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

Human morality is universal

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 5/16/2012 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 6 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,112 times Debate No: 23648
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (3)
Votes (1)




I would like to begin by asking my opponent to "bear with me" as I try to familiarize myself with the methods of debating on this website. This is my first debate here, and in fact my first non-verbal debate ever.

I would like to argue that morality is NOT universal but instead, entirely dependent on societies. I define society as:

A body of human beings (more than one) , associated or viewed as members of a community

1) I would ask my opponent to imagine him/herself being the only human alive on our planet. Now being the only human around, do you feel a sense of morality; do you know what is right or what is wrong? No, because your sense of morality does NOT exist in isolation. But, the moment a second person is brought into the picture, a sense of morality is introduced as well. You now begin to develop a feel for what is right and wrong; what is moral and immoral. What does this tell us? Not only does society dictate what is morally acceptable (I will expand on this in my next point), but the entire concept of morality cannot exist without society.

2) Just by observing the vast differences in what is morally acceptable in different societies and time periods it becomes quite simple to see that morality is not constant. In more than one African tribe human sacrifices are still regular things. Arranged marriages take place everyday. The mere fact that something can be perfectly acceptable to one group of people, but a moral crime to another has to lead you to believe that morality has everything to do with society.

3) By examining modern moral issues today we can see firsthand how moral laws change relative to society. Let's consider homosexual relationships. Now I realize that the morality of homosexual relationships is still the topic of many debates but if we see the progress its made in American society over the past 100 years, it is astonishing. 100 years ago a large majority of people viewed homosexual relationships "as immoral" as incestuous relationships. Today, a topic who's morality was NEVER questioned not too long ago, is one of the hottest topics for debate today. Recent polls show that approximately 50% of Americans "see nothing wrong with homosexual marriage" let alone homosexual relationships in general. What has caused this huge shift in moral standards? What has changed in the past 100 years? Society.


I accept the debate and wish my opponent the best of luck. I will first present my own case then proceed to attack my opponent's. Seeing as no definitions have been proposed thus far, i will give my own:

Moral-of, pertaining to, or concerned with the principles or rules of right conduct or the distinction between right and wrong (courtesy of
Universal-present everywhere (courtesy of

There is an intrinsic recognition of morals by all sane people. Morals are existent everywhere. In our everyday actions we apply basic morals to reach conclusions on what actions should be taken. The reason, however, that such conclusions are reached through universal morals is because there is a natural recognition of morality. As is asserted by Marc Hauser: When questioned on if a trolley came speeding off track and was about to hit and kill five people, but you had the power to push it to the side so it only killed one, would you do it? The majority of people come to the immediate conclusion that, yes, that is permissible. However, when questioned if 5 patients are suffering and will die if they do not get organ transplant immediately, and you have the ability to kill the next person that enters the hospital and save the lives of the other five, such action becomes unthinkable. There should be not difference; in one scenario you kill one to save 5, and its okay. However, in the other scenario, its inexcusable to do the same thing. The reason behind this difference, he states, is because there is a natural moral compass existent to virtually everyone, that justifies an action. Morality is universal because while there are exceptions, we all apply the same subconscious morals to determine the course of action to be taken.

To justify such exceptions it is clear that we must recognize exceptions are existent to nearly every truth.(to further this point, i ask that my opponent gives me an example of anything that is "universal") Exceptions are existent for my case, yet morality is still universal. This is because in even the most unjust actions(murder, rape, genocide, torture), any sane person would have morality as the root justification for their action(kill an intruder to save your family, kill terrorists to save your country, even when a robber steals, they have reasoning behind it such as getting money to provide food for their family.)

C1:Morality is dependent upon others.
Morality is, as defined, the ability to recognize what is right or wrong. I would first like to point out that my opponent is blatantly wrong;to rape and torture an animal, even without other humans around, would still be marked as immoral in my book.

C2: Morality is different in different societies. (with the example of African tribes)
This point is flawed largely because the justification behind such sacrifices is an example of morality itself. These tribes kill(i'm presuming because no examples have been offered thus far)for religious purposes to ultimately bring safety to their fellow tribes people and family. Ergo, they kill to save life which seems to be a reoccurring theme in the social standards brought up earlier^(killing one to save five). And while modern societies aren't as radical as this, we apply the same moral standards. We have the death penalty to punish someone while simultaneously providing safety to the rest of us.

C3:Modern Issues change rapidly. (with the example of gay marriage)
While it is true that public opinion shifted very rapidly on this, and i'm sure many other, morally related issues, the fact of the matter is that gays were persecuted because they were a minority group, and minority groups tend to scare majorities. Take, for example, any intelligent females in the early colonization period of America. Smart girls, because the majority group(guys) felt threatened by their emergence, were claimed to be witches and persecuted as such. Our society tends to extenuate opinions of what it is unaware of, which is an entirely unrelated topic to morals themselves. The persecution of gays and smart girls in olden times did not radically change because our morals changed;rather it was because we came to accept these groups into our society and let them grow into the state they are today.


I wish my opponent the best of luck, and thank you very much for starting this debate!
Debate Round No. 1


RespectfullyDisagree forfeited this round.


Forfeits are lame. I guess this debate will just be one round shorter.
Debate Round No. 2


RespectfullyDisagree forfeited this round.


Extend all my arguments.
Vote Pro
Debate Round No. 3
3 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Posted by XimenBao 6 years ago
I was just about to take this and run "morality is universal, morals aren't"

Phooey. :(
Posted by THEBOMB 6 years ago
I agree with Con on the topic. But, those argument's are rather weak.
Posted by stubs 6 years ago
I would love to accept this debate as the first 3 points are easily refutable I just don't have the time.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by socialpinko 6 years ago
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Total points awarded:04 
Reasons for voting decision: FF