The Instigator
Center_for_Rationality
Pro (for)
Winning
5 Points
The Contender
philochristos
Con (against)
Losing
1 Points

Moral Naturalism is more compelling than Moral Relativism

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after 1 vote the winner is...
Center_for_Rationality
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 11/9/2012 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,683 times Debate No: 27055
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (5)
Votes (1)

 

Center_for_Rationality

Pro

Resolution: Moral Naturalism is more compelling than Moral Relativism
rules:
No Semantics Arguments
No Ad hom
No intentional fallacies
5 rounds
BOP is shared.
Please post case first round
philochristos

Con

Until today, I was unfamiliar with the term "moral naturalism," so I had too google it. I am neither a moral naturalist nor a moral relativist. However, I do think moral relativism has more going for it than moral naturalism, so I think I can participate in this debate without having to play devil's advocate.

Definitions

Naturalism: The view that the physical universe is all that exists (except perhaps abstract objects like numbers, propositions, properties, relations, etc.). There are no supernatural beings, such as angels, demons, or gods.

Moral facts: Moral facts are statements that describe (a) prescriptive obligations (e.g. You ought to feed your cats.), (b) virtue and vice (e.g. Courage is a virtue and cowardice is a vice.), (c) right and wrong (e.g. Helping people is right and harming them is wrong.), (d) good and evil (e.g. Happiness and well-being are good, but suffering and dispair are evil), etc.

Objective: A statement is objective if it refers to the object. For example, "Blue Bell is a company that makes ice cream," is about the company, Blue Bell. Objective statements can be true or false independently of whether anybody believes them or not.

Subjective: A statement is subjective if it refers to the subject making the claim. For example, "Blue Bell is the best ice cream in the country," is an expression of the tastes and preferences of the person making the claim. Whether it is true or false depends on the subject making the claim. It's true for a person who likes Blue Bell, but it's false for a person who does not like Blue Bell.

Relative: If the truth of a statement is relative, that means it depends on the subjective preferences of individuals or the collective preferences of groups. "Relative" in this context should not be confused with "relative" in the Theory of Relativity, in which time is relative to frames of reference.

Moral Naturalism: The view that naturalism is true and that moral facts are objectively true descriptions of the natural world[1]

Moral Relativism: The view that there are no objective moral facts, but that moral statements are subjective and/or relative as defined above.[2]

Arguments

There are two reasons I think moral relativism has more going for it than moral naturalism--(1) Moral naturalism is the mother of all is/ought fallacies, and (2) Moral relativism solves the gounding problem better than Moral naturalism does.

(1) The is/ought fallacy

One can give an exhaustive description of how the physical world is in the language of chemistry and physics. But chemistry and physics only describe what is the case. They never describe what ought to be the case. The is/ought fallacy is a mistake in reasoning in which somebody jumps from the fact that some state of affairs is the case that it therefore ought to be the case. Such a leap of logic is fallacious because it simply does not follow by any known rules of inference. Under naturalism, the universe simply is. It simply exists. But there's no particular way it ought to be. It follows that under naturalism, no state of affairs in the universe can be objectively right or wrong, good or evil.

Moral relativism does not suffer from the is/ought fallacy since moral relativists do not claim that statements of morality are objectively true. Moral statements are merely statemetns of individual or cultural sentiment and preference. For you to say, "Killing is wrong," is just to say that you value life or that you abhore killing.


(2) The grounding problem

The grounding problem in morality is the problem of establishing what makes a moral statement true (whether true in the objective sense or true in the subjective sense). Moral relativism does a better job of grounding morality than moral naturalism does. In moral relativism, moral facts are grounded in persons. In moral naturalism, moral facts either have no ground or are grounded in physical states of affairs.

Only persons ascribe value and worth to things. If there were no persons, then nothing would have value or worth. It follows that there could be no state of affairs that are good or evil unless there are persons who value them or ascribe worth to them.

Only persons have purposes. Nothing matters unless there is somebody it matters to.[3] If the physical world is all that exists, then nobody meant for us to be here. And when we are gone, it will not matter that we were here at all. It follows that nothing matters now except what matters to us. Since nothing matters apart from our own sentiments, it follows that there is no objective right and wrong.

