The Instigator
Wallstreetatheist
Pro (for)
Losing
1 Points
The Contender
wierdman
Con (against)
Winning
3 Points

Individuals have a moral obligation to assist people in need.

Do you like this debate?NoYes+2
Add this debate to Google Add this debate to Delicious Add this debate to FaceBook Add this debate to Digg  
Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 1 vote the winner is...
wierdman
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 11/25/2011 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 3,143 times Debate No: 19473
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (10)
Votes (1)

 

Wallstreetatheist

Pro

Format will be a modified Lincoln-Douglas debate, as this is the current LD topic.

Rounds:
1) Acceptance
2) Opening Speech
3) 1st Rebuttal
4) 2nd Rebuttal
5) Voting Issues

6,000 Characters per argument.

Good luck
wierdman

Con

I accept and hope for a good round
Debate Round No. 1
Wallstreetatheist

Pro

“Small acts, when multiplied by millions of people, can transform the world.” In the study of ethics, this is an integral observation for moral action and just behavior. It is because I am in agreement with the great historian and academic, Howard Zinn, that I stand in strong affirmation of the resolution, Resolved: Individuals have a moral obligation to assist people in need.

I will now define some of the key terms in today’s debate from Black’s Law Dictionary and Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary:
Individuals: Single persons as distinguished from group or class
Have: To hold in possession
Moral Obligation: a duty which is valid and binding in conscience and according to natural justice
People in need: “human beings” who “lack something requisite”

Observation 1: in this debate I do not have to prove that all individuals have a moral obligation, as this would be abusive to the resolution: some humans lack the basic requirements of responsible moral agency.

The highest value of today’s debate is clearly that of Morality. Morality is a right, universal code of conduct that all rational persons would put forward for governing the behavior of all moral agents. It is rationally and ethically defensible with procedural tests for identifying morally permissible actions. It’s moral values exist independently of the feeling-states of individuals at particular times. Morality is saliently important because it gives us the instructions for right action. Without it, family, society, and humanity would fail while chaos would become commonplace.

The Value Criterion I will use to achieve my value of Morality is Moral Responsibility. Moral Responsibility is the responsibility of conscience that justifies claims and ascriptions of praise and blame, reward and punishment. This applies to when a person performs or fails to perform a morally significant action, and is a prime importance in this debate because it is precisely what warrants moral action. Without moral responsibility there would be no way to judge morally significant actions; thus, any objective moral action would be done unintentionally.

Contention one: Our moral responsibility requires us to be altruistic. Moral responsibility is a natural component of moral agency, the capacity for those actions which have a moral quality. Moral responsibility demands altruism as an essential component of morality. Altruism is showing a regard for the welfare of others, and since moral responsibility warrants action based on this, morality is upheld and achieved. When we see a kid who has fallen off of his bicycle and injured himself, we feel a moral obligation to assist him because of this altruistic quality inherent in moral agency. The assistance we would offer this child would be medical aid, assurance, and comfort. We are morally obligated to assist him because of our moral responsibility. This assistance does not breed dependence or aberrant behavior. All major religions denote the moral importance of charity, benevolence, and altruism to people in need. Confucianism teaches five virtues that an individual should practice every day to live a virtuous, moral life: Ren is the virtue of benevolence, charity, and humanity; Yì comprised of zhong, conscientiousness, and shù , reciprocity, altruism, and consideration for others; then there’s Zhi, knowledge; Xin, integrity; and, Li, correct behavior. We see examples of numerous codes, religions, and traditions throughout history and dispersed globally which developed the same pillars of altruism and benevolence for people in need. This is an extraordinary paradigm of just how pervasive this most essential concept of morality is. This moral norm was discovered in light of an unchanging and objective set of moral principles that find their source in the realities of human existence. It is clear that morality is a universal concept of which people adhere to based upon their deepest integrity. The Philosopher Sam Harris writes in his book, The Moral Landscape, “helping strangers can be one of humanity’s greatest sources of happiness.” The morality inherent in human beings obligates compassionate assistance through moral responsibility which culminates in a mutually beneficial moral exchange that helps humanity.

