The Instigator
Pro (for)
6 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
7 Points

Ethical development must continue into adulthood

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 8/17/2010 Category: Education
Updated: 6 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 1,231 times Debate No: 12772
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (9)
Votes (2)




I've been wanting to argue this position for a long time. But first, I will propose a distinction for the debate. Ethics refers to whatever capacities or abilities for an individual to act in a moral manner; morality refers to abstractions available for one's ethical capacities, decisions, etc. Thus, my argument is not necessarily advocating the development of morality (i.e., learning maxims or commandments for one's choices when dealing in society) but is advocating the development of those capacities which are not of an intellectual nature and are present in the employment of one's capacities.


Thank you Pro for starting this debate and giving such clear definitions.

So Ethical development has absolutely nothing to do with anything specific in the study of morality but only the capacity for to learn those things, correct?

And the resolution is that that capacity must CONTINUE to develop into adulthood. Do you all see the same assumption I do that one must make to take Pro for that resolution?
It is the assumption that the capacity has somehow not become complete by adulthood and therefore still has 'room' to develop. How chaotic would it be if your body failed to complete development like that and continued to grow into adulthood? What if you simply never stopped getting taller? By age 50 there wouldn't be a building on Earth you could fit in.

Think of this in terms of the Moons lunar cycle; eventually after waxing or waning (developing) for some time it must either become completely done and be Full or New. Because it CONTINUES to develop though even after reaching this stage of completely whole what must happen and does with the Moon?

That's right it has to 'develop' in reverse. We do not want this to ever happen with morality. Why? Well, glad you asked....

1st) Ethical development MUST reach full capacity before adulthood if we are to have any hope the next generation will be ready to face the challenges of the world on their own when they reach adulthood.

2nd) If our 'capacities' continue to 'develop' once they reach the full point when we are at adulthood, then as we continue into adulthood they will only 'wane' and our capacity to make moral decisions is compromised. We MUST fight with all we have to maintain our complete and fully developed capacity for ethics into adulthood, not allow for any change in that status quo if its at all possible.

Because each generation has survived well enough once they have reached adulthood in the past, we can rest assured that the level of development in capacity for making moral choices indeed does reach that 'full moon' complete stage. This perspective argument for the Con side rest on that point, but because I am 'CON' the negative position, I do not have the burden of proof for this point. Pro however, does for the assumption I am contending, that we do not reach full ethical development by the time we reach adulthood.

I await my opponents response.
Debate Round No. 1


You introduce a distinction between ethics and morality parsing the difference at a learning component in the one (ethics) and not in the other (morality, where there is only learning or education). (1.) One may be able to learn both ethically and morally (as said, learning morality occurs by learning maxims or commandments--even by watching tragedy to assess the tragic error of the hero and whether or not his character is proportionate to the judgments and actions causing his tragic error, i.e., Oedipus in Sophocles). Thus, (2a.) I wouldn't say ethical development has to do with learning the objects of study in the field of morality; however, (2b.) I do claim there is learning occurring in moral and ethical development but the objects of study are different.

Your overstatement uses a narrow conception of development. Your example of failing to complete development resulting in excess assumes (a.) that development is a linear process and (b.) that development cannot be an action which becomes stagnant or degenerates. But, take for instance a speaker of a foreign tongue, such an individual may want to develop their ability to speak that foreign language in many different styles—one day like Dostoevsky, the next Tolstoy, the weekend like Turgenev—but their goal may not be to achieve the ability to speak a foreign tongue in many different styles, the goal might be to have room for play in that foreign tongue—hence, development would not necessarily go on to excess, their development may branch into three different styles or routes (making it, perhaps, not such a linear process) periodically so as to wade in the motions of doing so in order that they may have the level of play desired in that tongue.

When I am speaking of development (1.) I don't mean a process which is mired by the limit of a threshold or the problem of excess in the way you have hashed it. When someone completes a stage of development and comes into adulthood (2.) new instances of development may become available because the previous cycle of development allow these new opportunities to arise.

Counterexample of the lunar cycle. Again, the problem I have (and perhaps it is my fault for not being more specific about my terms) with your complicating the concept of development is the conception of development you're proposing. (a.) The stipulation I find implicit in your using the example of the moon is that in development there is no room for regression. (b.) The problem with not allowing for room for regression is that one must stipulate that once a capacity is developed then there must be no looking back—what does one say to the Latinist who believes that, although the Latinist can read well, there are a number of troubles with the way the Latinist came to fluency and would thus like to reverse their training in Latin to polish off problematic points or simply to review once again how one becomes a reader of Latin? (c.) Most immediately present to me as a counterclaim would be that your example of the moon is difficult because as an example it retards the way a human being would development—that is, it would be odd for one to develop into a full grown man and then to become a baby again, but, if you were willing to assume non-linear examples of development and cease from conceiving of development as a threshold problem, it would be easy to see that often one may need to reverse a bit into a position in order to envelop oneself out of it better than, perhaps, one had done so before (or, in other words, in development, sometimes a step back is the best way to develop).

