The Instigator
SANTORUM2012
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
Cody_Franklin
Con (against)
Winning
12 Points

Morality: Subjective or Objective

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 3 votes the winner is...
Cody_Franklin
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 9/3/2012 Category: Politics
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 3,636 times Debate No: 25437
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (3)
Votes (3)

 

SANTORUM2012

Pro

My position is that Morality is Objective.

*Any source may be used controversial or not.

Objective morality means that there are set rules for behavior that cannot be changed.

Subjective Morality means rules for behavior change on who you are, what you believe, and what time frame you are in.

Round 1- acceptance/definitions

Round 2- opening arguments

Round 3- Rebuttals/closing arguments

Rules

1. debate will be respectful
2. any sources may be used to make ones point
3. all sources named in last round (makes debate flow easier)
Cody_Franklin

Con

I accept. :)
Debate Round No. 1
SANTORUM2012

Pro

1.Morality Subjective or Objective?
Morality (conformity to the rules of right conduct; moral or virtuous conduct) is something humanity has been struggling with since the beginning of time so the question is posed, Is morality Subjective or Objective?

2.Subjective Morality

Subjective Morality is the belief that morality changes depending on a persons (or nations) feelings, changes, or beliefs.

Example: Homosexuality

In the case of subjective morality dealing with gay marriage is the fact that while homosexuality was once considered "wrong" and "unjust" people have changed, times have changed therefore gay marriage should be allowed because people believe that if there is a rule, it should change if a society feels it is no longer of importance.

3.Objective Morality

Objective Morality is the belief that while times and people may change, right and wrong does not.

Example: Homosexuality (using same example to show direct diversity)

Homosexuality in the case of objective morality states that while some people claim to be in love with the opposite sex and that they feel they were "born gay", it does not give them the right to claim that being gay is okay. If homosexuality was immoral 3,000 years ago, it is still immoral today.

4.Why morality is objective

Morality is objective because right and wrong are always right and wrong no matter what.

Here are a few examples

1.You would teach a child not to steal because it is wrong. So, what if the child decides when it is eighteen that they believe that stealing is right to them? Does it make it right?
2.That same child decides that they want to jump off the empire state building because they believe they can fly. Just because they believe it is it any more unlikely that they will die?

Of course not! Just because someone simply believes and feels someway doesn't make it at all true.

This shows morality cannot be subjective and that there is only one right and wrong.

When morality is subjective it gives laws, rules, and morals less values. Perhaps, our nation decides as a whole that "late term abortion" is okay. It doesn't mean it is.

I'm just demonstrating a few examples to why subjective morality is simply not the case. You cannot simply run a nation depending on how people "feel" about something.
Cody_Franklin

Con

R2 Theme: Bach, "Brandenburg Concerto #5".

Before I jump into the heart of this discourse, I want to clarify something about the idea of subjectivism--by Pro's wording, subjective ethics, understood as the view that morality changes based on context, seems to indicate that objective moral truth changes. Pro does not seem necessarily to accept that interpretation, but I want to make it clear that subjectivism does not imply that the objectivity of a moral code is refreshed with each successive alteration; rather, I argue, subjectivism can be understood as claiming that morality is something experienced only subjectively--that is, that moral evaluations are only products of the natural course of a subject's pursuit of its interests, rather than of some mind-indepenent fact which validates the content of normative propositions.

So, as in the case of homosexuality, subjectivism does not necessarily commit itself to the idea that changing attitudes suddenly change the objective moral status of an activity. In other words: subjectivism may entail that moral evaluations consist only in expressive statements reflecting preconceived emotional dispositions. It is not that peoples' changing attitudes toward homosexuality makes it objectively "right"; rather, I argue that homosexuality has no inherent moral status (i.e., it isn't right or wrong), and that our moral sentiments always break down to (often collective) subjective preferences.

Moving to the main body of Pro's advocacy, I want to premise by observing that argumentation doesn't start until (4) in Pro's case structure. So, this is where I will start. For signposting reasons, I'll structure my rebuttal under a section header with lettered subpoints. My particular counterarguments will be numbered from there,

"Why morality is objective"

a. "Morality is objective because right and wrong are always right and wrong no matter what... You would teach a child not to steal because it is wrong. So, what if the child decides when it is eighteen that they believe that stealing is right to them? Does it make it right?"

1. The question for debate is whether there are any moral propositions which are verifiably objectively true. Hence, Pro does not have the luxury of starting with the proposition that stealing is wrong--this is an example of the very thing we're investigating. Generally put, we cannot begin from the position that objective right and wrong are legitimate classes, because we're trying to find out whether they actually are.

