The Instigator
Pro (for)
3 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
0 Points

Good cannot exist without bad.

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Post Voting Period
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after 1 vote the winner is...
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 11/28/2012 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,308 times Debate No: 27582
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (10)
Votes (1)




One cannot have pleasant experiences without there being unpleasant experiences, just as a front cannot exist without a back. Try me.


Thank you for creating this debate.

"Bad" is a concept created by us humans. "Bad" does not really exist outside the human concept. Therefore, "bad" doesn't really exist per see.

So God can exist without "bad", since "bad" is just a concept.

"Bad" is also not a very defined concept. Therefore, the concept can be very much subjective. Something you see as "bad" can be seen as acceptable, and therefore "good" to me.
Debate Round No. 1


"Something you see as "bad" can be seen as acceptable, and therefore "good" to me."

That's true due to our differing experiences. Say I disliked a modern film, maybe because I've seen every film out there and find this one lacking. Then let's say you've never seen any film and finally you watch this one. Chances are you would like it, if only due to the novelty of such a thing.

Our ideas of what good and bad are can most certainly be different, and in fact usually are. My point is that good cannot exist without bad. One needs to know what bad is in order to know what good is.

"Good can exist without "bad", since "bad" is just a concept."

Good is also a concept, which exists only in comparison to bad.

Take sex. Sex is good. It feels good compared to non-sex. Constant sex, on the other hand, loses it's quality. It hasn't enough contrasting non-sex experience.

Here's a pretty strong example: say someone is bored and upset with their current experience. Someone approaches them and reminds them that there are much less fortunate people (starving children, etc.). Regardless of how bad they may feel for these people, if at all, it is through such knowledge that they can at least recognize that their current experience is in fact "good."

Comparitive "good" and "bad" can't come into the picture until there is a comparison; and they always come together, never one without the other.

I would challenge you to describe something that can be good without implying bad, even just in thought.


So let us make some things clear that we are in accordance.

Good and bad are both concepts, they exist as concepts and nothing more.

The two concepts are very much subjective.

Good and bad cannot exist without one another.


PRO wrote;

"Take sex. Sex is good. It feels good compared to non-sex. Constant sex, on the other hand, loses it's quality. It hasn't enough contrasting non-sex experience."

This statement is subjective, but yet you use as affirmative, by saying "sex is good". I'll guess you never heard of asexuality, or maybe such of detail did not occur to you. Asexual do not feel "good" while having sex. So sex is not "good" for them.

Then you yourself implied that, sex can be "bad", which contradicts your initial statement.

So is sex good or bad? Either of those two concepts can be use, and neither answer will be wrong (unless you lie about your answer).

There is also the option of neither of those answers being applicative.

Let us say that, the person lacks any sensation by the lost/lack of the sense of touch.

There is a case by a woman called Julie Malloy. She was born with a disorder called Hereditary Sensory Neuropathy type 2 (HSN2). Because of this disorder, she can't feel anything in most parts of her body, including the sense of pressure. As such of disorder is so rear, she was only diagnosed by age of 25. Doctors thought at first, she just happens to be very tolerable to pain.
*Sources: National Organization for Rare Disorders, Orphanet Journal of Rare Diseases, WebMD and Drs. Than Vu and Sanjiv Naidu

So the concept of bad and good is dependable of things such as feelings, without it, those concepts cannot even be understood, and therefore is nonexistent to that person, if they lack or were impaired of such of ability to feel.

"Luckily" for Julie, this disorder did not affect her entire body, or she would most likely not have survived for long. Which happens in cases such as Anencephaly of which the person cannot survive for a very long time. Longest I have read about, is the case of Stephanie Keene (aka Baby K), that was kept alive for two years and 174 days.

In the Matter of Baby K, 832 F.supp. 1022, E.D. Va. 1993.


PRO wrote;

"I would challenge you to describe something that can be good without implying bad, even just in thought."

This is a topic for another debate of which I did not take. We are in agreement so far that good cannot exist without bad. Therefore, even if I wanted to please you, with such of topic debate, I wouldn't be able to do so since we are in agreement here.

Debate Round No. 2


If we agree that good cannot exist without bad, then the debate is resolved. I have no problem with good and bad being subjective. When I said "Sex is good," I meant in general. I never posited that good and bad exist outside of subjective experience, nor did I posit that they weren't subject to differing experiences and opinions.

All I said was that good cannot exist without bad, as the blaring title above says, and you've already claimed to agree with this.


Haha, I read God, and not good, and was debating that. "That God cannot exist without bad".

Let me see if I can savage this debate.

Like I pointed in the first round, bad does not really exist per see since it is just a concept, and not even an absolute concept. You cannot have absolute good or absolute bad.

Something to be good, by our definition of what good is, something good cannot feel bad, but since bad must exist for good to exist, we have a contradiction. So even know we have a concept for good and bad, they cannot possibly exist, even know we created the concept.

