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

Justification is Relative to the Individual

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/31/2014 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 617 times Debate No: 67699
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (4)
Votes (1)




Justification is relative to the full extent of the word: comparative; specific; related; regarding; pertinent. What is justification, then? It is the rationale behind anything; smelling a daisy to committing genocide.

With this framework in mind, my stance is that anything and everything is justified, per individual. Con's stance will therefore be the exact inverse of this, or that justification is not relative to the individual (where they have some freedom in determining their stance)."

My reasons are the following.
First. Relative to the person committing the act, everything is how it is supposed to be, they see no wrong, and if they do, their personal belief triumphs in their decision to go ahead with a moral green-light, relative to themself only. They think to themselves, every decision is mine, therefore anything I do is justified, since, life is an on-balance kind of deal. I weigh my actions and reasons above anyone"s. They look at the scope of things. Alright, they think, I live in my world, it"s completely my own, infused with whatever filthy and inhumane things I have tainted my white linen sheet of a mind with since I was born. But even if this leads me to kill thousands, I feel a fervor. I am cut off ever since I broke that chord with my mother at birth. Everything is relative to only that person themselves. As long as that one world existing separately int heir head contains justification, well then there it is. Justification is their in the only world that really matters: their own.
People often say, "as long as you feel it"s right, then do what you have to do." From eloping to anorexia, you do it because you want to. If their is no justification, if you"re eloping with an ex-convict whom you helped escape, so be it, because you have your reasons, and your world is separate from the one you"re running, perhaps happily, away from.

Second. Anyone not in compliance with that person's justification for the actions or their actions themselves acts on a set of beliefs which were instilled in them by the culmination of their life experiences and encounters with other people. This opposition consists of people who practice selfless-ness. They take all these encounters and influences on their psyche into account before they exclaim their objection to the person smelling the daisies or committing genocide. They use the opinion of the self they created through their life rather than merge everything together and admit that they personally, with the full consequences of their opinion, oppose what that person is trying to do. "However you are the culmination of everything! What are you even saying, Range?!" No. You choose to either take all that you learned from others to create a full person out of yourself, and object to that daisy-smeller"s/genocid-er"s actions, or you write your own book and work off of that, and object then. When the person is the first scenario, then are you really your own self? Argue this point if you must, however I take this person to have no right to object to any justification any other person may have for their actions, since they themselves are not complete. It"s a brutal position to take, so let"s have fun with this contention, shall we?

Third. Relativity must be considered. Because of my previous argument, relativity itself will come to be under fire. How did Einstein think about it? Something about the observation that everything affects everything, and that everything acts relative to something else. The only reason this planet here moves so erratically is because of this big star right here. The reason you jump when I come at you with a scary mask is because it was imbedded in your mind to be scared of that face, or rather anything alien. Perhaps my definition of relativity is more like, everything happens for a physical reason. You sit the way you do, you prefer crossing your legs because of a neuron that is one millimeter off center. There's a reason for everything. And relative to those reasons, we do what we do, and decide to either smell daisies or kill off a race. Those damn neurons.

Forth. Society"s acceptance, objections, and personal justifications are not necessary for the life of an individual. In my scenario for my first contention I say that this hypothetical person doesn"t care, but let"s forget that for a paragraph"s time. Do we need other people"s opinions on whether or not we should do something; whether something is: good, wrong, justified for whatever reasons; whether we should die for this action or be allowed to continue on in our eternally self-justified ways? Meh. Depends on the person ad the scale of their sympathy. "Maybe they"re going through a rebellious stage and say that they don"t need anyone because they"re cold, hard, toughened warriors of the Boulevard of Broken Dreams?" Damnit, what if? No. As long as they believe in what they"re doing, they"re justified. Then when people start yelling at them, telling them they can"t keep walking down the town road singing ominous hymns about solitude and other heart warming stuff, and they drop their own convictions, then no one is left to believe in their actions, and the justification is gone. They changed their minds, therefore their opinion became relative to that of their surrounding people, therefore if someone comes along and changes their mind again, woop there we go, all justified and cozy again. Well, as long as they convince the person. But is that even necessary? As long as one person is a believer in that Boulevard walker/daisy-sniffer/killer then the justification is there.

Fifth, misc. No matter what people think, the world keeps a-turning, keeps it"s orbit no matter how hard that try to punch the non-meta opinions out of someone. Nothing really matters to the Earth, solar system, and the "ole Milky Way, does it? There"s this little universe in this little human"s head down there on some little continent in some little area that tolerates justification quarrels. As long as they"re breathing and producing carbon dioxide to fuel the oxygen cycle, why should anyone give a bother? Until they sniff your families precious daisies without permission or kill them, just sit back and eat some honey. Look at the greater scheme of things and smoke a few. At least, it"s an interesting way of looking at this.
Sure, justification is relative, "cause we don"t give a bother so it might as well be relative to all humans and you"d still get a neutral outcome. But there"s that one little positive sign - that little daisy killer, well, he creates an overall sum of hot-damn-justified.

