The Instigator
cto09
Con (against)
Winning
25 Points
The Contender
Ragnar_Rahl
Pro (for)
Losing
14 Points

Morality is not intersubective

Do you like this debate?NoYes+0
Add this debate to Google Add this debate to Delicious Add this debate to FaceBook Add this debate to Digg  
Vote Here
Con Tied Pro
Who did you agree with before the debate?
Who did you agree with after the debate?
Who had better conduct?
Who had better spelling and grammar?
Who made more convincing arguments?
Who used the most reliable sources?
Reasons for your voting decision
1,000 Characters Remaining
The voting period for this debate does not end.
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/27/2008 Category: Miscellaneous
Updated: 8 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 1,014 times Debate No: 6350
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (5)
Votes (6)

 

cto09

Con

First, good luck whoever accepts this debate. Now this debate topic is simple. I (con) will argue that morality is intersubjective and the pro will argue that there is a moral belief that is universally accepted. My opponent can bring up any moral stance.

Morality is defined as a standard that seperates right or wrong.
Intersubjective is defined as differing between people.

If my opponent wishes to debate these definitions he or she can. However, if he or she does not dispute them in the first round, he/she can not dispute them later.
Since I am con, my opponent will have the burden to prove a universal moral stance. Therefore, I will post no arguments this round and wait for my opponent to start.
Ragnar_Rahl

Pro

People: That class of animals that is capable of free, rational action.

Rational animals (i.e. humans) rely on rationality as their essential tool of survival, that is how their rationality comes about, evolution-wise. All rational life is dependent on the actions of the being in question to sustain it. This is the first choice, the first place in any life where any moral choice is required to be made:
to live, or to die. This choice is made when a being becomes rational and free, the fact that this choice has been made is the mark of their freedom, the fact of it having been considered is the mark of their rationality.

If they choose to die, they no longer exist. They are no longer capable of rational action, and so become excluded from the class.

Thus, all remaining people, all remaining rational beings with free will, have made the fundamental choice to live. This is the starting point in their morality. Any moral standards are made, if consistently, in accordance with this choice-- it is the first standard. Any which do not result in it are mistakes.

The standard of life is universally applicable to the entire class of those requiring a morality, a code for how to deal with a choice. The beings which do not seek to live face no more such choices, for life is a consequence of actions toward it, it cannot be sustained without them.

The only difference between people is, not the standard of right or wrong, but the degree to which they have identified and consistently applied it. The implicit standard, life, remains the same.
Debate Round No. 1
cto09

Con

Thank you for accepting this debate.

Now you define people as a class of animals that is CAPABLE of free, rational action. Therefore, a person need not always be rational, simply have the ability. So a person can make a moral decision with out being rational.

Also, a person can choose to die, but not actually die. For example, an individual can decide it is morally right to die to save a baby, but that does not mean the person is ever placed in the situation to die to save a baby. That indivdual has the moral code to die, but has not died.

So you are wrong when you say that if a person chooses to die, they no longer exist. I can choose to die if it would save the life of my parents, but I may never have to die to save my parents. I am still capable of rational action because I am still alive, so I am not excluded from the class.

Thus, all people may not have made the choice to live. The "starting point" itself is subjectve.
Ragnar_Rahl

Pro

"
Now you define people as a class of animals that is CAPABLE of free, rational action. Therefore, a person need not always be rational, simply have the ability. So a person can make a moral decision with out being rational.
""
They can attempt to make one, if they make it incorrectly, they have not made it in accordance with the standard which separates right and wrong-- i.e. have not made a moral one.

"
Also, a person can choose to die, but not actually die. For example, an individual can decide it is morally right to die to save a baby, but that does not mean the person is ever placed in the situation to die to save a baby. That individual has the moral code to die, but has not died."
You're identifying something outside the context of a primary. A primary value is needed for any consistent moral code. To give your example any meaning as an objection, it would have to be in accordance with a primary choice ( a choice that can be made prior to any other, such that others can be consistent with it), one you have not posited.
Furthermore, there are many babies that need saving. Chop chop, I don't see anyone saving them, offering their flesh to the mother so that the mother's milk can have nourishment. Get a move on it people. It's the kind of thing that would make the news, we'd hear about it if it happened. So, since they don't exist, it's not meaningful.

Someone might claim they'd do such a thing, but really, until they've faced the decision, it's mostly an emotional response to the sound "baby." It has little to do with consistently identifying right and wrong, for no such consistent value system could result in them still being alive as far as I can tell.

"I can choose to die if it would save the life of my parents"

And this would be consistent with everything else you've ever done?

Somehow I don't think, when someone first acts toward their life, it ever occurs to them "I gotta save my parents," or "save a baby (who is not me)." Those inconsistencies come later. If they ever take action toward it, making final their choice, turning their pondering into their primary value, well-- they die in the act, they no longer have "people" status nor a need for morality.

