The Instigator
LR4N6FTW4EVA
Pro (for)
Losing
3 Points
The Contender
alvinthegreat
Con (against)
Winning
37 Points

Letting someone die is just as bad as killing them.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 6/23/2008 Category: Society
Updated: 8 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 5,555 times Debate No: 4485
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (21)
Votes (12)

 

LR4N6FTW4EVA

Pro

Yes, I know, this is a slightly confusing debate topic, but I couldn't really word it in 100 characters. To simplify things I will prevent a scenario.

Scenario: Drowning child-Version 1
Person X is babysitting his 6 year old brother. X's father is an extremely rich widower, who although X is older has put the younger child as his heir. X drowns the child while he is bathing, and calls it an accident.

Version 2
Person X is babysitting his 6 year old brother. X's father is an extremely rich widower, who although X is older has put the younger child as his heir. X sees his brother have a seizure in the bathtub. He decides not to act, and his brother dies.

Parameters: For this topic, letting die will always mean that the victim could have been saved. As a guideline, argue based off this scenario, so as not to run into silly semantics.

I contend that because the result was the same, and X could have prevented the result, X is just as wrong in version 2 as he is in version 1. In short, X's actions/inactions led to the same result, ergo the actions are morally equivalent.
alvinthegreat

Con

Thank you lr4n6ftw4eva for hosting this debate.

Overview: My opponent has asserted that "Letting someone die is just as bad as killing them", thus all I have to do to win this debate is to demonstrate that scenario B is not the moral equivalent of murder.

========================================================

Contention 1: action =/= inaction.
Def: Inaction - the lack of action.
First, my opponent asserts that the moral equivalent of murder is inaction.

Let me make a simple analogy. Your best friend is cheating on the test, and you just happen to know about it. The chances are, you will not report your friend (inaction), but you're probably not gonna help him cheat, are you?
This is the moral equivalent of inaction in this case. The moral consequences of the first act (i.e not reporting or not helping) is obviously negative; however, it is obviously not the moral equivalent of the second act (murder, helping him cheat)

My opponent has stated that they're THE MORAL EQUIVALENT!!! but as you can see, this example demonstrates that INACTION is not the moral equivalent of ACTION. In fact, as will be shown later, inaction remains outside of the realm of moral ethics.

Remember, The burden of proof is on always on the affirmative. In this case, he must show WHY the person X's actions are equivalent of murder which he has not clearly shown, it's my job to simply defend it.

============================================================

Contention 2: Lack of an act makes my opponent's consequentialist interpretation null and void

Consequentalist(teological) interpretation of such action advocated by my opponent NEEDS AN ACTION in order to give judgment; however, due to the lack of action. The consequence cannot be assessed properly with regard to the action.

====================================================================

Contention 3: Deontological defense
Deontological view of ethics states that the morality of an act should be viewed in and of itself. Since the person X did not commit an action in scenario B, he or she is not at any fault since the action itself was not morally wrong, but the consequences were.

================================================================

Contention 4: Moral correctness does not justify an action!
My opponent has stated that the moral correctness of saving one's life justifies action. If that's true, why are we not donating every penny we can to save starving African Children? (see http://www.utilitarian.net...). THE MORAL CORRECTNESS OF AN ACTION DOES NOT INHERENTLY JUSTIFY IT. THERE MUST BE ANOTHER FACTOR TO JUSTIFY IT, I.E SELF-INTEREST (which in this case, is lacking)
That being said, we all have moral duty to save lives, no doubt about it, but does that mean we're necessarily compelled to DO IT? NO! If that was true, everyone would be donating every penny they had to help starving African children or going out and helping homeless people and become doctors or whatnot. Unless Lrn46ftw4eva is a peace corps volunteer in Africa, I doubt he could justify moral correctness = action.