2. I have never claimed, implicitly or otherwise, that someone believing that stealing is right makes it morally "legitimate". As I pointed out, the root of moral experience in sets of subjective preferences suggests that stealing per se does not carry an intrinsic moral status.

b. "That same child decides that they want to jump off the empire state building because they believe they can fly. Just because they believe it is it any more unlikely that they will die?... This shows that morality cannot be subjective and that there is only one right and wrong."

1. While it is pretty likely that one cannot fly just through unmediated willpower, using this case an an analogy to ethics leave us with an indeterminate conclusion--while it might be true (albeit irrelevant to my rebuttal) that believing X to be morally permissible/praiseworthy/justified does not make it so, the same is true for the converse--assuming that X is immoral also does not make it so. On this view, moral objectivists encounter as much difficulty verifying the objectivity of their ethics as Pro claims subjectivists encounter when trying to modify allegedly "objective" moral propositions with their own subjective preferences.

2. As noted prior, Pro attempts to trap us in a false dichotomy--objective morality or a self-defeating conception of ethical subjectivism which entails holding multiple, conflicting ethical statements to be equally legitimate; however, there are naturally other routes. As many of my prior debates might suggest, I argue a conception of subjectivism according to which meta-ethical propositions find their only source of verification in the discursive fiat of the speaker (and subsequent agreement among the speaker's colleagues). So, normative pluralism isn't my only option. I can also maintain the nihilist thesis that there are no justifiable normative/meta-ethical frameworks, which functions as a kind of descriptive subjectivism (insofar as it only remarks that multiple frameworks exist--not that they're sound).

c. "You cannot simply run a nation depending on how people "feel" about something."

This is only true if you assume that morality is objective. Since that's what's up for debate, I'm free to counter that, if my thesis is true (or at least more compelling), then we always already administrate political affairs based on how people "feel". And, if people like moral psychologist Jonathan Haidt are correct, then much of our moral reasoning is only post hoc justification for intuitions to which we've already committed ourselves. In other words, Haidt suggests that we use reasoning to retrospectively validate what we already believe [http://billmoyers.com...] [http://www.ted.com...]

Just One More Thing...

One last "big picture" thing: not all ethical realists agree that a morality whose prescriptions change based on context is subjectivist. Pro is, I think, confusing moral absolutism and moral objectivism. Absolutism, which tends to hold that things simply are categorically right or wrong, regardless of circumstance (consider the deontologists, particularly Kant) [http://en.wikipedia.org...]; moral objectivism, on the other hand--particularly consequentialist theories--only hold that there is some objective ethical truth, even if the practical application of that truth varies based on context. Act utilitarianism, for instance, is the representative par excellence of a framework which rejects rigid absolutist distinctions between the always-right and the always-wrong. Whereas Kant would say that actions-in-themselves can be judged according to the maxim from which they're derived, [act] utilitarians argue that a good action is one which conforms to a maximization principle (where the object can be utility, happiness, pleasure, etc.).

Back to Pro.
Debate Round No. 2
SANTORUM2012

Pro

SANTORUM2012 forfeited this round.
Cody_Franklin

Con

Pro forfeits.
Debate Round No. 3
3 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Posted by philochristos 4 years ago
philochristos
Unfair use of Bach!!! :-)
Posted by Cody_Franklin 4 years ago
Cody_Franklin
If you have a good rebuttal, then start a new debate to pick up where we left off.
Posted by SANTORUM2012 4 years ago
SANTORUM2012
very sorry of the forfeit...basketball and school got hectic and i forgot i had 48 hour limit I had a good rebuttal too! good debate :)
3 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Vote Placed by RyuuKyuzo 4 years ago
RyuuKyuzo
SANTORUM2012Cody_FranklinTied
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Total points awarded:04 
Reasons for voting decision: Well, that was easy enough.
Vote Placed by Yep 4 years ago
Yep
SANTORUM2012Cody_FranklinTied
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Reasons for voting decision: FF
Vote Placed by KuriouserNKuriouser 4 years ago
KuriouserNKuriouser
SANTORUM2012Cody_FranklinTied
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Total points awarded:04 
Reasons for voting decision: Arguments: Con pointed out various fallacies in Pro's argument to which she never responded (begging the question, false dichotomy). Con used Pro's own arguments against her (i.e. "...while it might be true that believing X to be morally justified does not make it so, the same is true for the converse..."). Con then moves beyond her false dichotomy to present a rational alternative to moral pluralism. Conduct: Pro forfeits R3.