Only persons issue commands. It follows that morals cannot be grounded in the natural world. They can only be grounded in persons. Prescriptions are a form of command since they impose obligations which people are required to obey. The universe imposes no obligations on us. The universe simply is. We are not obligated to obey a blind and indifferent universe which issues no commands. It follows that we have no moral obligations.

Conclusion

There you have it. Moral naturalism commits the is/ought fallacy, but moral relativism doesn't. Morality can be grounded in moral relativism, but morality cannot be grounded in moral naturalism. It follows that moral relativism has more going for it than moral naturalism.

Thank you for coming to tonight's debate. I look forward to my opponent's case for moral naturalism over and against moral relativism.



[1] "Moral Naturalism," Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy http://plato.stanford.edu...

[2] "Moral Relativism," Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy http://plato.stanford.edu...

[3[ "Does Anything Really Matter?," Philochristos http://philochristos.blogspot.com...




Debate Round No. 1
Center_for_Rationality

Pro

Moral Naturalism
I would like to thank my opponent for accepting this debate.
Now I would like to note to my opponent moral naturalism is (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy):"the label is more usually reserved for naturalistic forms of moral realism according to which there are objective moral facts and properties and these moral facts and properties are natural facts and properties"
Natural Law Ethics(or Neo-Aristotelian naturalism)l is specifically what I am defending which is very similar to moral law ethics, so my opponent should know it is not inconsistent with Supernaturalism as C.S. Lewis might say.

Rebuttal:
(1) Is-ought fallacy
What constitutes a good knife? One that cuts well obviously. What constitutes a bad knife? One that does not cut well. An agent that performs its function well or telos is a good agent. For example, In order for agent A to accomplish B, A must reasonably do C. The function of human agents as a whole is act rationally according to Aristotle. The function of the mind is to produce rational thoughts a mind that doesn't is considered a bad mind. Anything can be considered on basis of telos can find it"s good. What is right depends on the goal. But as Aristotle defined men, in order to be moral must act rationally. Morality is rationality. My opponent seems to think that because rationality is objective and non-changing in cannot be based on function. As Contradiction once said "Given a teleological account of human nature, there is no fact-value distinction, for value is built into fact from the very beginning. If the purpose of eyes is that they see, then it follows straightforwardly given their telos that eyes which see well are good eyes. Nature is not merely descriptive, but also prescriptive. "Ought" claims are not derived from "is" claims, but present to begin with".
(2) The grounding problem
The problem with Moral Relativism is instead of solving the grounding problem ignores it resolving it as incoherent. It resolves moral propositions as subjective mores. Moral Law ethics resolves that good is features of the objective world and it depends on the function. The fact is that moral laws do exist and moral relativism the problem for the moral relativist is they have no good answer to the question: Is there anything wrong with anything, and why? Absent this thing, morals/ethics simply becomes emotive. Rape, for example, can never be deemed wrong; the strongest statement that can be made about rape is "I don"t like it."

Moral Relativism is cannot justify itself, supposing that many morality exists has no validity on what is actually true. By dogmatically asserting that there is no truth, people have become close-minded to the possibility of knowing truth, if in fact it does exist. The problem is that Relativism usually presents itself as an interpretation of moral disagreements: It is said to be the best explanation of rationally irresolvable moral disagreements. However, once moral truth is regarded as relative, the disagreements seem to disappear. For example, someone in X who affirms S is saying suicide is right for persons in X, while someone in Y who denies S is saying suicide is not right for persons in Y.(Stanford)
Moral Naturalism seems more plausible than Moral Relativism. Moral laws are defined in terms of the function of the agent and needn"t appeal to metaphysical state nor deny the ethical norms. Oakum"s razor seems to destroy not only Relativism but Realism/Objectivism in the process. The axiom problem is solved and doesn"t necessitate an infinite regress. Moral Relativism by comparison is unjustified tolerance mechanism rather than anything that is true.

Works Cited

"Caleb's Path - Robin Schumacher's Blog." The Problems with Moral Relativism. N.p., n.d. Web. 09 Nov. 2012. <http://calebspath.blogspot.com...;.

