The Instigator
thethickgreyline
Pro (for)
Losing
7 Points
The Contender
Republican95
Con (against)
Winning
15 Points

Morality

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 4 votes the winner is...
Republican95
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 6/22/2009 Category: Society
Updated: 7 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,269 times Debate No: 8734
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (16)
Votes (4)

 

thethickgreyline

Pro

Say I was in prison and a man gave me a gun and told me to kill another man. He then told me he would kill me and 100 others whom I was imprisoned with (which I new he had the ability to do) if I did not. I then killed the prisoner with the intent of saving 100 other prisoners and myself. In doing so I saved both myself and the 100 people whom would have died if I had not killed the prisoner.

Does it not follow that I was morally right to have killed the prisoner since I was following a positive maxim to always save human life and I prevented the decrease in happiness that the death of so many would cause.
Republican95

Con

Based on first impression's this line of thinking seems "moral", but upon examination it is not.

1) Killing the man who you were instructed to kill is not moral. To kill him would be to put his life below any other individual's life in the room. Why does this man deserve to die? He doesn't, therefore he shouldn't. A death is a death. His life has just as much value as everybody else's in the room. Killing one innocent person to save 1,000 is not right. This man is just as much as a person as the other 1,000 people.

2) Why not seek better solutions? Why couldn't you shoot the man who gave you the gun, he is the truly evil one. Or why not offer yourself up for execution instead of this poor innocent man?
Debate Round No. 1
thethickgreyline

Pro

He is just as much a person and has the same right to live. However, I am not debating his right to live or his worth, I am debating the morality of killing him to save many others. I am not puting his life below others I am weighing the decrease in happiness which would result in not killing him against the decrease in happiness that would result in killing him.

Basically 100 dead people will result in a far greater decrease in happiness than 1 dead person will.

Other solutions have no bearing since i can only wiegh the two solutions against eachother. There are millions of solutions to every one problem. Therefore i can only look at the morality of killing the prisoner wieghed against the morality of not killing him resulting in 100 other people and myself dying.

Your response is not rooted in morality as it does not look at intent or consequences.

Basically If

. My intent was to save lives
. The consequences of my actions prevented a massive decrease in happiness

then my actions are moral

Their are two moral philosophys which back up what i have stated

Firstly Kants moral philosophy says that if i was following a positive maxim to save human lives then my actions would also be good.

Secondly the Utalitarianist/ ceonsequentialist point of view which says If my actions reduce the harm that would have otherwise occured then my actions were moral.

The world we live in is one of decisions. We cannot leave our decisions to emotion but rather do what we can for the greater good. My opponent is yet to challenge the morality of the decision to kill the prisoner.
Republican95

Con

Thank you for your response.

Since morality is a subjective thing, the definition of what "moral" is isn't set in stone and therefore your "philosophies" of morality are irrelevant.

Opponent: "Other solutions have no bearing since i can only weigh the two solutions against each other. There are millions of solutions to every one problem. Therefore i can only look at the morality of killing the prisoner weighed against the morality of not killing him resulting in 100 other people and myself dying."

Actually, it is your moral responsibility as a human being to seek the possibility that is the most "moral", or will cause the least damage. If you look at it in that light, than the option of killing the man who handed you the gun is obviously the "best" and "most moral" solution to the problem. Think about it, by killing the one who wishes harm you thereby prevent harm from happening. I think that it is quite unrealistic, and quite frankly unmoral, to only limit yourself to two possibilities when both of them involve the loss of human life.

Opponent: "Basically 100 dead people will result in a far greater decrease in happiness than 1 dead person will."

Even though this may be true, it isn't moral. Our moral responsibility as human beings is to defend OUR life when it is in danger. If we kill this one man, than we know that this death will occur. If we do not, than how do we know that this man (the one who handed you the gun) will follow through with his threats. He obviously wants only this one man dead, so killing the other 100 people to him would be useless. So, in the case that you weren't going to kill this one man, he would probably just kill the one man instead of the other 100 because the one is the one he truly wants dead. Even if he was to kill the other 100 people, you would have no part in taking the life of another, which would make you a more moral person than if you were to take the life of somebody.

Okay, here is my own philosophy:

(a) As a human being, you have no right to take the life of another human being.
(b) However, as a human being you have the right to defend your own life as long as it doesn't contradict criterion A.
(c) Therefore it would immoral to take the life of any other human being.

Following this premise it is thereby immoral to take the life of the one prisoner over the next 100.