Contention two: The myriad ways individuals can fulfill their moral obligation to assist people in need ensure morality. The common misconception about assistance for the needy is that it is always financial, and thus, fosters dependence and self-defeating behaviors when misapplied. However, assistance is extremely varied, thus fulfilling the moral obligation we have to assist people in need can always be moral, can always be feasible, and can always be compatible with our moral responsibility. People can be in need of food, water, shelter, clothing, medical treatment, love, and life saving assistance. Accordingly, the ways in which individuals meet the needs of others is widely diversified to amply suit the requirements of moral action. Encouragement, love, advice, volunteering, charity, benevolence, rescue, and many other forms of assistance constitute moral actions for corresponding needs. Therefore, assisting people in need is moral despite one’s predicament.

Contention three: Assisting people in need is obligated by Universal Morality.As Immanuel Kant aptly synthesized, “Act in such a way that the maxim of your action can be willed as a universal law.” We simply apply rationale to action, and when we do that we see that we should act in universally valid and moral ways. Actions are wrong if the success of the proposed action depends upon making an exception for yourself. The act of assisting people in need passes the seven tests for ethical decision making: Harm test, Publicity test, Defensibility test, Reversibility test, Virtue test, Professional test, Colleague test, and Organization test. However, when the act is avoided, tests are scored negatively. Thus, morality obligates assistance to people in need.
wierdman

Con

Neg Case
Philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche writes, "We are deprived of strength where we feel pity. That loss of strength which suffering as such inflicts on life is still further increased and multiplied by pity. Pity makes suffering contagious; it may engender a total loss of life and vitality out of all proportion to the magnitude of the cause pity persuades men to nothingness!"
Because I agree with the above quotation, I negate the resolution. Resolved: Individuals have a moral obligation to assist people in need.
I do not have a core value because of the fallacy of the values many philosophers have you believe in.
Therefore, I uphold the will to power. Philosopher Nietzsche maintains that the main goal of humanity is to become strong, what he calls "overmen". Therefore, all suffering should be embraced in order to become stronger, with the hope of becoming an "overman."
Because of this, my criterion is Nietzsche.
Contention 1: To assist people is to deny them of the suffering that will make them stronger. According to Philip Kain, Professor of Philosophy at Santa Clara University,
Physical suffering is reduced by treating it as a test, which brings one greater power. Pain and suffering are turned into empowerment. It is possible to love such suffering as a sign of increased power. One craves pain and the more suffering one can bear, the stronger one becomes. To take pity on the sufferer either would demonstrate an ignorance of the process the sufferer is engaged in, what the sufferer is attempting to accomplish through suffering, or would show a lack of respect for the sufferer's suffering. To pity the sufferer, would demean the sufferer and the whole process of attempting to gain greater strength through such suffering.
Assisting those in need would deny them their right to suffer. Only through suffering can one become stronger, therefore we should not help them to allow them to become stronger.
Contention 2: The only way to overcome suffering is by embracing it. Philip J. Kain Professor of Philosophy at Santa Clara University wrote,

For years Nietzsche was ill, suffering intense migraines, nausea, and vomiting. [N]othing is so unworthy of man than to suffer violence. . . . [W]hoever suffers this cravenly throws his humanity away. What was he to do about his suffering? He decided to submit to it voluntarily. He decided to accept it fully. He decided that he would not change one single detail of his life, not one moment of pain. He decided to love his fate. He could not change his life anyway. But this way he broke the psychological stranglehold it had over him. He ended his subjugation. He turned all "it was" into a "thus I willed it." Everything that was going to happen in his life, he accepted, he chose, he willed. He became sovereign over his life. There was no way to overcome his illness except by embracing it.