Choices are not made, until they are made, per the law of identity. One can consider whatever one pleases, but if one has not acted on a moral standard, one doesn't really hold it yet.

"The "starting point" itself is subjectve.
"
Subjective? yes. Subjective BETWEEN PEOPLE? No. Those who do not choose as I have described (to live) cease to be people.
Debate Round No. 2
cto09

Con

"They can attempt to make one, if they make it incorrectly, they have not made it in accordance with the standard which separates right and wrong-- i.e. have not made a moral one."
I was not referring to an action that was made incorectly, but a person who CAN be rational but chooses not to be rational in pursuit of a moral action. Therefore, rationality is not a pre-requisite to morality.

An abandonment of life can be a primary value in someone that is not yet dead. A more realistic example would be the army. Soldiers are trained to ignore risks to their lives and value victory or the life of a comrade higher. This is a choice that is made "prior to any other." And soldiers take action all the time. Just because they do not value their life does not mean that they value their death.

So in summary. You claimed that a value of life is a universal moral code. I offer the example of a soldier who's measurement of right over wrong is not based on what will sustain his/her life, but what will lead to victory.
Ragnar_Rahl

Pro

"
I was not referring to an action that was made incorectly, but a person who CAN be rational but chooses not to be rational in pursuit of a moral action."
By definition, the choice to not be rational is incompatible with discovering what is right or wrong. Rationality is the means to gaining knowledge, including knowledge of morality.

"A more realistic example would be the army. Soldiers are trained to ignore risks to their lives and value victory or the life of a comrade higher. This is a choice that is made "prior to any other.""
No soldier values victory "prior to any other thing," as an end in itself, victory begs the question of another goal, by it's very nature, since victory simply means achieving the goal of a specific task. A choice to take a risk to one's life does not mean a choice of suicide. The two are different things. Risks to one's life happen down every path, a soldier is one who is under the impression that the risks for their life are worse if they don't fight then if they do. Yes, Light Brigades charge, but by those actions they cease to live. By definition, a choice to take a risk to one's life is not certain death if one is still alive. Until they've made a choice of certain death they are, it happens, still subject to the fact that they chose to preserve their life-- long before they were ever aware there was a victory to be had.
What one is trained to do, of course, is an entirely separate thing than what one values.
Debate Round No. 3
cto09

Con

"the choice to not be rational is incompatible with discovering what is right or wrong"
The lack of being rational is how determine what is right and wrong. We do not start off as beings that are fully rational. We must learn what is right or wrong; that knowledge is what makes us become rational. Such as a baby putting his hand in a fire. Is he being irrational? No, for he does not know that fire burns. He hurts himself, then decides not to do it again. That is rational thinking evolving from knowledge. Therefore rationality is an end to knowledge. So what is rational to one person may be irrational to another. Even if you want to compare to people with similar education levels. Drinking alcohol. Two teenagers may both know the harms. One drinks, the other does not. Both are being rational in their own minds. Therefore rational thinking is also subject. If morality comes from rational thinking, then it is impossible for morality to not be subjective.

"Until they've made a choice of certain death they are, it happens, still subject to the fact that they chose to preserve their life"
You did not argue my previous argument that "just because they do not value their life does not mean that they value their death." Your moral code to uphold is essentially a preservation of life. A differing opinion does not have to be a preservation of death, but simply a lack of proactive action to preserve life as a primary goal. You already said that we are only debating a primary goal that is valued above all else. By not valuing one's life above all else, they are no longer under the same moral code that you name. They cease to advocate the preservation of their life. I will reference your own quote again that "the only difference between people is, not the standard of right or wrong, but the degree to which they have identified and consistently applied it. The implicit standard, life, remains the same." This further enforces my argument that adherence to a moral stance is not absolute but in degrees. By not advocating their life, that is a degree of valuing death. Not a degree of valuing life.

But also, we must focus again on the value itself. If a soldier values his country over his life, he does not have to die before he truly values his country over his life. As soon as he does not value his life as the ultimate end to any mean, he ceases to have life as his primary goal and moral code. At the moment he is willing to die for his country, he values his country's safety as put's that as his primary goal. Then, his moral code is based around what actions will keep his country safer.

Another point you bring up is that "they chose to preserve their life-- long before they were ever aware there was a victory to be had." You are under the impression that morals can never change. If this is true, we must all receive our morals when we are born. But we are not fully cognizant of the world to a point to develop morals. Each person adopts morals at different times and frequently changes them. A universal moral is one that everyone accepts, not once in their live, but always. If someone changes away from valuing morality, he has learned that his life is not the ultimate goal. This act makes morality intersubjective.

The last point you make is the soldiers are trained to value their job over their life. First, you never give any reason why morals can not be taught. Why do some consider killing wrong? Society tells us so. And second, when a soldier listens to a command, he is acknowledging that he values the reason why he follows the command over his life.

