The Instigator
bsh1
Con (against)
Winning
23 Points
The Contender
fazz
Pro (for)
Losing
4 Points

Deontology

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 6 votes the winner is...
bsh1
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 1/22/2014 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,338 times Debate No: 44450
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (52)
Votes (6)

 

bsh1

Con

Topic

The Categorical Imperative is not an adequate theory of morality.

Definitions

Adequate - capable of explaining and/or qualifying the basic nature of morality
Theory - proposed explanation or viewpoint whose status is still conjectural
Morality - that which is right, virtuous, or proper; standards of right conduct

The Framework

Pro will use the following interpretation of the Categorical Imperative (also referred to as Duty Theory, Kantian Ethics, or Deontology) to constructs his/her arguments.

The Imperative reads: "act only according to that maxim whereby you can, at the same time, will that it should become a universal law." Below are several core tenets of the Imperative:
  1. - The imperative relies on agents having certain ends; for example, because I want to sate my thirst (end), I drink (action),
  2. - The imperative applies only to rational, autonomous agents; i.e. we must respect rational agents as ends in themselves, but this is not so for non-rational agents,
  3. - Morality is universally valid; i.e. if something is wrong, it is ALWAYS wrong EVERYWHERE,
  4. - Morality cannot be determined via empirical analysis; in other words, the consequences of the action are morally irrelevant,
  5. - Morality can only be determined through a priori reasoning; in other words, there are certain obvious conclusions that can be made about morality based on universally recognized principles of right conduct,
  6. - Finally, moral laws are absolutes.


Rules

1. No forfeits
2. No reinterpretations of the framework; it must be accepted in its entirety
3. Con does not have to offer an alternative theory of morality; Con must merely show that Deontology fails
4. Pro has the sole BOP
5. Sources may be posted in the text of the debate or in the comments; both are acceptable--however, arguments may not be made in the comments
6. Violation of these rules, or any aspect of the R1 set-up, constitutes a 7-point loss

Structure

R1: Pro must present his arguments in round one
R2: Arguments
R3: Arguments
R4: Arguments
R5: Pro may not post arguments in round five

Thanks...
in advance to whomever accepts! I look forward to a neat debate.
fazz

Pro

Thank you! I will allow you the chance to argue first..

But I will point out one foxpass ;)

You say: [b]reinterpretations of the framework are not allowed[/b].

I will allow this statement above. However, when Kant allows us to [color=red]act[/color] he is telling me that I have leeway.

After all, I would not insult my contender by interpreting that which cannot be re-interpreted. Conversely, I would not expect to be asked to act beyond and opposingly to my own volition.

To quote some poetry: Eyes wide open, naked as we came
One of us will die inside these arms

For to follow what is categorical, one must pose [i]au naturale[/i] in figure, in speech and [i]in[/i] stance. No?
Debate Round No. 1
bsh1

Con

Thanks to fazz for accepting.

OVERVIEW 1

Pro has violated R1 set-up by defering his arguments until R2. R1 specifically requires that "Pro must present his arguments in round one." This may seem trivial; however, since I have no BOP, my response were going to be formulated as a rebuttal to Pro, rather than as a case of my own. Regardless, Pro has violated the set-up, and, as per Rule 6, this merits a 7-point loss for Pro.

OVERVIEW 2

Pro attempts to reinterpret the Imperative, by arguing that volition is not restricted by it. Unfortunately, the Categorical Imperative imposes moral duties upon people, hence, the term "Duty Theory." The maxims act as moral injunctions that compel action in accordance with those injunctions. Thus, if there is a maxim that says "do not kill" you may NEVER kill. Therefore, the Imperative does restrict your ability to act under your own volition and to act autonomously.

Not only is Pro's point inaccurate, it is also a violation of the rules. In the Framework, it states that "moral laws are absolutes." Thus, if the maxim is "do not kill" it is ALWAYS wrong to kill. You cannot kill and still be moral. Volition cannot make a wrong action right, and Kant is certainly not "telling [you] that [you] have leeway. Under Rule 2, reinterpretation were prohibited, and so, under Rule 6, this merits a 7-point loss for Pro.

