The Instigator
BennyW
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
Phoenix_Reaper
Con (against)
Winning
15 Points

Morality is Necessarily Absolute

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 4 votes the winner is...
Phoenix_Reaper
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 5/31/2011 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 6 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,568 times Debate No: 16802
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (4)
Votes (4)

 

BennyW

Pro

Morality is absolute and not relative to each individual or society.

My opponent must show that morality is relative even in some circumstances. As there are several forms of moral relativism, I will leave it up to my opponent to explain his position completely and clearly.

Round 1 is for establishing our positions
Round 2 is when the debating begins
Round 3-4 is answering rebuttals
Round 5 is for closing statements and wrapping up the arguments.

I wish my opponent luck
Phoenix_Reaper

Con

I accept this debate.

My stance is that morality is not absolute. That morality is subjective to all situations and vary from person to person. To clearly make my stance I am a Moral Nihilist.

The Oxford handbook of Ethical Theory sums it up well;

"Nihilism is the view tat there are no moral facts. It says that nothing is right or wrong, or morally good or bad." [1]

Now that my stance is clear as can be, I pass it on to my challenger.

[1]http://books.google.com...
Debate Round No. 1
BennyW

Pro


I thank my opponent for explaining his view.


This round I will present fairly simple questions that you must be able to answer if morality is not absolute. If there is no moral truth then how could anyone be wrong? Was Hitler wrong for killing the Jews? Remember in his society what he was doing was perfectly justified. Is murder wrong? If so why? If there is no moral truth then if I stole your wallet you shouldn’t have problem with it. Do you value your life and what is the purpose of doing so? How do you know that your belief in nihilism is correct or the most morally just view? I would argue that a relativist and specifically a nihilist could not answer all these questions without refuting their own argument or being inconsistent.


I thank my opponent and look forward to his answer to these questions.


Phoenix_Reaper

Con

"If there is no moral truth then how could anyone be wrong?"

According to Nihilism, which I follow, no one is right or wrong.

"Was Hitler wrong for killing the Jews?"

Neither.

"Is murder wrong? If so why?"

Neither again. Why because that is what Nihilism is.

"If there is no moral truth then if I stole your wallet you shouldn't have problem with it."

I shouldn't you are right. I will make a fuss about it because it has my one condom I'll never use.

"Do you value your life and what is the purpose of doing so?"

I do not value mine or anyone life. There is no purpose of doing either.

"How do you know that your belief in nihilism is correct or the most morally just view?"

To claim Nihilism is correct with morals defeats the very purpose of it. Besides that morality is subjective to each person assisted by society.

"I would argue that a relativist and specifically a nihilist could not answer all these questions without refuting their own argument or being inconsistent."

I beckon thee.
Debate Round No. 2
BennyW

Pro

I thank my opponent for his last replies.

“According to Nihilism, which I follow, no one is right or wrong.
” How do expect to win this debate then? In that case neither of us could win as it would be subjective to each of us. You can’t win something when there is no truth because winning entails that one of us is right while the other is wrong.

“Neither again [referring to if murder is right or wrong]. Why because that is what Nihilism is.” If murder is not wrong then there is no reason to oppose it. If Hitler was not wrong for killing the Jews then we had no right to try to stop him. You have no right to defend yourself or your family under a subjective worldview. You would be free to do so but you would not be morally bound to do so.

“I shouldn't you are right. I will make a fuss about it because it has my one condom I'll never use. That shows that you are inconsistent, or at the very least acting merely out of your own emotions.

“I do not value mine or anyone life. There is no purpose of doing either. Then why do you go on living? This implicitly affirms that you do value your life otherwise you wouldn’t bother waking up in the morning every day.

Why do you think moral absolutism is wrong? You will probably claim that you don’t claim that since you don’t believe in right and wrong but the very fact that you are debating it shows that you believe your belief is more valid.

“To claim Nihilism is correct with morals defeats the very purpose of it. Besides that morality is subjective to each person assisted by society. This is exactly what makes nihilism a self refuting philosophy.

In a world without absolutes there are no absolute statements, claiming there are no absolutes is an absolute statement, ergo it is self refuting; this argument extends to include morality . Only Objective morality provides for the kind of uniformity required to understand the nature of morality. How is it decided who is correct when a debate arises? In a relativist's perspective, no one else could decide that and each of the individuals disagree so a conflict could never be resolved.

I pass it back to my opponent.


Phoenix_Reaper

Con

This debate is about my idea of Nihilism as shown in round one. The questions my opponent asked me to answer are shown but have very little connection to this topic. I will merely touch one question than move onto comments he has made that are relevant.

My view on murder and a reason it may be opposed.