The imperative claim ethical development must reach full capacity before adulthood. You impose the issue of addressing the challenges of the world; but you expanded the discussion into an issue not within our scope because (1.) it's broad, (2.) it's general and (3.) the original issue was ethical development as opposed to moral development (presumably in the individual, I hadn't made it into an issue for society as a whole but, as I framed it, an issue for the adult), again, we're not expanding our scope into the whole world--rather, we'll stick to the original issue, whether or not ethical development must continue into adulthood. Thus, ethical development must not, as I have put it, be "complete" or reach "full capacity" before adulthood.

(1.) If one is to stipulate that ethical development must reach capacity then one must provide the consequences, if that is not the case. (Hence, as one can see, the problem of facing the challenges of the world becomes complex here.) Should one provide those consequences then one, obviously, must make clear whether or not the consequences are occurring or whether they are being avoided and thus other circumstances become the norm or the case. (2.) Ethical development does not have to reach "full capacity", if that were the case there would be no room for improvement—and if there were not room for improvement then I would be hard pressed to find those individuals who have reached "full capacity." (3.)Moreover, I would not go as far as to say that ethical development must not reach development. The original issue was whether or not it must continue into adulthood, or, if I should put it in my opponents terms, the original issue was whether or not there were new stages, regressions or room for "full capacity" to be filled in and developed in adulthood—that is, put again, these capacities, as I stipulate there must be, are not necessarily capacities of a moral nature. Again, my claim is still that there must be a continuing of the development of those ethical capacities. As Aristotle had said, ethics is the art of habit (and by this he meant something less like a drug habit or a habit of pausing in the middle of a sentence, and he meant something more like a set of capacities which were dynamic and often came into action without one's needing to call upon them explicitly).

It would be strange for there not be a need to develop one's affective capacities—whether this means one's capacity to feel or one's capacity to find distinction amongst the fog of one's emotions—because one would have to state that the "full capacity" adult makes distinctions in affective response without room for development of taste, details, style of response, etc. Such a claim, one which would state that there is no need to develop non intellectual capacities, ethical capacities, assumes that (a.) one is always provided with capacities for a response fitting to the circumstances and that (b.) one cannot improve the capacities for a response fitting to the circumstances to make one's response not just good but great! That is, I'm not worried about facing the challenges of the world (whatever that means), I'm worried about the individual developing the ability to face another individual better, getting the most out of conduct. Your claim about fighting to maintain our complete and fully developed capacity—"not allowing for any change in the status quo"—is a non-issue, it doesn't realize the possibility that improvement does not mean that other capacities diminish.

Your last two claims of (1.) a waning capacity and (2.) survival, a mark establishing full capacity. (1.) Your stipulation that moral decisions are compromised by the continuing project of developing ethical capacities is troublesome: it assumes that the one does not complement the other. The problem with moral development is that it isn't nearly as important as the affective capacities and the contributions of character required to set oneself in the best position, perhaps, perceptually speaking, in order to make a moral decision—frankly, learning maxims is just too simple, making decisions is just too quick. (2.) Survival?—Even the most uncouth and dangerous characters survive, some do so by means of a comfy and well cared for stay in a penitentiary.


"You introduce a distinction between ethics and…"
I introduce nothing, Pro. I only started by quoting your round 1 definition, though translated into layman's terms. In round 1 you put ethics is development of capacities for moral choices, and morality is the actual meet of the matter in that particular questions are what's important (exp: ‘would shoplifting that be moral?')

This round I read you refer to this as a ‘discussion' and never as a debate. But, this is no discussion, it's a debate.

The difference that makes is that in a discussion it's okay to go back and rephrase your statements however you want to clarify you position or thought. In a debate, the definitions you give in round 1 is the legalistic wording of what you said, and you can only rephrase what you said to make it more clear if that legalistic round 1 wording still holds 100% true with the rephrasing.

So you see in a discussion its okay in round two to go "(2b.) I do claim there is learning occurring in moral and ethical development but the objects of study are different." Because you're just telling me what you really believe and that's the purpose of ‘discussing' but in this debate you clearly stated round 1 that ‘ethical development' has nothing to do with "learning maxims or commandments for one's choices when dealing in society" and "not of an intellectual nature." That as our debate definitions for ‘ethical' and we can see that legalistically from that ‘ethical development' being distinctly not ‘moral development' can have nothing to do with ‘learning'. Learning must involve those ‘maxims, commandments', or some kind of particular resolution(s) one can walk away with. Learning is ‘of an intellectual nature' So development that involves learning of any kind is ‘moral development' as so clearly defined in round 1 (if the learning is even in the ball park of being related to this debate, you could learn stuff that is of morality. It just cant be learning in ‘ethics' as far as this debate is concerned).

So if when Pro's resolution says ‘ethical development' it can't legalistically be referring to the learning of something, Then what can it mean by ‘development'? Obviously he has to mean the growth in the ability (capacity) to ‘learn' in the first place. Now you may be thinking ‘the capacity to learn exist only as an absolute, either you can learn or you cant' but because of the round 1 definitions we will just have to fly with the idea that the ability to learn is something that can ‘develop.' I accepted this debate because once I thought that through I realized that when referring to learning morality that's not that hard to see.
Perhaps a child can learn a moral lesson about ‘lying' and not be able to learn even with the best teacher the morality of murder and war killings. It's easy to get a 1st grader to understand how lying is wrong or even what special exceptions could exist for that rule but quite often I find that at that stage in their ‘development' they always think ‘murder is murder that's all there is too it, doesn't matter why" but as they ‘develop' they get the ability to think in the first place that maybe not all killing can be called murder. Some may only be called ‘sacrifice' or ‘execution' or ‘accidental manslaughter'.