"Ethical Theory: Classical and Contemporary Readings [Hardcover]." Ethical Theory: Classical and Contemporary Readings: Louis P. Pojman: 9780534529611: Amazon.com: Books. N.p., n.d. Web. 09 Nov. 2012. <http://www.amazon.com...;.

MacIntyre, Alasdair C. After Virtue: A Study in Moral Theory. Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame, 2007. Print.

"Moral Relativism." (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy). N.p., n.d. Web. 09 Nov. 2012. <http://plato.stanford.edu...;.
philochristos

Con

When I read in the Standford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (SEP) that moral naturalism is "usually reserved for naturalistic forms of moral realism," I assumed that's the way my opponent was using the phrase. If so it would mean he is a naturalist who thinks morals are part of the furniture of the physical universe. I am familiar with natural law theory. It was not only advocated by Aristotle, but also Thomas Aquinas, and it has a strong tradition in the Catholic church. It is defended by modern theistic philosophers such as J. Budziszewski.[1] In their case, it is certainly not a naturalistic theory of ethics. When I read my opponent's post, I questioned whether moral naturalism and natural law were really the same thing. There are separate entries for each in the SEP.[2] Neither article made reference to the other moral theory. I did, however, find one internet source by an anonymous author who said that "Both New Natural Law and Science of Morality ('SOM') are forms of (in practice) moral naturalism.[3] If so, then I have nothing to complain about except that I'm not really clear on what my opponent's position is. He says that his point of view is not inconsistent with supernaturalism, but he doesn't say whether supernaturalism is part of his point of view or what roll supernaturalism plays in it if any. That would make a huge difference in how I response, which I will explain presently.

My opponent attempts to do away with the fact/value distinction by grounding natural law in teleology, i.e. purpose or design. For example, knives are for cutting, minds are for reasoning, and eyes are for seeing. That is their purpose. But as I argued in the previous round, there can be no purpose unless somebody means for things to be a particular way. The reason knives are for cutting is because that was the intention of knife makers. If we are the accidental by-product of purely natural causes, and nobody meant for us to be here, then we don't have any purpose in any objective sense. Eyes may be useful to us insofar as they allow us to pursue our own ends, but unless somebody meant for us to have them so that we could see, they don't have any objective purpose. So it makes all the difference in the world whether my opponent grounds his moral theory in a being such as God or not. If God created eyes for the purpose of seeing, then that is their proper function, and it is good when they are successful at accomplishing that end. But if there is no God, then no moral quality can be attached to an eye's ability to see. If there is no God, then my opponent's theory commits the is/ought fallacy and is ungrounded.

So far, my opponoent hasn't defended his point of view. He has only explained it. To defend it, he's got to explain to us why we should think there is any purpose or teology in the universe. He's got to explain to us why we should think there's any objective morality at all. And since it seems to me he can only do that by appealing to a supernatural being, he's got to explain to us why we should think a supernatural being exists. In my opening, I said that although I didn't subscribe to moral naturalism or moral relativism, I could still take this debate without having to play devil's advocate. My original intention was to show that assuming naturalism, moral relativism is the better theory. But if my opponent appeals to supernaturalism to defend his argument, then I will have to play devil's advocate in order to refute his arguments. After all, I do believe in God.

My opponent faults moral relativism for not being moral objectivism. He says that moral relativism cannot tell us what is actually true about morality. Well, of course not! That's because in moral relativism, there are no objective moral truths. You can't refute moral relativism just by telling us what it is.

He says that moral relativism is problematic because moral laws do exist, but he doesn't defend that claim. He just asserts it.

In some of the things my opponent said, it's not clear whether he's got some misunderstanding about moral relativism or if he's just not being careful with how he words his sentences. For example, he says, "By dogmatically asserting that there is no truth, people have become close-minded to the possibility of knowing truth, if in fact it does exist." But moral relativism is not the view that there is no true at all. He's confusing moral relativism with epistemological relativism. Moral relativism is perfectly consistent with there being objective truths that can be known. There just aren't any objective truths about morality.