If we assist those in need then they will not be able to embrace their suffering. Nietzsche states that we must learn to love life, even if it consists of suffering. Suffering is the only thing that allows the human race to evolve into stronger beings, therefore if we deny those in need the will to power, we deny part of the human race the opportunity to become "overmen".

www.paulbui.net/wiki/images/f/f0/Assistance_TopicAnalysis1.doc
Debate Round No. 2
Wallstreetatheist

Pro

I would like to thank my opponent for dedicating time and effort to this debate, and all those who have continued reading it.

There are a few debate problems I have with my opponents case that could use some clarification:

1. Your value criterion is Nietzsche. It is not a Nietzschean theory or specific qualifier. I will assume that you are using Nietzsche the person as your criterion for the remainder of the debate if you do not clarify further.

2. By not having a core value you implicitly are greatly disadvantaged as this is a value debate. I will assume that your core value is "will to power."


I will begin by deconstructing my opponents case and move on to uphold my own.

Deconstruction

My opponent's value is will to power which I will immediately call not only irrelevant for a debate about morality and obligation, but a standard for a case that is essentially distracting from the real issues; thus, it is a red herring.

My opponent's value criterion is Nietzsche. Not a theory of his, not a principle he created, but Nietzsche. This can only be interpreted to mean the man himself. If this is so, that means the Con side of this debate is wrapped around the life of a single person. This is using a very specific example for a universal law. There is a great discrepancy there that puts all humans at a disadvantage.

In my opponents first contention he states that "to assist people in need is to deny them of the suffering that will make them stronger." Would the world really be a bad place to live in if we prevented Arabic men from throwing battery acid in the face of little girls trying to read? Would it be a bad place if we gave medical treatment to people suffering of AIDS and Malaria? Of course not. The world would be a better place if we minimized suffering and maximized morality and human compassion. The world would be a more moral place and a reduction in the amount of suffering would make life more bearable for billions of people. Without careless suffering, there would not be a decrease in the will to power. People will seek power, they will seek to better themselves, and the incentive to work hard still exists if individuals meet their fellow man's basic needs. Notice the debate is not about the efficacy of such a plan or the practicality of it, but rather the principles and values in the resolution. It's a debate about whether or not individuals have a moral obligation to assist people in need.

In my opponents second contention he states that, "The only way to overcome suffering is by embracing it." I hope the readers of the debate can already discern how ludicruous this proposition is. I have to address it, because this is a debate. I hope my opponent is familiar with institutions called, "hospitals." They provide life saving medical treatment to people in need. The analogy I would use for these institutions is that of a digger digging through rock with his bare hands. If the digger can dig through the giant boulder with only his hands, fine. He may die from loss of blood from his hands, exhaustion, or may die of old age before he accomplishes his goal. Now, picture a digger with 21st century, state-of-the-art excavation equipment. The digger in the latter case digs through the large boulder with much ease and within a few days. If there is a place where people can go to decrease their suffering, get healed much faster, and taken care of in an efficient, moral way, then that is what should be done. There is a reason we have hospitals, homeless shelters, food stamps, charities, because allowing people to suffer when help can amply be given is immoral, unethical, and inane. Think of how ridiculous this concept is in historical context. Imagine telling millions of people starving in The Irish Potato famine that they should embrace the suffering they were enduring instead of coming to America because coming to America to have adequate nutrition necessary for survival would not be embracing the suffering. Or, imagine telling US troops that were in the process of liberating concentration camps to cease the immoral mass killings of Jews, Polaks, and Gypsies, because that would not be allowing those oppressed peoples to embrace their suffering. This immoral concept is entirely baseless and should not be regarded as a serious thought. Later in the contention he gives a long example of how Nietzsche wrestled with his suffering, and then turned out to be the master of his fate because of it. This is a very specific example of one person overcoming suffering, and should not be applied to a greater populus based on its success. The only form of morality that can be applied objectively and universally is Universal Morality that exists and is moral regardless of what a particular individual feels at a particular time; thus, propaganda in Nazi Germany for example would only be altering the subjective descriptive morality of a particular time while normative morality exists and is moral despite this. He later states that "If we assist those in need[,] then they will not be able to embrace their suffering. Again, this is not a bad thing. Embracing suffering is the bad part of it. Many people do embrace their suffering and the implication of it are death, malnutrition, and injury. I am not refuting that a few people may acheive success from embracing their particular suffering (not a lack of food, water, or terminal illness). However, since we are morally obligated to help these people, we should. It's also interesting to notice that of the people who do acquire great power, they all have their needs met.