Anyway, I do not believe my opponent realized he had restricted himself that much given the cases he was trying to argue last round, So I figure now that I clarified that I should give him a fresh start at trying to rebut my round 1 argument again now that he should understand what he defined ethical development as in round 1 (something not of an intellectual nature in laymen's terms means no learning components).

Just 3 more things though before I let Pro proceed with doing that.

1st) A Clarification on the Moon analogy: The reality of the analogy is about is never meant to be taken as a slave to the analogy itself. For example I might say "God is the author of the book that is the universe" as an effort to explain him as creator and designer like an author is of a book. I could have just as easily said ‘architect to blueprints' and said just as much. But if try and make reality slave to the analogy you might say "If God is author then he controls the characters in the book." If these weren't analogies but talking about literal books then that second one would be a necessary fact you could conclude if the first is true. But as analogies though they don't contradict one may be true while the other may not. The Moon analogy was not used to say people's ethical development follows the same phases as the moon so theirs no need to rebut the idea as if I had argued it. The limits of what I explained with the Moon analogy was the concept of a full/complete/whole stage and that if something is at a complete stage then the only thing that could happen to it that would logically count as ‘development' would need to be development in reverse.

2nd) The World: I apologize for not going out of my way to define that. Yes it is broad, but no I did not mean ‘society' or any group of individual's problems when I said ‘worlds problems.' I suppose I should have ‘life's problems' but that just sounded wrong as I also don't mean all of life's problems. Just the ones that are unique to only having when you become of a ‘grown-up' and have to live in the ‘real world' the world where you pay taxes, worry about insurance, get a job, ect. The Worlds problems I was thinking about what adults have to face can be simple as things like ‘is it okay to put volunteer stuff I did for free as work experience on my r�sum�?' to things as curious as ‘is it okay to use my companies dollar for dollar program to donate to the Hokies football stadium so I can have a Gold Pass for the best seats on Friday's games their when I personally only gave half of what it should take for them to give that too me?" to questions like "Is it okay for me to sell my food stamps for money to buy cigarettes" These are problems you honestly don't have to put up with as a kid. You don't have to care enough to answer them. But one day they will become your problems and your just left wondering what to do. Those are the problems I refer when I say ‘the world's problems.
3rd) Though generally my opponents arguments this round are irrelevant cause they all seem to be addressing everything I have said as if ethical development had something to do with learning anything, there is one thing Pro argued that does still apply regardless of that. I ought to supply a consequence of what will happen if the next generation were to not develop to the complete stage in ethics by adulthood. What would happen if they did not gain the ability to learn stuff about morality as adults, or totally gain the ability to make moral choices? What if adults could be said to only partially be able to do that, partially have the power to learn the right thing or to make the right choices?
If that were the case then adults couldn't be expected to learn or know anything about morality at all could they? How could you send a man to jail for killing his wife if it can just be written off as his lack of 'development'. "he couldn't have known better and still cant as he still has room to ethically develop" When your an adult the time is up for talking about making moral choices, you actually have to make them now. You're making your decisions now not your parents. It's okay to make mistakes and make the wrong choices sometimes, but if you haven't developed enough to learn from them by now… you're in trouble.
Debate Round No. 2


(1.) CON has employed psychological fallacy as a distraction as a tactic to straw-man my position for the purpose of taking an advantageous position he may argue from. This distraction tactic is evident in CON's claim to supposedly "translate" my position. I needn't remind CON "translate" is a Latinate term meaning "the act of having carried across;" this strategy is apparent when he (a.) begins his Round 1 post saying I have given clear definitions but then (b.) explains his Round 2 post saying that he translated my resolution into layman's terms—why translate clarity into laymen's? This act of translation is almost too evident when he assuredly asks in the interrogative "Ethical development has absolutely nothing to do with anything specific in the study of morality but only the capacity for to learn those things, correct?"

(2.) CON has attempted to misuse authority in order to continue distracting onlookers by means of perverting my position. (a.) CON takes the single use of "discussion" in my previous post to claim I've made a categorical mistake concerning discussion and debate (a red-herring), I needn't remind CON or our onlookers that discussion is, upon consultation with OED, synonymous with debate (this is consistent with CON's inability to hide his subtle but perverting distinctions he introduces into the discussion). (b.) CON's imperial storming upon authority in this debate stems from his charge in the beginning of Round 2 where claims to have introduced nothing into the debate. Again, as is clear in his strategy, the only way CON has been able to position himself against the original resolution—my original position—is by means of altering my position so as to introduce an assumption: (c.) in Round 1 it came in his poor re-hashing of the distinction between ethical development and morality whereby he started his offensive by taking that poor re-hashed distinction (from the clear terms I begin with, the clear ones CON said were clear) and introducing a conception of development into his attack on my SUPPOSED assumption of "incomplete" (a term, once again, arising merely out of the conception of development CON has slipped into the discussion) ethical development in adulthood; (d.) in Round 2 CON's introduction of an assumption came in the form of his supposed "distinction" between "discussion" and "debate" which was a mere rhetorical ruse to give him a pivot to introduce an insubstantial normative claim trying to regulate how I manage my position—but "re-phrasing," as CON alleges, my position has not lead to any inconsistencies in my position (which is evident in the way that CON cannot attack any inconsistency), in fact, RE-PHRASING HAS BEEN PERFORMED AS A VALID MOVE whereby I, the advocate of the resolution, have attempted to thwart CON's tactic of perversion by simply re-articulating the same position yet again so as to not allow him to take up an attack upon the errant positions he has straw-manned for his attack, should there have been inconsistencies then CON would have been capable of extolling them for us, but, he has not.