He also confuses moral relativism with emotivism. Although closely related, they are not exactly the same thing. For a moral relativist, moral statements like, "Rape is wrong," don't necessarily reduce to, "I don't like rape" or "Rape makes me feel bad." Rather, they mean "I value happiness, and rape diminishes happiness," or "I disapprove of rape." Although emotions are usually associated with what people value, they are not the same thing. People can value things and not get emotional about it, and people's emotions can be inconsistent with what they value. So moral relativism is not the same thing as emotivism.

He also says that moral relativism is an attempt to resolve moral differences. It's not clear what argument he's trying to make here. If he's saying that moral relativists appeal to differences in morality in order to prove moral relativism, then so what? What follows from that? if he means to critique this argument, then he's committing the straw man fallacy since I haven't made that argument in this debate. But if he means to say that a desire to explain moral differences is what motivates people to be moral relativists, then he's committing the genetic fallacy. What causes or motivates people to adopt a point of view doesn't tell us anything about whether that point of view is true or false.

He makes the odd claim that Occam's razor destroys, not only moral relativism, but objectivism as well. That's an odd claim since moral objectivism is part of his theory! He also says, "The axiom problem is solved and doesn't necessitate an infinite regress." i have no idea what he is talking about. What infinite regress does he think he has avoided? How does Occam's razor shave away moral relativism or objectivism? And if it does, then how has he salvaged his own theory, which is a form of moral objectivism?

In my opening, I claimed that moral relativism is a better theory than moral naturalism because moral naturalism commits the is/ought fallacy, and it leaves morality ungrounded. My opponent has attempted to solve both problems by grounding morality in natural teleology. But he has left natural teleology ungrounded, which means his theory still suffers from the two criticisms I made of it. Moral relativism doesn't suffer from either malady. And if naturalism is true, moral relativism must also be true since morality must be grounded in persons, and we are the only persons around.




[1] J. Budziszewski, Written on the Heart: The Case for Natural Law http://www.amazon.com...


[2] "Moral Naturalism" http://plato.stanford.edu...
"Natural Law Theories" http://plato.stanford.edu...

[3] "Moral Naturalism and the Naturalistic Fallacy" http://sophistintraining.wordpress.com...



Debate Round No. 2
Center_for_Rationality

Pro

"If this young man expresses himself in terms too deep for me, why, what a very singularly deep young man this deep young man must be!" The Aesthete

I apologize for my poor argument last round as I had a limited amount of time (reason being
http://www.9news.com...-)


Before I start my rebuttal and development of my case:

Moral Realism and Moral Objectivism are not the same thing:http://www.ncsu.edu...

What is the difference between a
religious philosopher and Priest?


A priest might support a theory
philosophically but not be able defend it in a secular matter; a religious
philosopher most likely can support his argument in a secular way. I consider
myself the latter I do not believe an appeal to Supernaturalism needs to be
made to bridge the is-ought gap. Aristotle certainly never appealed to
Supernaturalism in Nicomachean Ethics.


Rebuttal to Refutation of Functions

Now onto my opponents supposed refutations. My opponent claims that knifes are
for cutting because that was the intention of knife makers. He seems to claim that
there exists no function outside of intention of the maker. I fundamentally
disagree if there is no such thing as functions then we cannot make sense of
basic biology certainly my opponent agrees with the normative nature of
medicine, if my opponent is correct there is nothing objectively better about a
functioning heart versus a non-functioning heart. Certainly the nucleus had the
function of producing DNA prior to anyone noticing. According to my opponent
Medicine commits is-ought fallacy. But let’s go even further let’s suppose that
my opponent is correct again if we suppose the mind doesn't have the function
of thinking rationally then his and my argument are rationally equivalent.
Certainly my opponent’s pragmatic assertion is false that functions are subjective;
if such is true there is no reason to trust our sensibilities in that they are
only true in that they are useful. Objective purpose is inherent rather than
subjective intention. I don't intend that my eyes see they simply do. As
Contradiction explains "If we think of teleology as inherent to nature
rather than legislated by God, then this does not requires us to commit to
theism -- indeed, many neo-Aristoteleans are atheists!"


If not B than A is probable.

Not B

Therefore A is probable.

If Moral Relativism is false some form of
moral realism is true. Certainly we can conclude if moral realism is true,
Moral Naturalism is probable than Moral Relativism.