MY ARGUMENTS

Rational Agency

Kant argues that, essentially "must respect rational agents as ends in themselves, but this is not so for non-rational agents." Rational agents, or agents with autonomy that can be logically exercised, must be treated as ends, yet things lacking autonomy and rationality may be treated as means.

This opens the way for myriad grave abuses. Consider, a baby lacks rational agency and autonomy. Under the Imperative, this baby has no moral worth, and may be treated as a tool. This also applies to the mentally handicapped, comatose, brain dead, and (possibly) animals.

Clearly, the flaw here is that Human Dignity does not reside just in rational agents, but in all humans (and maybe beyond.)

Morality as Universally Valid

Morality is inherently subjective. I'm a liberal, and I believe abortion is morally permissible. I have a friend who vehemently disagrees. Because morality is culturally and socially influenced, it is not the sort of thing that can be universalized.

Morality as Ignoring the Consequences

If confronted with a two benign possibilites, how do we determine which one to take? Let's say that I could go to the mall or call a friend. Both possibilites are morally permissible, so Kant would allow either. But, it may be more moral to prefer calling the friend, because it makes two people happy, rather than one. When faced with two options, one that has no loss, and the other that has a gain, we should prefer the latter.

Morality as Universally Derived

The Imperative assumes that "there are certain obvious conclusions that can be made about morality based on universally recognized principles of right conduct." This is clearly false inasmuch as morality is subjective. There is so much that cannot be agreed upon by a majority, let alon uninanimously, that we cannot possibly derive moral rules from supposed "universal" understandings.

Over to Pro...
fazz

Pro

Thank you! First let me apologize;

In any court case, there are several rounds of argument. Some rounds are merely for providing "evidence". Preseneted a minor slip-up. My iteration by implication is that if the defender feels that his case is strong as is/a priori then it is one way of saying .. "i rest my case".

7 points is acceptable.

Via YOUR ARGUMENTS:

[b]Rational Agency [/b]

You said: Rational agents are agents with autonomy that can be logically exercised,..
Kant says: must respect rational agents as ends in themselves,..
I say: Faz is a rational being. I respect, that you too, must be rational. However, when you say that I do not have volition are you denying me the lugbruity of my hubris?

[b]Morality as Universally Valid[/b]

A friend said: Morality is culturally and socially influenced,
You said: ... and subjective?
Kant says: Yes, my dear, but a duty held [i]A priori[/i] is such that it conflates ethics and morality.
Friend say: But. But.
You say: It is not univesal
Kant might say: Ethics is universal. Duty thus, vanquishes subjectivity from the realm of mortality.

[b] Morality as Ignoring the Consequences [/b]

You start...
I say: Well, before begining, I must commend you on your logical prose, in this last section.
You begin again: thanks, thanks so much. [Call] Hey, buddy, mall?
I say: No. I hate the mall! [/Call]

[b]Morality as Universally Derived[/b]
Kant says: Morality can [read: should] only be determined [read: by thinking aloud] through a priori reasoning; There are certain obvious conclusions that can be made about morality based on universally recognized principles of right conduct.
I said: I concur. I agree. I concede the round. Over to you?

NOTE: For definition of "should" and "thinking aloud" refer to first round debate to the red [color=red]word[/color].
Debate Round No. 2
bsh1

Con

Thanks again to Fazz.

OVERVIEWS

Pro never contests that rules violations did transpire. Thus, Pro's actions merit a 7-point loss.

ARGUMENTS

Rational Agency

Pro says that I claim that he does not have volition. This is incorrect. What I'm claiming is that people have volition in many matters, but if something, like killing, is wrong, it is always wrong.

So, while I can freely choose between option A and option B, if both are equally just, then I can exercise volition. Yet, if option B is unjust, it would be immoral of me to choose option B. Therefore, autonomy, under Kant's imperative, does not justify immorality. simply because I can choose to do something wrong, doesn't mean I should. Choosing option B is ALWAYS immoral. Volition just doesn't factor into it, because morality is an absolute.