(3.) In another attempt at distraction CON, who says my arguments up to this point are allegedly "irrelevant," explains in Bulletin 1 concerning his analogy (which, by the way, is one of the most banal material fallacy's there is: the faulty analogy—but wait, is my argument about his faulty—and fallacious—analogy irrelevant?) that I ought not to make the analogy, a proposal of a relation between (I.) two things, here development of the moon and the ethical development of the adult, to be a slave to (II.) reality, development pertaining to one's ethical growth—or perhaps just development in general, which would be more fitting as I have shown the problematic nature of CON's conception of development. (a.) This is most easily an instantiation of a distraction because CON has actually contradicted the very nature of what an analogy is by trying to tell me not to take seriously the portrayed relationship of his analogy as it corresponds to the thing it has been chosen to shed light on.—In addition, CON's bulletin 2 is rather bizarre in that he proposes an explanation for his vast category of "the world" with petty squabbles that I don't think even the most imaginative of minds could explain the relevance of those types of problems to ethics or morality.

(4.) Since CON has utilized misplaced authority he has attempted to bestow me the (unnecessary) grace of recapitulating my position (which, according to CON, is warranted because of my response in Round 2) but (1.) the problem, aside from his fallacious attempts to distract and gain authority in this debate, is that CON has implicitly argued that my first articulation of my position and my second articulation of my position are not consistent:
(Round 1, PRO) "my argument is not necessarily advocating the development of morality (i.e., learning maxims or commandments for one's choices when dealing in society) but is advocating the development of those capacities which are not of an intellectual nature"
(Round 2, PRO) "(2a.) I wouldn't say ethical development has to do with learning the objects of study in the field of morality; however, (2b.) I do claim there is learning occurring in moral and ethical development but the objects of study are different."
Which addresses CON's coy question in Round 1:
(Round 1, CON) "Ethical development has absolutely nothing to do with anything specific in the study of morality but only the capacity for to learn those things, correct?"
Again, the purpose in Round 2 of saying that CON introduced a distinction which was not present in my resolution was to again repeat my argument distinctly in juxtaposition to a claim which is certainly not my own.

(5.) With no need to recapitulate my position, there is need (1a.) for CON to clarify why the learning in question must be of the sort which gives someone something they can "walk away with;" continuing clarification, (1b.) why are maxims necessary for ethical development; (1c.) why aren't maxims too easy to learn thus relegating them subordinate to the priority a more necessary project which cannot cease (for it is all too easy to tell a child a little maxim to regulate his behavior) because a life time of experience is necessary for proper character, attunement and distinction in feeling to operate as a wholly ethical individual because they can simply seek the good too easily with the proper character granting them the fitting response to a situation; also, (1c.) CON needs to explain the relevance of problems like the sort in his second bulletin concerning "grown up problems" to the project of ethical development—I'm unsure as to why his ridiculous example of being a Hokies booster has anything moral or ethical about it and isn't just a silly attempt to use an example of guilt and pass it off as something substantially moral or ethical. In addition, there is a need (2.) for CON to explain why the project of continuing ethical development in adulthood has anything to do with any of the absurd rhetorical (and weak) questions he utilized at the end of his last post where he claims that for some reason an instance where someone commits a crime entails the explanation of the crime (which you will see CON coyly makes an explanation due my resolution to continue ethical development into adulthood—the problem is that HE ASSUMES THAT CONTINUING THE PROJECT OF ETHICAL DEVELOPMENT INTO ADULTHOOD ENTAILS THAT ONE CANNOT MAKE "MORAL CHOICES," a term, i.e., "moral choice," which I have not used myself) in terms of poor development—why does CON assume that continuing the project of ethical development is a problem for those unfortunate enough to commit crime?—Why doesn't CON assume that continuing the project of ethical development is so virtuous that it reaps rewards for those who already make great "moral choices?"


It seems I have been accused of perverting my opponent's original position and even doing so on purpose.

I suppose I should start addressing this charge with the question about how I can say his definition is ‘clear' in round one and then a round later say I found a need to translate it into layman's terms. That's a pretty reasonable thing to be suspicious of.

When I said they were ‘clear' in round one I mostly just meant ‘clear to me' witch is all that I thought was relevant at the time. I see now I was arrogant in saying that as it appears your intended meaning of ‘ethical development' was not understood by me. I say ‘mostly meant' hear because I also refer to rigid lengths of the definition that it even included the explanation of what ethical development is not (moral development) by saying its ‘clear'. I did not mean ‘clear' though to suggest that you articulated yourself in such a way that it would not go over most people's heads.

