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Individuals have a moral obligation to help someone in need

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 11/18/2011 Category: Society
Updated: 6 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 3,282 times Debate No: 19358
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (4)
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This is for serious people only if not serious i will report abuse on all of your posts comments and arguemnets.

Okey this is just my aff case to refute my case or an arguement just put "agianst busby123 post #"

“In any moment of decision the best thing you can do is the right thing, the next best thing is the wrong thing, but the worst thing you can do is nothing.” This quote was from Theodore Roosevelt. What Roosevelt is saying is that Regardless of whether or not you do something right or wrong at least you have tried to do it. It is wrong to just leave and not consider something. In this situation, we must assist people in need regardless of whether or not it does much help because we have done all we can possibly do with the best of our abilities. Leaving a person without even trying does not help anyone and is wrong. Because I agree with this statement made by Theodore Roosevelt, I am forced to affirm the resolution. Resolved: Individuals have a moral obligation to assist people in need.

To make further clarifications I will define the terms: Individual, Moral Obligation, Assist, and Need.

Individual: of, relating to, characteristic of, or meant for a single person or thing.

Moral Obligation: an obligation arising out of considerations.

Assist: to give aid or help if able to.

Need: a lack of something wanted or deemed necessary

These definitions are from the World English Dictionary or Princeton University Dictionary.

My Value for this debate is duty, which is a moral obligation. We have a moral obligation to assist people in need. We cannot just leave these people to be un-helped. Like Theodore Roosevelt said, the worst possible thing you could do is nothing. We have a moral obligation to at least do something to help our fellow human beings. We cannot always be thinking about ourselves in that we would only benefit ourselves and not anyone else. Duty makes sure that the actions that anyone makes as a citizen helps to understand the circumstances in which another person may be in so that help can be provided in any way, shape or form.

To achieve this value I provide the Criterion of Progress. We are human beings that are living in modern times. We no longer live barbarically only to please and comfort ourselves. We must be willing to give even a little bit of help to the people around us because when all is but gone and all possessions are lost, all we have is people to look after us too.


Humans can be classified as selfish beings. We need to stop this generalization by making sure that people will believe that they ought to act for the good of others without expecting anything good on return. The belief that you should help others without expecting anything in return is called altruism. As individuals we are aware that there are people around us all over the world, we must understand that even a little bit of help could go well with anyone. Help does not mean there has to be an extreme amount of help that could put the person in danger or make them in need. Help could be as simple as a single word or small action. We should help others without expecting anything in return. In the world we live in today, we have so much access to the people around us and it is almost nearly impossible to say that you have never met anyone else in this world. We must be willing to help others. There may be a time in the world where you will be the one in need of help, and the people who live around you will be there to help you.


There are many ways to help people. Assisting someone does not mean that you will e put yourself in physical or financial danger. It merely means that you are just providing help or giving aid. Help can be of great effort or little effort, what matters is that you are at least helping, even if you are not successful, you are still tried to help. Giving assistance does not necessarily have to be doing the exact thing that needs to be done. Giving assistance or help could be as simple as a small gesture of kindness by saying something comforting or trying to at least do something. Help could also come in the form of telling the person that you are unable to help. Although it is one of the least forms of help, it still lets the person understand that you are unable to help them at that time and you will get someone who can like police fire department family friend est. This is much better than just leaving the person and deliberately ignoring them. If you ignore them this could bring forth bad emotions towards you. Helping someone and giving assistance is the least we can do for other people around us that we obviously know are around us. There are many ways for something to be achieved. You cannot think that a certain individual can only do a certain deed to assist someone in only one specific manner. You could get a friend to help, or you could call for someone to help the person in need. Assisting someone in need does not necessarily mean that you directly have to be the one helping the person.


Assistance does not mean that you are doing all the work in a situation where someone is in need. Assistance means to give aid, which means that the person in need should have a degree of ability to do or get what they need partially. People cannot always be expected to do everything in the entire world and help all people who are completely unable to do anything and need many different things. It is ridiculous to think that one individual could achieve such an act. There are many people around us in this world and will also be able to provide assistance. We are progressed beings that must depend on each other to live because that is all we really have. If we were to lose the people around us, the world we be a scary place. We live to be able to help others and others live to be able to help us. It is our absolute duty to make sure that we can even do a little bit of help for people because sitting and not doing anything is wrong.



I do like ethical debates, and this one looked fun so I really couldn't resist. I will debate that whether an individual or party has a moral obligation to help another individual or party is entirely situational and in some cases you have a moral obligation to not help.

It's nice to be able to think of this world in absolutes because it makes our job as humans easier. However, sometimes the world isn't so black and white. For example, when someone, let's call him "Individual A," knows that his actions or help will likely result in worse conditions for the needy party, himself, a party to himself, or anyone the needy party is likely to come across, then Individual A may have a moral obligation to do nothing to help Individual B.

I maintain the dilemma should instead be judged like this:

Whether or whether not Individual A has a moral obligation to help or not help Individual B or Party B is based on, among other things, Individual A's knowledge of Individual B or Party B, the subject Individual B or Party B needs help with and Individual A's knowledge and skills in said subject and whether Individual A is likely putting himself, Party A or any other individuals in danger through his actions.

