The Instigator
phantom
Pro (for)
Winning
10 Points
The Contender
The_Fool_on_the_hill
Con (against)
Losing
0 Points

Moral motivism is more probable than consequence theory

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 2 votes the winner is...
phantom
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 8/11/2012 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 5,186 times Debate No: 25111
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (14)
Votes (2)

 

phantom

Pro

Resolution is in the title.

I've set the restrictions so that only someone ranked as good as or better than me can accept.

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Burden of proof
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The BoP is equal. We each have the same burden in proving which theory is better.

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Definitions
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There are three major theories in regards to this area of morality; motivism, consequence and deontological theory. Deontological theory will not be discussed here.

Motivism - The theory that the moral worth (whether it is good or bad) of an action depends upon the motive from which the act was done.

Immanuel Kant is one noted motivist philosopher.


Consequence theory - The theory that the moral worth (whether it is good or bad) of an action depends upon the affects, or consequences, the action has.

Utilitarianism is one noted moral philosophy that holds to consequence theory.

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Rules/structure/clarifications
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No semantics

Objective morality is presupposed for this debate.

One forfeit results in loss of the conduct point.
Two forfeits results in loss of the debate.

Voters are not to vote on the source point. If claims are made that require sources but no sources are given, simply treat those claims as weak and unsubstantiated claims.

1st round is acceptance.

There are to be no new arguments made in the final round.
The_Fool_on_the_hill

Con

The Fool: Accepted!
Debate Round No. 1
phantom

Pro

Well, I do not know how my opponent bypassed the requirements I set. But I know he's knowledgeable in philosophy so I won't make a fuss about it and thank him for accepting.


Case


In order to demonstrate my case, let's take one consequentialist philosophy I mentioned earlier, utilitarianism. Utilitarianism posits that actions are good based on whether they increase or decrease the net-happiness, thus based solely on consequence. I will use utilitarianism for sake of demonstration but of course, my arguments could apply to any ethical philosophy.

As stated, Kant was an advocate of motivism and made attacks on consequence theory. He writes "Nothing can possibly be conceived in the world, or even out of it, which can be called good without qualifications, except a good will." Consequence theory is irrational. It has little plausible to say about moral worth. The man who tortures babies for fun could be committing a morally good act while the man who gives food to the starving man out of compassion could be committing an immoral act. It would all be dependent on what random and unknowable consequences might occur from that one action. The same goes for things which would largely be considered ammoral, like riding your bike or poping a baloon. Simple facts like that make the theory immediately repellant but not just from emotional reasons. Consequentialism alleviates any rationality in moral choice. What if you are 100% justified in not knowing that the act you committed by moral motives, lead to negative consequences? It could not be deemed immoral, for as already stated, it was justified!

It is completely irrational to say acts which were justified are immoral. Justification ties right into morality. For example, if all self-aware factors of my life point towards x being right while y is actually what is right, am I not justified in doing x? In fact, would it not be assumed that I would do x? If I did not do x, then I would be doing something contrary to what everything around me was telling was right, thus I would in fact be acting contrary to what seemed morally obvious. It would be irrational to not do x even if y were right. X would be the only rational and plausible choice from my limited perspective, thus I would be fully justified to do x. And to take that further, it would be more moral to do x than y, since doing x would be acting according to my moral conscience and knowledge, while y would be acting according to what none of my moral cognisance posited.

Furthermore, I would strongly contend that knowledge is a prerequisite of morality. For, moral knowledge and awareness is what gives us moral free-will. It is why in the event of a court case, when a mentally ill person is on trial, we deal much differently than in the case of a mentally well person. We realize that factors irrelevant to his will influenced his actions and thus he is not, or not entirely, to blame. If a mentally challenged person were to slap you in your face solely due to his mental disabilities, we would not blame him but the disability. Mental disabilities influence moral actions just as knowledge disabilities do. If I have no way of knowing what the right choice is, I am not morally responsible for which choice I make. If I however, know which choice is right and which choice is wrong, I am morally responsible. And if I believe one choice to be right and the other wrong and act on motive, I am also responsible.