Argument from Reformers

Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr. were very important reformers in their
respective countries and helped improve quality of life for many individuals,
many of the people who were being discriminated against or unfairly taxed were
put into a greater moral state. Can Moral Relativism ground this? Moral
Relativism can say that they changed the views of the people within the
society, but there is nothing objectively better about the situation at least
not in a moral sense. All the Moral Relativist can say is the views inside a
society changed and because morals are ultimately subjective it was only moral
for the people that benefited from it. This is the real question: can morality
be based in persons? I think not just based on the definition of morality
versus mores. But let’s see if Moral Naturalism can ground this. Well we can
constitute that if more individuals have equality more individuals will
flourish. Moral Naturalism can ground morals in natural facts, teleology
explains this quite effectively.


Further Rebuttals:

[1]
Is-ought fallacy


My opponent seems to concede if natural
teleology exists than there is no is-ought fallacy. He doesn't seem to object
to the existence of natural teleology per se but seems to assume the atheistic
position automatically. Two comments:


One my inherent teleology doesn't rely on God;
two even if it did there is no reason to presuppose atheism over theism.
Furthermore there are other reasons to think that morality should be natural
rather than nonexistent. It seems that the value exists independent of the
subjective perceptions. Most people if asked whether right or wrong exists will
say yes. But why should morality be understood as anything different than
mathematics. Some people will say this is just a bunch of bare assertions
masquerading as a logical inference(thank you Dr. Tom Morris) but nonsense if
we suppose that something may or may not exist we don't automatically assume it
behaves differently than other things simply because people have mixed reports
on it. Now this is part of my argument: we needn’t suppose neither separate
ontological status nor non-existence if right or wrong is grounded in natural
teleology. It is not only the most simple answer (Okeams razor) but the most
commonsense (not to say what is true is always commonsense).


Emotivism is most definitely a form of Moral Relativism.
It doesn't ground objective moral values in ontology or natural facts. It
grounds them in persons. I think my opponent is making the fallacy of
composition here. Something can be a part of something without being something.


Rebuttal to Moral Relativism on the
basis of jurisprudence:


A implies B

Not B

Therefore not A.

If Moral Relativism is true, it logically
follows that laws cannot be based on morality only on social mores hence all
most all forms of jurisprudence of philosophy of law. The main problem with
this thesis is that if it were true there would be literally no such thing as
unjust laws. All laws are equally just simply because they are laws. Massacre
of citizens is not unjust if provided by in the law and there is nothing unjust
about discrimination laws against African-Americans. If the laws support
something it cannot be unjust.




Before my conclusion I would like to quote my
opponent "My opponent faults Moral Relativism for not being moral
objectivism"


My opponent faults me for basically explaining
the theory of Moral Relativism and claims I cannot refute Moral Relativism
simply by explaining it. He is simply incorrect. The “unpersuasiveness” of
Moral Relativism as a theory can be shown through plainly explaining it. The
implications of Moral Relativism seem rather counter-intuitive. It may be not
the case maybe it is logically coherent but it really seems incompatible with
everything we know about laws and logic.




The majority of people agree there was
something objectively wrong with Hitler killing millions of Jews but on Moral Relativism
there is nothing objectively wrong with this.


Conclusion:

Moral Relativism is a incoherent position, if
one accepts this position and rejects teleology you have to reject the
rationality of the mind. Truly morality is based in natural teleology which is
the only attainable position. It is the most commonsense position to hold and
it relies on the least amount of assumptions possible. If morality doesn't
exist it is impossible to make sense of moral intuition and unjust laws.


Works
Cited




"The
Aesthete." W. S. Gilbert's Poem:. N.p., n.d. Web. 12 Nov. 2012. .




Aristotle,
and Martin Ostwald. Nicomachean Ethics. Indianapolis [Ind.: Bobbs-Merrill,
1962. Print.




"Homosexual
Acts Are Immoral." Debate:. N.p., n.d. Web. 12 Nov. 2012.



Morris,
Thomas V. Philosophy for Dummies. Foster City, CA: IDG Worldwide, 1999. Print.

philochristos

Con

In my previous post, I said there were two things my opponent would have to do to defend his position--(1) tell us why we should think there are any objectively true moral facts, and (2) tell us why we should think there's any teleology/purpose in nature. He did take a stab at the former, but he really made no effort to defend the latter.

