The Instigator
BangBang-Coconut
Pro (for)
Winning
6 Points
The Contender
Dmetal
Con (against)
Losing
4 Points

Morality is Objective

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 6/8/2011 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 6 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 1,610 times Debate No: 16935
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (5)
Votes (3)

 

BangBang-Coconut

Pro

Rules:
- No semantics
- Vulgarity
- The debate will not hinge too majorly evidence, but more so on logic; that said evidence is allowed.
- Forfeiting of a round will count as a forfeit of the entire debate.
- Breaking the round structure will be counted as a forfeit.
- This is a text only debate, no videos may be posted containing the debater's arguments, and no links may be posted showing arguments posted elsewhere. They must be posted in this round!
- After round two, no new arguments may be made.

Clarifications:
- As the Pro in this debate, I will be arguing that for morality is objective in nature, meaning that there is only one set standard for what is moral.
- My opponent as the Con will be arguing that Morality is Subjective in nature.
- Through the course of this debate, we will not be trying to determine what is moral; but we will be discussing the nature of morality; whether is Objective or subjective
- If there is a question about this round, it should be posted in the comments PRIOR to accepting this debate. After the debate has been accepted, no rules will be changed and clarifications will given (so as not to wast my characters)

Structure:
Round 1: Rules, clarifications, acceptance
Round 2: Constructive arguments (No clash here)
Rounds 3-4: Clash and debate (No new arguments here)
Dmetal

Con

I accept, and thanks for making the debate.
I'm thinking that we are just looking at morality as what constitutes "right conduct."
Debate Round No. 1
BangBang-Coconut

Pro

Obs1: When we look to such as resolution as this, one thing is brought to light as being substantially clear. True morality is not a subject that can be flippant in nature; but is directly polar in nature.

Obs2: The resolution's intention is not for us to decide what is moral or immoral, but it is to show whether or not morality is subjective.

C1: Subjective morality is unstable-

If we accept that stealing is wrong, then this should be the standard; that stealing is wrong. we should not have to make this ideal of of whether or not stealing is wrong subjective because of a person's needs/ or wants.
Say an able bodied man was slightly hungry, and stole food from an old woman on social security in order to satisfy hi hunger; this would be blatantly wrong, we would see this as a blatantly immoral action as they are depriving another human being of their food.
Broadening the scope, if a starving pregnant mother stole food from an incredibly man, would it be an immoral action? Yes, absolutely; Despite the fact that we as a society would have more pity on the starving mother, it does not change the fact that she committed an immoral act, and thereby put an undeserved act on this rich man.

She stole to satisfy the needs of herself and her child, but she stole nonetheless. Justifying it as moral because it is a necessity only serves to destroy true moral fiber, as one will then justify any action to their benefit as moral in order to justify the action to themselves.

C2: Objective Morality is a truthful standard

Again, if we accept the standard that stealing is wrong, we must continue to accept this standard through all scenarios; failing to do so rejects all of what morality is, all of what morality stands for.

By keeping a strong, solid standard between the moral and the immoral; we do not allow human emotion to come into play, and thus limit what s true.

Underview: Subjective morality is nothing but an excuse to maintain personal integrity; the cost is the forfeiting of truth of for nothing but vague ideals suited to the desires of the individual, not the truth of what is moral.
The fact is that morality is not always a feel-good, right-for-me kind of thing; it the pivotal institute for the serving of justice.
Dmetal