===================================================================

Contention 5: Saving Life =/= murder
The proposed premise of the two acts in scenarios A and B are fundamentally different. Whereas scenario A's action is muder, scenario B's action is strictly saving a life. The extension of "murder" into scenario B's action is fundamentally flawed and unjustified characterization by my opponent using a teological or consequentalist view of ethics - one that is not supported by any reasoning or evidence. The fact is, person X in scenario B's actions can only SAVE SOMEONE'S Life, whereas his actions in scenario A is MURDER! There is a profound moral difference in the two.

For example,
Scenario A: There is a bunker with 10 people, and you throw a grenade in there that kills all of them.
Scenario B: There is an active grenade in your bunker that's filled with 10 people. You can either a) Lay your body on top of the grenade and save everyone or b) Run out of the room and let the 10 people die.

Clearly, running away in part B is not the moral equivalent of throwing a grenade and killing all ten people. (This is a rather brutal example - i know)

===================================================================

Underview: Here is my summary
i) An action is not the same as inaction when viewed morally (contentions 1,2 and 3)
ii) Moral correctness does not justify an action (contention 4)
iii) The two acts discussed by my opponent are not morally equivalent - he has over extended himself. (contention 5)

However clouded person X's motives may be, it is simply not correct to say his inaction is the moral equivalent of murder, as demonstrated by my points above.
That being said, THE AFF MUST SHOW WHY THE TWO ACTS ARE MORALLY EQUIVALENT!
Debate Round No. 1
LR4N6FTW4EVA

Pro

Neg asked for a proof that X's inaction was equivalent to his action in Scenario A.

I provided that proof, "In short, X's actions/inactions led to the same result, ergo the actions are morally equivalent."

In both scenarios he could have prevented a tragedy, in a A, by simply not killing the child, in B, by saving the child's life. In A, X's action caused the child to die. In B, X's inaction caused the child to die, therefore, there is no difference morally between the two. Ends justify means, and bad ends show that the means were wrong.

Contention 1: "Let me make a simple analogy. Your best friend is cheating on the test, and you just happen to know about it. The chances are, you will not report your friend (inaction), but you're probably not gonna help him cheat, are you?
This is the moral equivalent of inaction in this case. The moral consequences of the first act (i.e not reporting or not helping) is obviously negative; however, it is obviously not the moral equivalent of the second act (murder, helping him cheat)"

This is slightly different, because in the second situation, you are furthering his cheating, and in the first, you just let it be. It would be the difference between say, letting 10 people die, and killing 11 people. Scenario produces a worse consequence. Even if we assume the outcomes do end up the same, then they would still be different, as acting to stop your friend from cheating could damage your friendship, and cause more harm.This scenario is different. Although, some responsibility is placed on you in A because, in effect you were helping him, because without your inaction he could not have succeeded. The difference between your scenario and mine have been outlined above, so this does not refute me.

Contention 2: "Consequentalist(teological) interpretation of such action advocated by my opponent NEEDS AN ACTION in order to give judgment; however, due to the lack of action. The consequence cannot be assessed properly with regard to the action."

The action was passive approval of the child's death, failure to act in favor of the child. It is an action, so I can give judgment.

Contention 3:
"Deontological view of ethics states that the morality of an act should be viewed in and of itself. Since the person X did not commit an action in scenario B, he or she is not at any fault since the action itself was not morally wrong, but the consequences were."

Deontological defenses will fail. A deontological stance will lead to bad ends happening, and being justified. Example, if a deontological system prohibits lying, such as Kantianism, then we end up with situations, where I see a person being chased by a murderer, I see him hide. The murderer comes, and asks me where he is, in order to be moral I must tell the truth. My action, which will invariably lead to the death of the hiding man, are absolutely not the right thing to do, but deontology leads to this. It cannot be a correct system to use, ergo we must take consequentialism. And, as I have shown, in consequentialism, X's actions are equivalent.

