The Instigator
bigdebater5
Con (against)
Losing
1 Points
The Contender
batman01
Pro (for)
Winning
9 Points

Morality/Right and Wrong

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 2 votes the winner is...
batman01
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 11/10/2016 Category: Society
Updated: 3 weeks ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 210 times Debate No: 96891
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (2)
Votes (2)

 

bigdebater5

Con

There is no way to say what is really right or wrong. How do we know if something is truly good or truly bad? Because we can not tell how our actions will effect others or even the world, nothing can be good and nothing can be bad. There are simply actions and consequences and these actions can not be categorized. Many people say "it is bad to kill" but how do we really know that? What if by killing one person you are saving 20, doesn't that make killing good? Some religions believe in a god, or gods, but how do we know that god or those gods are trust worthy?
batman01

Pro

I am not exactly sure what exactly it is that you want to debate but it concerned morality so I accepted. I assume you have made the following claim:

There is no moral objectivity (or in other words there is no such thing as a moral fact). In other words, you have claimed that there are no absolute moral axioms.

If you agree that this is what you claimed we will debate this if you disagree please say so and then give a more precise claim.

I assume the first round is for acceptance only in which case I am done.

Best of luck to my opponent.
Debate Round No. 1
bigdebater5

Con

You can not have an absolute moral axiom. An absolute moral axiom serves as a measure of morality where Consequences and exceptions are not considered. Because there are to many exceptions that can be said for any rule, an absolute moral axiom can not exist.. Also, if you are to analyze and examine an "Absolute Moral Axiom", the question "Why should one do the things prescribed" is brought up. When answering this question, you must consider consequences for yourself, others, and all concerned, therefore diminishing the purpose of an Absolute Moral Axiom.

Thank you for assisting me in clearing up my statement. That is precisely what I was aiming to say.
batman01

Pro

I think it is quite obvious that there can be a moral axiom which is absolute in all circumstances. I would argue that indeed there is really only one moral axiom which comprises all of morality:

AXIOM: Do good, avoid evil.

This is of course a little too loose on what good and evil actually are and could be revised to the equivalent:

AXIOM: Do what you think is good, avoid what you think is evil.

This obviously has allowed subjectivity, we do what we think is good and avoid what we think is evil but the existence of subjectivity in the interpretation of good and evil does not diminish the objectivity (and therefore the status as axiom) of the statement. One could probably go further if they really wanted to by adding the axiom:

AXIOM: Do what you think is good, avoid what you think is evil. Where good is defined as the maximum possible state of pleasure you can create for conscious beings and evil is of course the maximum possible state of pain.

Here we define goodness as doing things which will make conscious beings (humans) happy and we define evil as the opposite. I can see no objection to this. I can think of nothing good which would cause more pain than pleasure among conscious beings. This refutes my opponent's statement that any moral law will have exceptions.

The answer to 'why you should follow the moral axiom' point that my opponent is I think deceptively simple. We should do this because this is how we are, in a basic sense, programmed to behave. This is really the very definition of morality. Morality is a series of Evolutionary processes which makes us act more kindly or compassionately upon those around us. Morality is advantageous for the existence of the human species (which is why my moral axiom extends less to things with less consciousness like dogs or pigs and not at all to things with no consciousness like rocks or sticks).

I think I have shown an absolute moral axiom. Good luck to my opponent.
Debate Round No. 2
bigdebater5

Con

The general definition of an absolute in regards to philosophy is "a value or principle that is regarded as universally valid or that may be viewed without relation to other things." Not in regards to philosophy, absolute is defined as "viewed or existing independently and not in relation to other things; not relative or comparative.
By stating that an axiom can be absolute, I am assuming you are saying that the said axiom is consistent from person to person without exceptions. A person can consider one thing good that another person considers to be bad. Therefore, neither good or bad is absolute. If a human being gets pleasure from inflicting pain on others, by the definition you have stated inflicting pain on others would be good. To the people that the pain is being inflicted on the action of inflicting pain on others would be evil, thus causing the axiom "Do Good, avoid evil" to cease to be absolute.