Con

Thanks for making the debate.
I will argue that morality is subjective (although I would describe it as plural, or even as a prism), meaning it is chaotic, plural, and complex, coming from different areas and perspectives to focus on one point (hence the prism). I will also argue that it is driven by interest, or utility. This is not to say that morality is purely an excuse for evil, or a means to mask evil as good, but it is to say that humans construct values to implement their interest, to complete an objective. I will view morality, and truth for that matter, in a substantially different paradigm than my opponent. I will conclude that there is a world, a universe, outside of humans, but our understanding of that world is constructed by various means and various agents. Let us think of something simple to clarify this concept. A chair, for example, exists as an object, but it also exists as an idea; that is, we have an idea of what constitutes a chair. That chair as an object could be used in several ways to complete several objectives; however, we usually use it to sit in, and therefore think of it in that way. We simultaneously naturalize and conflate an object's existence with our idea of it. Morality follows a similar construction albeit more complex and more abstract. We see morality in physical objects, usually bodies, and we construct ideas and values around those objects.
Foucault and Nietzsche's work on discourse from the former and genealogy from both constructs the bulk of my argument. We can think of discourse as the way in which we speak and write about things, objects, ideas etc. Discourse creates subjects such as liberal, conservative, white, black, Chinese etc. In short, there are no essential bodies, but constructs of subjects. Genealogy can be thought of as a means to understand how our ideas around a concept, a subject come to be. It is similar to the common understanding of genealogy; however, in place of people you have ideas and meanings. Genealogy's purpose is to uncover ideas that are taken for granted, taken as obvious, or what we call "common sense." We may, for example, believe that stealing is always wrong.
The problem here is not that it is always wrong; it is what we make "stealing" to mean. It may seem weird to pose it this way; nevertheless, it is a legitimate framing. We have the dictionary definition, but we as subjects must negotiate with that meaning, a meaning constructed by power, or the dominant sector of society. For instance, does conquering land count as stealing? Did the US, or any country that expanded due to conquest, "steal" land? It's a tough, complex question that will get different answers from different people. I do not believe it is important to distinguish which answer is correct. I believe it is more important to understand why those subjects believe their answer, or how they construct their answer.
This is the significant difference between objective morality and subjective morality (or morality as a plurality or a prism). Objective morality seeks to construct a singular moral order whereas it can dominate other perspectives and background complexities. On the other hand, subjective morality seeks to understand the complexities of the human condition; its goal is not to judge whether a value is ultimately right or wrong, but to understand why certain actors value an action as right or wrong, good or evil, or if they construct grey areas, areas that defy strict classification. Moreover, a genealogical perspective or a critical discourse analysis perspective on morality can also allow us to understand why certain subjects may desire a singular moral order. What interest do they have? What is at stake?
This brings me to morality as a means to implement interests. Morality is constructed, as all discourses are, by power: institutions, groups, or individuals that maintain some sort of authority, whether it is in their discipline such as a scientist or on a governmental, hierarchical level within a state or institution such as a church. Subjects negotiate with power in their daily lives whereas they can propagate the idea or counter it, in which case those subjects would create an alternative perspective. This is a complex concept, so let us simplify it. Think of it like a science class room. The teacher gives students several materials, including a methodology in which to work: the scientific method (a method I love and respect). The book and the method constitute the discourse, and that discourse shapes "truth" or knowledge. How do we get to "truth"? Through test and experimentation. The method and the other materials (discourse) that guide us through the process of experimentation are created and distributed by power. This is not to say that all the information taught in science classrooms is wrong and only meant to brainwash little children; it is to demonstrate how knowledge and truth are constructed through discourse. We understand science through certain words and meanings that are unique to science, or even a specific discipline. Every time we use those words and meanings (discourse) we are either propagating or countering those ideas through negotiation.
Morality is obviously more abstract; however, we do embody morality and conflate those embodiments with our ideas, or understandings, of morality. If I ask people to draw a criminal, for instance, they will all draw something different, but they will also likely have similarities in their depictions of "criminal." The drawings will all likely be poor, young, black men. They may be paired in several instances to drugs or violence, or both at the same time. Are poor, young, black men inherently "criminal"? No! This is both an example of racism and the construction of morality. The racist aspect is a bit clearer and I will not go into depth on it because it is not pertinent to the argument at hand. Instead of viewing "criminal" as a complex subject, we view it as simple. We may say, "No, the race thing has nothing to do with it. We are mad because he committed a 'crime'." We forget though that power constructed this subject in a way that makes it more susceptible to "crime." It is not the criminal power controls; it is the definition of "crime." That is why for example a drug like tobacco, a historically white drug, is legal while drugs that have been historically used by people of color are increasingly criminalized such as marijuana (which is not to mean that pot is not used by whites, but to mean that it has been framed as a color drug).
I have brought the debate from objective vs. subjective morality (a false dichotomy) to what I believe to be an understanding that more "truthfully" depicts the complexities of the human condition. What Con is attempting to do is construct a singular moral order that simplifies and propagates one perspective. My interests are much different. I simply seek to understand.
Debate Round No. 2
BangBang-Coconut

Pro

I thank my opponent for their in-depth argument!
However for the next round, I would like to request that he use more breaks in his paragraphs so that it is an easier read; as well as post mark individual arguments for greater clarity.