Contention 4: "My opponent has stated that the moral correctness of saving one's life justifies action. If that's true, why are we not donating every penny we can to save starving African Children? (see http://www.utilitarian.net......). THE MORAL CORRECTNESS OF AN ACTION DOES NOT INHERENTLY JUSTIFY IT. THERE MUST BE ANOTHER FACTOR TO JUSTIFY IT, I.E SELF-INTEREST (which in this case, is lacking)"

You're not getting that from the article you cited are you? Because Peter Singer is one of the men who I got the idea for this debate from. I'll quote from the article to show you: "My next point is this: if it is in our power to prevent something bad from happening, without thereby sacrificing anything of comparable moral importance, we ought, morally, to do it. By "without sacrificing anything of comparable moral importance" I mean without causing anything else comparably bad to happen, or doing something that is wrong in itself, or failing to promote some moral good, comparable in significance to the bad thing that we can prevent. This principle seems almost as uncontroversial as the last one. It requires us only to prevent what is bad, and to promote what is good, and it requires this of us only when we can do it without sacrificing anything that is, from the moral point of view, comparably important."

The money that X gets is not morally comparable to the death of the child, which Singer calls, "very bad."

Contention 5: "Scenario A: There is a bunker with 10 people, and you throw a grenade in there that kills all of them.
Scenario B: There is an active grenade in your bunker that's filled with 10 people. You can either a) Lay your body on top of the grenade and save everyone or b) Run out of the room and let the 10 people die."

In this, you are allowed to run away, because your life is morally comparable to their's. Although it would be better if you killed yourself to save them, it is an unnecessary burden to force one to kill themselves.

Oh, I forgot this quote, I loved this: "Unless Lrn46ftw4eva is a peace corps volunteer in Africa, I doubt he could justify moral correctness = action."

I am too young to be in the peace corps, and even if I am being slightly hypocritical, it doesn't mean I'm wrong. If my parents were hippies, and they told me not to smoke pot because doing so is bad for the health, it doesn't mean they're wrong, it just means they are hypocritical.

"i) An action is not the same as inaction when viewed morally (contentions 1,2 and 3)
ii) Moral correctness does not justify an action (contention 4)
iii) The two acts discussed by my opponent are not morally equivalent - he has over extended himself. (contention 5)"

i) I refuted all if those points
ii) Refuted That
iii) refuted that

"However clouded person X's motives may be, it is simply not correct to say his inaction is the moral equivalent of murder, as demonstrated by my points above.
That being said, THE AFF MUST SHOW WHY THE TWO ACTS ARE MORALLY EQUIVALENT!"

I did show that.

In summation, the outcome of A and B was the same, and in both scenario, X could have prevented this bad outcome, In A by not acting, and in B, by acting. Morally, this makes no difference, because X is at fault in both situations.
alvinthegreat

Con

My opponent has given simple justification for why he condemns person X's actions in his 2nd scenario (which I shall refer to as scenario B): THE CONSEQUENCES ARE EQUAL, THUS THE MORALITY OF THE ACTIONS ARE THE SAME.

let me give a even more stark example of why this is false:

Scenario A: You shoot an sick African kid in the head
Scenario B: The sick African kid dies of TB, because you didn't donate any money for the simple medicine he needed to live.

The fact is, these two actions are not MORALLY THE SAME! The African kid may have died anyways, the key difference is YOUR role in the person's death. In scenario A, YOU ACTIVELY assisted in the person's death, while in scenario B, you DID NOTHING! The key difference is YOUR ROLE in the actual death. In his scenarios, my opponent has a key difference between the two scenarios. In his first scenario, person X is actively PARTICIPATING in the killing, while in the second scenario person X is inactive.
My position is that the actual participation warrants more moral blame than inactivity. My opponent is not taking into account YOUR ROLE!!!! He merely cites the consequences of your actions. BUT IT IS LOGICALLY CLEAR MORALITY IS NOT WHOLLY ABOUT CONSEQUENCES!!!!

Contention 1: Action =/= inaction. Here, I tried to show the moral impact of the two actions are not the same, and I provided example of you seeing your friend cheating and the two choices you could have made 1) Help him cheat or 2) Stay silent. Here, I postulated that the two actions are not morally equivalent, and he offered some very confusing arguments as to why my example and his are different.