Also, I am not trying to ‘gain authority' that I don't already have. Here on DDO it's pretty much customary that the person who accepts a debate challenge can hold the person who created it to the terms they showed all prospective debaters who might accept the challenge. The reason should be obvious, it's our only security in being able to appraise if a debate challenge would be at our skill level.
You may have meant to give your second definition to be in juxtaposition with my ‘rehashing' but the cold truth is it also ended up being in juxtaposition with your own definition.
If you honestly believe that the development we are debating over ‘can have a learning component' and ‘not be of an intellectual nature' then you are suggesting something so bizarre that I simply must demand you further explain and prove your claim of such a concept. As far as I have ever known Learning is a process of an intellectual nature. Had you included mention of the learning component with the rest of your round 1 definition I would not have accepted this debate from seeing that your terms I would have to agree to were a contradiction from the start.

Now for a defense of my ‘rehashing' so that you can see I did not pervert the definition into anything you did not say. "Ethical (capacity/ability/potential to act in moral manner) development has absolutely nothing to do with anything specific (the maxims and commands of an intellectual nature) in the study of morality but only the capacity (ability/potential) to learn (develop morally so one can act in a moral manner) those things (the moral)"
So you see my rehashing is only in ‘juxtaposition" with you second statements that added the intellectual aspect to ethical development when you said it included a learning component.

I can see now in retrospect how I was arrogant to think you definitions clear. I was thinking they were clear because of the inclusion of defining what ethical development IS NOT, but I forgot to consider the lack of definition for what ethical development IS.
You have compared its development to development of smell and taste witch is fine for an alternative to my moon description but you forgot to say what exactly what a different smell is supposed to represent in ethics. To help me and the readers further understand what you mean by ‘style' take this scenario. A man comes across an occasion where he can lie and he chooses not to. That describes the moral maxim or command for the example, now you fill in the blank and describe for me that scenario twice over with an example of different ‘style'.

Next off, as to why I, Con, do not assume that continued development would mean a positive process. Because I am CON and I have the freedom to do that in this debate. You see, unlike you as the PRO in this debate, I do not have Burden of Proof like you for my assumption. If I provide alternative perspective assumptions at all they negate your having proven the resolution ‘ethical development must continue into adulthood'. That's a positive statement for a resolution so it's PRO that has Burden of Proof. Now if your assumptions where the only available for us then I would assume development must only refer a positive one without being given a reason to. But I have an alternative approach to how we would see this non-existent concept of development of the ability to develop if it did exist, so to leave my assumptions I will need more than just alternative case, It will take proof of some sort.

Pro has also accused me of contradicting what the nature of an analogy is. In light of that I would like to direct his attention to this link
I really thought I explained the ‘slave to analogy' fallacy well enough to not need to source it. Perfect parallels don't exist to describe things. If an analogy had to be such a parallel we would have them likewise. But the great thing is they don't have to be, just parallel to the point we seek to describe. I brought it up last round because in round 2 some of your case was arguing against my moon analogy as if I had used it to claim further extreme similarities than I had. I just used it to show what ‘develop' means for something that is ‘full', not people have the same full lunar cycle of ability to develop morally.

I am also curious about Pro taking care to point out he has never used the terminology ‘moral choices.' I can't see what difference it could possible make, even if I were this person Pro makes me out to be trying to twist what Pro has said into something else on purpose it could be to no useful end here. As far as what's relevant to this debate, using the term ‘choices' only lets you know I am referring to an application of the moral development (moral) that develops (ethical). Now if Pro hold a philosophy that our moral acts are not ‘choices' but in fact are of an autonomous nature, that's his prerogative, but the nature of the application is of no significance here as we are not debating the nature of the application but of the of the development of the applications development.

My opponent accused my example of applications like getting the hokie gold pass in your companies dollar for dollar program as being ‘silly'. Silly or not the fact is men more than twice my age have told me how they don't know if its right to do than or that they know it isn't right. There claims can only be purely a moral nature as when only considering the cold logistics the choice should be clear. It's a cheaper way to get a gold pass that you want so why not? The only reason these men can have for protest has to come from a notion about how it comes off as false pretense about ones charitable heart that the dollar for dollar program was made for. That makes questioning the act a question about its morality, about if its right or wrong, if it's fits the idea of a standard of behavior. Not all things done for moralities sake are ones that you would usually consider ‘important' like killing an man if it saves others but it does not make them irrelevant to our debate.