I believe it to be a rather inescapable point. Suppose you're at the beach with your friend. Your friend buys an ice-cream cone, and you suggest they walk down to the rocks. On their way there, your friend stumbles over a small hole that he didn't see and drops his ice-cream. He proceeds to blame you, his reasons being that if you hadn't suggested they go to the rocks, he would have never stepped in the hole and thus would have never dropped his ice-cream cone. It is inarguable that your actions lead to him dropping the ice-cream, but are his complaints rightly directed at you? Are you really to blame? I'm guessing that anyone put into the situation would be indignant that your friend would actually be blaming you for something that happened entirely unforeseeable and out of your control. However, taken consequence theory, you would be committing an immoral act by suggesting they go to the rocks (again assuming utilitarianism for sake of debate). Taking this principle, responsibility of actions are entirely out of the equation, only the latter consequences. This is clearly fallacious thinking. Am I not not only morally accountable for an action if I am responsible? As Kant argues, a person who keeps promises by accident is not acting morally. In the same way, a person who accidentally causes happiness should not be considered a moral person. He is only acting morally if he understands that he should keep his promise. Moral acts, if they exist, should be based upon whether the individual understands the nature of the act. By consequence theory, even killing a homeless man for his blanket, could turn out to be a morally good act, and stopping the murder could be a morally bad one.

I'll hand it over to con.
The_Fool_on_the_hill

Con

The Fool:

A fool best interpretation of The Phantoms argument:

Consequence theory - The theory that the moral worth (whether it is good or bad) of an action depends upon the affects, or consequences, the action has.

However (if and only if) this was a correct moral theory [then] it would imply and absurd account to morality.

e.g

P1 that peoples actions with good intention/knowledge may turn out to have bad consequences.

C1 Thus according to consequence theory they would be deemed bad action and may even bad people.

On the other hand

P2 that peoples actions with Bad intention/knowledge may turn out to have Good consequences.

C2 But according to consequence theory there action are good and we may even attribute these people as Good people.

Summary if consequence theory is true it would not be able to account for Good actions/people or Bad actions/people when opposite and inadvertent consequences happen to arise.

The Fool: If these is not a fair and just summary of The phantasm argument I will stand corrected ion next round when hedemonstrates its injustness.



A foolish charge!

Begging the question:

The Fool: My first attact would be to point out that the argument Begs the question that Motivism, is true. It suggests that consequentialism is wrong, because we should think the motive is what makes action good of bad.

Strawman of consequentialism: Its an incomplete account to consequentialist theory.

The Idea in consequentialism is that the most important calculation in moral decision is to take into account Consequence as part of the motive and knowledge base of the action. Not that the actual outcome post affect can go back in time and be the judge of the action or agent. Obviously this this would be absurd for the many intelligent proponent of consequentialism. IF it was that simple not body would hold this position. Its most more complicated than that.

Fair??

Vote Fool!

Debate Round No. 2
phantom

Pro

My opponents overview of my argument is largely short and only scrapes the surface of what I argued. He does not mention issues I highlighted such as moral free-will, non-responsibility and justification. As con has failed to respond to many of my arguments, please extend those.

Con has also failed to adequately support his side. As agreed upon, there is a shared burden of proof. My opponent has chosen however to only address my case while not making one of his own.

I shall now address my opponents two contentions.

"Begging the question"

I'm not sure I entirely get my opponents point. I am not assuming motivism is true. I'm assuming that either motivism or consequence theory is true. In the context of this debate that is a true dichotomy. I personally believe in a more revised form of motivism but we're arguing between two theories and on which one is more probable, or superior. It is therefore acceptable, for purpose of debate, to assume that one or the other is true. One of the presuppositions of the debate even was that objective morality is true. We are just debating on which of two moral theories is more likely. I am simply arguing that motive has more worth than consequence.