Now let"s have some fun and justify ourselves, and see if any judges jump on our respective sides. A tie would be ironic, though. "Well you"re both justified in your own opinions, therefore I vote for a tie, but wait, doesn't that mean pro is right"? Or is it con" I give up. I"m tossing a coin." No, you have an obligation to argue well, for the sake of it all, no? "Oh fine. Hum."


There's something called Maslow's hierarchy that we need to understand in this debate. In your case, you imply that each person has reached the highest level of the hierarchy: self-actualization. You're implying that every person is dependent on one's own mind. The problem that arises with this assumption is the dismissal of the influence that society has upon us. When we are born, we are not given a chance to be left alone to truly think about who we truly are. Instead we are just given things for us to play with, which decides how we respond to other things. We are just a mold to which society fills different experiences. You say that "individuals " have a relative means of justification, but are there truly individuals? As said before, we are given things to become from the day are born, and with these things we are , in general, heavily dependant upon what society has instilled upon us. For example, children, deemed to be the most creative and individualistic, are given clothes to wear. Even when these children make something "creative," it's still created upon what society has given us. It is for this same reason why justification is relative to the individual: There is no individual. This is true except for a few cases (see: Maslow's hierarchy), but generally society is too imposing for us to have our own justifications for everything, that have never been shared by someone else. For example, smelling daisies. Did someone completely think that this was a good thing without any influence from anyone? No. Instead, people in general started associating daisies with something good, which is why someone might want to today. Another example: diamonds. The crave for rings in marriage wasn't something that an individual created and justified by himself, but a series of commercials by the company that held a monopoly on diamonds. Their justification for this wasn't the idea of an individual; They just wanted to make money, which society idolizes. Even with genocide, their justificarion, no matter how false, was quite similar: to protect the society that created who they are, which society always wants. Now, onto your case.

"personal belief triumphs in their decision to go ahead with a moral green-light"
As I said before, there is no individual in the sense that you're using it. There is no "personal" belief to begin with, because it has been too influenced by society already for it to be considered belonging to that singular person, and that person is usually still reliant upon what society wants from them. People don't think, "Everything I think is justified, just because it's me that's thinking it." They analyze their decisions and think about what they're doing. When they don't, it's called a reckless decision, and people can regret their decisions.

Your second contention is really vague. Everyone acts on a set of beliefs instilled upon them. And your third contention should be part of your framework.

"Society"s acceptance, objections, and personal justifications are not necessary for the life of an individual."
On the contrary, people strive for society's acceptance. They may be happy that they are not one of the fake popular kids in high school or at work, but would love to be adored by society. Also, societal acceptance in certain ways may be ignored, but for the most part it is almost always followed. For example, one may not care about being popular, but still does things that help them become associated with society, such as watching a famous tv show, or posting something on a website that people in society will hopefully praise. People whose actions completely ignore society are either aware of that fact or are completely isolated from society, which is too small an amount of people for us to take them into consideration.

"No matter what people think, the world keeps a-turning"
Well, no matter whether or not there are people, the world keeps a-turning.
Debate Round No. 1


My case is much more diversified than my opponent addresses, and though this is only the first round, this observation cannot be ignored.
Rather than arguing each contention that I have set out to prove justification is present in the mind of each individual, my opponent has turned this into a debate about, basically, framework disputes.This is but a small part of my case, and no whole.
However, I will respond to his off-balance points.

Maslow"s hierarchy. Yes, I do know about it, and it goes something like, "the first need we must fulfill is of the basic three: food, shelter, and water. After that, we fulfill our need for love, then when that is finished, societal acceptance, then self-actualization." This hierarchy states that you need everything on the previous level in order to achieve the higher levels.R32;There is a reason I haven"t included this in my original framework, however, and why my opponent based his entire response on it. Not only does it weigh toward Con specifically, but it is also non-resolutional.R32;
This will be my most important response to my opponent, so he better not ignore this part of my speech as he did many others before.
R32;Within the resolution itself, there is the word "justification." It"s a cute little thing, that destroys the relevance of Maslow"s hierarchy, because it defines the debate about INHERENTLY being about self-actualized individuals. If I were on the second-tier of the hierarchy, needing only companionship then I would not be needing justification for anything, and I would not be the topic of a debate.R32;The resolution defines the subjects we are speaking about, and this is not left to the framework.R32;I would have thought my opponent would have realized this.

