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The Contender
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For a grown man to step on a kitten is a morally neutral act

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 8/9/2016 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 779 times Debate No: 94569
Debate Rounds (2)
Comments (7)
Votes (0)




Con can make arguments in the first round, but by doing so gives up their right to make arguments in round two. Con also has the option of using the first round as acceptance.(we both have one round to argue) con also accepts all definitions.

2000 character limit can be increased on request to whatever Con desires before accepting. Two rounds is non-negotiable.

Our definitions will be vastly oversimplified, but that is just because I want this to be a short debate. I don't have enough real life time to make long, complicated definitions and arguments.

Thinking being - A lifeform which can be shown to actively respond to external stimuli from its environment.

Morally evil act - Intentionally causing something negative to a thinking being.

Morally good act -Intentionally causing something positive to a thinking being.

Morally neutral act - Any act which cannot be shown to fall into one of these categories.

Failure to follow round structure or definitions results in victory given to the offenders opponent.


I accept.
Debate Round No. 1


The first thing to establish is whether or not a kitten counts as a thinking being under our definitions. The criteria for a thinking being is active response to stimuli. Kittens demonstrate this when interacting with other kittens, not running into walls when walking, and chasing laser lights.

Therefore kittens are thinking beings under my definition.

The second thing to establish is whether stepping on a kitten causes something negative or positive to said kitten. I forgot to include definitions for positive and negative, but I think we can agree that pain and possible death is a negative thing.

So stepping on a kitten can be conclusively shown to cause a negative thing to a thinking being. But that does not conclude this debate, because our definition of morality involves INTENTIONALLY causing harm or good.

Therefore, to negate the resolution, con must show beyond a reasonable doubt that every time a grown man steps on a kitten they must have done so intentionally. If they are unable to do this then the resolution is upheld.

Expected argument by con:

Some people step on kittens on purpose, and what they do is wrong by your definition.

My response to this argument:

The resolution states "For a grown man to step on a kitten is a morally neutral act" This debate is therefore not limited to just those who do so intentionally. It must include ALL times a man has stepped on a kitten.

The definition of a morally neutral act is "Any act which cannot be shown to fall into one of these categories." If con cannot show that ALL acts of a man stepping on a kitten are either morally good or bad, the resolution is upheld.


Thanks for the argument.

Indeed, I expected to hear exactly this, because the carefully crafted definitions specifically deal with intent, and therefore omit accidents. However, I simply disagree with the assertion that I must show all acts of a man stepping on a kitten are morally good or bad. There is a critical bit of missing language needed to make your assertion reasonable.

"For a grown man to step on a kitten is *sometimes* a morally neutral act."

This is a classic set theory problem. Consider the following statements.

(1) "A square is a rectangle."
(2) "A rectangle is a square."

The statement (1) is true, because every instance of a square meets the criteria of the rectangle. The statement (2) is false, because not every instance of a rectangle meets the criteria of a square. It's incorrect to say "a rectangle is a square", because the accepted meaning without qualifying language is that the statement holds for all cases, not just some cases.

Our situation is like (2). Sometimes, a man stepping on a kitten is morally neutral. Sometimes, it's not. Therefore, the statement that the act is morally neutral is false.

It would have been more clear to qualify this with "always, sometimes, never", but I've made the most reasonable interpretation based on the language we agreed upon.
Debate Round No. 2
7 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 7 records.
Posted by Discipulus_Didicit 1 year ago
Six hours left. Probably going to be a tie :(
Posted by canis 1 year ago
1.Step on a kitten...2. The mothe/father of the kitten were not good at catching mouse. 3. more mouse = less "corn" for you. 4. starvation = you go extint..= purpose is not to go extint...
Posted by canis 2 years ago
Posted by joshuroar 2 years ago
I think you mean that a *porpoise* cannot be wrong or right.
Posted by canis 2 years ago
Fore a grown man to step on a kitten must have a purpose. A purpose can not be wrong or right..
Posted by Discipulus_Didicit 2 years ago
You are, of course, correct. If it is on purpose it is morally very bad.
Posted by vi_spex 2 years ago
not if its my kitten, and not if its on purpose
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