"Straw man"

Con accuses me of straw manning him but I would have to very strongly contend that assertion.

It is true that certain versions of consequentialism posit consequence to be only the main factor and not the sole factor. However, the definition I posted in the beginning says entirely the opposite. Now I do fully support the arguing of definitions in a debate if one is incorrect, but I hope the viewers will find con has no ground in his objections. I would also wish to assert the point that con has a large burden in arguing his definition, If both definitions are fitting, the first (mine) is to be assumed. My opponent has to prove my definition is implausible. That is hard to do as I can quote direct philosophical material that supports my definition.

From Philosophy Made Simple, Richard Popkin and Avrum Stroll page 47

http://www.scribd.com...

Motivist ethical theory:

"the rightness or wrongness of an action depends upon the motive from which the act was done."

Consequence theory:

"the rightness or wrongness of an action depends entirely upon the effects that the action has"

As the viewers can note, I have and authoritative source backing the definitions I used. I wanted to debate the definitions provided like in this book. I am sure my opponent can find a definition that fits his version perfectly but then I would just go back to pointing to cons burden. He has to show that mine is not fitting. Not that his is fitting or even is more fitting but that mine is not worthy of recognition. Mine is clearly plausible as two philosophers and university professors use it in their book.

It should be further noted that even if we were to take my opponents definition, he still has directed no efforts into substantiating its plausibility thus his argument has no impact.


My opponent has done nothing to make a case of his own thus has gained no ground in accomplishing his shared burden of proof. This entails default to pro as I am the only one who has made arguments to support my case.
The_Fool_on_the_hill

Con


Objection and replies: The essentials.


The Phantom: Objections to last Round



  1. Arguments on moral free-will, non-responsibility and justification were not taken account.

  2. My representation of Consequence theory is backed by an Authoritative source. http://www.scribd.com......

  3. Motivist ethical theory: "The rightness or wrongness of an action depends upon the motive from which the act was done."

  4. Consequence theory: "The rightness or wrongness of an action depends entirely upon the effects that the action has"



The Fool: Replies



  1. Arguments on moral free-will, non-responsibility and justification were not taken account.


The Fool: The approach I took concerning Phantoms argument was deriving the formal and necessary premises which his informal version depended on, which I felt in the end summarizes into the following propositions.



The Fools Summarised formal version of Phantoms argument. 2nd summary.


P1 if consequence theory is true it would not be able to account for Good actions/people or Bad actions/people when opposite and inadvertent consequences happen to arise.


P2 these are indispensible considerations that need to be taken account of in a moral theory


C1 Therefore it should not be taken as a serious moral theory.”


The Fool: I hope I had made it clear enough that I was ready to account for anything I missed out on in the next round, and as promised I will address his concerns.



A. moral free-will, non-responsibility , justification


- “For, moral knowledge and awareness is what gives us moral free-will”


-Non-responsibility is based on the notion that people or their action can be deemed Good or bad regardless if they have acted out of responsibility or not.


-Will, justification is inherent in the moral knowledge and intentionality already.



The Fool: I felt and I still do feel that these factors where taken account in the first summary:


“P1 that peoples actions with good intention/knowledge may turn out to have bad consequences.”


“P2 that peoples actions with Bad intention/knowledge may turn out to have Good consequences.”


C1 Thus according to consequence theory they would be deemed bad action and may even bad people.


C2 But according to consequence theory there action are good and we may even attribute these people as Good people.




  1. Moral free-will: was taken into account by moral knowledge(P1 &P2)

  2. Non-responsibility were taken in to account by the (C1&C2)

  3. Justification: being inherent in the combination of intention and knowledge of a moral decision. ((P1 &P2) (C1&C2))


I hope I have satisfied and addressed Phantoms concerns.



2nd set of Replies. On the strawman


Phantoms representation of Consequence theory and motivismis backed by an Authoritative source. http://www.scribd.com......


