The Instigator
resolutionsmasher
Pro (for)
Winning
14 Points
The Contender
untitled_entity
Con (against)
Losing
7 Points

It is morally permissable to kill one innocent person in order to save the lives of other.....

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Post Voting Period
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after 3 votes the winner is...
resolutionsmasher
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 4/1/2009 Category: Society
Updated: 8 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,020 times Debate No: 7635
Debate Rounds (4)
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Votes (3)

 

resolutionsmasher

Pro

In round one niether of us will present an arguement but we will start in Round 2. This debate must be done in LD style. If you don't know what LD is then you shouldn't take this debate.

The full resolution is this:
Resolved: It is morally permissable to kill one innocent person in order to save the lives of multiple other innocent people.
untitled_entity

Con

I thank my opponent for creating this debate. I was unable to debate in this first tournament this season though I did move on to the finals in my county. I look forward to a great debate.
Debate Round No. 1
resolutionsmasher

Pro

resolutionsmasher forfeited this round.
untitled_entity

Con

Seeing as my opponent failed to post his argument I find it difficult to get this debate going underway. When he posts his argument I shall post mine.
Debate Round No. 2
resolutionsmasher

Pro

"It is the greatest good to the greatest number of people which is the measure of right and wrong." It's because that I agree with this quote from Jeremy Bentham that I urge an affirmation of the following resolution:

Resolved: It is morally permissible to kill one innocent person to save the lives of many innocent people.

For clarity in today's debate I offer the following definitions of key terms and phrases from Merriam Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary:
Morally - In a manner calculated to serve as the basis of action; according to the usual course of things and human judgment; according to reason and probability.
Permissible - That may be permitted; allowable; admissible.
Kill – to cause to die.
Innocent - An innocent person; one free from, or unacquainted with, guilt or sin.
Lives - The state of being which begins with generation, birth, or germination, and ends with death.

Before I continue with the case I would like to make three observations concerning the resolution.
1. According to the resolution, it is asking if killing an innocent to save the lives of more innocent people is morally permissible, not morally normative. The difference is that a morally permissible action changes to each circumstance while a morally normative action is in a sense absolute.
2. The resolution implies action vs. inaction. Therefore, my opponent must prove why inaction, which will end up in more deaths, is morally sound in comparison to action which would save more lives. Abraham Lincoln once said that "action and inaction are both conscious choices and are equally praiseworthy or blameworthy if their outcomes are the same." Inaction is the cause of the death of a larger group of people, thus inaction is immoral.
3. The resolution implies that all other options have been exhausted.

The affirmative values moral permissibility since it is the clearest value indicated by the resolution. The value of moral permissibility is upheld by the criterion of moral proportionality. Moral proportionality is defined as the weighing of consequences in determining a morally permissible action. When faced with a moral dilemma in which killing and condemning to death are the only options, the outcome of a specific act ought to be evaluated in determining the permissibility of that action.

To prove my position I would like to offer 3 points of contention.
Contention I: Positive consequences
Contention II: Situational Ethics
Contention III: The Harm Principle

Contention I: Positive consequences
Sub-point A) Maximizing the protection of life. On both the affirmative and negative's side, some type of life will eventually be lost. To uphold moral proportionality, the action which yields the greatest amount of life would ultimately be morally permissible. By killing one innocent, a larger number of people are being saved, thus maximizing the most amount of life possible. By not acting, the negative is condemning a greater number of people to death, thus acting immorally in their decision. For morality to be achieved, protecting life is pinnacle. The affirmative better maximizes the protection of life thus upholding a morally permissible action.

Sub-point B) Reducing negative right violations. Since the negative will eventually lead to a greater loss of life, a larger amount of rights are being violated. Violating the right to life of all these people is the clearest, however it stretches farther. All rights spring from the right to life. Without life, it is impossible to do anything. Life is necessary to pursue happiness, own property, speak freely, etc. The negative will ultimately end up in a large amount of right violations. By violating these rights, the negative is acting immorally. Therefore, the affirmative better protects the rights of a larger number of people.

Sub-point C) Reducing collateral damage. Essentially, a morally permissible action is one that reduces collateral damage. The affirmative prevents collateral damage from occurring, by killing one innocent to save many people. For something to be truly right in action, the action must not create wide-spread death or destruction. The negative ends up with many people dead, which is the greatest damage possible to a human being. To achieve moral permissibility, reduction of collateral damage is essential.

Sub-point D) Utilitarianism. "The greatest good for the greatest number." Ultimately the greater good should be protected to make an action morally permissible. The affirmative is maximizing the amount of social happiness by saving the greater number of people. Utilitarianism demands that an action should reap the greatest amount of happiness possible. The affirmative in comparison to the negative protects more people thus creating a greater amount of social happiness. J.S. Mill writes "actions are right in proportion as they tend to promote happiness, wrong as they tend to produce the reverse of happiness. By happiness, is intended pleasure, and the absence of pain; by unhappiness, pain, and the privation of pleasure." Basically he's saying that moral actions promote the general happiness of society, and reduce pain in society. The more pain that is brought to society, the more immorality is spread. To reduce pain, one sacrifice is necessary.

Contention II: Situational Ethics
According to situational ethics, when deciding a moral action, 2 things are necessary: 1) The action itself and 2) the outcome and consequences of that action. However, situational ethics go further. When faced with a moral dilemma, such as the one implied by the resolution, the outcome should be foremost. Since there will be some amount of death, the permissibility of an action is determined by the outcomes. To save the larger amount of people, killing one innocent is necessary. The negative violates these ethics on the fact of inaction. By not acting, more people will die, which makes it immoral. J.S. Mill writes: "A person may cause evil to others not only by his actions but by his inaction, and in either case he is justly accountable to them for the injury." Life must be saved in this case, according to situational ethics. Since the outcome is much better on the affirmative, situational ethics demand that we take the action of killing one to save the greater number.

Contention III: The Harm Principle
According to the harm principle, as stated by John Locke and John Stuart Mill, an action is morally permissible if it prevents a greater harm to people and society. Since people are members of a larger society, we must insure the greater protection of it. As individuals our actions must protect society from a greater harm. J.S. Mill writes: "The only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilized community, against his will is to prevent harm to others. His own good, either physical or moral, is not sufficient warrant." By sacrificing the innocent to save more people, a greater harm to society is being avoided, thus making it morally permissible.
untitled_entity

Con

untitled_entity forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
resolutionsmasher

Pro

Well that SUCKS!!!!!!
AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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untitled_entity

Con

I'm sorry about not reposting in time, I was having internet troubles and couldn't get my browser to work, hopefully we will be able to have this debate some other time?
Thank you and again, my apologies.
Debate Round No. 4
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Vote Placed by rougeagent21 8 years ago
rougeagent21
resolutionsmasheruntitled_entityTied
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Vote Placed by untitled_entity 8 years ago
untitled_entity
resolutionsmasheruntitled_entityTied
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Vote Placed by resolutionsmasher 8 years ago
resolutionsmasher
resolutionsmasheruntitled_entityTied
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Total points awarded:70