The Instigator
albertack
Pro (for)
Tied
0 Points
The Contender
Orose_Khan
Con (against)
Tied
0 Points

Do I owe the world anything?

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 5/7/2016 Category: Society
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 243 times Debate No: 90843
Debate Rounds (2)
Comments (4)
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albertack

Pro

"The world owes you nothing. It was here first." This is a commonly heard phrase. But does the opposite stand true, I owe the world? At the heart of Western Society is the notion that hard work is inherently good. Culturally it seems that self-worth is correlated to one's degree of success and industriousness. I have frequently observed notable behavior that would suggest a passive, if not active agreement with this point of view. My father refused to validate my brother's passion for travel and leisure. My friend criticizes me if I do not work a full 40 hour work week, even if I have more than enough money for my needs.

This has led me to question whether there exists merit in the notion that I possess a moral obligation toward society beyond merely providing for myself and my family. Am I obliged to give back and build on that which has been built for me by they who have gone before? Certainly, there are many who have given so much to afford us the world we have today. But perhaps they only ask that we enjoy it, rather than look at it as a debt that needs to be repaid.

Still, I feel a sense of guilt at the idea of building up a little nest egg and taking it down to South America and living "the good life," free of labor and responsibility. Thus, my question is, do I have a moral obligation to do more for the world than take care of myself and my family? This is only a two round debate. Go ahead and respond right away and others feel free to comment your take. Thanks!
Orose_Khan

Con

Hello, I have accepted the challenge and look forward to an interesting debate (although I wish you'd included more than 2 rounds).

Since we're short on rounds I'll just state 2 substantives and argue my 1st.

1) You are obliged to help your fellow humans as a community (includes your family)
2) You are obliged to refrain from proving a detriment to society

So you have admitted that you have a moral obligation to provide for your family. That in itself implies that you are obliged to help those who you love and carry your genes. And since all humans have a common ancestry, you can consider the whole world to be your family.

"Am I obliged to give back and build on that which has been built for me by they who have gone before? Certainly, there are many who have given so much to afford us the world we have today. But perhaps they only ask that we enjoy it, rather than look at it as a debt that needs to be repaid."

You are actually in the same situation now that you are a working adult. You and all those of your generation are obliged by familial ties to provide a better world for your children in the same way that your parents did for you. The time to enjoy the world was as a child. For you, it is time to improve what your ancestors have already built to provide a better world for the next generation.

The global community has something in common. We are all humans and we should look out for one another in a species. Division only serves to waste resources and lives as seen in the many wars throughout history. Yet, there can be no unity if we fail to help one another in times of need. The world is not asking you to help EVERYONE in need. Only those who you are able to help. As an example, look no further than Mother Teresa who once said, "if you can't feed a hundred people, just feed one person."

The Opposition rests.
Debate Round No. 1
albertack

Pro

Your argument seems to rest on the moral obligation we hold toward "family," and you have defined "family" broadly, meaning those with whom we have a common ancestry. This would presumably include future progeny, not only our begotten, but the whole of humanity. A second, corollary argument seems to be utilitarian in nature, suggesting "division only serves to waste resources and lives." In order to promote 'unity," we ought to care for one another. You have included a limitation on this, namely assisting "only those who you are able to help."

I appreciate the limitation, for it seems only reasonable that "ought" implies "can." Certainly it would be unfair to assume we could help the whole of humanity, for few, if any, individuals ever have. I also believe in Social Contract Theory, that by sacrificing a few minor freedoms for the good of the whole, we can obtain much more. Imagine trying to build an interstate all on your own, for example. Thus we pay taxes, and we uphold our civic duties, in order to achieve more together. Our modern day society relies quite heavily on social contract theory, for very few people today grow their own food and mend their own clothing.

Though I did not agree to any of this at the time of my birth, it makes sense to perpetuate. I have benefited greatly from this model. Furthermore, I could renounce my place in society and attempt to "live off the grid." I suppose that in continuing to live amongst my peers I am passively agreeing to abide by the social contract theory. This, to me, seems to be an obligation to the world, unless I willingly renounce my place among society.

I did not agree with your statement, "The time to enjoy the world was as a child. For you, it is time to improve what your ancestors have already built to provide a better world for the next generation." I'm not sure if you intended it this way, but it came across as too dichotomous. Surely we are permitted, perhaps even entitled to continue to "enjoy the world" into adulthood. I can't imagine anyone would want such to be forfeited once we came of age.

In conclusion, I believe that responsibility is associated to our choices. If I choose to marry and have children, then I am morally obligated to care for them. Likewise, if I choose to remain a part of society I am passively committing to take part in it, which includes, at least, civic duties, and perhaps a general humanity toward our fellow man, which includes not doing harm unnecessarily.

I would be interested to hear where you draw the line on our moral obligation. You have acknowledged that we cannot help everyone, but to what extent am I responsible? Must I choose a career in a helping profession, or rather act honestly within whatever field I choose? Am I allowed entertainment, or ought I forgo such triviality and dedicate my time and resources as did Mother Teresa to the good of humanity? There still seems to remain quite a broad interpretation as to "who [I] am able to help."
Orose_Khan

Con

Orose_Khan forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 2
4 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Posted by Orose_Khan 1 year ago
Orose_Khan
Sorry, I'll write my argument here.

No you don't need to do a helping profession although by having a profession you are technically contributing to Society.

I believe that you should simply be charitable where needed. Donate to the needy and all that stuff. You have acknowledged that we owe it to our fellow humans to be humane so be nice and donate to the needy. Doesn't have to be a monetary donation but by simply showing kindness to anyone, you are creating joy.
Posted by albertack 1 year ago
albertack
You say the debate is too short and then you don't finish the 2nd round?
Posted by albertack 1 year ago
albertack
You may need more "practise" in humility.
Posted by Orose_Khan 1 year ago
Orose_Khan
Lol, a high schooler be schoolin' a workin' dad.
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