"JUSTIFICATION is relative to the INDIVIDUAL."R32;Justification: something only a self-actualized person requires because the decision/act they have committed was their"s alone. This rules out any societal opinions or influences, because otherwise they would not need any justification at all.
Individual: Not only can a self-actualized meaning be imposed here, but the word itself implies a person that is independent, but a Merriam-webster definition goes as far as saying, "a single human being as distinct from a group, class, or family; a distinctive or original person."

The framework battle stands as follows:R32;
Pro: definitions of relative and justification, only. Undisputed and therefore carried through the round.R32;
Con: self-actualization arguments which discredit Pro"s entire case, only. Disputed and countered by Pro as being non-resolutional and therefore not to be looked to for the remainder of the debate.

I"ll take this time to respond to my opponent"s only non-rebuttal point, about how individuals are molded by society, since no one would think to sniff daises if society hadn"t made it a positive thing to do. This takes on a more general meaning, which I know my opponent was trying to say, that everything is the result of society, which taught us everything. I do not deny this because it is a non-sequitur because we are only discussing the post-action qualms.R32;My opponent might then say, "Since this action was inspired by society, then their opinion on it will inspire the doer"s opinion and then his justification." We learn about war and then commit it EVEN though we know society hates it. We may learn everything we know from society, but that doesn"t mean we allow it to shape our views, it simply means we learned it. Also, this is an individual we"re talking about, who by definition is different and acts on his own beliefs which he himself forged.

I will enforce my case while addressing Con"s.
R32;First. The doer sees no wrong in their actions, because they are his and his world is in his head. Con attempts to counter this by saying that no individual is truly an individual, "which is absurd, how he hangs on my every word, which results in me never getting the props I feel I every deserve." Credit to Eminem there. So, "till I collapse, I"m spilling these words, long as you weigh "em, "till the day that I drop, you"ll never say that I lost contention one.
Society shapes a person, and therefore they are not an individual looking for justification, because their action itself was done with SOCIETY"s justification IN MIND. This is my opponent"s only response to my first point, and remembering and assembling all the information I gave about not only the definition of the word individual, but also about the meaning of the resolution which acts as an inherent framework, this response collapses.

Second. The people who oppose our theoretical doer are not individuals, they are the personification of society. My opponent thinks that society"s views were already in the individual"s MIND while he was sniffing/killing, which is completely false. Because of the resolution, we only have to look at this one hypothetical sniffer/killer, who acts on only his beliefs, no matter how he got to have them.

Third. The reason behind everything is either neurons or influence. This not only provides framework. Since everything is affected by something else, then the reason people oppose our doer is because of reasons that we cannot foresee and therefore weigh in this round. The opposition to our doer is irrelevant. The non-self-actualized public acts for strange reasons, while our doer/sniffer/killer is unlike them.

Forth. This contention is taken directly from the meaning of the resolution and the definitions of the words it encompasses. Technically, I have responded and enforced everything in this contention already, but let me summarize them here.
Our individual does not need acceptance because by reading the resolution, it is evident that this a self-actualized individual, making Maslow irrelevant
This is an individual we"re talking about. Recall that definition: a person separate from society, different. They are not reliant on society"s acceptance or opinions as my opponent would like us to think. They are independent.

I also talk about some thing else here, that I find crucial to the case. The person can also TEMPORARILY be an individual. If they"re going through the mythical "rebellious" stage of their life, or if they only agree with their own actions for a short while, then those actions are justified anyway. Temporary justification is enough. R32;R32;Let"s look at an example. A secret agent shoots an assassin headed for the President. They are seen as a hostile and taken down. They die. They are tried in court, but right now, the public hates the agent. He endangered the President by shooting! Blah blah they deserved to die, they might have killed him! The trial passes and the assassin"s intentions are known, giving innocence to the agent again, and now everyone feels bad and the agent becomes justified AGAIN. There was a time that they LOST justification because no one believed in them. However it was clearly always there. This is one of the vital things I point out in my forth contention.


Wdarko forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 2


Range forfeited this round.


Wdarko forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
4 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Posted by Range 1 year ago
Sorry about the R32 glitch
Posted by mentalist 1 year ago
Some things are wearing white socks with green stripes...I mean c'mon!
Posted by Range 1 year ago
Research is great, and that might be your style, but I prefer completely philosophical debates where words come straight from you and not your sources.
Nonetheless, that is only my preference. Go ahead.
Anyone else, please post a comment before entering the debate since I might have multiple possible opponents.
Posted by Commondebator 1 year ago
Interesting. . .Although I need to do some research before I accept this. Ill probably challenge you later
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Hanspete 1 year ago
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Total points awarded:50 
Reasons for voting decision: Conduct goes to Pro because of the forfeiture of two rounds by Con, S and G, also to Pro because Con made several spelling errors in his argumentation pieces and finally Arguments to Pro, I felt his arguments were not only far better developed, but also were far easier to follow, more that satisfying his BoP.