The Instigator
Con (against)
7 Points
The Contender
Pro (for)
7 Points

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

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 2/1/2012 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 6 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,328 times Debate No: 20819
Debate Rounds (3)
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Votes (2)




I will be negating the resolution. This is a philosophical debate with a basic LD case structure. If you accept, accept the case and make your opening arguments for pro.


My friend,
Thank you for providing me with the opportunity to participate in this debate. This question is easy for me to answer. I'll respond with an absolute yes. In fact, I am astounded that this debate is asking for three rounds to prove why it is morally impermissible to kill an innocent person in order to save the lives of many innocent people. I am going to politely ask to shift the onus onto yourself to prove your position first. If you do not agree, I'll simply provide my basis next round. Thank you for your consideration.
Debate Round No. 1


I negate the resolution along the flow.
I value morality with a conception based on deontology because it is always immoral to kill somebody.
Contention 1:
We wouldnt have a choice in the matter any way. If we don't kill to save many, everyone dies. So, there for, it is permissable. And on another note as you stated "no life Is lesser than the other" to state that to sacrifice one life for many is to make that person's life lesser then the group being saved is false, by stating that the person's life is equal to that of the whole groups combined lives is stating that every individual in the group's life is lesser than that one person, therefore contradicting what you just said.

Contention 2:
Before debating this, I would like to add another observation. "Innocent" is situationally guiltless, to put it in a legal sense. We cannot look at this morally because no one is truly innocent. However, because the resolution says that the people are innocent, we must look at this legally. Now, because that one person is innocent, does that person deserve to be killed? Being killed is not what he/she is due. He/She has committed no crime in this situation, thus the legal definition of innocent, and so he/she does not deserve death. It is not his/her fault if the other people die because he/she was not killed. Letting those other people die is a negative action (a negative action is letting the action simply happen), and thus it is morally neutral (meaning it has no effect on morality).

Contention 3:
Here's one more thing to think about: If YOU were the one that had to take the life of your friend in order to save yourself and some other friends, would YOU be able to do it? Would any of your friends be able to do it to you? Would you feel selfish if YOU were the one that was killing, partly in order to save your own life? Just some more mind food for you.
Now allow me to finish my round with this: An action that is allowed and/or considered "right" by the moral code of conduct set by the society in question. Why would this be limited to "the society in question?" It seems odd to say that in one society it is morally permissible to kill one innocent to save the lives or more innocent people, but that in another society it is not. Doesn't the resolution encompass human society in general? It is weak, unnecessary, and irrelevant to bring in specific rules of specific societies.


My friend,
Thank you for thoroughly articulating your position.

In response to Contentions 1, 2, and 3, I submit that I thoroughly agree with the spirit and intention of your position however I believe that your argument is fundamentally flawed.

Your argument, fails to consider suicide for the purposes of saving the lives of others.
Suppose you are reading the newspaper and you discover a disturbing article. 55 people have contracted a rare disease and will surely die within 24 hours unless they receive an injection of a serum containing a small ammount of an extremely rare type of blood. You are only one of two people worldwide that have the required blood. You make your way to the clinic armed with a needle and begin to extract the blood yourself, storing it in jars. Feeling faint, you write a note stating that you have provided enough blood to save the 55 people, dying shortly thereafter.

Your debate asks me why it is morally permissible to kill one innocent person to save the lives of many innocent people. I ask you why that innocent person cannot be myself.
Debate Round No. 2


I would first like to thank you for accepting the debate; this may be a challenging debate.
Now onto my case:
The value of human life is immeasurable. Therefore, to say that we can be more productive in any way by saving the greater amount is neither logical, nor morally acceptable. How do you measure and compare the quantity of of x verses the quantity of y + z if you don't know the values of x, y, or z. Thus, whether the life of the one is you or anybody else on this planet, it is immoral to end it no matter the ends. Is utilitarianism (in the resolution) necessarily restricted to pure quantity (in the resolutions situation) anyway? 1 doctor living and 10 crackpots dieing does not necessarily refute utilitarian ideals, despite the fact that 10 lives outweigh 1. Isn't the 1 doctor providing for society still doing the greater good for the greater amount of people (as opposed to the 10 crackpots). Does utilitarianism necessarily mean the greatest good towards the scenario provided in the resolution? Or can it also mean the greatest good provided by that person to society if allowed to live?


My friend, thank you for re-iterating your argument; however, I will contest the premise of your argument that "the value of human life is immeasurable." Philosophically, this may perhaps be proven true. However, the reality is that people place values on human lives all the time -- especially in dire situations. For example, the men aboard the Titanic (during the disaster of the early 1900's) waited patiently while women and children boarded the life-rafts first. Many of those men sacrificed their lives to save others. Take the sad story of Mumpy Sarkar, a twelve year old girl from India who committed suicide in order to donate her organs to her ailing family members (let alone dying family members). To say that these individuals don't assess and/or compare the values of not only their own lives but the lives of those around them, would lack logic and basic common sense.

My friend, you aren't suggesting that these peoples' actions are immoral, are you?
Debate Round No. 3
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2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by DevonNetzley 6 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: My reasons lie within my own vote. But to explain, it is completely immoral to kill even one innocent person for the lives of others. And i am matching wmpeebles for his vote bomb.
Vote Placed by wmpeebles 6 years ago
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Total points awarded:07 
Reasons for voting decision: Con plagiarized his entire arguments from another website, so Conduct goes to Pro: . Because of this, all points are going to Pro. Pro had better arguments that he DIDN'T plagiarize.