Therefore, good and bad does not really exist, just the concept does. The concept of good and bad, is not really good and bad, but just a concept.

Debate Round No. 3


Yes, you did say God earlier; I just thought it was a typo. I was hoping to debate someonewho strongly disagrees with me. After all, if you don't, it can be hard to argue against something you don't necessarily disagree with. Anyway...

Good is that which is to be desired or approved of, according to Google. It is a title for such things and does exist. Bad is simply it's opposite: that which is not to be desired or approved of. It, too, in fact exists, as long as there are people who desire.

If there is something to be desired, or something good, than the existence or possibility of something that is not to be desired, or bad, is always implied, and vice versa.

In my subjective experience, I consider pain something that is not to be desired. This very idea implies that what is to be desired, and therefore good, is to not experience pain. There can be no instance of anything that can be desired, or otherwise beneficial, that doesn't imply the possibility of it's opposite.


Like I said good and bad only exists as a concept.

I was going to use this with the God argument, but I think it can apply here as well.

The concept that God exist and created a world for man exists (the concept).

In that world that was no bad, everything was perfect as it could be. Since it was a perfect place, there was the option for the people (Adam and Eve) to leave the place if they so desire. The option was the tree, which was a window to knowledge.

Notice, I did not say it was good because good is the absence of bad, but for good to exist, even as a concept, bad must also exist because I need bad to explain good.

But after the event, and knowledge was obtained, you would have to say that at that garden, bad did not existed, and therefore good existed without the existence of bad, but the concept could not become to be.

That story can be seen as a concept, but many believe to have existed.

If the story is true, and you believe good and bad existed (which I don't), then you can see that good existed independently at one point in time, even know the notion and concept did not. But if good really exists, then a concept and notion does not have to exist for good to exist.

If you don't believe in the story, and feel is just a story, then good alone just existed as a story or concept before, if you believe that just because a concept exists, is true, and the idea behind the concept is real, then you have to believe good can exist by itself since the concept exists, otherwise you are contradicting your beliefs.

I apologize for the misunderstanding in the begin of this debate. I hope this debate haven't being completely useless.

Debate Round No. 4
10 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Marla_Teddy 4 years ago
There is no possible way that good cant exist without evil considering its all perception anyway. If you do believe in good and bad, then let me be the first to tell you that each is equal. In life, you only feel what you let yourself feel. If you want to feel good, you feel good. If you wan to feel bad, you feel bad. Since emotion is a blessing, what does that make apathy? A curse or plain ignorance? Its all personal view. There will never be a way to see the world objectively. You only know your feelings and how you react to things. You don't know what others think, nor will you ever (unless they tell you). Lets pretend for a second there is no such thing as good or bad. That those adjectives never existed. You in your heart might think its wrong to kill someone; however in another persons heart, that could be different. It all comes back to personal morals. Good is good. Bad is bad. Only you can decipher what you believe to be true. And your opinion is coming from your own personal experience, so why should you care about anyone else's? If you let yourself, good can exist without bad; and bad can exist without good. But nothing would exist if you didn't think of it first.

(My opinion is late, but its still here)
Posted by bergeneric63 5 years ago
And there would be no bad if the devil was not around but he decided to do bad and got thrown from heaven. The question is, Would there be bad if the devil did not exist
Posted by johnlubba 5 years ago
I also read God instead of good, Weird.

Any way I think the only way for good to exist is in the absence of bad, knowing the difference between the two however, you need both.

Still undecisive on who to vote for. :)
Posted by Cometflash 5 years ago
If you like, we can debate this again, in a proper way. :)
Posted by toolpot462 5 years ago
Yes, "if," a word which indicates that the following statement is a condition. If <condition>, then <result>.

I don't mean to present an argument in the comments, but your claim that good and bad don't really exist is irrelevant as to whether one can exist without the other, assuming one DOES exist, be this true or not.
Posted by Cometflash 5 years ago
Hmmm... "if"?
Posted by toolpot462 5 years ago
If there is bad, there is good, and vice versa. This would be from a Buddhist perspective. Indeed, Buddhist philosophy is where I got the idea.
Posted by bergeneric63 5 years ago
I agree with the disagreear very much so and I also want to say that to say bad it is a state of mind and budha says that life is a perspective of how you look at things so to one person or thing it is good but to the other it is bad or else, bad is how you look at it from your perspective therefore there is no bad if you become pure of heart and find inner peace. This would be from the budha perspective. There is no bad so therefore your argument is wrong in any logical sense of term.
Posted by Cometflash 5 years ago
"If the story is true, and you believe good and bad existed..."

Existed was suppose to be exists...

I hope the reader can see that, and was just another mistake of my.

I guess I'm having just to many complicated debates as right now, and my brain must be "boiling" because of
Posted by Cometflash 5 years ago
I read God and not GOOD and was debating such. Damn
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by rross 5 years ago
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Total points awarded:30 
Reasons for voting decision: So weird. I read god instead of good at the start too. Con started to get it together by the last round, but by then it was too late.