more humanitarian and giving (merciful); yet this only really comes after the formation of society where every individual does have enough to sustain themselves. Self interest before altruism. You can't afford to give away food for love by this model, you need love to get you more food.
And in a purely comical way, aren't you bribing your friends with food to spend time with you? I suppose, you all mutually like each other so all benefit from the social interaction... but there's also free food as an extra incentive. Everyone gets something from the exchange. I'm sure some wouldn't be happy if you invited them over for food and then offered them no food.
Posted by 3RU7AL 1 year ago
3RU7AL
Or perhaps they are simply offering proof of their ability to provide food and protection as reassurance that their cooperation would be mutually beneficial.

I will, from time to time, invite friends out to eat and provide food for them without any explicit or (I like to imagine) implicit contract. In the same way that you would naturally provide food for your immediate family members.

It would seem a natural way to show your altruistic intentions. It is a way of treating them like family.

Again, this type of behavior predates any concept of "contract". Don't you think that the idea of "contract" came much later, and is likely related to this behavior but not its cause?

I would take this a step further and say that an "unwritten contract" is a contradiction in terms.
Posted by TheUnexaminedLife 1 year ago
TheUnexaminedLife
But, what that describes is a contract. I'll give you food and in exchange you'll give me allegiance becoming part of my family. It is, in a sense giving away assets in order to buy loyalty with the mutual understanding that you giving away those assets ties them to you in some sort of obligation. It is coming to a deal, a pact, a compromise. You can't have that type of cooperation between strangers without a mutual understanding/agreement: a contract.
Posted by 3RU7AL 1 year ago
3RU7AL
It would seem that in order for a tribe to survive, they would need to have some mechanism that eliminates, or at least inhibits inbreeding, otherwise they would die off pretty quickly and you and I wouldn't be here today to talk about it.

By this reasoning, cooperation with "strangers" would not only be preferable, but essential to our very existence.

It follows that all tribes would have this same imperative and thus would be motivated to refine a system of cooperation in order for any particular tribe to survive with a minimum of genetic defects.

The tribes that were the best at inter-tribal cooperation would then naturally have a distinct survival bias.

Which brings us back to the point. When you inter-marry, you become family and every person already has a template of cooperation based on the family model. As such, no new model is required in order to explain inter-tribal cooperation. Cave man sees woman from another tribe, offers her food, meets her family and offers them food (and/or other gifts). They exchange information and then get married at which point they become part of each other's families. Or maybe they go to war with each other if they don't really hit it off.

My point is we don't need a "contract" in order to cooperate (or go to war for that matter). The members of our species that didn't know how to cooperate are already dead. It comes pretty naturally to those of us who survived.
Posted by TheUnexaminedLife 1 year ago
TheUnexaminedLife
I interpreted extended family as non-blood relations, but I suppose that you actually met that tribes originate from families and couples? (hereditary units?)
Posted by TheUnexaminedLife 1 year ago
TheUnexaminedLife
Family would also be a burden; having to defend the young, having to gather more food/water for everyone... my question was centred around how does one go from sexual mates and children, to having an 'extended family' unless you trust non-blood relations. And, if you trust them, there is in a sense a silent contract between you and them that they won't do certain actions (like kill you).
Posted by 3RU7AL 1 year ago
3RU7AL
If one can intuitively cooperate with their immediate family and by extension their extended family and by extension their tribe, isn't cooperating with people of other tribes a natural next step?

Cooperating with your family is evolutionarily advantageous, and in the same way and for the same reasons cooperating with people of other tribes is also evolutionarily advantageous.
Posted by TheUnexaminedLife 1 year ago
TheUnexaminedLife
It doesn't have to be a verbal contract; it could merely be the expectation that a debt, a kind gesture, will be repaid in some form. And it arises not from family but from strangers uniting, the question: why cooperate with a stranger? I need to trust them and thereby there needs to be some mutual understanding between us that neither of us will harm one another. Why would an individual under a survival of the fittest model, seek to ally with others unless it is evolutionarily advantageous to him in some form?

I completely concede that paternal relationships particularly seem to be obligations of natural impulse (for modern humans potentially a contract to commit to certain internal impulses--not evident in all species like in those where maternal abandonment occurs)
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