The Instigator
Pro (for)
The Contender
Con (against)

Good and evil are concepts which have outlasted their use to society

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 7/21/2016 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 3 months ago Status: Debating Period
Viewed: 155 times Debate No: 93963
Debate Rounds (4)
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The full question: Good and evil are concepts which have outlasted their usefulness to society.

Round 1 will be for acceptance and opening arguments.
Round 2 will be for rebuttals and further arguments..
Round 3 will be for rebuttals and further arguments.
Round 4 will be for rebuttals only with no further arguments being introduced.

Pro opening argument:

Good and evil were originally intended to create a more just world where good is done instead of evil. However, it has failed to create a world which is just, and is now taking backwards steps away from that goal as I will demonstrate here.

The question of what is good and what is evil has been around for a long time. Often it is quoted that what is good and what is evil is decided by the Gods. However, there are many Gods and many of them disagree with each other on what is good and what is evil. The christian God, for example, disagrees with himself between the old testament and the new. For example, in the new testament God for bids killing (Ex 20:13) Whereas in the old testament, God commands killing (Ex 32:27). It is evident that the Gods themselves are far too confused about morality for us to get our definitions of what is good and what is evil from them; that would certainly do more harm than good as powerful people would just pick whichever God allowed them to do whatever they wanted quoting that this particular God allowed it. This would certainly create more injustice than it would create.

The same difficulties apply in attempting to take our definitions of what is good and what is evil from society's judgements. What one society says is evil, another society says is at least neutral, if not good. For example, for a woman to speak about politics in some countries is evil, whereas in others it is not only not evil, but actively encouraged. Indeed, Britain now has a female Prime Minister, as Germany has a female President. In which case, allowing any society to dictate absolutes on what is good or evil to the rest of the world would do more harm than good as no society can claim a monopoly on morality and to do so would create a situation where one society rules over all others, which would certainly be unjust.

In that case, could it be said that good and evil are decided upon on an individual basis based on some sort of formula which means that what is good in one society can be evil in another without it being contradictary to the formula? Perhaps if we were to say that things that produce the most benefit to that country are good, and things that produce the most detriment to that country are evil? That would make sense with countries in which it is evil for women to take part in politics as women there would have had less of a chance to be educated than men, whereas in other countries which have female prime ministers and presidents, women are more likely to have had just as much education as men. However, it does not make sense in other ways. For example, the fact that women are less educated in those countries is due to the fact that it is seen as evil for a woman to receive an education. This cannot be said to have any benefit on that society as it is forcing half of its population to not receive an education on things which may, in the long run, make the country more economically prosperous and technologically advanced. The actual result of this is a female dependency on men which only goes to place women in a vulnerable position where great harm can be done to them if they do not comply with the men's wishes. This cannot be said to benefit that society, yet it is still seen as good that that is the way it is. This is a result of the people in power wishing to keep power by picking and choosing the 'moral lessons' from a particular God. The fact that it is that way has nothing to do with what is really good and what is really evil.

Therefore we have seen that good and evil cannot be readily defined in any agreeable way by the gods or society, and they are concepts which are often only used by powerful people who wish to keep that power. Often, those things that are quoted as 'good' are harmful to a large section of a population, and those things that are quoted as evil are only done so to prevent the rebalancing of power, such as the general forbadance of women in politics in certain countries. Therefore, perhaps we should judge what is good and evil based on its actual benefit or detriment to society. Things with a net benefit would be seen as good, whereas things with a net detriment would be seen as evil.

This solves some gray areas. For example: Murder.

If you murder a person for no reason at all then yes, that is to the detriment of society and that action should be judged as evil. If you murder an individual who is about to press a button which will introduce a plague into society, that action must be judged to have been to the larger benefit of society and therefore good.

The idea of judging actions on what is to the larger benefit of society is an interesting one. However, it is not without its flaws. For instance: Two men are trapped on a desert island. Both are starving to death and both would die the next day. The bigger man overpowers his companion, kills him and eats him. Two days later a ship arrives and the man is saved. He has murdered someone for food, yet that act got him back to civilization alive. In this system his act would be considered to be for the benefit of society as both would have died anyway had the man not murdered his companion for food. Therefore, the murder would have to be considered good. A system in which murder is considered good if you're hungry is a flawed one which would certainly do more harm to society than good by leaving the vulnerable even more so in dire situations, certainly this is unjust.

In conclusion to my opening argument, I have shown that good and evil as defined by gods is confused and open to abuse and therefore harmful to society, as is allowing societies themselves to choose what is good and what is evil, and finally, that even a system which states that anything with a net benefit to society is good and anything with a net detriment to society is evil would allow for the abuse of the vulnerable. In which case, ideas of good and evil have outlasted their use to society, and inhibit its advancement towards a more just world. They should, therefore, be abandoned and our hope for creating a more just world should be placed in the hands of laws which should be constantly rewritten as to make them more suitable to a just world.
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Debate Round No. 1
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Debate Round No. 2
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Debate Round No. 3
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Debate Round No. 4
2 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Posted by JayConar 3 months ago
Posted by vi_spex 3 months ago
go eat poop
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