The Instigator
Con (against)
4 Points
The Contender
Pro (for)
0 Points

Jan/Feb 2011 LD Topic

Do you like this debate?NoYes+0
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...
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 8/2/2012 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 6 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,885 times Debate No: 24962
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (12)
Votes (1)




Resolved: It is morally permissible for victims to use deadly force as a deliberate response to repeated domestic violence.

If you do not have LD experience, or do not even know what LD is, I advise you to stay away from this debate. The debate will be structured like a normal LD debate, just without crossfire since there's no way to do that on here. Feel free to ask any questions you have in comments though, as that can serve as a cross-fire-ish area.

1. Standard LD practices. All LD cases, whether traditional or progressive, are acceptable.
2. Forfeited round equals automatic loss unless specified otherwise by the person who did not forfeit.
3. Standard debate practices. Drops equal concessions and all that good jazz.
4. When using cases, it is acceptable to post your case in a google document link if it exceeds the 8000 character limit. Any glitching of going over the limit equals automatic loss. All rebuttals have to be outside of a link and in the proper text box.
5. No trolling.

Round structure:
Round 1: Debate presented, pro/aff accepts and gives case.
Round 2: Con/Neg presents case and rebuts pro/aff case. Pro/aff rebuts and defends.
Round 3: Con/Neg defends and rebuts. Pro/Aff defends and rebuts. No new arguments in this final aff speech.

Follow this round structure or die a horrible, painful death.

With that, I await my opponent.


I affirm the resolution of today's debate: It is morally permissible for victims to use deadly force as a deliberate response to repeated domestic violence. Before continuing, I would like to establish the following parameters for this debate, beginning with the definitions:


Morally Permissible (adj.):
A moral system differentiates among behaviors that are morally prohibited, those that are morally permitted, those that are morally required, and those that are morally encouraged.... Permitted [means] behavior that is within the bounds of the moral system. It is morally permitted to act in any way that does not cause others unjustified harms. (Ethics in Perspective)

Deadly Force (n.): Physical force which, under the circumstances in which it is used, is readily capable of causing death or serious physical injury.

to prove or show to be just, right, or reasonable (Merriam-Webster Dictionary)

Domestic Violence (n.): violence or physical abuse directed toward your spouse or domestic partner or other members of a household.


Observation 1: Evident from the definitions established, the obligation of the affirmative is to justify the harms done against the abuser in the domestic violence scenario.

With my parameters established, I move toward the iteration of my case.


Value: Morality

Criterion: Utilitarianism


Contention 1: Domestic violence is harmful to the economy.
The problems of domestic abuse do not end at the individual level, but afflicts the community at large indirectly through the negative effects caused to the economy.

Sub-point 1a: Domestic abuse creates heavy government spending.
Recognizing the pervasive nature of the problem, researchers increasingly have begun to examine the economic effects of domestic violence, both in terms of financial costs to victims as well as the broader impact on national economies. Studies conducted in several different countries have attempted to quantify the aggregate economic costs of domestic violence, and the results are staggering.[6] A 2003 study by the CDC estimated that domestic violence cost the U.S. economy more than $5.8 billion in a single year.[7] Other studies have estimated the annual costs of domestic violence in the United States to be as high as $12.6 billion.[8] A study in the United Kingdom, which quantified pain and suffering costs as well as the costs of services used by victims and the reduction in economic output due to domestic abuse, concluded that domestic violence costs individuals, the state, and businesses £23 billion per year.[9] Studies in Australia and Canada have estimated the annual costs of domestic violence (and sexual assault, in the case of the Canadian study) at A$8.1 billion and CAN$4.2 billion, respectively.[10] Comparison with other spending metrics underscores the magnitude of these costs. For example, a conservative estimate determined that domestic violence costs New Zealand nearly as much as that nation spends on unemployment benefits each year – approximately NZ$1.2 billion. These studies reveal that the costs of domestic violence measure well into the billions." [1]

Sub-point 1b: Domestic violence harms private corporations.
Reduced earnings and lower productivity are among the most prominent indirect costs of domestic violence. Studies have consistently shown that abused women earn substantially less than their non-abused peers. A Colombian study concluded that victims of domestic violence earn $60 less per month (or $100 less per month, if the abuse is severe) than women who have not experienced domestic violence, where mean monthly earnings are just $142.[24] A study in Chile found that, even after controlling for other factors that could affect earnings, abused women earn only approximately one-half to two-thirds of what non-abused women earn.[25] In fact, researchers have calculated that women in Chile earn roughly $1.56 billion – approximately 2% of Chile’s gross domestic product – less each year because of domestic violence.[26] In Nicaragua, abused women earn approximately $29.5 million – equivalent to 1.6% of Nicaragua’s gross domestic product – less each year due to domestic abuse.[27]" [1]

Contention 2: Domestic violence causes harm to the victim.
Domestic violence also causes great harm to the individual being victimized.
"Battering is the single major cause of injury to women, more significant that auto accidents, rapes, or muggings. In fact, the emotional and psychological abuse inflicted by batterers may be more costly to treat in the short-run than physical injury. Many of the physical injuries sustained by women seem to cause medical difficulties as women grow older. Arthritis, hypertension and heart disease have been identified by battered women as directly caused or aggravated by domestic violence suffered early in their adult lives. " [2]

"A woman who is usually beaten by her husband suffers ruthless psychological effects which are more brutal than physical wounds," he says.
He says such women are depressed and live in social isolation or shame because their emotional strength is torn apart.