---"This is slightly different, because in the second situation, you are furthering his cheating, and in the first, you just let it be"
And are the two scenarios you're describing not the same thing? The first situation, you're participating in the murder (I.e furthering his cheating), and the second, you're just "letting it be".

---"It would be the difference between say, letting 10 people die, and killing 11 people. Scenario produces a worse consequence."
This is not the point, the point is the whether the moral consequences between the two actions are equal, which in this case, they're not. Furthermore, I do not see how this statement deals with my helping friend cheat and not helping your friend cheat…I am not advocating killing anyone.. In my example, there is a stark difference between the two actions.

--- "Even if we assume the outcomes do end up the same, then they would still be different, as acting to stop your friend from cheating could damage your friendship, and cause more harm."
The outcome does not matter in my example. It is the MORALITY of the person's actions that matters. Furthermore, telling on your friend is not an option that was given in my scenario. The consequences do not matter because the morality of helping your friend cheat is considerably worse than not telling on him. If you somehow disagree with the actual moral difference between the two actions, please give some reasons.
His arguments have no direct link towards my example. The simple fact is, in my analogy, the MORALITY OF THE TWO ACTIONS ARE DIFFERENT.

Contention 2: Consequentalist interpretation needs an action:
"
The action was passive approval of the child's death, failure to act in favor of the child. It is an action, so I can give judgment."

WHAT WAS THE ACTION? The failure to do an action is not an action, it's called an INACTION! INACTION IS NOT ACTION. As said by my opponent, it was "passive approval". If it was "active approval", we could judge the morality of it, but it was passive, connotating that NOTHING WAS DONE. Thus, we cannot pass moral judgment on it.
The simple fact is, the conscious decision not to help the child IS NOT AN ACTION. An action is according to www.m-w.com is "a thing done". In this case, he has done NOTHING, thus, any moral calculus cannot be done on something that has never been done!

Contention 3:
---Kant's example
My opponent did not refute my deontological defense, but he refuted deontological ethics in general. He gave the classical example of: "A deontological stance will lead to bad ends happening, and being justified."

i) A consequentalist interpretation of moral will lead to even worse things happening. For example, someone could justify killing 90% of the world's population because of the possible future harms (i.e global warming, starvation, nuclear war, overpopulation) that could result due to exponential population growth. What shall it be? 1 person dying to a immoral murderer? Or 5.4 billion people dying due to consequentalist morals?
ii) The "murderer at the door example" is not in line with deontological ethics. It would take far too long to explain why it does not fit in the paradigm of deontological ethics, thus I shall refer to http://peasoup.typepad.com... to explain why the opposite choice (i.e to lie to the murderer) is infact in line with Kantian ethics.
iii) A consequentalist interpretation does not tell us what is essentially moral and immoral. There is no bright line to separate what is moral and immoral, thus, deontological ethics is in this manner superior to consequentalist interpretations (i.e having a definite set of "moral" and "immoral" actions)

Contention 4: moral correctness does not justify action
Singer's article shows that something that is morally correct should be done, and he provides numerous justification for his thesis. However, it is readily clear that his thesis has not been adopted (i.e not everyone is donating 25% of their income to UNICEF) by the world. This could be due to various reasons such as greed, laziness, or just plain human nature. Whatever the case, the simple fact is, Singer's thesis (which states moral correctness = action) has been clearly rejected by average society (unless my opponent shows that American society donates 25% of its income to starving African kids).
Along this line of logic, if society itself does not conform to the concept of "moral correctness = action", why should person X do so? He has no compelling reason to obey this moral concept that my opponent has forced upon him.
My opponent has basically forced the concept that "moral correctness" somehow justifies an action onto person X in his 2nd scenario. This concept is unfounded and unjustified. If society itself does not conform to this ideal, why should person X? Human nature does not support altruism, thus, we should reject the notion "moral correctness = action"