Cody_Franklin wrote: :
"Rights" don't actually exist. I don't really have a right to life, or to liberty, or anything like that. Rights are just the label we give to specific large-scale agreements among agents. I don't kill you, you don't kill me. I don't steal from you, you don't steal from me. They're a social convenience whose enforcement is basically a requirement for (mostly) peaceful coexistence.

Social Convince. It allows for an easier coexistence. Now for myself I would not step out of my way to fight Hitler because I find no reason to. Others find it repulsive and absolutely wrong which lead them to intervene.

Now onto comments that actually work with the debate at hand.

"Why do you think moral absolutism is wrong?."

Moral absolutism can not be right because of facts all around you. People vary in all aspects. How he or she was raised and where he or she was raised will effect their idea on morals. The way he or she was raised will dictate how / what is right and wrong. Which brings me to a question;

What are my opponents moral absolutism views? What morals are always true everywhere? He claims there are moral absolutism but without elaborating on said claim how is he able to challenge me properly?

"...very fact that you are debating it shows that you believe your belief is more valid. "

You claim my idea of Nihilism is a belief, notice I said idea. I do not believe in anything. Beliefs are unchangeable, ideas are. It is human nature to think of ones self as better than another. Having said that you challenged me on a topic that I wish to explore for my own person interest to see if my stance is more valid. Thus far I am not shaken.

"In a world without absolutes there are no absolute statements, claiming there are no absolutes is an absolute statement, ergo it is self refuting; this argument extends to include morality "

Valid statement. My response is simply that absolutes should be questioned.

"Only Objective morality provides for the kind of uniformity required to understand the nature of morality "

If only objective morality allows one to understand morality how could your claim of an absolute allow for you to challenge my alleged absolute.

"How is it decided who is correct when a debate arises "

The voters.

"In a relativist's perspective, no one else could decide that and each of the individuals disagree so a conflict could never be resolved. "

The conflict would never be resolved regardless of that fact. If one, as yourself, firmly believe in something than your stance will never change regardless of facts present in front of you.

I look forward to be proven wrong.
Debate Round No. 3
BennyW

Pro

I thank my opponent for answering the questions

“’Rights’ don't actually exist. I don't really have a right to life, or to liberty, or anything like that. Rights are just the label we give to specific large-scale agreements among agents. I don't kill you, you don't kill me. I don't steal from you, you don't steal from me. They're a social convenience whose enforcement is basically a requirement for (mostly) peaceful coexistence.

Not stealing from you benefits you but how does it benefit me? You could argue that you could then just as easily steal from me which is true but that still doesn’t prove how it is mutually beneficial for either of us not to steal from the other. If you don’t steal from me there would be nothing stopping me from stealing from you.

“Social Convince. It allows for an easier coexistence. Now for myself I would not step out of my way to fight Hitler because I find no reason to. Others find it repulsive and absolutely wrong which lead them to intervene.

So if Hitler were right in front of you killing someone else you would just let it be?

“Moral absolutism can not be right because of facts all around you. People vary in all aspects. How he or she was raised and where he or she was raised will effect their idea on morals. The way he or she was raised will dictate how / what is right and wrong." Just because people have different views on something does not mean that they all must be true. If I said that 2+2=5 would I be right? If you say that there is no right answer then you could never pass a Math class. It is provable there is a correct answer. Even if you express it in different ways the concept is the same weather it is II+II=IV or 2+2=4 ;dos y dos igual quarto or two plus two equals four it is always true, even if everyone in the world believed otherwise. There is no consensus reality when it comes to truth. If it can be proven there are absolutes in the rest of the world why not morality?

“What are my opponents moral absolutism views? What morals are always true everywhere? He claims there are moral absolutism but without elaborating on said claim how is he able to challenge me properly?”

Great question. If something is morally wrong it is morally wrong universally. For instance, murder is just as wrong in China as it is in the US. Even if the laws don’t reflect this it does not negate the core of the morality behind it. Rape is also wrong everywhere weather the law says so or not. People will often say that we must respect other cultures because they are just different than us. In certain cultural manners this is true such as eating with chopsticks vs. eating with a fork, it neither is morally superior to the other. When it comes to morality that is not true.

“You claim my idea of Nihilism is a belief, notice I said idea. I do not believe in anything. Beliefs are unchangeable, ideas are. It is human nature to think of ones self as better than another. Having said that you challenged me on a topic that I wish to explore for my own person interest to see if my stance is more valid. Thus far I am not shaken.

The belief in nothing can be a belief in itself. Atheists believe there is no God. Their belief is that there is no God.

“Valid statement. My response is simply that absolutes should be questioned. Then you would say that there is a possibility absolutes could be true?

“If only objective morality allows one to understand morality how could your claim of an absolute allow for you to challenge my alleged absolute. I am using objective morality synonymously with moral absolutism. The rest of your question I don’t understand as I thought you were arguing against absolutes.

