The Instigator
LR4N6FTW4EVA
Pro (for)
Tied
7 Points
The Contender
funnybrad333
Con (against)
Tied
7 Points

LD Sept./Oct. (I've got a big invititational

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 10/15/2008 Category: Education
Updated: 8 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 1,498 times Debate No: 5727
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (4)
Votes (2)

 

LR4N6FTW4EVA

Pro

This is an LD debate, minus the CX.

Neg forfeits last round.

Resolved: That it is morally permissible to kill one innocent person in order to save the lives of more innocent people.

I affirm.

To clarify the debate, I offer the following definitions:
Morally Permissible: Defined by Deni Elliot, Professor of Philosophy at the University of Montana as "behavior within the bounds of a moral system."
Innocent: harmless in effect or intention (Merriam-Webster)
Kill: "cause the death of" (Merriam-Webster)

Observation 1: The definition of morally permissible means simply that an action is not prohibited. If I can provide one example of a situation where clearly killing an innocent is permitted I win this debate. Negative has to prove that there is no situation where killing an innocent to save many is permitted.
Observation 2: "Kill" does not imply intent. "Murder" implies intent. You can be killed by a train without the train "intending" to kill you. You can be killed by a drug overdose without intending to kill yourself.

Observation 3: "Kill" is not agent specific. That means that in our examples, the killer and the victim can be any innocent person. In fact, someone could kill themselves in order to save more innocent people.
Value: Moral Permissibility

Justification: This debate is about whether an action (killing an innocent to save more innocent people) is morally permissible. This makes the assumption that moral permissibility is valued. Obviously then, it is my value.
Criterion: Commonality of Event

Justification: The Danish Philosopher, Soren Kierkegaard, wrote in his famous work, Fear and Trembling, that moral judgment cannot be made on extreme circumstances—that is, that if someone does something that would normally be considered immoral, such as killing, but the circumstances in which he or she commits this action are rare, extenuating circumstances, we cannot judge that person. Moral judgment cannot give that person justice. That means that if an action is done in an extenuating circumstance, it is permissible.
Contention One: The situation in the resolution is an extenuating circumstance.
I mean really, how often do you actually have to decide whether or not to kill an innocent to save many innocent lives? Unless you're Jack Bauer, I would guess that you have never had to decide. How can you judge someone for that? Can you imagine the stress that person would be under, and in many instances, the situation would require a split-second decision. We cannot judge a person under these circumstances. That is not just. We must permit them to make any decision necessary to escape that circumstance. An old Sioux prayer reads: "You cannot judge a man until you walk a mile in his moccasins." We have not been in this situation; we cannot judge a man in this place.

Conclusion: As the situation in the resolution is such an extenuating circumstance, we cannot make a moral judgment. We cannot say that killing the innocent is impermissible. I affirm.
funnybrad333

Con

"Always recognize that human individuals are ends, and do not use them as means to your end."

It's because that I agree with this quote by Immanuel Kant that I urge a negation of the resolution. "It is morally permissible to kill one innocent person to save the lives of many innocent people."

[Definitions]

1. Morally permissible: conforming to a normative standard of right and wrong.
2. Kill: to take away the life of.
3. Innocent: free from the action or intention of committing moral or legal crimes.[Topical Observations]

For analysis of the resolution I pose the following observations.
1. According to the resolution, it is asking if an action is moral. Morality is normative. Normative is defined as absolute, not relative or circumstantial. Therefore, the affirmative must prove that killing complies with morally normative standards.

2. The resolution implies morality versus necessity. Killing an innocent may be necessary to save more lives, however that does not make it moral. Killing must be proved moral rather then necessary to affirm the resolution.

3. A Logical Fallacy. In a moral dilemma, such as the one posed in the resolution, one immoral outcome does not make the other possible outcome automatically moral. Just because a larger group of people may lose their lives, does not make the action of killing an innocent automatically moral. Under moral criteria, they are both immoral.