Let's do some examples to illustrate my point:

Example 1 shows that knowledge of Individual B should be a large determiner of whether you have a moral obligation to help Individual B.

You're on a hike walking back, many miles from your hotel in freezing conditions. You have no cell phone service in this area. You notice a man bleeding out. Upon closer inspection you become 90% sure that that particular man is a serial killer you saw on the news earlier at your hotel. You're pretty sure the man will continue to bleed out and die if you do nothing, but not entirely sure. You're also thinking maybe you could kill him to make sure he doesn't harm any more people, but he's probably a dangerous killer. In this particular case your best option is to do nothing/ leave and not risk your own safety/ the safety of others in town, and most likely just let the man die. In this case you have a moral obligation to yourself and not to this individual.
Example 2 shows whether Individual A has any obligation towards Individual B is highly dependent of Individual A's knowledge of the subject with which Individual B needs help.

2. You're out swimming in the lake with your good swimming buddy, Michael Phelps. You two are alone. Phelps is way further out than you are and he looks like he hurt his arm. He's struggling to get to the other side of the lake, but he looks like he'll probably make it. You still judge that he might need help. In this case you know Phelps is a good guy, not a danger to yourself or others if you help him, so your knowledge of him does not make it to where you don't have a moral obligation to help him. However, this time you only have a moral obligation to help Phelps if your knowledge and skills in swimming are adequate to not get in his way. Yelling at him that you can't help could only confuse him further and take away time and concentration he desperately needs to get to the other side. In other words if you're actually capable of helping Phelps without being a detriment to him or yourself you have a moral obligation to help him, otherwise you have a moral obligation to do nothing.

Example 3 shows that even when Individual A has no knowledge of Individual B or Party B he still doesn't necessarily have a moral obligation to help Individual B or Party B.

3. A man and woman whom you've never met approach you and claim they are in need of having a baby together and really want one and need you to provide the sperm. You know nothing about the individuals at all. However, you do know how to make a baby. In this case, without knowing how this action would effect your creation you should know that it would be morally irresponsible to play Russian roulette with a baby's life. You have no moral obligation to these individuals and your best action might be ignoring them and leaving, quickly. Telling them you can't help (which I don't personally believe is a form of help anyways as pro maintains) might further allow these strangers to acknowledge you, engage you in conversation and attempt to further manipulate you into putting the fate of an infant in the hands of two strangers you've never met. You therefore have no moral obligation to engage them in this conversation when it involves the fate of another's life or potential life.

This one of course would be different if you knew Party B and knew with certainty that they would take good care of a child, if you aren't certain of the probable path of your creation then you're morally irresponsible and not much different than Victor Frankenstein with his creation.

4. If you think your help is depriving an individual's ability to help himself such as bringing them food when they're hungry or in need of food when they could go get it themselves then you have a moral obligation not to help.

So I have demonstrated that whether or whether not you have a moral obligation to help someone is entirely situational just as whether you have a moral obligation to not help someone is situational. The resolution is negated.
Debate Round No. 1


okey this resolution calls for individuals so this party a and b isnt relevent to this topic
Now to attack the whole case above this post
i dont really undestand ur case u r just giving example so i think my case still stands since u didnt refute it


"i dont really undestand ur case." Voters please note.

"i think my case still stands since u didnt refute it"
Actually I did refute your case. My examples show that often times an individual has a moral obligation to do nothing rather than help or try to help someone in need, depending on the circumstances i.e. who that someone in need is, their knowledge of other probable effects their actions will cause etc.

It would be like you having a resolution that says: "In sports there is a ball and a goal for the ball to go through." I might negate this by pointing out that in cross country, boxing and snowboarding this is not the case. Thus, your case would be refuted. The same thing is going on here. Go back up and reread round 1.

By saying "Party B" I was just showing it could technically involve more than one individual, but it doesn't matter at all since I also covered it on an individual level. Anyhow, once again, resolution negated.
Debate Round No. 2


Busby123 forfeited this round.


My opponent has forfeited the round. I guess he sees my point. Here's the same debate by different people if anyone is interested:

Resolution is still negated.
Debate Round No. 3


Busby123 forfeited this round.


See round 3
Debate Round No. 4


Busby123 forfeited this round.


Vote con.
Debate Round No. 5
4 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Posted by sadolite 6 years ago
EH, what are you talking about
Posted by InVinoVeritas 6 years ago
"This is for serious people only if not serious i will report abuse on all of your posts comments and arguemnets." Anyone see the irony? :)
Posted by sadolite 6 years ago
Theodore Roosevelt didn't have to contend with the current judicial system that allows anybody to sue for anything. Helping people is a legal liability that must be weighed very carefully as it can cause you complete and total financial ruin. "No good deed goes unpunished"
Posted by caveat 6 years ago
I'd be happy to debate this on the terms that the definition of "moral obligation" be correctly stated as

"an obligation arising out of consideration of right and wrong prescribed by one's set of values"
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