Uphold
The best perspective to view this debate through is the Affirmative (Pro) side's Universal Morality that requires and obligates us to assist people in need to ensure morality is acheived. When we callously ignore people's suffering because their needs are not met, our morality is hindered and injustice, unethical actions occur as implications.

We can't be moral by ignoring people in need.

Thank you.
wierdman

Con

Thank you for responding to this argument.

"Your value criterion is Nietzsche. It is not a Nietzschean theory or specific qualifier. I will assume that you are using Nietzsche the person as your criterion for the remainder of the debate if you do not clarify further."

Nope i am using his theory as my value criterion.

Rebuttal:

"Would the world really be a bad place to live in if we prevented Arabic men from throwing battery acid in the face of little girls trying to read? Would it be a bad place if we gave medical treatment to people suffering of AIDS and Malaria? Of course not. The world would be a better place if we minimized suffering and maximized morality and human compassion. The world would be a more moral place and a reduction in the amount of suffering would make life more bearable for billions of people. Without careless suffering, there would not be a decrease in the will to power. People will seek power, they will seek to better themselves, and the incentive to work hard still exists if individuals meet their fellow man's basic needs. Notice the debate is not about the efficacy of such a plan or the practicality of it, but rather the principles and values in the resolution. It's a debate about whether or not individuals have a moral obligation to assist people in need."

My opponents first question is that of importance. never did i say that helping people in need was bad, i am simply saying that it denies them suffering that would make them stronger as a person. Know if you see a man trying to pure acid on a child face, would you help her? ofcourse! Are you obligated to help her? No would be the answer. The fact is that whether you help this child or not, is completly up to you, however not helping her, could have made her stronger. It would have allowed her to live her life with the scars and learn that peoples insults are notting but words. Ones again, it would be good to help this child, but helping her is not your moral obligation as it might put you as an individual,m in danger.

"th world would be a better place if we minimized suffering and maximized morality and human compassion. The world would be a more moral place and a reduction in the amount of suffering would make life more bearable for billions of people."

This might be true, but the fact is that `helping someone else is just human comnpassion, there is absolutely no obligation telling us that we should help this person, that we should help the world. We help someone becuase we see it in our best interest to help this person. This statement only says to me that my opponent is heling someone becuase of an incentive. If you help someone in this scenerio not becuase you are morraly obligated to, but becuase you wish to leave upon this utopia described by my opponent.

"I hope my opponent is familiar with institutions called, "hospitals." They provide life saving medical treatment to people in need. The analogy I would use for these institutions is that of a digger digging through rock with his bare hands. If the digger can dig through the giant boulder with only his hands, fine. He may die from loss of blood from his hands, exhaustion, or may die of old age before he accomplishes his goal. Now, picture a digger with 21st century, state-of-the-art excavation equipment. The digger in the latter case digs through the large boulder with much ease and within a few days. If there is a place where people can go to decrease their suffering, get healed much faster, and taken care of in an efficient, moral way, then that is what should be done. There is a reason we have hospitals, homeless shelters, food stamps, charities, because allowing people to suffer when help can amply be given is immoral, unethical, and inane"

Lets look at this paragraph carefully? Is this really moral obligation? Answer, NO. The fact is that this institution that my opponent speaks of is not doing or caring for these people due to some moral obligation, but becuase for an incentive. If they help these people, they don't get shut down. If they don't get shut down, they get money. Is this really a moral obligation? The fact is that we are not morally obligated to do something for another beign, we simply do it becuase we have another drive another incentive that will better our lives.