Motivist ethical theory: "The rightness or wrongness of an action depends upon the motive from which the act was done."


Consequence theory: "The rightness or wrongness of an action depends entirely upon the effects that the action has"


The Fool: The problems with both these representations is that they are both ridiculously insufficient on their own. I am assuming that they are for a Beginners course on philosophy, which is just to lead you in to a more complex understanding of moral theory in later years. The truth is no body in their right mind would indorse either or as stated


Let’s say Motivism is true as defined. Then even Hitler would be morally correct as long as he felt that it was in the best intention for humanity. Mind you he really did think that. The rest of phantom argument goes beyond his definition.


Thus I my argument holds:


The Idea in consequentialism is that the most important calculation in moral decision is to take into account Consequence as part of the motive and knowledge base of the action. Not that the actual outcome post affect can go back in time and be the judge of the action or agent. Obviously this this would be absurd for the many intelligent proponent of consequentialism. IF it was that simple not body would hold this position. Its most more complicated than that.


http://en.wikipedia.org...


Consequentialims Has so many facet that the definition here hardy captures it at all.


Debate Round No. 3
phantom

Pro

Even if we were to take my opponents definition, there is still absolutely no reason why you should not vote pro. Con has a shared burden of proof but has almost completely neglected it. He has hardly made a case of his own for why consequence has more moral worth than motive. Not only has he not made a case of his own, but he has done little actual refuting of my arguments save the assertion that my definition is wrong. Even if we take his definition, my arguments still completely stand since they all prove that motive is better than consequence. I could easily accept his definition and concede mine false and still be confident I had won the debate.

I would also like to remind the viewers that this is the last round so if con were to make any new arguments, it would be blatantly poor conduct as is always when new arguments are made in the last round which the instiator cannot respond to. Therefore con has passed by his chance to make his case and so it is impossible for him to accomplish his burden. This leaves a pro vote as the only alternative as I am the only one who has argued according to his burden of proof.

Rebuttal


What refutation my opponent does direct to my arguments I'm afraid consists mostly of either bare assertions or misrepresentations. As the viewers will remember, I stated various arguments such as non-responsibility, moral free will and justification. I demonstrated that taking consequence theory, we could be committing good/bad acts while not being responsible for those actions. I also stated that assuming consequentialism, we would not have moral free will. Lastly I contended that taking consequence theory, justification would not be taken into account when justification should tie right into morality.

In order to refute me, my opponent would have to go down one or more of two possible avenues of approach. Firstly he would have to argue that those mentioned factors are not really relevant to morality thus rendering my arguments null. Secondly he could argue that those factors do matter but consequentialism is not exclusive of them. He has done neither of those.

To reiterate, if all factors in our lives pointed to x being right, we would be justified in assuming that x was right, even if it was not. This is a simple analogy of what justice is. Justice is not based upon what happens to turn out best or correct. It's about whether your position was plausibly acceptable when taking into account other factors and limitations.

My opponent states, "Non-responsibility is based on the notion that people or their action can be deemed Good or bad regardless if they have acted out of responsibility or not." I really can't make much sense of this. I do not detect anything that would refute my position. Furthermore, that is not what I mean by non-responsibility. My argument was that if we take consequentialism, we could commit immoral/moral acts without even being morally responsible for those acts. It's like the analogy I gave in the second round. Causing your friend to drop his ice-cream by suggesting you walk over to a different part of the beach is not immoral because you were not responsible for it in any morally plausible way.


The alleged strawman

I have given the authority source backing my definition of consequantialism and my opponent has gone to say the definitions were most likely just for beginners to prepare for more complex theories. Well, as I have only even had a real interest in philosophy since this year, even if we were to take my opponents proposition that the definition is just for beginners, I hardly think that would matter. Besides, am I not allowed to use an intermediate definition if I wish? I can use any definition I want so long as I can back it up...And I have backed it up.