Contention 5: I don't think I articulated my point really well here, and I feel that my examples don't necessarily apply.
In response to my grenade example, he said:
"In this, you are allowed to run away, because your life is morally comparable to their's. Although it would be better if you killed yourself to save them, it is an unnecessary burden to force one to kill themselves."
i)So in this case, it is morally justified to let 10 people die due to inaction, whereas in your scenarios, it is not morally justified to let 1 person die due to inaction?
ii) Since when was one life morally comparable to 10 lives? It just isn't, the better moral action would be to jump on top of the grenade and save the 10 other soldiers. According to my opponent's consequentalist view and his premise that "moral correctness = action", it would be morally wrong to NOT jump on top of the grenade. Also, according to my opponent's premises, to run away (i.e not do the morally correct action of jumping on top of the grenade), the person would be committing a moral wrong PARAMOUNT to the killing of the 10 people. Yet somehow, in this case, my opponent says it's right to RUN away in this case, whereas, in his scenario, he says inaction = murder! How can you reconcile these two contradictions
Debate Round No. 2
LR4N6FTW4EVA

Pro

"Scenario A: You shoot an sick African kid in the head
Scenario B: The sick African kid dies of TB, because you didn't donate any money for the simple medicine he needed to live.

The fact is, these two actions are not MORALLY THE SAME! The African kid may have died anyways, the key difference is YOUR role in the person's death. In scenario A, YOU ACTIVELY assisted in the person's death, while in scenario B, you DID NOTHING! The key difference is YOUR ROLE in the actual death. In his scenarios, my opponent has a key difference between the two scenarios. In his first scenario, person X is actively PARTICIPATING in the killing, while in the second scenario person X is inactive.
My position is that the actual participation warrants more moral blame than inactivity. My opponent is not taking into account YOUR ROLE!!!! He merely cites the consequences of your actions. BUT IT IS LOGICALLY CLEAR MORALITY IS NOT WHOLLY ABOUT CONSEQUENCES!!!!"

You have never demonstrated why my active role in the death is any different than my passive role. The actions are morally the same, because in both, you could have prevented an immoral consequence with insignificant loss to yourself. You have never given me any logic, or any reason why active participation is any different than passive participation beyond "in a) you're active, and in b) you're inactive" You act as if there is an obvious difference between the two. The fact as, there isn't, both situations have you responsible for one's death, either because you actively killed them, or passively killed them. The consequences are the same, ergo the morality is the same.

Of course you will say the consequences aren't everything, and we can't take a consequentialist POV. We have to. If we don't, actions that cause more harm than good will be considered moral. In other words, in any other system, actions that hurt the world and the people in it can be considered just, or moral. That is what is illogical.

"And are the two scenarios you're describing not the same thing? The first situation, you're participating in the murder (I.e furthering his cheating), and the second, you're just "letting it be"."
What I'm saying is that he'll be even more successful with your help, which makes the difference. It changes the whole calculus.

"This is not the point, the point is the whether the moral consequences between the two actions are equal, which in this case, they're not. Furthermore, I do not see how this statement deals with my helping friend cheat and not helping your friend cheat…I am not advocating killing anyone.. In my example, there is a stark difference between the two actions."
I'm saying that helping your friend causes more harm. I may be wrong, in which case they would be equivalent.

"The outcome does not matter in my example. It is the MORALITY of the person's actions that matters. Furthermore, telling on your friend is not an option that was given in my scenario. The consequences do not matter because the morality of helping your friend cheat is considerably worse than not telling on him. If you somehow disagree with the actual moral difference between the two actions, please give some reasons.
His arguments have no direct link towards my example. The simple fact is, in my analogy, the MORALITY OF THE TWO ACTIONS ARE DIFFERENT."

Why doesn't the outcome matter? I have shown that the outcome is all that matters in the case of morality, and he hasn't shown anything. You haven't shown why the morality is different. You seem to think that morality is intuitive, but it's not, it is logical. The ethos should be determined by the logos, not the pathos. In scenario b) however, telling would have to be the alternative to doing nothing. Telling may harm your friendship. And again, if it doesn't, than the actions are equivalent. Outcomes determine morality, that's my point.