On to my original statement..."The only way to overcome suffering is by embracing it."
Notice that I used the word overcome instead of solve. The fact is that in an effort to overcome our suffering, we must embrace the fact that we are suffering. In doing do, we can then look for the most appropriate way to solve this problem. You cannot solve your problems if you can't embrace the fact that you do have problems.

"This is a very specific example of one person overcoming suffering, and should not be applied to a greater populus based on its success. The only form of morality that can be applied objectively and universally is Universal Morality that exists and is moral regardless of what a particular individual feels at a particular time..."

My opponent is absolutely correct, however, I gave the example not to set a basis in which one can overcome their sufferings, but to state that if he was able to overcome his suffering, then every one can.

He attacks my statement "If we assist those in need[,] then they will not be able to embrace their suffering." by stating that "Embracing suffering is the bad part of it. Many people do embrace their suffering and the implication of it are death, malnutrition, and injury.

This is highly illogical, to embrace your suffering is to recognize that you do have a problem or that you are suffering. If we help someone before they achieve this step, then you are denying them the chance of knowing that they did have a problem.

Due to space limitation, I cannot continue.

Thank you and I hope to recieve your argument soon.
Debate Round No. 3
Wallstreetatheist

Pro

Thanks to all who continue to read, judge, and debate.

Advice for opponent:

1) If you reference my rebuttal by stating "RC1" or "RC2" instead of posting the entire rebuttal, you would not encounter the difficulties of space limitation.

2) Define your value and value criterion. Simply mistating them, omitting a value, and not describing them is not enough. One must define and have a value (LD debate does not typically accept Kritiks); one must also define the particular theory of a philosopher if one so choses to use it as a value criterion.


Signposting:
I will begin by upholding my own case;
I will then move on to clash with my opponent's case.



Uphold

--Case. My opponent has not clashed with my value, value criterion, contentions, reasoning, or introduction. Rendering upholding my own case unnecessary. But, I will assert that my value of Morality is superior to his unknown value, or the value I assumed he was using: will to power. My value criterion of moral responsibility is superior to his value criterion of Neitzschean theory, because I at least described mine. He has yet to indicate which Neitzschean theory he is using. Throughout my contentions, which link directly to my value of morality through my concrete value criterion of moral responsibility, I have demonstrated that individuals have a moral responsibility to assist people in need.

--Rebuttal. He has responded to my RC1 and RC2 though. In his response to my RC1 insinuation that the world would be better if we prevented callous suffering, he reiterates that denying people suffering people the suffering that would make them stronger is wrong. At this point, that assertion has been proven to be a baseless claim. Cross-apply my RC1. In his response to my RC2 he states that "the only way to overcome suffering is by embracing it." Cross apply my RC2 here with the examples I gave as justificiation.

Clash
My opponent's case has already been clashed with and my arguments still stand.

Thank you.
wierdman

Con

"Define your value and value criterion. Simply mistating them, omitting a value, and not describing them is not enough. One must define and have a value (LD debate does not typically accept Kritiks); one must also define the particular theory of a philosopher if one so choses to use it as a value criterion. "

I advice my opponent to read my first AC case. in my case, I omitted a "CORE VALUE", however, i provided a value, I defined this value as well as explained the value of my case. I also defined a theory in which this value criterion was defined from.

"My opponent has not clashed with my value, value criterion, contentions, reasoning, or introduction. Rendering upholding my own case unnecessary."

As for contentions, my opponent restated his contentions during his first rebuttal. I clashed against these argument and presented reasonable evidence showing how invalid it is. As far value, value criterion, my opponent has not argued against them nor have he even tried to acknowledge them.

"My value criterion of moral responsibility is superior to his value criterion of Neitzschean theory, because I at least described mine. He has yet to indicate which Neitzschean theory he is using. Throughout my contentions, which link directly to my value of morality through my concrete value criterion of moral responsibility, I have demonstrated that individuals have a moral responsibility to assist people in need."