Furthermore, my opponent is just simply incorrect when he treats it as something no-one in their right mind would advocate. One of the most comment ethical philosophies in fact subscribes to it; utilitarianism. I will quote a definition of the principle of utility. "The principle of utility states that actions or behaviors are right in so far as they promote happiness or pleasure, wrong as they tend to produce unhappiness or pain."

http://inside.msj.edu...

As you can see, utilitarianism is clearly a philosophy that corresponds exactly to my definition. My opponent can no longer say my definition is just introductory for beginners.

As far as what my opponent states about Hitler, I think him incorrect. Hitler acted on selfish, sadistic racist principles. It is laughable to say he acted from moral standards.


Having said all that, I would simply ask my opponent, so what? So what about the definition? Even if we do accept that consequence is not the only factor to morality but just the main one, is it still not an implausible theory? I think the viewers will find my points still very safely stand whether we accept my opponents definition or not thus I would like to ask for a pro vote.
The_Fool_on_the_hill

Con

The_Fool_on_the_hill forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
14 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by phantom 4 years ago
phantom
I'd love to. I'm in three pretty big debates currently though so I don't want to start immediately. I've got college and a job.
Posted by Stephen_Hawkins 4 years ago
Stephen_Hawkins
Phantom, if you want, we can try and do this debate between us, or on Utilitarianism v Kantian Ethics.
Posted by Man-is-good 4 years ago
Man-is-good
RFD...An interesting debate very well degenerated; Con ignored/did not fulfill the shared burden assigned to him and chose quite some dubious avenues to approach Pro's intricate argument--accusing of both begging the premise, using an inauthentic definition, and strawmanning the ethical philosophy that Pro critiques. None of this addresses Pro's points well--that to subscribe to moral motivism would be to subscribe to possibly random outcomes to dictate the moral nature of an action, that "justification ties right into morality" and is to be filtered by the requisite knowledge that influences the effectuating of the act, and that thus moral free-will is denied under such a framework with no emphasis upon individual awareness or knowledge. The debate devolved from an interesting philosophical discussion to a war about definitions, summaries, and so forth, but then again such is the fate for any seemingly promising debates...
Posted by phantom 4 years ago
phantom
I mentioned some of them in my round 3. They're all in my round 2 though.
Posted by The_Fool_on_the_hill 4 years ago
The_Fool_on_the_hill
The Fool: Tell me. I will add them..
Posted by The_Fool_on_the_hill 4 years ago
The_Fool_on_the_hill
The Fool: Yeah I was, but I thought I captured the Logcal deduction in the over all argument. I mean you gave examples But I grabbed the premises and concusion of the section. What premises did I miss??
Posted by phantom 4 years ago
phantom
Were you pressed for time? You only touched the surface.
Posted by The_Fool_on_the_hill 4 years ago
The_Fool_on_the_hill
The Fool: I enjoy an honest debate I take most rational interpretation I can.
Posted by phantom 4 years ago
phantom
It wasn't the best wording I agree, and realized afterwards, but I think the purpose of the debate is clear so don't think it matters too much.
Posted by Cody_Franklin 4 years ago
Cody_Franklin
"more probable"

How do you go about assigning probability scores to normative frameworks, brah?
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by AshleysTrueLove 4 years ago
AshleysTrueLove
phantomThe_Fool_on_the_hillTied
Agreed with before the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
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Total points awarded:50 
Reasons for voting decision: Phantom made a longer more philosophical case and got a ff and used more reliable sources.
Vote Placed by Man-is-good 4 years ago
Man-is-good
phantomThe_Fool_on_the_hillTied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
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Total points awarded:50 
Reasons for voting decision: See RFD in comments. It is not a very long explication, to be honest. As for conduct, that alone can be deducted due to Con's forfeit; spelling and grammar were noticeably more uneven for Con's side, who admittedly....doesn't write the clearest or most grammatically-precise cases.