Purpose in nature

I said the only way he could defend teleology in nature is to ground that teleology in a personal being, such as God. But he adamantly refuses to do so, saying that "I do not believe an appeal to Supernaturalism needs to be made to bridge the is-out gap." He later goes on to say, "my inherent teleology doesn't rely on God."

I have already explained twice now why a personal being is necessary for there to be any purpose or teleology. In his response, he says that I "seem to claim that there exists no function outside of intention of the maker," but that is false. A knife can function as a screwdriver even if that was never its purpose. The problem here is that my opponent conflates "purpose" with "function." I wouldn't argue that knives (or things in nature) have no function apart from the intention of their maker. They have functions in the sense that they bring about effects. But a thing's function is not necessarily the same thing as its purpose even when there is teleology. The fact that something in nature can function a certain way doesn't tell us anything about what it's purpose is or whether it even has a purpose.

My opponent says, "My opponent seems to concede if natural teleology exists than [sic] there is no is-ought fallacy," but I don't concede that. Even if there are purposes for things in nature, that doesn't tell us what ought to be the case. For example, my opponent believes the purpose of humans is to act rationally. I can only assume (since he doesn't say) that the reason he thinks that's our purpose is because that's how we function. A good healthy mind is a mind that reasons correctly. But maybe our real purpose is to feed worms when we die, and the only purpose for our reasoning minds is so our population can flourish, enabling us to feed more worms. Since our purpose is to feed worms, then it is immoral for us to cremate our dead or put them in sealed caskets, because that frustrates our purpose. Instead, we ought to bury our dead in shallow graves so the worms can eat us.

I doubt my opponent will be persuaded by that argument. What I meant to show is that teleology in nature (if it even exists) does not bridge the is/ought gap. Something more is needed.

When you take nature as a whole apart from any divine purpose, you see that nature has no purpose. There is no ultimate goal in nature, and if you try to find one, you end up in a circular argument. Why do we have eyes? So we can see. Why do we need to see? So we can survive and reproduce. Why do we need to survive and reproduce? So when we die, we can feed the worms. Why do we need to feed the worms? So the birds will have food. Why do the birds need food? So they can survive and reproduce, etc. etc. Under moral naturalism, the life cycle becomes one big circular argument for teleology. There cannot be any objective morality under this scheme because there is no inherent purpose in nature. Even if we say that although there is no ultimate end, there are nevertheless immediate ends, we still haven't answered the question of why the whole circle exists. What is its purpose? Our life cycle is limited to earth earth. What, then, is the purpose of earth as a whole? There isn't one unless you just want to arbitrarily say, "It's to give the moon something to revolve around," or something like that.

Objective moral facts

If my opponent succeeds in showing that there are objective moral facts, he will have killed two stones with one bird. He will have shown that moral relativism is false, and he will have supported one premise of his argument for moral naturalism.

My opponent claims there is a distinction between moral realism and moral objectivism, and he gives a link to a lengthy paper on the subject, but since the distinction plays no role in his argument, and since the terms are used interchangeably in the article on moral naturalism I linked to earlier, I think we can ignore this distinction. He doesn't tell us what the distinction is anyway.

My opponent's argument against moral relativism is that it is counter-intuitive, and he gives a few examples:

(1) moral reformers

If there are no objective morals, then Ghandi and MLK Jr. only succeeded in changing society, but not in improving it. The only way there could be moral improvement is if there is some objective moral standard.

However, "improvement" can also be assessed subjectively as we reflect on the past. Since most people today value peace, freedom, and equal rights, we are in a position to say that our society is better now than it was in the past. We don't need an objective standard of morality to be able to say that.

He is right to say that from an objective point of view (i.e. from the perspective of an outsider), society only changed, but didn't improve. But so what? The argument from moral reformers only works if you assume moral objectivism, and that is to beg the question.

(2) common sense

My opponent argues that most people believe that right and wrong exist. I don't deny that, but given naturalism, there is a perfectly good explanation for it that it more consistent with moral relativism than moral realism. We can give an evolutionary account for why people have moral sentiments. Having them has helped our species survive and flourish. Morality doesn't need to be anything more than subjective and common for it to have done its job. Another way is to ground moral sentiments in empathy, which does to require any objective standard of right and wrong.