4. Logical problem with the definition of innocent. Innocent is defined as being free from the action or intention of moral or legal crimes. With the intention of wanting to kill an innocent to save their own lives, they are not innocent anymore, because they have the intention to kill. Therefore, the affirmative must prove that intending to kill is a moral intention.

[Value and Value Criterion]
The negative values morality, since it is the clearest value indicated by the resolution. The value of morality is upheld by the criterion of moral normality. Normative morality is defined as being absolute, under the guidelines of set moral criteria. Since killing is an inherently immoral action, it violates the moral norm, which dictates a general morality.

[Contentions]

To prove my position I would like to offer 1 sole contention.

Contention I: Killing violates principles of moral normality.

A)Killing is inherently immoral. Killing means taking away the life of another human being. This action is inherently immoral because it is the intentional action of striping away the life of another. From this, you violate all their rights as well. Morality demands that life remain sacred, and that it is not violated. Killing can never be claimed as a moral action, even though how necessary that action might be, that doesn't validate it being moral.

B)Deontological Ethics. According to deontology, the morality of an action is by the action itself, not the result of the action. Killing for instance can reap positive results; however that doesn't make it moral. "The ends do not justify the means." There are certain actions that violate the code of morality, no matter what end result is achieved. Killing is one of these. Deontological ethics explain that killing can never be a moral action, because of the very immoral nature it has. Killing an innocent can never be morally permissible for it violates a set standard of what is right and what is wrong.

C)The Categorical Imperative. The categorical imperative created by Kant can be broken down into two main maxims.
1."Act only in accordance with that maxim through which you can at the same time will that it becomes a universal law." Essentially, the maxim says that a moral action is one that can be universalized. By claiming that killing is morally permissible to save more people, it should also be able to be morally permissible in any action. This is a fallacy, because killing can never be universalized as a morally permissible action. Univeralization can be equated with the quote: "do unto others as you will have them do unto you." You must universalize the action on yourself. Would the action be morally permissible if you were the innocent being killed? Obviously not. A moral action is one that is the same between all individuals. Since you would not want to be killed, then you cannot claim that killing another innocent is morally permissible.
2."Never act in such a way that we treat humanity, whether in ourselves or in others, as a means only but always as an end in itself." Basically this maxim says that a moral action is one that treats another human being as an end not a means. Killing one innocent to save many people is the means of using a human for another's end. This is immoral because it makes a person a means, just like an inanimate tool.

D)Violation of the right to life. A moral action protects an individual's right to life. This right is inalienable and not subject to forfeiture. By killing an innocent, you have violated their given right, and thus is immoral. No one has the right to take away a given intrinsic right for all autonomous individuals. By killing one innocent, you have violated their own human worth and autonomy. A moral action is one that protects every innocent individual's right to life.

I will now refute my opponent's case.

Value: Moral Permissibility

--> Moral Permissibility is dependent upon whether an action is moral or not, making my value superior.

Criterion: Commonality of Event

--> This resolution states only that one innocent is being killed to save the lives of many, and does not specify whether the situation is rare or extreme. Because we do not know of the circumstances of the resolution, the affirmative's value criterion is invalidated.

I await my opponent's rebuttal.
Debate Round No. 1
LR4N6FTW4EVA

Pro

I will defend my case and then attack my opponent's (I hate affirming).

Value: Moral Permissibility is the same as morality and my criterion follows from both.

Criterion: Although the resolution does not state the commonality of the event, we know a priori that this isn't an everyday occurrence.

Contention 1: My opponent dropped my contention. Although he may argue that it was implicit when he attacked my criterion, he did not say the simple sentence "My opponent's contention falls with his criterion." Therefore you must flow it across. With that in mind, my case is proven, and I win this debate.

Moving on to my opponent's case...

Definitions: I accept all definitions.

Ob 1: I disagree, my opponent has no basis to say that morality is normative, and therefore, this observation must be dropped off the flow.