So just as a brief road-map I will be attacking a few areas my opponent has touched on, and that I will extend certain arguments from my case over.

It is also important to note that my opponent hasn't actually attacked any area of the Pro case, so all arguments I have presented must extend across the debate for consideration in voting.

Con-
+ First my opponent contends that all things exist in two forms; the ideology, and the reality. This goes along with some of the philosophies of Plato; that while all things have a reality of what they actually are, they also have an interpretation completely unique to each individual. This is the ideal state of the object.
Like my opponent said, there is a chair and there is the idea of a chair; so while the reality is that the chair is hard and rotting, a person may have romanticized the chair to be comfortable and luxurious.

However individual interpretation does not change what is; just because the chair is perceived as luxurious, that does not change that it is rotting and uncomfortable. And in the same way, just because certain actions are perceived one way does not make them as such. Refer to my own contention 1 where I give the example of the pregnant mother, and the able bodied man; we perceive the actions of the pregnant mother not to be immoral, or at the very least permissible; whereas we perceive the actions of the able bodied man to be incredibly immoral. They are however the same thing.

Also, again; this debate is not about what is moral or immoral, but it is about the nature of morality.

+ My opponent also uses the philosophies (albeit minimally) of Nietzsche and Foucault; however we must realize that these individuals reject the existence of morality. This is particularly important as my opponent has professed to have based a large portion of his argument on these two theories.

Here we see how these of ideas of subjective morality come into play; based on skewed and false interpretations of truth.

+ After this my opponent gets into a discourse on a country expanding itself, and on a society conforming to certain standards in order to survive. However this is not morality; this is the social contract.

+ Finally my opponent presents the illustration of a black man and the stigma the all black men are criminals; However this argument is dealing with the issue of stereotyping, not of subjective v.s. objective morality

Overall many of my opponent's arguments are completely irrelevant to the debate at hand, whereas another good portion of them are misguided arguments based on false dichotomy. It would also appear that my opponent ignored my third clarification, as a good chunk of his case is attacking a moral stance that was never presented in this debate; nor was it grounds of debate.
In conclusion, please vote Pro as my opponent has not actually argued his stance, but has instead simply explained a few different concepts.
Dmetal

Con

"[T]his debate is not about what is moral or immoral, but it is about the nature of morality."
According to this statement, I have stayed completely in the confines of the debate, and all my points are germane.
I feel I need to make some clarification as my opponent has misconstrued my arguments.
first,
"First my opponent contends that all things exist in two forms; [sic] the ideology, and the reality."
Not exactly. The chair example was only made to simplify the idea. I was stating that there is no essential, innate meaning in any object. All ideas and meanings are constructed, and we seemingly naturalize our ideas and meanings behind an object. Plato's philosophy does not provide such a conclusion.

"My opponent also uses the philosophies (albeit minimally) of Nietzsche and Foucault; however [sic] we must realize that these individuals reject the existence of morality. This is particularly important as my opponent has professed to have based a large portion of his argument on these two theories."
Certainly, these two philosophers did reject morality; however, what they rejected was much closer to what you would call objective morality. There was nothing essential about morality for them. Besides, this would be unimportant because I had specified which of their ideas I was using.

"After this my opponent gets into a discourse on a country expanding itself, and on a society conforming to certain standards in order to survive. However [sic] this is not morality; this is the social contract."
This is interesting. Pro justifies conquest, or expansion onto inhabited land, with a need to survive. Sorry, no one in the US at the time of Manifest Destiny needed to expand their horizons to survive. More importantly, we see here that Pro constructs an answer to the question I raised and a justification for that answer. His answer and his justification are laden with his interests. Obviously, he does not want to be considered a thief, which I would not consider him one; however, many Native Americans may differ in their evaluation.
P.S. Pro, Manifest Destiny was not a social contact, especially not for the Indians.