Furthermore, there is no evidence stating that humans are "programmed to behave" in any specific way. On the contrary, many psychologist believe humans are born with a "blank slate." The more common belief is that a humans morality is formed by experiences and the culture that we exist in.
batman01

Pro

Rebuttal 1: "Furthermore, there is no evidence stating that humans are "programmed to behave" in any specific way."

Firstly we are obviously programmed to behave in a certain way; take for example altruism, empathy, and compassion. Humans are programmed to have each of these three traits to some extent because these qualities are necessary in individuals for group societies to survive. These traits are not unique to humans and can be seen in creatures which most certainly do not have a complex socially enforced morality like termites, ants, and bees. We learn sympathy and self-sacrifice solely through evolution. In that sense we are of programmed (see http://webspace.ship.edu...) so that we may maximally survive.

Rebuttal 2: "If a human being gets pleasure from inflicting pain on others, by the definition you have stated inflicting pain on others would be good."

This is not at all what I said. What I said was that one should act so that the highest amount of pleasure is given to the greatest amount of people. Here I advocate for a societal Utilitarianism. Therefore causing pain to others just because it gives you a fleeting bit of pleasure would still be considered immoral because the amount of pain caused to others would almost obviously be greater than the amount of pleasure you have given yourself. I defined good as "giving the greatest amount of pleasure to the greatest amount of conscious beings." A moral person determines every action through a sort of hedonistic calculus and does not justify an act as good just because it gives one individual pleasure.

You have assumed that the person in question would consider inflicting pain good just because it gave him pleasure. Most minds do not work like that. There is a great amount of people who I think would gain a lot of pleasure from rape yet they realize that this act is immoral because the amount of pleasure they might receive would be outweighed by the amount of pain the person they raped would receive. This is hedonistic calculus at work, it is going on in our minds all the time.

Rebuttal 3: "A person can consider one thing good that another person considers to be bad. Therefore, neither good or bad is absolute."

I have never argued that good and bad is absolute. I have argued that the moral axiom "Do good and avoid evil' is absolute. Notice how in my first argument I write it as 'do what you think is good' and 'avoid what you think is evil.' This is an axiom which is universal because it is an axiom that everyone should be following. Nobody should be doing what they think is evil and avoiding what they think is good. This is why the axiom is universal. You have confused the axiom by saying that it ceases to apply if somehow two people disagree on what good and evil is, but this is not the case. The axiom orders every human to do what they think is good and avoid what they think is evil because this is the exact definition of acting morally. Because morality is not objective in value it could be defined as 'Do what you think is good and avoid what you think is evil.'

I can think of no situation in which this axiom ceases to apply and I believe I have successfully refuted my opponent's attempt to create a situation in which this axiom would not apply.
Debate Round No. 3
2 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Posted by TheShaun 2 weeks ago
TheShaun
Most morals are not absolute, but there technically are a couple that are universally agreed on even by the people who lack the empathy to abide by them. Like how a person of sound mind knows that torture is immoral, even if they are a mean person that does not care and does it anyway due to their own selfishness. They still recognize it as an immoral action.
Posted by BMHTheGreat 4 weeks ago
BMHTheGreat
There is a clear distinction between right/wrong and good/bad. Is this an argument stating that you cannot classify actions as good or bad, or that you cannot classify them as right or wrong?
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by TheShaun 2 weeks ago
TheShaun
bigdebater5batman01Tied
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: They pretty much were even on each voting category, but Pro was technically more correct than Con.
Vote Placed by Philosophy123 3 weeks ago
Philosophy123
bigdebater5batman01Tied
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Total points awarded:16 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro it seems showed an example of an actual moral axiom which appears to be absolute. Because of this s/he has proved con wrong. I do give conduct to Con however as s/he seems more courteuous and nicer