My statement is this:
My opponent fails to prove a universal mode code when someone ceases to value his/her life. A soldier values his or her country above his/her life. At that point, his primary moral is different from another's. Morality then becomes subjective.
My opponent also uses rational thought as the reason for our morals. However, I have proved that rational thought is dependent upon knowledge, and those with different educations may have different rational conclusion. One is not more rational over the other. But, their conclusion is different. If they use their rational thought to have morals, morality must be intersubjective.
Ragnar_Rahl

Pro

"The lack of being rational is how determine what is right and wrong. We do not start off as beings that are fully rational. We must learn what is right or wrong; that knowledge is what makes us become rational."
Rationality is the ability to process knowledge, it necessarily precedes knowledge itself.

"Such as a baby putting his hand in a fire. Is he being irrational? No,"
Exactly.

Now if said baby tries it again...

"So what is rational to one person may be irrational to another."
Rationality is a required trait for the ability to choose a fundamental value. Failure to know what follows from that is not a moral difference, but a difference of fact.

"Two teenagers may both know the harms. One drinks, the other does not. Both are being rational in their own minds. Therefore rational thinking is also subject. If morality comes from rational thinking, then it is impossible for morality to not be subjective."
If they have different judgments, either one is mistaken or their situations are different. Neither result makes rationality subjective.

"A differing opinion does not have to be a preservation of death, but simply a lack of proactive action to preserve life as a primary goal."
Those who do not act to preserve life, die, this is the nature of life. Life requires continual sustaining action. This is, as I've said, the primary choice to be made, the choice without which no other choices can exist.

"As soon as he does not value his life as the ultimate end to any mean, he ceases to have life as his primary goal and moral code. At the moment he is willing to die for his country, he values his country's safety as put's that as his primary goal."
A "country" is an ambigous collective. It exists solely as a matter of component parts, there is no meaningful degree of separation of it from their component parts (unlike human life, which is separated from it's components by it's consciousness and free will).

Furthermore, other countries exist too. Without egoism (value for one's own life) to set in the distinction, some other distinction would have to be made, some other value you haven't mentioned

An abstraction with no real meaning aside from it's components can only be valued in terms of it's components, try again. :D

"Why do some consider killing wrong? Society tells us so."
Society has no meaning aside from it's component parts either.

To hold that something can be wrong SIMPLY because it is said to be such would lead to a contradiction, since things (such as killing) always have someone who can say them in a different way.

In sum, none of the exceptions brought up is a valid value. I could do this all day. The rule has reason for it, until there is a valid reason against it it is far more likely to be true than not.
Debate Round No. 4
5 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Posted by Ragnar_Rahl 8 years ago
Ragnar_Rahl
"morality, a code for how to deal with a choice."
Note, that's essentially equivalent to your definition-- how to deal with a choice, by figuring out the right one and the wrong one :D
Posted by cto09 8 years ago
cto09
The reason I posed this is because of LD debate, where many people value morality. I usually attack it by saying morality is intersubjective, and no one has yet proved that morality wasn't. I am trying to find a reason why morality is not subjective, for when I use morality a my own value, or so I can better my attacks against it.
Posted by Ragnar_Rahl 8 years ago
Ragnar_Rahl
i.e., not that that's what has to be argued.
Posted by Ragnar_Rahl 8 years ago
Ragnar_Rahl
Technically, he only said that "Pro will argue" that there is one that is universally accepted.

Not that there has to be one.

Lol.
Posted by RoyLatham 8 years ago
RoyLatham
The topic is not posed well. The instigator demands that Pro find a moral belief that is "universally accepted." By that standard, finding a single deranged maniac that does not agree to a moral standard suffices to make the instigator's case that all morality is subjective.
6 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 6 records.
Vote Placed by studentathletechristian8 8 years ago
studentathletechristian8
cto09Ragnar_RahlTied
Agreed with before the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Agreed with after the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Who had better conduct:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:Vote Checkmark--2 points
Total points awarded:70 
Vote Placed by s0m31john 8 years ago
s0m31john
cto09Ragnar_RahlTied
Agreed with before the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Agreed with after the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Who had better conduct:-Vote Checkmark-1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:-Vote Checkmark-1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:-Vote Checkmark-2 points
Total points awarded:07 
Vote Placed by Metz 8 years ago
Metz
cto09Ragnar_RahlTied
Agreed with before the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Agreed with after the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Who had better conduct:-Vote Checkmark-1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:-Vote Checkmark-1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:-Vote Checkmark-2 points
Total points awarded:07 
Vote Placed by cto09 8 years ago
cto09
cto09Ragnar_RahlTied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:40 
Vote Placed by lemonsmile 8 years ago
lemonsmile
cto09Ragnar_RahlTied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Who had better conduct:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:Vote Checkmark--2 points
Total points awarded:70 
Vote Placed by Rawlsfulcopter 8 years ago
Rawlsfulcopter
cto09Ragnar_RahlTied
Agreed with before the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Agreed with after the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Who had better conduct:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:Vote Checkmark--2 points
Total points awarded:70