"WHAT WAS THE ACTION? The failure to do an action is not an action, it's called an INACTION! INACTION IS NOT ACTION. As said by my opponent, it was "passive approval". If it was "active approval", we could judge the morality of it, but it was passive, connotating that NOTHING WAS DONE. Thus, we cannot pass moral judgment on it.
The simple fact is, the conscious decision not to help the child IS NOT AN ACTION. An action is according to www.m-w.com is "a thing done". In this case, he has done NOTHING, thus, any moral calculus cannot be done on something that has never been done!"

If moral calculus cannot be done on inaction, than it would be perfectly fine to let Hitler kill the Jews, as inaction cannot be judged, or it would be fine to let everyone die in Darfur, as inaction cannot be judged. Not judging inaction leads to bad consequences, such as letting Hitler kill the Jews, or letting Darfur implode. If inaction is immune, than no blame at all is on the brother in b), which is undeniably false.

"i) A consequentalist interpretation of moral will lead to even worse things happening. For example, someone could justify killing 90% of the world's population because of the possible future harms (i.e global warming, starvation, nuclear war, overpopulation) that could result due to exponential population growth. What shall it be? 1 person dying to a immoral murderer? Or 5.4 billion people dying due to consequentalist morals?"

You just used consequentialist morals to determine that the death of 1 is better than the death of 5.4 billion. If killing 90% of the world caused more good than harm, (which it wouldn't) it would be moral, as not doing so would cause even more harm.

"ii) The "murderer at the door example" is not in line with deontological ethics. It would take far too long to explain why it does not fit in the paradigm of deontological ethics, thus I shall refer to http://peasoup.typepad.com...... to explain why the opposite choice (i.e to lie to the murderer) is infact in line with Kantian ethics. "

That was one example. And that man is wrong. Kant says that lying is always wrong, no matter what. Anyways, I have shown above why we must take consequentialism.

"iii) A consequentalist interpretation does not tell us what is essentially moral and immoral. There is no bright line to separate what is moral and immoral, thus, deontological ethics is in this manner superior to consequentalist interpretations (i.e having a definite set of "moral" and "immoral" actions)"

There is a bright line, that is, we should not do things that cause more harm than good.

"Singer's article shows that something that is morally correct should be done, and he provides numerous justification for his thesis. However, it is readily clear that his thesis has not been adopted (i.e not everyone is donating 25% of their income to UNICEF) by the world. This could be due to various reasons such as greed, laziness, or just plain human nature. Whatever the case, the simple fact is, Singer's thesis (which states moral correctness = action) has been clearly rejected by average society (unless my opponent shows that American society donates 25% of its income to starving African kids)."

Average society doesn't accept most moral systems besides there own intuition. That doesn't mean that we should determine morality with our intuition. Average society is often wrong.

"Along this line of logic, if society itself does not conform to the concept of 'moral correctness = action', why should person X do so? He has no compelling reason to obey this moral concept that my opponent has forced upon him."

Because it is the right thing to do. In the 1800's, even in much of the 1900's, much of society was racist and sexist. That doesn't mean it is okay.

I'm running low on characters, so I'll summarize. In this contention, my opponent has resorted to a conformist argument, and I have shown conformism is wrong.

C5:
i) and ii) I was using the article you cited. Really they are equivalent.
alvinthegreat

Con

I think this debate has come down to a very general question: Should morality be interpreted in a consequentialist or deontological manner?

I feel that, since the burden of proof is on my opponent, that he has not demonstrated that a consequentalist interpertations of morals is somehow better than a deontological interpretation.

African Kid Contention:

It is not my role to demonstrate why deontological is better than consequentalist view. It is your role, as the affirmative, to advocate why your interpretation is better than mine. THE BURDEN OF PROOF IS ON YOU, NOT ME.

Secondly, the deontological vs. consequentalist problem has been argued before, and I will argue it further later on.