Those are the kind of women who lose a grip on life because they are belittled by their husbands.

They are disturbed in a way that they lose focus and direction.
They cannot run their homes accordingly and even their sexual drive drops. In some cases they even commit suicide, that is, if they are not murdered by their husbands." [3]




Debate Round No. 1


The Negative Case is in the above link, since it was accepted I can use google docs to post my case. With that said, let's return to my opponent's case. Let's start at the top with the link between his value and criterion.

The link between my opponent's V and C is exactly where my case links in and prevents my opponent from affirming. Utilitarianism presumes that morality is objective, which is exactly what my case disproves. For him to actually reach his value, via his criterion, he would have to prove that Utilitarianism disproves a subjective morality in order to reestablish the link that he does nothing to warrant.

Okay, let's sidetrack a bit. I just want to point out that there literally isn't so much as a single shread of warrant or analysis in his framework. Generally one needs to prove how his criterion links to their value and why their value is the best value for the round, but he doesn't even bother with that. Since he does nothing to establish a link between his value and criterion, we can safely presume there isn't one. With that said, let's go to his criterion specifically. There's numerous problems with Utilitarianism:

First: Utilitarianism fails because the definition of what our results are, good or bad, is all relative. I could say that the result of punching a baby in the face meant that I received a piece of candy, which could be defined as a good outcome or that if I were to tackle my friend in order to save him from being hit by a car and break his ribs in the process, even though I possibly saved him, I injured him in possibly a worse way which could be seen as a negative outcome.

Second: Utilitarianism doesn’t make sense because we can never really be sure what an end is and what is just a link into a different impact. We can never know that if nuclear war were to happen, it would cause aliens to come and give us some amazing technology that betters humanity as a race. Moreover, it stops us from acting because we can never finish calculating the infinite possible things that make an end good, making it self-effacing because it doesn’t actually bring about good ends.

Third: Under Utilitarianism, we can never be sure that a proposition is 100% true. As long as someone promises that an action will bring about an end with a massive profit for all, society then has to take that route, even if they don’t believe it to be true. As long as someone promises a large enough impact, society then has to follow what he says, making consequentialism self-effacing.

Fourth: Conceptions of morality that are based off of desirability are circular. Parfit[1] writes:

According to desire-based theories, such reasons wouldhave to be provided by facts about what would fulfill our present desires. If, after informed deliberation, we want future happiness as an end, this factcould give us instrumental reasons to have certainother desires, since it would give us reasons to want whatever would make us happy. But the fact that we had this desire could not be truly claimed to give us a reason to have it. Desires cannot be self-supporting. Our wanting happiness as an end could not give us a reason to want happiness as an end.

And Utilitarianism bites into this loop because our desire for happiness, under utilitarianism, supports our desire for happiness. Under Util, if I want to be happy, it gives me reason to want happiness, which is entirely circular.

Fifth: Utilitarianism doesn’t work under the JAN/FEB resolution because as per the resolution, no actions have been taken. Since utilitarianism relies on an action having been already performed, it is impossible to generate some sort of happiness gained or lost. This is going to nullify all aff impacts for the round because it’s not going to be possible to determine if those impacts are what my opponent’s actually claiming.

With that being said, let's go to the contention level arguments, which you can group together, as my response applies to all of them.

There is one massive problem with all of his contentions and it goes along the lines of thus: all he is talking about is reasons why domestic violence itself is bad, but not that killing is the best and/or only way to respond to the situation. Since he never warrants that it's permissible to respond to deadly force, he's never actually affirming the resolution, but rather a twisted version of it. There are plenty of alternatives to using deadly force, such as calling the police, running away, or simply not killing the abuser and using non-lethal force. These are massively more preferable because they prevent death from ever occuring, which under his standard would be much more preferable (if the standard were even true).

With that being said, I will wrap it up by explaining, summary how his case fails and how the debate breaks down.

1. My negative case functions before his affirmative, since his affirmative makes the presumtion that morality is objective, which ym case disproves.
2. Even if he proves morality is objective, his criterion fails for the above five reasons I gave.
3. Even if his criterion stands, he fails to actually prove through substance that it's permissible to use lethal force. All his contentions prove is that domestic violence is bad, but not that using lethal force is permissible.

For the above reasons, I urge a negative vote.

[1]Parfit, Derek (Philosophy Professor, Oxford University). Climbing the Mountain (Unpublished).



In this rebuttal, I'm going to go through my opponent's case and then move toward the defense of my own.