Pro utterly and totally DROPS that non-rational agents have moral worth and dignity. Kant argues that only beings with rationality are ends with dignity, and not means. But this implies that babies, for example, lack dignity and can be abused as means. This is, prime facie, wrong.

Morality as Universally Valid

I believe what Pro is saying here is that morality is universal, but cultures can misinterpret it. Let's say that Morality says that action A is wrong. However, there is a remote culture out there that believes that action A is okay. Is that culture suddenly immoral because they unwittingly did something wrong?

They did not, and arguably, could not have known action A was wrong, so, can we hold them accountable for it?

Moreover, if we somehow believe morality is universally valid, that could justify gross excesses in imperialistic behavior. Cultures could force their "correct" morality upon cultures with "incorrect" moralities. What I'm trying to get at is, even if morality is universally valid, how do we know which interpretation to prefer?

The Imperative says morality is Deontological. But, how can we know that? Why isn't it Utilitarian or Virtue-based? The imperative just makes too many assumptions.

Ignoring the Consequences

Pro doesn't actually rebut anything here...extend all arguments. They're dropped.

Morality as Universally Derived

Again, Pro doesn't actually rebut anything here...extend all arguments. They're dropped.

BOP

Pro fails to uphold the BOP. He needs to justify why the Imperative works, not just respond to my critisim. As yet, Pro has failed to do this.
fazz

Pro

Well, if you [i]are[/i] content just to criticize me personally, then lets, call it "even" and agree to disagree? Yes/No?

I will make a small concession, here. No, morality is not mis-interpreted (I quote: second section/para one). I will concede this. I am taking a Nietschian persepective where cultures are not irrelevant but stupid. If they misinterpret they fail the will to power (argument).

Thus, you may cede, one factor, perhaps? Question. Do you understand the difference between a philosophy and this debate?
Debate Round No. 3
bsh1

Con

Fazz, I have never criticized your personally. If that is how my remarks came across, I apologize. But never were my arguments directed at you as a person.

I think that there are many flaws with Nietzche's philosophy on its own. The idea of nobility he espouses is a poorly reconstructed appeal to ethical egoism, which is just ridiculous. Egoism is no more a moral doctrine than murder, IMHO. But that is, of course, a separate debate.

The point I was trying to make about cultures is that morality is subjectively interpreted. Even if there is some absolute morality, we can never know it, because everything is subject to interpretation. Kant's mistake is that he assumes we can know and comprehend morality.

Of course I understand the difference between a philosophy and this debate. My issue is that debates have parameters, and that debates require clash. You seemed more interested in discourse than debate--an admirable goal. After all, discussion is the best way to learn and share knowledge. Yet, in this context, I wanted debate.

I hope you understand where I'm coming from on this. Thank you for accepting.
fazz

Pro

Ok! You win.
Debate Round No. 4
bsh1

Con

Thanks!

Please VOTE CON!
fazz

Pro

Vote Con?
Debate Round No. 5
52 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by wrichcirw 3 years ago
wrichcirw
"There is no right or wrong. There is no morality. There is only power."

Wouldn't "power" become the moral standard under such a delineation, accumulation of power being "right"?

"Very Machiavellian. Yet, if "might makes right," we are confronted with such issues as the Holocaust. Hitler was mighty enough to do it, but would you support his actions as right?"

There are some ways to interpret this statement...

1) Hitler was not mighty enough to get away with it, so he turned out to be "wrong". Purgings, even genocidal killings, are nothing new in history and are not unique to Hitler.

2) I would say that it was exactly that Hitler was losing power that caused him to engage in the Holocaust. He only did it when the war with the Soviets turned on him. So, interestingly enough, you could say the Holocaust was proof that Hitler was "wrong", even from a power perspective.