Ob 2: I disagree the resolution only asks if it is permissible to kill one innocent to save the lives of the many. It can be debated in any manner.

Ob 3: I agree with this observation.

Ob 4: The resolution does not state an agent. The agent does not have to be an innocent.

Value: I accept his value

Criterion: I disagree. The event in the resolution is by no means normal, so we cannot apply a normal moral standard to address this situation. Furthermore, no moral code is given by which to determine what the moral norms are. this gives us no weighing mechanism, and you drop his criterion.

Contention 1:
A. My opponent claims that violating one individuals right to life is always and inherently immoral, however he gives no reasoning as to why this is. This is an unfounded and baseless claim, and cannot be accepted.
B. This does not relate back to his criterion. His contentions must stem from that criterion so this contention is dropped.
C. This also does not go back to his criterion, and it is dropped.
D. This is an unfounded claim and is not proven. You cannot accept it without evidence or logic showing why this is true.

Voting issues:
1. My opponent dropped my contention.
2. My opponent has provided no weighing mechanism for this debate.
3. My opponent's claims are not backed up by logic or evidence.
funnybrad333

Con

I will rebut my opponent and then defend my own case.

Value: Morality is required in order for moral permissibility to be considered.

Criterion: The resolution does not state an extreme event, and it only implies that a decision must be made. This in no way implies a situation of extreme circumstances.

Contention 1: This contention is just an extension of your criterion, as you admitted to, and therefore was not dropped. The situation is not defined as an extenuating circumstance according to the resolution, and therefore can not be considered one in this debate. Your contention and criterion are invalid, meaning your value is not upheld and I win this debate.

My defense of my own case.

Definitions: Thank you for accepting my definitions.

"Ob 1: I disagree, my opponent has no basis to say that morality is normative, and therefore, this observation must be dropped off the flow."

Ob 1: By accepting my definition of morality you conceded the fact that morality is normative, and therefore this rebuttal of yours is self contradictory.

"Ob 2: I disagree the resolution only asks if it is permissible to kill one innocent to save the lives of the many. It can be debated in any manner."

Ob 2: Because you agree that morality is normative, killing is inherently immoral. Therefore, your burden is to prove how committing the immoral action of killing is necessary enough to warrant it as moral. This in itself is a self contradiction, and therefore further warrants my victory in this debate.

Ob 3: Thank you for agreeing on this observation.

"Ob 4: The resolution does not state an agent. The agent does not have to be an innocent."

Ob 4: Because you agree with my definitions, you concede the fact that innocent is defined as free from the action or intention of committing moral or legal crimes. If the person being killed is innocent, then he is inherently not free from action or intention of committing moral or legal crimes. Therefore, the affirmative must prove that the intention to kill is a moral intention.

Value: Thank you for accepting my value; morality is the set value for this debate.

Criterion: By agreeing to my definitions, you agree that morality is normative, and therefore not circumstantial. Therefore, we must not look at the situation, but rather the ethics of the action itself. Because killing can not be universalized, it is inherently immoral, and therefore my criterion of moral normality stands.

"Contention 1:
A. My opponent claims that violating one individuals right to life is always and inherently immoral, however he gives no reasoning as to why this is. This is an unfounded and baseless claim, and cannot be accepted.
B. This does not relate back to his criterion. His contentions must stem from that criterion so this contention is dropped.
C. This also does not go back to his criterion, and it is dropped.
D. This is an unfounded claim and is not proven. You cannot accept it without evidence or logic showing why this is true."

Contention 1:
A. As I stated above, you have conceded the fact that morality is normative. The set standard for normative morality is the categorical imperative, which simply states that an action is moral if it can be universalized. For this reason, killing is inherently immoral.
B. Deontological ethics define moral normality.
C. So does the categorial imperative.
D. Humans are born with inalienable intrinsic rights, and life is the most important of these as it is the basis of all others (1 cannot pursue happiness without life, among other actions). By actively killing an innocent person, you are violating his right to life.