And how my everyday examples are relevant is to show how things relevant to having to act in a moral manner happen all the time. You may have heard the saying 'character is who you are when no one is around', and in a sense you end of having a new level of freedom of that nature as an adult. as a child the adults watch over you like you are there ward when it comes to acting with right character. so your character is not fully your own yet as they are always there, but your life is yours and yours alone as an adult and the moments when character will change what you do will happen everyday, in way's that look like they make huge impacts and small. the occasions to develop morally from happen non-stop as an adult, so you have to done being able to develop in the first place.
Debate Round No. 3


Again, amalgamated in all their splendid consistency: (a.) "ethical development doesn't has nothing to do with the objects of morality," "my argument is not advocating the development of the objects of morality;" (b.) "I am advocating the development of those capacities which are not of an intellectual nature," "there is learning occurring in moral and ethical development but the objects are different." Ethical development is not done through dealing with objects of morality and the learning in ethical development is not intellectual because the objects are different. I am not advocating that one continue into adulthood learning in the intellectual manner of morality (as it is detached from the circumstances and hence deals in maxims and other rules or regulations--generalities); I am advocating continuing the project of ethical development whereby one learns how to be engaged in the circumstances, dealing in particulars, and thus cannot be done by abstract generalities but must be done through educating an attunement

Style, the issue of learning but not intellectually and the proof, all in one swoop. (a.) I'm sorry all you have ever known is that learning is a process of an intellectual nature; learning may happen in lived experiences, it takes place by doing things—practicing, habituating--in the world, it is virtually worthless to undertake this type of learning in one's mental autism through abstractions and general rules of thumb—the learning I am talking about is departing from the (your) mentalism of Western thought and getting into some thinking in the flesh. (b.) An example through an artist: Camille Pissarro was a mentor but more of a compatriot painter to Paul Cezanne; Pissarro could tell, early on, that Cezanne had talent but feisty Cezanne was often overtaken by his unbridled emotions and painted huge paintings in under an hour, wicked fast; Pissarro, employing the brush handling techniques with the choice utensils of the impressionists decided to get Cezanne thinking in the flesh, he decided to make Cezanne copy one of Pissarro's works with a special scalpel so as to control Cezanne's handling (instead of painting alongside Pissarro); when Pissarro did this he unlocked a whole new way of seeing the world in Cezanne's painting and Cezanne was never able to (and probably never wanted to) drop this new way in which he thought on his canvas, it was slower and provided him with more ability to, as he said, collect the feeling and then pain; that is, Pissarro stylized Cezanne's gaze and his handling such that he could never have the same attunement to painting again. This is what I mean by style, the way one responds, or as personality psychologists call it: one's responsive style.—Telling Cezanne how to do it, giving him an abstract rule to model the situation, these never would have worked, he needed an exercised to change his comportment so as to become attuned in a new way—no mentalist pedagogy would do here—abstractions need not apply. (c.) A different smell? How about a different distinction in smell, how about broadening the palette? The problem, as I have contended, with the of morality abstractions is that they are just too darned slow, the ethical individual is one who is trained to shoot from the gut and always for the good. But, as the good is quite an ideal, the circumstances may require diligence in sorting detail quickly, having a new style of response, having a broadened palette, all this allows for one to feel their way through a dilemma with greater attention to the ultimate particulars—and, as in the case of Cezanne, it allows one to take on a wholly different attunement to a situation. The problem is simple, if your habit is just to go to some maxim, then you really don't pay much attention to the circumstance at all, you could lead your life in a vacuum if you were to do such a thing. (e.) Your example that I now have to go to task to exemplify style in the instance is again part of the problem with the way you are trying to burden my proof. Such an example is too simplistic, dilemma's are not so explicit and there are actions which must be done almost instantaneously. If you keep supplying counter-examples based upon this application then you are still trying to usurp authority by forcing me to prove myself in your scheme. I will only explain what I am advocating in terms of that example if you supply me with (1.) why can he lie?, (2.) why would he want to lie?, (3.) why does he have to choose?, (4.) why is it implied that lying is somehow opposite something else?, etc. Personally speaking, when I am in a situation where there is the possibility of lying, because of my continued engagement with the arts and other forms of play which through thinking in the flesh have endowed me with greater sensitivity and precision in my affective attunement, I try to look to what is good; what is commonly held to be "lying" is not always bad, very often the mean (which is oh so hard to find with maxims) of a given circumstance may say that it is necessary for me to lie, it is necessary for me to insert something false in what I say—it could save someone's life!—Aristotle addresses this issue when he treats the problem of error; error occurs when one's assessment and one's inclination toward the good become distorted from what is fitting, sometimes one's eye toward the good will be skewed because there is information withheld from the situation—and withheld information is not a problem that can always be overcome, hence why it is necessary to train the gut and work on one's habituation so as to constantly be in the act of attaining what is good, for a mere maxim will not assuage the problem but continuing the development of one's character will allow one to take a murky situation and make it into an exercise for another situation.

My opponent has schematized the situation by modeling the domain of my resolution upon the following generic and all too simplistic dilemma: I think it's wrong, but I want to do it, should I do it? It has bypassed more crucial issues of development, of character, of habit, and gone to a dulled down schematizing of the problems in the domain in question.

You have evidenced my position. You say that occasions to develop morally happen non-stop as an adult (but, again, as is evident, moral development is by means of abstractions, one doesn't need to keep developing rules—otherwise one would have a rule for every particular circumstance—how would one keep track of such rules?) but because this is the case you have to be done developing. The problem, again, with developing morally is that it (a.) is not effective, (b.) overwrought with generality (as is evident in your example of a "moral choice"), and (c.) has no way of connecting to more embodied and affective portions of the individual so as to be wholistic in its account—hence why it is implied in my resolution that developing by this means is lame. The reason why one needs to continue the project of developing ethically is precisely because, as you said, when you're an adult your character is your own BUT when you are an adult your character is NOT subject to change and corruption, in fact, it has the possibility of being cultivated in the way one thinks is fitting for their style of response and thus is not only necessary to maintain (for maintaining abstractions and maxims are just too damned simplistic) BUT it is an opportunity to prescribe what is necessary for one's character as one sees fitting to continue dealing with an eye towards the good.