3) The US had ghettos too, specifically for the Japanese. Perhaps had the war turned on the US, we would have conducted our own mass extermination during the war...but we won the war, so we didn't.
Posted by fazz 3 years ago
fazz
No. His actions show he lost the will to power. Classic case of Aspergers.
Posted by fazz 3 years ago
fazz
Oops^ [i]talic?
Posted by fazz 3 years ago
fazz
Ethics is not an important distinction but that is why it is easy to overlook. The semantics of this argument is inside the debate: debate versus philosophy. You can still use morality to mean morality, anytime, as does this random person, below: "There is no right or wrong. There is no morality." [b]Here[/b], morality [b]=[/b] ethics. You can use the word at home, at school [i]or even in a debate[/i]. However, in a philosophical outline one should stick to the right word. "[i]Even a debate is a competition[i]", as you yourself said in the last round, and that is basically at its core, the most [i]basic[/i]-basic defining of our morality. Morality is simply human compromise.
Philosophia is on the other hand about the exchange of ideas, and freedom, and so we ascribe to a higher definition of morality, outside and external to our body and mind, called ethics.
Posted by fazz 3 years ago
fazz
answer@ bsh: Ethics is right and wrong, and external to our body. Morality is internal and shared beliefs. It is sort of like ego, and superego, but that is a rough-cut estimation! Morality is 'shared' because it is negotiated consent. But ethics is legal, standard & institutional (i.e."it never changes"). By 'external' I mean like the superego ethics always demands us to be "higher beings". The But without the law, morality would eventually allow [b]a group[/b] to eventually convince themselves, that society's demands are meaningless. There is no fixed definite definition for "groups" - it can be your local townhall meetings, or it can be one building which compromises one corporate body. Or to an outsider, it can be America. For example, when people say New Yorkers are rude, that is me imposing a 'morality' from the outside. Its not true! But when I create a fictional group of people who "know" each other that is [a group]. Now that's a fake example, but a real group would be for example, YOUR family's house, then maybe [i]one[/i] more at the school [b]level[/b] for your friends only, and finally, at the national [b]level[/b] when you feel that throbbing of pride in your heart that is definitely a "unified" morality for the country. However, morality is not subjective. It does depending on level because it is always stronger in the smaller units > then lesser in the larger units. Unless you are Rambo whence the arrow, < points in the other direction?
Posted by bsh1 3 years ago
bsh1
@Aizen

Very Machiavellian. Yet, if "might makes right," we are confronted with such issues as the Holocaust. Hitler was mighty enough to do it, but would you support his actions as right?
Posted by AizenSousuke 3 years ago
AizenSousuke
There is no right or wrong. There is no morality. There is only power.

The only Gods that exist are the ones you create.
Posted by bsh1 3 years ago
bsh1
What do you mean by the "opposite" of right vs. wrong. That dichotomy is everything to morality.

It is likely that God exists.
Posted by fazz 3 years ago
fazz
And morality is ALWAYS wrong. Trust me.
Posted by fazz 3 years ago
fazz
No. Morality is the opposite of right vs wrong. It is just shared perspective. Utility is merely a shared beliefs.
6 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 6 records.
Vote Placed by wrichcirw 3 years ago
wrichcirw
bsh1fazzTied
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Total points awarded:61 
Reasons for voting decision: My god...there are so many rules on this debate (and all of them apply only to PRO)...why would anyone accept it? It seems a tad unfair. Of course PRO is going to mess up or forfeit somewhere down the line. I will reserve one point to PRO for conduct given a graceful concession.
Vote Placed by Guidestone 3 years ago
Guidestone
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Total points awarded:40 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro conceded.
Vote Placed by Cheetah 3 years ago
Cheetah
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Reasons for voting decision: Not only did Pro forfeited, Con had better arguments
Vote Placed by Ragnar 3 years ago
Ragnar
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Reasons for voting decision: Concession.
Vote Placed by Wylted 3 years ago
Wylted
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Reasons for voting decision: Con arguments pro conduct, both as the result of conceding.
Vote Placed by imabench 3 years ago
imabench
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Reasons for voting decision: honorable forfeit