[Negative Case]
Thesis: The case of the negative stems from the thesis in which argues that deadly force is not morally permissible because it cannot be with consideration the lack of the existence of objective morality. The problem rests in the fact that my opponent's argument explains that the affirmative requires some sort of objective morality in order to make a basis in the case. This would mean that my case would require a concept that my opponent argues doesn't exist, and in this scenario, the affirmative would have no way to be able to win this debate. Under LD rules, such an argument would be abusive. The entirety of my opponent's case attempts to lead toward the conclusion that because morality is subjective, nothing can really be called "morally permissible" solidly. This arguments rests on the idea that morality was not meant to achieve some objective purpose, and if I can prove this, there is some way to evaluate moral contexts in order to determine their validity and objectivity. Professor Bryan Benham from the University of Utah explains the purpose of morality as attempting the reach the objectives of promoting social harmony and ameliorating suffering. [1] While it can be argued whether or not this is a "good" thing in the scope of the subjective nature of what that means, nevertheless, the purpose of morality would be to provide social cohesiveness. The measure for which context of morality would be best would be which one achieves better these purposes, ones which are objective in nature.

[Affirmative Case]
Debate Round No. 2


My opponent seems to be lazy and doesn't want to find a way to refute skepticism, and instead has resorted to calling it abusive because it means his case is wrong. But since I have the room to, I'll go line-by-line through his last post.

"The problem rests in the fact that my opponent's argument explains that the affirmative requires some sort of objective morality in order to make a basis in the case. This would mean that my case would require a concept that my opponent argues doesn't exist, and in this scenario, the affirmative would have no way to be able to win this debate."

Yes, this is a concept called metaethics. Whereas standard stock arguments and frameworks, such as your utilitarianism argument, function on the normative level, arguments that question the assumptions made by normative arguments, such as skepticism does to normative ethical theories, operate on a higher level, i.e. a metaethical argument.

My opponent is simply crying abuse because he simply doesn't want to have to go through my case and refute the three warrants proving skepticism (i.e. Koons, Nietzsche 1 and Nietzsche 2). Since he's failing to do the work necessary to actually defeat my case, and the work is definetely do-able, then he cannot call the argument abusive. If anything, his argument that my case is abusive is abusive, simply because he refuses to even address it before dismissing it entirely. If this concept were fair, then I could look at his case and, after seeing it not say a word about actually using lethal force to respond to domestic violence, call it abusive because it doesn't address the topic. All my opponent literally has to do is prove that morality is objective in order to be able to gain offense off of his case. That is what I meant when I said my case precludes his, as my case acts as a gateway to affirming. In order to be able to affirm, he has to first disprove my case. Since he hasn't done that, he cannot affirm.

"The entirety of my opponent's case attempts to lead toward the conclusion that because morality is subjective, nothing can really be called "morally permissible" solidly."

Correct, coming from the Joyce evidence.

"This arguments rests on the idea that morality was not meant to achieve some objective purpose, and if I can prove this, there is some way to evaluate moral contexts in order to determine their validity and objectivity."

This is where you're incorrect, as my arguments don't question the intended purpose of moral thought, but the nature of morality as a whole. Whether morality is objective or subjective, it's purpose is still to guide us in what is morally permissible and what is morally prohibited. How it does that is what determines objectivity or subjectivity. My opponent is attacking the wrong thing entirely.

As none of the actual warrants in my case were touched, you can cleanly extend the negative case across the flow as dropped.

Also, as my opponent's last round was cut off before he could respond to the arguments made against my opponent's case, I ask the voters not to consider them dropped so he has a fair chance to respond to them. Overall, though, everything discussed so far still stands.

1) My case still precludes him from affirming, as he has yet to prove that morality is objective.
2) My responses against his framework prove that, even if he proves morality to be objective, that his framework fails and he thusly can't affirm.
3) My responses against his contentions still prove that, even if his framework stands, that he still can't affirm because he isn't discussing the actual topic.

So overall, you still negate.


ScarletGhost4396 forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
12 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Zaradi 6 years ago
Ahhhh, typical Scarlet....
Posted by Zaradi 6 years ago
Shhhh. It's okay. Silly PFer.
Posted by thett3 6 years ago
I just got told
Posted by Zaradi 6 years ago
Last season, it was the 2011 season, the resolution just went down in 2012. Don't question me.
Posted by thett3 6 years ago
wasnt that 2012 brah?
Posted by Zaradi 6 years ago
.-. The heck?
Posted by ScarletGhost4396 6 years ago
ScarletGhost4396 computer glitched up
Posted by ScarletGhost4396 6 years ago
Excuse if my argument isn't exactly the greatest, by the way. Progressive cases are something I've never been able to argue against well. lol
Posted by Zaradi 6 years ago
Making one? I already have them .-.
Posted by ScarletGhost4396 6 years ago
I absolutely despise progressive cases, but if you feel like you could be more comfortable making one, go right ahead. lol
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Ron-Paul 6 years ago
Agreed with before the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Agreed with after the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Who had better conduct:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:40 
Reasons for voting decision: Conduct for FF. Better arguments because pro barely even attacked con's arguments while con destoryed pro's arguments. Victory to con.