“The voters.

If it is all subjective it shouldn’t matter what the voters think, I you could still win in your own view even if the voters say you lose.

”The conflict would never be resolved regardless of that fact. If one, as yourself, firmly believe in something than your stance will never change regardless of facts present in front of you.

That is true, but unless we have a firm basis for truth we can’t even start to truly debate and we are merely debating opinions and emotions.

I look forward to the next round where we will start wrapping up our arguments.

Phoenix_Reaper

Con

"Not stealing from you benefits you but how does it benefit me? You could argue that you could then just as easily steal from me which is true but that still doesn't prove how it is mutually beneficial for either of us not to steal from the other. If you don't steal from me there would be nothing stopping me from stealing from you. "

Barely makes sense. All that the quote is saying is that just cause you think it is wrong doesn't make it wrong. It is mutually beneficial because it helps negate aggravation between people.

"So if Hitler were right in front of you killing someone else you would just let it be? "

I find it funny how my opponent drops the name Hitler to illicit an emotional response from readers. Hitler never actually killed people, he ordered it done. Anyways it depends on how I want to respond. Most likely I will not intervene because it would endanger my life. I care more about my life than that someone.

"Just because people have different views on something does not mean that they all must be true "

It is true in their eyes.

"There is no consensus reality when it comes to truth. If it can be proven there are absolutes in the rest of the world why not morality? "

Due to the fact that morality is not definite, math is. If you can prove morality with math, check your figures.

"If something is morally wrong it is morally wrong universally."

So it is wrong to eat pork universally, due to Islamic people being forbidden from eating pork.

My opponent claims murder is wrong where as in parts of Africa murder is glorified because it signals that the killer is a man/women of power who has defend their land. Thus defeating your claim.

My opponent also claims rape is wrong and again I point to Africa where rebels are known to rape women on a day to day bases and nothing is done because that group find it acceptable.

Also if all laws were to support morality in all respects we would be 1984.

"The belief in nothing can be a belief in itself. Atheists believe there is no God. Their belief is that there is no God. "

AGAIN I stress the world idea. You have not fully read my statement. My Nihilism views are ideas. My view on atheism is the same. Unless sufficient proof provide from reliable sources atheism is my correct idea.

"Then you would say that there is a possibility absolutes could be true? "

Did you read your own question? I called it true because it says absolutes are not absolutes. My opponent even stated it includes morality saying that it is not absolute. My opponent has actually refuted himself.

"If it is all subjective it shouldn't matter what the voters think, I you could still win in your own view even if the voters say you lose. "

Of course that is how the human mind works and also shows how morality is subjective to other people. Though for a winner to be decided in accordance with debate.org standards the votes chose due to their own reasoning.

"That is true, but unless we have a firm basis for truth we can't even start to truly debate and we are merely debating opinions and emotions. "

My opponent is correct we are merely debating opinions and emotions. As you may see above no sources are provided though this debate, no serious Point being made.

I look forward to read what else my opponent has to question of me.
Debate Round No. 4
BennyW

Pro

I thank my opponent for his responses and will address his points in this final round.
“All that the quote is saying is that just cause you think it is wrong doesn't make it wrong. It is mutually beneficial because it helps negate aggravation between people.
Alright, fair enough. However, even if it were simply to avoid conflict, that would still give moral weight to the action if it is a moral response to a moral action.

“I find it funny how my opponent drops the name Hitler to illicit an emotional response from readers. Hitler never actually killed people, he ordered it done. Anyways it depends on how I want to respond. Most likely I will not intervene because it would endanger my life. I care more about my life than that someone.”
I only mention Hitler because he is an easily identifiable figure. Yes I know that he personally was not responsible for the killing, I thought about that but it is simpler to attribute it to Hitler indirectly. Let me ask it a different way, what if that person was your child? Could there be any morally negative effect from an appeal to emotion?

“It is true in their eyes.” “Due to the fact that morality is not definite, math is. If you can prove morality with math, check your figures.” Just because it is true in their eyes does not mean that it is true universally. This is the reason I brought up the universality of Math in the first place.

“So it is wrong to eat pork universally, due to Islamic people being forbidden from eating pork.” There is one right answer to that question, and so between me, the pig eater and the Muslim, one of us is wrong. Now it is not wrong not to eat pork we could both agree on that the contention is on the action of eating pork, of which there is only one correct answer.

“My opponent claims murder is wrong where as in parts of Africa murder is glorified because it signals that the killer is a man/women of power who has defend their land. Thus defeating your claim. Again, those other cultures are wrong. Just because someone does something does not make it right.