Throughout this debate, my opponent continued to rant about me not having a value, now he contradicts himself by acknowledging that i did value. The only other problem is that my opponent did not read my opening case, thus mistaking my value within the round. My value of will to power should be seen as the dominant value within this debate, because it has not been attacked through out the round. As for his value criterion, I have proven through my rebuttal that Moral responsibility does not equal moral obligation. My opponent failed to show any evidence of moral obligation and thus looses the entire round.

"He has responded to my RC1 and RC2 though. In his response to my RC1 insinuation that the world would be better if we prevented callous suffering, he reiterates that denying people suffering people the suffering that would make them stronger is wrong. At this point, that assertion has been proven to be a baseless claim. "

Through out this round my opponent failed to argue against my argument that helping people helps them in terms of strength. In respond to my statement ""the only way to overcome suffering is by embracing it,"" my opponent fails to provide any reasonable argument to contradict this, meaning that my entire case still stands.

"My opponent's case has already been clashed with and my arguments still stand."

ones again, my opponent uses his contention in his rebuttal which I attacked thus, i have refuted his argument. in the last Rebuttal, I argued That none of my opponent contentions demonstrated moral obligation and thus should be dropped. He didn't respond to this argument, meaning that his case remains void.

In conclusion, throughout the debate, my opponent have failed to uphold his position that moral obligation exist and he fails to provide any reasonable arguments on my case, so my case still stands. As Neg, I do not have to do any things but prove that the pro's position is unreasonable and unrealistic. I continue to do this and thus should win the debate.
Debate Round No. 4
Wallstreetatheist

Pro

Wallstreetatheist forfeited this round.
wierdman

Con

Since my opponent forfeited, I have noting else to say but to ask for your vote on the ground that:
1.i HAVE PROVEN THAT MY OPPONENT HAS NOT WITHHELD HIS POSITION.
2. I HAVE UPHELD AND LINKED MY VALUE
3. i REMAINED ACTIVE IN THIS ROUND.
4.I ARGUED ON ALL MY OPPONENTS ARGUMENTS, HOWEVER MY OPPONENT DID NOT TOUCH MY QUANTIFICATION AS WELL AS COMPETITION ARGUMENT.
5. My opponent did not address my incentive argument.

Thank you.
Debate Round No. 5
10 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by wierdman 5 years ago
wierdman
lol.
Posted by Wallstreetatheist 5 years ago
Wallstreetatheist
I always thought* that...
Posted by Wallstreetatheist 5 years ago
Wallstreetatheist
I always that the spelling of weird was weird, as it is contrary to the somewhat applicable rule of i before e except after c. It should be, "i before e except after c, unless the word is really weird."
Posted by wierdman 5 years ago
wierdman
No, by the time i noticed, it was too late
Posted by Wallstreetatheist 5 years ago
Wallstreetatheist
wierdman, is your name intentionally spelled incorrectly?
Posted by Wallstreetatheist 5 years ago
Wallstreetatheist
These are not proper debate comments, you guys. Grow up. Your puerile banter will cost you some voting points.
Posted by Wallstreetatheist 5 years ago
Wallstreetatheist
oh, totally fell for that one.
Posted by Wallstreetatheist 5 years ago
Wallstreetatheist
Nothing much, what's up with you? ;)
Posted by Wallstreetatheist 5 years ago
Wallstreetatheist
What's upsexy?
Posted by Wallstreetatheist 5 years ago
Wallstreetatheist
Eww.. It's all upsexy in this comments section...
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by 16kadams 4 years ago
16kadams
WallstreetatheistwierdmanTied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:-Vote Checkmark-1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Made more convincing arguments:--Vote Checkmark3 points
Used the most reliable sources:-Vote Checkmark-2 points
Total points awarded:13 
Reasons for voting decision: conduct con b/c of forfeit, arguments even, scources con because he had some. I may have not seen pros but I did identify a url on the con's side. So he gets sources.