Thirdly, yes, in both cases he was responsible for the african kid's death. But how much responsibility should he be allowed to take? Is killing him by shooting him on the head deserves more of a punishment rather than letting him die by himself?

Let me stress this. My opponent has talked about "responsibility" as a judge of moral correctness. The key difference is that there are differing degrees of responsibility for differing actions. Obviously, my opponent has refused to consider this fact. In fact, almost all legal system takes this into account. That's why there is manslaughter and there is capital murder, and that's why punishments dealt with each inherently differs. In both manslaughter and capital murder, a person dies. But the RESPONSIBILITY of the person involved in the death DIFFERS, thus the degree of punishment differs.

For someone to say that they disagree completely with deontological view of morals would be repudiating almost all human legal systems set forth since Hammurabi.

Lrn4n6ftw4eva, if you're actually reading this, do you consider differing degrees of punishment inherently unfair in our legal system? Is statutory rape and rape different? Is murder and manslaughter different? If you agree to any of these questions, you have contradicted your point of view.

Quiet simply, empiricism has proven my opponent wrong.

Contention 1: action =/= inaction, cheating ex.

Same argument again - Consequentalist > Deontological.

Let me make a new point. Consequentalist points of view cannot be fully devoid of deontological interpetations. For example, every consequence is caused by an action (i.e every action has an equal and opposite reaction). Thus, is it not right to question the impact of the action on the consequence? Do consequentalist points of view necessarily forbid this kind of introspective thinking? I think not. The key is, my opponent has confined consequentalistism into a very narrow definition that he is using for his purposes. In real life, the best kind of moral system is one that mixes deontological and consequentalist views.

Contention 2: no action to judge
My opponent claims that Hitler and Darfur are somehow involved in such "inaction" moral calculus.

My opponent over reaches his claims. He first claims a consequentalist moral system, then he suggests that we over expand it to inaction. The simple fact is, strictly speaking, that conseqeuntalistism assesses the consequences of an action, and since inaction is not an action, we cannot assess the consequences. My opponent is simply clouding this fact by using examples are not really examples of inaction, but rather examples of action.
He claims we can judge non-action i.e Hitler and Darfur. But the fact is, actions have been taking against those massacres. In both cases, there WAS ACTION (i.e we stopped hitler from killing all the Jews, there is an African Union peace-keeping force along with a 20,000+ men UN contigent in Sudan right now)

COntention 3: Consequentalist = bad

My opponent says this in response to the fact that consequentalist can be justified in killing 90% of the world's population:
"You just used consequentialist morals to determine that the death of 1 is better than the death of 5.4 billion. If killing 90% of the world caused more good than harm, (which it wouldn't) it would be moral, as not doing so would cause even more harm."

Yet, there is the possibility it could be justified, isn't there? I mean Malthusian arguments sounds like a good argument, especially considering Global Warming and Desertification in the world. If this is morally justified, then what isn't it? Anything can be justified using a consequentalist system. My opponent has already said that it would be moral to kill 90% of the world's population if situations justified it. THIS IS WHY WE NEED A DEONTOLOGICAL SYSTEM. My opponent has admitted a clear shortfall in consequentalist theory.

ii) Murder at the door
You used Kantian ethics, the man used Kantian ethics to justify lying to the murderer, what's wrong about it? Kantian ethics includes broad overviews of what is right and wrong. Most importantly, the key principle of Kantian ethics (paraphrasing) is the pursuit of a "greater good", and such concepts justify lying to the murderer.

iii) Yes, but you can stretch the lines substantially (see killing 90% of the world example)

Contention 4: Moral correctness does not justify action
My opponent said this to my arguments:
"Average society doesn't accept most moral systems besides there own intuition. That doesn't mean that we should determine morality with our intuition. Average society is often wrong."

Yet we all adhere to social rules do we not? Like it or not, we adhere to society's rules concerning morals too. We have court systems and laws that we must all obey in order to stay in society. Sure, average society is often wrong, but what about our intuitions? Aren't the intuitions of the majority of society better than the intuition of one person? Humans are social animals, we are inclined to a conformist system of morals.