(3) unjust laws

My opponent argues that if there are no objective morals, then there can be no unjust laws. Of course there are no <i>objectively</i> unjust laws, but we can nevertheless say that laws are unjust in a relativistic culture. If the laws do not reflect the common values most people share, then they can declare them unjust. After all, laws do not always necessarily reflect majority opinion, even in a democracy. That's why they get changed from time to time, and it's why people object to power being placed in too few hands.

(4) Hitler

My opponent argues that if moral relativism is true, then Hitler didn't do anything objectively wrong. He's right. But we don't need to say Hitler did anything objectively wrong before we can say he did something wrong. What Hitler did was wrong in the sense that it went against the moral sentiments of the European (and American) community. In fact, most Germans weren't even aware of what was going on until after the war. The Allies forced German citizens to walk through the concentration camps so they would know what happened, and when they did, they were horrified.[1] They didn't approve of what happened.

Conclusion

Contrary to what my opponent says, moral relativism is actually more parsimonious than moral naturalism because it requires less assumptions. What both sides agree with is that we all have a sense of right and wrong. In moral relativism, that's all it is--a sense. But moral naturalism comes with all sorts of unsubstantiated baggage--that there's really an objective standard of right and wrong that our moral sentiments correspond to, that natural function can tell us something about teleology, and that teleology can tell us something about right and wrong. These are all problematic, but on top of that, my opponent thinks teleology can exist in nature without God. I submit that he has not even come close to defending his position and that it is quite evident from what I have argued that moral relativism is the better theory.



[1] http://www.criticalpast.com...

Debate Round No. 3
Center_for_Rationality

Pro

I thank my opponent for such a spirited and lively debate I enjoy such spirited discussion. I would ask my opponent not to post arguments next round in order to make argumentation time even :)
What my opponent had to do to win?
My opponent maybe a little more polite than me I didn't tell him how to win as he did me. My opponent had to show that morals were more likely based in persons and relative than in natural facts. My opponent seems to attempt to justify in "the grounding problem" but he really never justifies his view. He poses problems to mine as i do to his, but I believe I better justified teleology than he justified he relativistic ethics.

Teleology and Functions

My opponent attacks the without personal being aspect of inherent teleology. But as I stated before its irrelavent whether personal being exists but there is no reason to presuppose athiesm over theism. My opponent seems to think that the end of function or the effect produced cannot be the purpose. We needn't make extra assumptions, we can simply assume in accordance with Okeam our friend that simply is the purpose.


I am a simply at fault for my lack of time management. I thank my opponent for reading this debate and vote based on my round 3 and 2. I would like to thank philo for participating. Please vote Pro :)
philochristos

Con

Thank you for coming to tonight's debate, and a big "thank you" to my opponent for sticking with it to the end even though you were pressed for time.

The rest of this space is intentionally left blank for the sake of both of us having an equal number of posts.
Debate Round No. 4
5 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Posted by philochristos 1 year ago
philochristos
You're welcome. Thank YOU!
Posted by Center_for_Rationality 1 year ago
Center_for_Rationality
I am also glad you did :) Thank you Philo for the Debate
Posted by philochristos 1 year ago
philochristos
I'm glad you liked it, darkcity. It was fun for me, too.
Posted by darkcity 1 year ago
darkcity
this is the best debate I've seen all evening ; -) (and may serve as proof that God exists)
Posted by Center_for_Rationality 1 year ago
Center_for_Rationality
sorry but in round 3 i was refering to Legal Positivism :) sorry for causing confusion
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by AshleysTrueLove 1 year ago
AshleysTrueLove
Center_for_RationalityphilochristosTied
Agreed with before the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
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Who had better conduct:-Vote Checkmark-1 point
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Total points awarded:51 
Reasons for voting decision: Conduct goes to Con obviously for not fundementally forfeiting last round. Spelling and grammar about even. I thought that the rational equilvence was challenge was never answered and that solved convincing arguments. And I thought Pro used more and(as he didn't cite himself) better sources. Great debate other than last round.