I thank my opponent for finally shedding some light on what his views about what counts as ‘ethical' development actually is. And I am left wondering how 3 rounds passed without the terms ‘circumstance' or ‘situation' coming up when they are that central to what my opponent has been defending. But that bridge is burned and the water is under it, So let us press on.

1)Consideration of the circumstances does not change the development from moral to ethical, the changes to the general rules by specifics does not make it any less a set of rules. Just because the moral commands/maxims are now complex as opposed to simple does not make them any less commands/maxims of an intellectual nature. Because we are now considering the circumstances as changing the morality of any situation that means the intellectual commands/maxims have clauses in them, as opposed to just different Articles. My opponent has been speaking as if moral commands of an intellectual nature must be inherently simple and general to be what they are. This is simply false though. Morality is OUR standard of behavior that WE make ourselves abide by on our OWN, so we can consider the moral commands/maxims as complex as our hearts are content to do such.

2)Application of what you ethically developed should not be confused with the development itself witch is what the resolution is over. Yes if ethical development included the application as well then of course it should continue on into adulthood, for application is the purpose of the development of anything. But it isn't the development itself. Consider a Cub Scout Pine Wood Derby race for example. To prepare for the race you plan and build the shape and weight of your derby car (develop); then on the day of the Pack race you put it on the track and actually race the care you built (application). Racing it on the track twice will not further ‘develop' the car. My opponent description of painting in the flesh is similar to this, painting intellectually being the actual building of the car and painting in the flesh actually practicing having it race on the track.

The above two points though still don't negate my opponents new case though as ‘gut morality' adds a few complications that makes it un-phased so far. Even granted that circumstances are included in moral maxims, though making it more complex, that just means if we wanted to, thinking out the moral maxims in the specifics could be done. But my opponent says when you actually apply the standards of morality you don't use your intellectual knowledge of any such codes but listen to your ‘gut' and see what ‘feels' right. If all there is to ‘applying' is doing what ‘feels' right then wouldn't it be better to say its more like bowling than it is pinewood derby, that the only way to develop is in the practicing applying the art itself?

It is awfully tempting to think that. Unless I am willing to reject people ‘listening to their gut' altogether (witch I am not) then how else can listening to your gut develop since doing that clearly is not of an intellectual nature?

3) Actually, the truth of the matter is, the only way your ‘gut' develops is by developing in an intellectual way and better studying the maxims and commands in all their comprehensive complexity.
At some point in our school lives surely we have had to take a test without studying for it. Think back and remember on those incidents at exactly how you ended up choosing your answers for the test. You didn't actually know the answers; So from what source did you derive from to choose what to put on the test? During that test your ‘gut' had to tell you what ‘felt' right based on what little you actually already know and fill in the blanks with what most fits the theme. Like if you had to play a song you knew only from reading the song sheet but a dog ate it and left you only three random pages. You would only be able to play the missing pages of the song by giving your best guess at what music would fit the known composition in the pages you do have. Perhaps in the test you don't know if ‘Tomas Jefferson had slaves, true or false?' but in the back of your head you do remember some facts about Tomas Jefferson, like how he was for the population based legislation in the constitution, so the answer ‘true' feels right even though you don't actually know if its true or false, you just know the slave states were for representation based on population.

Your ‘Gut' does this in morality as well. You of course would expect situations you hadn't ‘studied for' since I myself admitted this round that the maxims are complex due to considering circumstances, so your ‘Gut' is forced to gather what few facts you did study on and fill in the blanks for what sounds most correct in this situation. Example: "Yes lying is wrong, but allowing the Russians to find out these missiles codes is also wrong, loyalty is good, treachery is bad" Your gut can draw from all that when the Russians are interrogating you for the launch codes when you didn't study for this particular situation and it tells you what feels right. Your wife asks you does her butt look big, your gut still draws from the 'No lying' rule here too, but it also draws from other rules like not feeding your wife's insecurities and the previous history of what happens when this question is not answered so promptly that you wonder why she didn't ask ‘did you even look?'

Your ethical 'gut' impulse only draws from what you've intellectually learned before hand. The problem is it play's no part in development itself. If you take that test twice without the knowledge your not going to ‘feel' better answers or for most at least the first time feel better about the answers you did give afterwords. That's why when we are forced to use gut morality we often find ourselves playing amateur philosopher after the event as we think about just what the right thing should have been (in an intellectual way). This is some of that studying and you do it because you honestly don't feel good about what you put that ‘felt right'. Just like after the test you look up in the book some of the answers you where least sure off to see if in the end you were still right.