How is conformism wrong? You have said nothing but old examples of NOW incorrect moral thinking. As humans society evolve, so do morals. To step outside the box is often risking one's position in society.

Contention 5:

10 die and 1 die is a profound difference in terms of morality. Yet in this case, my opponent does not condemn you not throwing yourself in the grenade, even when in a consequentalist world, you would be held morally accountable if you did not throw yourself on the grenade. However, my opponent contradicts himself in this case, showing us that conequentalistism is inherently confusing and thus should not be followed.

In conclusion, I believe I have shown that my opponent has not shown consequentalism is better than a deontological interpretation, even though the burden of proof is on him.
I encourage all voters to read through all the arguments before making a decision, instead of on one's own whim.
Debate Round No. 3
21 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Harlan 8 years ago
Harlan
Apathetically allowing something to happen is nowhere the same as making effort for something to happen. To acknowledge the circle of life is not necessarily immoral.
Posted by surfride 8 years ago
surfride
and that matters because. . .? are you trying to ad hominem attack me? I think you are. Logical fallacy my good sir!
Posted by Rezzealaux 8 years ago
Rezzealaux
Commenting so I can read and vote later.
Posted by CiRrO 8 years ago
CiRrO
lol, i see u a lot criticizing debates, however, whats your win ratio surfride? 0%?
Posted by surfride 8 years ago
surfride
Also, LR4, you contradict yourself in your argument. First you say that "BUT IT IS LOGICALLY CLEAR MORALITY IS NOT WHOLLY ABOUT CONSEQUENCES!!!!" and then later, you say "I have shown that the outcome is all that matters in the case of morality" Unless someone went and changed the definitions on me, outcome and consequences are basically synonyms, so you first say that consequences are not all that matter, and later you say that the outcome is all that matters.
Also, what's with this? "My position is that the actual participation warrants more moral blame than inactivity" I thought you were arguing that inactivity is as morally wrong as killing someone, correct me if I'm wrong?
Posted by surfride 8 years ago
surfride
But LR4, according to your argument, the only thing that matters is the consequences. Since the guy died in either case, obviously both actions are morally equivalent. "I have shown that the OUTCOME IS ALL THAT MATTERS in the case of morality". (caps mine) That is what you said, and so logically, since the outcome is the same in both of my medical cases, you lose.
Posted by ally93 8 years ago
ally93
give the kid a brake he made a mistake. oh Hi i wanted to thank you for making the vote equal between me and gahbage. he is foul of him self.
Posted by LR4N6FTW4EVA 8 years ago
LR4N6FTW4EVA
I ran out of room, so sorry about my sucky response to C5. I was slightly confused about it. What I meant was that in a) 10 die, and in b) 11 die. Said they were equivalent cause I had no room. Sorry.
Posted by LR4N6FTW4EVA 8 years ago
LR4N6FTW4EVA
"But LR4, in A0 and B), what if the malpractice suits forced you to stop practicing medicine? You would have given treatment to countless number of people, and who knows how many lives you would have saved."

There you play the odds, but odds are, you won't fail.

"Either way, in A) or B), the scenario led to the death of the man, so by your own argument, since the scenarios led to the same outcome, you lose."

Letting die means complete lack of action, in B) you acted, so their is less blame on you for his death.

"You seem to change your definition of what it means to let someone die arbitrarily. Like in alvin's contention 5, in one scenario, your actions could have saved ten people, in the other, ten people die because of your LACK OF ACTION. Isn't that the whole point you're trying to prove, that lack of action is as bad as killing someone?"

I don't, in 5, the calculus was different. In A), 10 die, rather than none. In B) 10 die, rather than 1. So to be a moral saint, you would kill yourself to save them, but it is less bad than killing them.

I hope this response was sufficient.
Posted by gahbage 8 years ago
gahbage
I think he means a lack of action as in, you have complete power to save their life, but you choose not to [for personal reasons].
12 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
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