Individuals have a moral obligation to assist people in need.
Resolved: Individuals have a moral obligation to assist people in need.
This debate will take place in LD format. Arguments may include either data or clear philosophical warrants.
For clarity I offer the following definitions:
A quick road map, I will present my own case and then refer to my opponents.
I negate the resolution.Individuals have a moral obligation to assist people in need.
I acknowledge my opponets definitions and accept them into the round.
Murray N. Rothbard 1977, the Journal of Libertarian Studies
The idea of this is that each person owns his or her own life and property, and has the right to make his own choices as to how he lives his life - as long as he simply respects the same right of others to do the same. Libertarianism is thus the combination of liberty (the freedom to live your life in any peaceful way you choose), responsibility (the prohibition against the use of force against others, except in defense), and tolerance (honoring and respecting the peaceful choices of others).
James Konow, Ph.D. Professor Department of Economics Loyola Marymount University Journal of Economic Literature, 2003, vol. 41, issue 4, pages 1188
Justice is a concept of moral rightness based on ethics, rationality, law, natural law, and equity. In this, it is similar to the laws of physics: in the same way as the Third of Newton's laws of Motion requires that for every action there must be an equal and opposite reaction, justice requires according individuals or groups what they actually deserve, merit, or are entitled to. Justice, on this account, is a universal and absolute concept. Justice upholds the value by setting on how people should make there decisions. Unlike being based solely on morals which are not universal justice has many more influences.
Contention1- Moral Obligations do not exist
John Rowles 2006
A- That argument makes a separation between obligations and understanding. Essentially, if one understands another and their pain, a moral obligation is thus created. This means that it is not a moral obligation that we have to help people, but a problem of understanding. Some could then create a meaning or create an understanding that compels them to assist another. The logic then is flawed because it leaves understanding up to the individual as well as what assistance they are to act upon to fix what they understand. If that is the case, the overall goal would then never be accomplished. It thus places the power to define all relevant terms into each and every individual. This is counter productive because this would cause more harm then good. The reason for not having a moral obligation to assist a person in need would be because one can never truly understand whether or not the need is relevant or if the assistence is even fruitful.
B- The reason why people help is out of guilt
Philip Kain, Professor of Philosophy at Santa Clara University
"Understanding Guilt" 2008
Now my opponent my set up a elaborate explanation on why people help but here is how it works. In psychological terms, guilt is an emotional state in which one experiences conflict at having done something one believes one should not have done or, conversely, not having done something one believes one should have done. Adding to this it was found in a new York times article 2010 that 98% of people are affected by guilt and act upon it. Guilt as it was found was the number one reason why people help out others instead of doing it out of moral obligation.
C- There is not obligation because you have free will
Ayn Rand 1976
Humans are moral agents and that is a fact and because were are moral agents we have the ability to posses sentience and free will. Throughout our lives we are constantly learning and possessing new information to make better moral decisions. Because of this system of gathering and releasing we are able to practice free will in contrary to obligations. We can see this through the fact that if a stranger came up to you and told you that they needed sex, more than likely you would decline. This statement that we don't have a obligation at all.I would like to develop on this statement even further by rand by adding that sex would fall under a need since it is classified as a basic necessity.
Contention2- Moral obligations could be considered uncivil and immoral to people excluded or even included in the society where that moral system is practiced.
Ayn Rand 1976
The KKK was morally obligated to assist their fellow members by seeking out African Americans and exterminating them, adding to my first point that moral obligation is subjective. Basically, members of the KKK and Nazi Germany thought they were assisting others when they killed the African Americans or placed Jews in concentration camps. That was their moral obligation. Al-Qaeda requires that all infidels be killed because it is their obligation to annihilate them for their God. With this idea in mind, one will think that conforming to the moral ideals of a society and fulfilling said obligations would not really be a obligation at all but more of a belief. Plus if you were to help them in according to the affirmative world you would help them solely because you were obligated to, there would be no morals.
Now onto my opponets case.
My opponent states in his cas "All moral obligations ultimately arise from morality" but we can see from my contention 2 that morals are not universal. In fact they differ so much that what may seem immorall and illogical to use might be seen as a act of ethical morality case in proven my KKK example. His subpoints one and two both fall in the same manner. They only apply to a specific type of people. Another key hole in my opponets case would be "Judge". AS small as the word my seem, it shows that humans posses the ability to Choose from right or wrong and not actually be bound to it. Becouse of this his value falls BUT in my value "libertarinism" by its ability to expand max happineses, as my opponent might say, while still negating the resolution
Point1: Again i would like to just cross apply this to my attack on his value. Restating, the problem here is that it relies on making moral acts to increase happiness. What one considers moral or what one conidereds to make him happy are not universal so obviuosly this fails. An example would be a KKK member killing a african american to increase happiness.
Point2: Ill start of with a exempt from a report done by stanfrod section of philosphy " Everyone's happiness counts the same. When one maximizes the good, it is the good impartially considered. My good counts for no more than anyone else's good." This sounds alot like what my opponent said in his point 2"Since all humans are morally equal...happiness in society." With this in mind i would like to point out that this is what utilitarinism is. A key factor of util. is that people are not bounded in action and should act in whatever will maximize the greateast amount of good for the greateast amount of people. Since clearly there is no obligation this a neg argument, supporting the neg.