So in short this round I have argued:

1) Intellectual morality is as complex as it needs to be, you would find the maxims to account for the hundreds of circumstances if you had the patience to think them through.
2) So considering circumstances is part of moral learning, not ethical.
3) Application of skills is not necessarily honing them.
4) Applying the skills of 'listening to your gut' does not hone (develop) them.
5) Your Gut can only tell you what you have already studied. In order for it to develop enough to give more accurate answers intellectual study must be done before hand.
Debate Round No. 4


Nofistsjustclaims forfeited this round.


It seems my withering logic has left my articulate opponent speechless...........or maybe he just didn't have time during this 3 day period to post his final argument.

In either case, all arguments extend.
Debate Round No. 5
9 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 9 records.
Posted by Marauder 6 years ago
I dropped the request of filling out my scenario twice over with 'style' because it was no longer necessary, you conveyed what you meant by style fine enough with the painter parable.
But you said you couldn't answer it because it was too simple.... its simplicity was the point. I gave the skeletal bones of a scenario for you (it had to do with not lying) and you were to complicate it by 'fleshing' it out with the factors that you would consider style. that way the constant simple variables that are the bones I gave would not be distracting and what you 'fleshed out' would be shown all the better. But just as long as the bones remain the same.
Posted by Nofistsjustclaims 6 years ago
Puck (Continued): The most obvious problem with saying that evaluations of emotional responses require a prior cognitive-this-and-that is that you neglect the possibility that cognition or reflection are just too darned slow to respond fittingly to a given situation and thus have much too much lag. In fact, what you are proposing sounds like something which allows someone to disengage because they literally do not have any sense of the good or any nuance in feelings, a nuance which is conditioned or habituated right into their guts—yes, I am proposing that emotional responses may be more fitting for ethical life than learning moral maxims or fancy models of evaluation (although, this is necessarily the specific topic of my debates)—the way you are speaking about ethical judgment does not have any sense of habituation built into it nor does it have any way of accounting for ethics done on the fly. For someone like Aristotle, it is only when we truly desire the good, it is only when our gut instincts drive us toward the good that we can, in a sense, become prime movers, and thus, in such a state, we don't need fancy models or little bits of talk that tell us how to conduct ourselves, rather, we are always seeking the good because the emotive parts of the soul can synch with the intellectual parts of the soul to be harmonious in ethical conduct—to only form ethical judgments from an intellectual task alone or some sort of judgment (which, of course, is presupposing that there is no corruption of those intellectual tasks by emotions which don't prompt one to use one model in one instance and not to use it in another, when one feels like it, just as when one truly does not seek the good they choose to act "good" in certain moments), to only make such judgments by cognitive access is simply schizophrenic, one's self begins to split between instinct, emotion, feeling, etc and intellectual task, cognitive model, heady judgment, etc.
Posted by Nofistsjustclaims 6 years ago
Puck: Interesting comment; (A) you propose I am mislead having simply mistaken the purpose of my argument because referring to "the ability to judge a mean which is proportionate to what the circumstances calls for," is not different from when I add that such a task is not just an intellectual task; (B) you put forth that if I am proposing a position which is NOT confused, one which would utilize a gut instinct ethical process model, then for some reason I am ridiculous—you have placed me either (a.) into confusion or (b.) into a ridiculous position. By placing me between these two choices you have completely overlooked the role of instinct, emotion, feeling, etc in one's conduct. Firstly, my model is not a "gut instinct" model (though I wonder: was your purpose to goad me into the position that gut instincts are necessary in ethics?—which would then, quite nicely, set you up for arguing with me about instinct and evil or something to that effect?) I do find it funny you initially post as if I was unintelligible and yet you resort to using vacuous jargon (vacuous, of course, because there is no exemplification of what you mean like "a prior cognitive hierarchy to access and a model to form an ethical judgment," whatever that means), regardless, your position about cognitive access and a model to form judgment is mired in mentalist thinking.
Posted by Nofistsjustclaims 6 years ago
Gottfried: I'm not sure what the purpose is of your comment; it appears to be making some type of claim about the banality of arguing about capability but it is so devoid of content I am having a difficult time contextualizing it--I would be interested in hearing something, should you have something more comprehensive to include, it would be greatly appreciated because then we could engage one another on whatever point you are trying to illustrate by using the qualities of stubbornness and death.
Posted by Gottfried 6 years ago
Well, we all are human. I would presuppose we all are capable unless we are stubborn, or dead.
Posted by Gottfried 6 years ago
Well, we all are human. I would presuppose we all are capable unless we are stubborn, or dead.
Posted by Puck 6 years ago
" thus cannot be cognized by simply resorting to an intellectual task"

Evaluations of emotional responses are exactly that, evaluative, requiring both a prior cognitive hierarchy to access and a model to form an ethical judgement. Unless you are referring to some 'gut instinct' ethical process model in which case lols ensue.
Posted by Nofistsjustclaims 6 years ago
I.e., the ability to judge a mean which is proportionate to what the circumstances calls for but is not dependent upon a maxim which tells one how the means is to be achieved and thus cannot be cognized by simply resorting to an intellectual task--in other words, by ethical capacity I mean an embodied process which is developed through physical activities like playing music and attuning oneself to the production and reception of feeling. Sc., Aristotle's Nicomachaen Ethics.
Posted by Puck 6 years ago
"advocating the development of those capacities which are not of an intellectual nature and are present in the employment of one's capacities."

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