"Finally my opponent presents the illustration of a black man and the stigma the [sic] all black men are criminals; However [sic] this argument is dealing with the issue of stereotyping, not of subjective v.s. objective morality"
I explicitly said that I was not going in depth on racial issues; however, I explained how we impose "morality" on certain bodies. The criminalized black man was only a example of a body that historically represents "crime" in the US. The main point was that we impose morality onto objects.

Now, I will turn to Pro's arguments in his second round.

When we look to such as [sic] resolution as this, one thing is brought to light as being substantially clear. True morality is not a subject that can be flippant in nature; [sic] but is directly polar in nature. This is not an observation. This is conjecture. This is where a genealogical analysis could come in hand. It would uncover "morality's" historicity. Morality is not polar, meaning either objective or subjective, but as I argued it is more complex and plural (subjective could be used to describe morality as well). Just because I argue it is subjective does not mean that my perspective is the only other perspective that exists in opposition to your perspective.

"If we accept that stealing is wrong, then this should be the standard; that stealing is wrong. we should not have to make this ideal of of whether or not stealing is wrong subjective because of a person's needs/ or wants.
Say an able bodied man was slightly hungry, and stole food from an old woman on social security in order to satisfy hi hunger; this would be blatantly wrong, we would see this as a blatantly immoral action as they are depriving another human being of their food." I could create a hypothetical situation that would bring "stealing" into question, but I will refrain. Because we conceive of different meanings that constitute stealing, we could never come to a consensus of what constitutes "stealing," and therefore, could never actually construct an objective moral criteria in which to condemn it on all grounds.
Pro's argument diminishes complexities within society. For instance, does this society actively produce inequality? In pro's argument, we get no sense if the hungry man is hungry because he just forgot to eat breakfast, or if his society is actively prohibiting him from food sources. Additionally, we can see clearly that the definition of "stealing" benefits the woman in Pro's argument.

"Again, if we accept the standard that stealing is wrong, we must continue to accept this standard through all scenarios; failing to do so rejects all of what morality is, all of what morality stands for."
Pro unintentionally raised a good question. What does morality stand for? This is a broad question with numerous answers. As I argued before, it is not as important to figure out which answer is "correct", but in which way was it constructed and why was it constructed in that way.
He also states, "By keeping a strong, solid standard between the moral and the immoral; [sic] we do not allow human emotion to come into play, and thus limit what s [sic] true." Human emotions are in play regardless if we construct a solid standard between morality and immorality. We cannot get rid of our emotional responses; however, we can come to realize them and become aware of how they affect our understanding of morality.

Please vote Con because my arguments were more substantial. Pro has not actually made an argument as much as he has made judgements without much substantiation. I have made my intentions clear within each point of my argument while he has hidden behind a veil of "objectivity."
Debate Round No. 3
BangBang-Coconut

Pro

I'm just going to skip through and argue only the points I think are relative.

"This is interesting. Pro justifies conquest, or expansion onto inhabited land, with a need to survive. Sorry, no one in the US at the time of Manifest Destiny needed to expand their horizons to survive. More importantly, we see here that Pro constructs an answer to the question I raised and a justification for that answer. His answer and his justification are laden with his interests. Obviously, he does not want to be considered a thief, which I would not consider him one; however, many Native Americans may differ in their evaluation.
P.S. Pro, Manifest Destiny was not a social contact, especially not for the Indians."


- I'm not justifying anything; this point is irrelevant.

"I explicitly said that I was not going in depth on racial issues; however, I explained how we impose "morality" on certain bodies. The criminalized black man was only a example of a body that historically represents "crime" in the US. The main point was that we impose morality onto objects."

- If you weren't going to go indep with this argument, you shouldn't have touched on it at all; you've wasted your character space by presenting such an askew argument only to later drop it.