Point3: For space and effiency i will cross apply the arguments done in both point 1& 2 to this. Both the morality isnt universal, happinesses isnt a way to judge and the util argument.
I would like to start off with this exerpt from my opponents case " humans cannot be happy without our basic survival needs being met." and the author Maslow’s. This is in fact a argument the negative can use. Analized directly from Maslows righting it was stated that the basic needs are to "Avoid pain, Food, Water, Sleep and finally sex" I would simply just cross link this with my contention 1 point C stating that a person would not be obligated to give somebody sex even though it is a need and falls unto definition. I would also go on to say that you would need to complete sex to reach "happiness" which my opponent stands firmly on. Becouse of this his criterion fall which makes his value fall.
Attacking the Negative Case:
Some of the evidence I presented in my case directly clashes with my opponent’s value of libertarianism. As I explained, we humans have no way of discerning which actions are morally right or wrong until we evaluate the end states those actions produce. For example, we cannot know that killing someone is wrong until we assess the consequences of death. This means that the very idea of harm must be determined by end states, and two actions which lead to the same end state are equally wrong. Since my opponent did not respond to this argument, we must accept it as true in this debate.
Therefore, we must acknowledge that failing to give to those in need of life saving-aid is the moral equivalent to killing since they both result in the same end state of death. Choosing to end life would clearly be wrong in both cases. This means that we must reject my opponent’s value of libertarianism, which states that we’re free to do anything as long as we don't harm others. As I've shown, we must also give aid to those in need of food, water, shelter, health services, etc.
Justice is largely based on the principle of equality, which states that all humans are morally equal. However, the only way we can uphold this principle is to maximize societal happiness. As Rakowski explains, "Individuals’ status as moral equals requires that the number of people who are happy be maximized. Only in this way, can we give due weight to the equality of persons; to allow [a small number of people to be happy and a large number of people to suffer] is to treat some people as less valuable than others...”
To maximize societal happiness, we must provide aid to those in need. This means that affirming the resolution is the only way to uphold justice.
Sub Point A:
Under this sub-point, my opponent argues that people help others out of guilt. However, guilt is actually a direct response to having an obligation. As the Encyclopedia of Psychology states, guilt is defined as an emotion which occurs when a person realizes that he has violated a moral obligation. Therefore, when people act on their feelings of guilt, they’re essentially acting on a moral obligation. This means that my opponent’s argument about guilt can actually be taken as offense for the affirmative.
My opponent argues that we cannot have any obligations since we have a free will. However, there clearly ought to be some moral restrictions on our actions. For instance, all individuals must have a moral duty to refrain from murdering, stealing, cheating, etc. My opponent even appears to concede this point when he stated that we must be responsible and not use force against others.
These radical groups weren’t acting on valid moral laws, so they were not performing those horrendous acts out of an actual moral obligation to do so.
As Pettit explains, “Every prescription as to what an agent ought to do should be capable of being universalized, so that it applies not just to that particular agent. If we think that it is right for one agent in one circumstance to act in a certain way, but wrong for another, then we commit ourselves to there being some descriptive moral inequality between the two cases. Thus, if we say that an agent A ought to choose option O then we should assume that something similar would hold for any similarly placed agent since the particular identity of agent A is relevant to what A ought to do.”
Therefore, a valid moral system must be capable of being universalized. That is, it must have the potential to apply to everyone. Only systems of morality which are based on logic can fulfill this burden since any other source of authority would not be universal.
The beliefs of Al-Qaeda, Nazi Germany and the KKK were inherently illogical since they relied on false premises. Thus, their beliefs cannot be considered valid moral laws. For this reason, when these groups acted on their beliefs, they were not acting on an actual moral obligation. This renders my opponent’s attack on the legitimacy of moral obligations as ineffective while also supporting my case (which is based on solid reasoning).
My opponent argues against by value of morality by noting that some moral beliefs are not universal. However, as I explained, all valid moral laws are based on logic and can apply to everyone. Some groups may violate their obligations to follow these laws, but this cannot disprove the fact that they exist.
This objection seems to arise over a false understanding of what a moral obligation is. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, a moral obligation is defined as a particular duty which one is morally bound to do. This means that a moral obligation isn’t something which we’re forced to conform to. Rather, a moral obligation is something we must conform to only if we wish to be moral. In other words, moral obligations are only morally binding, not absolutely binding.
To counter my criterion, the negative argues that people cannot be happy unless all of their basic needs, including sex, are met. However, this is not true. As Maslow believed, one only needs to have the majority of their basic needs met in order to be happy.
This objection is nonsensical. A moral obligation is a duty which one must perform if they wish to be moral. Therefore, if we should maximize the overall well being we would indeed have a moral obligation to do so.
pokemontea1 forfeited this round.
Extend all my arguments.
pokemontea1 forfeited this round.
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