“Also if all laws were to support morality in all respects we would be 1984. That is interesting, as much of my inspiration for the last round came from 1984 because even if the government tells us one thing that does not make it true. [1]

“Did you read your own question? I called it true because it says absolutes are not absolutes. My opponent even stated it includes morality saying that it is not absolute. My opponent has actually refuted himself. Where did I say that because it includes morality it is not absolute?

“Of course that is how the human mind works and also shows how morality is subjective to other people. Though for a winner to be decided in accordance with debate.org standards the votes chose due to their own reasoning. According to a relativist world view, we could both be winners in our own eyes, however, as clearly on this site there are winners and losers that is not the case. That is not to say that the site sets up the standard for the rest of the world but rather uses its own criteria on top of the standard that is already present universally.

As you may see above no sources are provided though this debate, no serious Point being made. The reason I didn’t source anything is because the arguments behind my points are not physically evident, rather they are proved through logic and reason.

For the sake of evidence however I will cite some examples on the subject:

If moral nihilism were true then abolitionists would have no reason to push for the end of slavery, there would be no reason to oppose any form of killing, and there would be no reason to value anything including life. There will never be any justice under such a system. By trying to convince me of the truth of moral nihilism you refute the lack of absolutes by making an absolute assertion. How can it be correct if according to its own standard there is no such thing as correct? Therefore any form of moral relativism remains unprovable. [2]
My opponents view of Moral Nihilism has failed to hold by its own assertions.

1 George Orwell, 1984

2 http://www.philvaz.com...




Phoenix_Reaper

Con

After reading my opponents rebuttals to my rebuttals of rebuttals I have decided to make a quick and simple conclusion.

Those who read this debate can clearly see that my opponent thinks that I am portraying myself as a perfect, infallible person. I have never done such acts, I merely voice my thought on certain topics. As seen though out the debate I am able to pick apart some arguments without actually making a full rebuttal because I never think my own answers are right, merely just that my opponent is incapable of being right if I am able to find particular flaws.

My opponent also seems to show himself off as a highly moral person, thinking that morality must be the end all be all of everything, which is purely up to the voter choice. I leave it at his and allow those who read this whole debate to vote confidently.
Debate Round No. 5
4 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Posted by Phoenix_Reaper 6 years ago
Phoenix_Reaper
Ok Now I understand. I'll accept a bit later in the day.
Posted by BennyW 6 years ago
BennyW
"Basically... it is instilled by a higher power?"
That is a the key to part of the argument. Basically what I am saying is that morality at its core must be the same for everyone.
" morality is relative even in some circumstances" I do see how that is worded weird, what I am trying to say there is that you must demonstrate why morality is not absolute in all cases but I am not asking for you to prove how it is relative in all cases, but would like a few examples of your view.

http://www.debate.org...
Posted by Phoenix_Reaper 6 years ago
Phoenix_Reaper
"Morality is absolute and not relative to each individual or society. "

So your stance is that morality lies within us all and not to how we are raised?

Basically... it is instilled by a higher power?

"My opponent must show that morality is relative even in some circumstances"

And this is where it throws me off... it seems to me that I am to propose the exact opposite.

I just want to be clear before I accept. Also link to my comment?
Posted by BennyW 6 years ago
BennyW
This debate is based on a comment from my last debate with Phoenix.
4 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Vote Placed by Man-is-good 6 years ago
Man-is-good
BennyWPhoenix_ReaperTied
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Total points awarded:04 
Reasons for voting decision: I give Con a point in conduct since Pro's habit of asking and probing questions lost him conduct and allowed him to defeat himself in his arguments. While Pro did make some valid assertions, such as the self-refuting nature of moral nihilism, he didn't a) prove his resolution or upheld his statement that "Morality is absolute and not relative to each individual or society" and so on.
Vote Placed by Raisor 6 years ago
Raisor
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Reasons for voting decision: Kind of a mushy debate, it seemed more like just talking about how you see the world than arguing about normative metaphysics. That being said I have to commend both sides on being respectful and earnest, I wish I could give conduct points to both sides. In the end, Con offered more arguments in support of his position.
Vote Placed by Adam_The_Analyst 6 years ago
Adam_The_Analyst
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Reasons for voting decision: When Con remarked about the condom, I think he was joking, but pro took it seriously. At the beginning of Round 4, Pro says that not stealing is not mutually beneficial, but con already indicated that if one does not steal from another, then the other one wont steal from the original, thus it is mutually beneficial. It's like- If you don't steal from me, then I won't steal from you, which makes sense. Cons conclusion really defeats all of Pros previous arguments. Youtube vid didn't work.
Vote Placed by Cliff.Stamp 6 years ago
Cliff.Stamp
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Reasons for voting decision: "Let me ask it a different way, what if that person was your child?" - these questions, while interesting can not affirm he burden of proof than morality is absolute. Phoenix takes almost by default.