Voting Issues:
1. My opponent, by agreeing with my definitions, agrees with my value criterion (moral normality), and therefore agrees with my entire case.
2. My opponents value criterion is not stated by the resolution, and by agreeing with my definitions is invalid in this debate, meaning his entire case is invalidated.
3. My opponent has not provided any substantial claims or rebuttals, as he only states I have not provided enough logic and has not yet rebutted any of my given evidence and logic.
Debate Round No. 2
LR4N6FTW4EVA

Pro

Value: Okay whatever, they're the same, my case works under both.

Criterion: Have you ever had to make this decision? Do you know anyone who has? I think not. This is not a "normal" situation.

Contention 1: But you never attacked it as such. Because of that it is flowed across. Furthermore, the resolution doesn't need to define it as such, it is simply fact. This is a circumstance that does not occur normally.

Definitions: You're welcome.

Ob 1: Okay, I concede this observation.

Ob 2: Okay, I concede this observation. My case is not damaged.

Ob 3: You're welcome.

Ob 4: Yes,but being killed is not a moral crime. It is something outside of one's control, and is therefore not part of morality. The killer may be a guilty man, but as long as the victim is innocent, it doesn't matter.

Value: You're welcome.

Criterion: You dropped my other attacks. You provided no indication of what moral normalty is. You speak of the categorical imperative now, but that isn't moral normalty. The categorical imperative is but one form. You provided no weighing mechanism, so you drop this criterion. Furthermore, as I said, this isn't a normal situation. Normative ethics are suspended in abnormal circumstances. That's my whole argument.

Contention 1:
A. You never say what morality is. You need a weighing mechanism. You provided none. The categorical imperative is not the standard for normative morality. Virtue ethics and divine command ethics are both normative systems, yet they don't use the categorical imperative. Virtue ethics uses conformance to virtue, divine command uses the bible.
B. You never said that. Even so, deontological ethics can only judge a rational agent. A man is by no means rational in a stressful situation like the one in the resolution. We can't judge a man whom morality cannot apply to.
C. Again, you should have made the CI your criterion if that was your intent. You didn't, so you can't use it.
D. Prove it. You have no logic or evidence for this. Just because you say so doesn't make it true.

Voting Issues.
1. My opponent dropped my first contention.
2. My opponent provided no weighing mechanism.
3. My case fits under moral normalty. Moral normalty does not apply to this situation.
4. My opponent gave no logic to support his claims.

As per the agreed upon rules, my opponent will forfeit the last round.
funnybrad333

Con

As requested by the instigator, I shall not post any arguments for the sake of preserving traditional LD debate.
Debate Round No. 3
4 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Posted by Cg09 8 years ago
Cg09
lucky.....new topic is gonna be like this one hearing the same boring cases from everyone
Posted by LR4N6FTW4EVA 8 years ago
LR4N6FTW4EVA
Yeah, the felons voting rights topic is kind of dumb. I'm glad my invitational next Saturday is sticking with the Sept./Oct. topic. But, thanks for the critiquing.
Posted by Cg09 8 years ago
Cg09
The CI cannot be brought up that late in the round, plus thats a weak argument, the CI says the action can be taken if it prevents a greater harm to society. Aff your OBSV1 is very weak and prob wouldnt stand to any counter def of MP but other than that, fun cool case finally something diff than noobs valuing Util than teying to say the action is circumstantial lol, hate the new topic but oh well
Posted by funnybrad333 8 years ago
funnybrad333
The categorical imperative was my weighing mechanism, as it is the only normative one.

Virtues are often circumstantial and religion (lol) is in itself selfish.
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by savvyboy781 7 years ago
savvyboy781
LR4N6FTW4EVAfunnybrad333Tied
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Vote Placed by JBlake 8 years ago
JBlake
LR4N6FTW4EVAfunnybrad333Tied
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