"Pro's argument diminishes complexities within society. For instance, does this society actively produce inequality? In pro's argument, we get no sense if the hungry man is hungry because he just forgot to eat breakfast, or if his society is actively prohibiting him from food sources. Additionally, we can see clearly that the definition of "stealing" benefits the woman in Pro's argument."

- This argument is incredibly semantic, my illustration was intentionally simple to drive home this basic point.
If we hold to Occom's Razor, then in order for us to be able to get to the bottom of a situation as logically as possible, we must follow the most simple explanations.

"Human emotions are in play regardless if we construct a solid standard between morality and immorality. We cannot get rid of our emotional responses; however, we can come to realize them and become aware of how they affect our understanding of morality."

- There is no warrant for this argument, accepting it without any kind of warrant is abuse as it limits my grounds
- This is a new argument

Vote Pro, as my opponent's arguments where both vague, and irrelevant to the resolution.
Dmetal

Con

I want to keep this one short for a change.
Pro's arguments were merely his own unsubstantiated judgments. Moreover, they do not even address the nature of morality; they only address the supposed value of objective morality. His first argument was essentially that objective morality is true because subjective morality is "unstable," and it should be noted that he does not describe what he means by unstable. Finally, he formulated a false dichotomy. This is problematic for him because he seeks to background complexities while I seek to uncover them.
His second "argument" was that objective morality is a truthful standard. He bases it on the assumption that we all define stealing in the same way. I have demonstrated an instance where our understanding of stealing becomes complicated, which in this case is a legitimate semantic argument because it is completely germane to the issue at hand. It should be stated that a semantic argument would only be problematic if I were to illogically refuse to accept a definition, especially if I failed to provide any reasoning for my objection. Finally, his last point in C2 is a separate argument from C2. He failed to substantiate this claim. In its present state, it is more like a judgement than actual argument since it lacks substantiated premises.

Vote pro because my arguments were quite clear as I provided examples to simplify them. Pro's arguments were actually not really arguments at all, but unsubstantiated judgments. Moreover, his objections to my arguments were weak. He failed to substantiate his objections, regularly claiming my arguments to be irrelevant without any further explanation to why they were irrelevant. In the few cases where he provided reasoning, I have provided sufficient reason to discount his objections. Lastly, he broke his on rules. He did not discuss the nature of morality, but its apparent value to society if we accept objective morality.
Debate Round No. 4
5 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Posted by BangBang-Coconut 6 years ago
BangBang-Coconut
You should know by now I can't spell to save my life :P
Posted by Ad_Infinitum 6 years ago
Ad_Infinitum
From when I debated this with you Coconut, something that bothered me a little. It's 'Occam's Razor' and sometimes "Ockham's Razor", but it's never spelled 'Occom's Razor'
Posted by BangBang-Coconut 6 years ago
BangBang-Coconut
>-> Hey, if I forfeit it's because I've timed out.
I don't think I will, but I might.
Posted by BangBang-Coconut 6 years ago
BangBang-Coconut
Whew! this is a long argument :D
I'll post later on.
Posted by TheFreeThinker 6 years ago
TheFreeThinker
Good debate. Hope you'll have fun with this.
3 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Vote Placed by CiRrK 6 years ago
CiRrK
BangBang-CoconutDmetalTied
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Total points awarded:30 
Reasons for voting decision: Easy decision - Con dropped entirety of Pro case. I think the stability argument is key since it undercuts the notion of subjective morality (at least in a basic consequential sense) by saying a rule needs to be established first for it to have any viable impact
Vote Placed by Rockylightning 6 years ago
Rockylightning
BangBang-CoconutDmetalTied
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Total points awarded:13 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro was a little more civil in his argument style, he gets conduct. Con did a better job with his opening arguments.
Vote Placed by Cliff.Stamp 6 years ago
Cliff.Stamp
BangBang-CoconutDmetalTied
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Total points awarded:21 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro's opening argument is not as much about what morality is but what it ought to be. Con however does not address this and in fact drops the entire opening argument. Con attempts to frame the nature of morality but formatting, especially in the later round with quoting makes the argument difficult to sort and at times seems to be engaging in discussion/lecture. 2:1 Pro