Think about it, each of these 100 prisoners have the right to defend there own lives. So, since they have that ability, why should they not use it and instead kill this one innocent man?
Debate Round No. 2
thethickgreyline

Pro

Thank you, it is obvious you are taking quite an interest in this debate.

I understand your response but you are missing the point.

I have said that the man has the ability to kill us all if he wishes. I have left no room for the possibility of us being able to kill him. As a human being it is our duty to look at all the options however I have left only two possible options. They are the options up for debate no others. For the purpose of debate I have carefully constructed this scenario so as to only be debating these 2 options. The outlook of the other prisoners has no bearing since they have no power. We are not looking at their choices but the person with the gunman's choice.

It seems this debate has worn down to an argument over what exactly a person's moral responsibility is. In my opinion our moral responsibility is to act with a good intent to achieve the best consequences, since this is all we can really do. This outlook is backed up by the majority of philosophers who have dealt with morality. However your outlook is quite different. You seem to believe in a list of moral rules. Such as do not kill if your life is not directly threatened. These rules would be impossible to uphold as every situation is different and every choice has different consequences, however, my observations of intent and consequences can be applied to every situation. There are some situations where there are only bad decisions with bad consequences. All we can do as human beings is act with the best intent to minimise the harm.

In the end this debate will come to who believes in my opinion on philosophy shared by several philosophers or the opinion on morality invented by you.

Both the intent and consequences of a decision must be taken into account when observing the morality of an action, not emotion. It is illogical and immoral to let 102 people die in the place of one as this would result in a much greater drop in happiness than if one was killed so that 101 could live.

Thank you for participating in this debate
Republican95

Con

My opponent misses the point.

What gives you, a human being, the leisure to take the life of another human being? Nothing, this man is just as much as a man as the other 101 people in the room. Death is just as scary for him as it is for the other 101 people. What did this man do? Does he deserve this? It is unmoral and unethical to kill an INNOCENT man in any circumstances, this man is innocent. He doesn't deserve to die, and therefore he shouldn't.

My opponent, if given the opportunity to do so, would probably say that the other 101 people don't deserve to die either, and therefore they shouldn't. This is true. However, those 101 people have the right to defend their own life, as long as it doesn't take the life of any other human being.

My opponent has constructed a scenario which fits his way of thinking. Examples of this are: You can only weigh two options against each other, the other prisoners are helpless, and killing the man who gave you the gun is not an option. Going on the premise that you can only compare two options, I will like to compare these two options...

(a) Accepting one of the two options presented to you (which would both result in death)
-OR-
(b) Seeking better options

In the above scenario, B is obviously the most "moral" choice, at least on my opponent's ground. My opponent's claim is that our moral responsibility as human beings is to seek the solution that minimizes the consequences. Well, B could possibly prevent any death from occurring at all. So, isn't B the most "moral" solution?

As for the other two stipulations offered by my opponent (That the other prisoners are helpless and that you cannot kill the man who handed you the gun) are both fallacious. The only reason morality exists is because we live in a world of choices. If no one had any choices, morality would cease to exist because you'd only do something because there were no other options. In this debate, which is on morality, my opponent has offered up quite a Hobson's Choice. In other words, a problem with really no choosing involved. The choices presented to us would be to either kill 1 or kill 101. If I was truly in this situation I would probably choose to kill the one (as it would result in less suffering), but is truly a moral choice? No, because in a moral world we must have unlimited moral choices to really be moral. Since we live in a moral world with moral choices, we have a responsibility to choose the one that minimizes the consequences. However, my opponent has in essence removed morality form this scenario here and has instead presented us with a Hobson's Choice simply so he can win.

However, in this same world morality would not exist because there would be no real moral choices (we do not have the choice to seek further options). So, since we have no moral choices in this world my opponent has proposed than morality cannot exist. And since morality doesn't truly exist in my opponent's world than neither choices can be moral. Meaning that the resolution that "Killing 1 is better that killing 101" is unmoral because morality doesn't exist.

RESOLUTION NEGATED
Debate Round No. 3
16 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by untitled_entity 7 years ago
untitled_entity
this is republican's one and only win.
Posted by thethickgreyline 7 years ago
thethickgreyline
lesson learned,
in a debate there is no such thing as "implied"
Posted by thethickgreyline 7 years ago
thethickgreyline
Indeed lexicaholic,
Posted by Lexicaholic 7 years ago
Lexicaholic
Utilitarianism versus Moral Absolutism? The pot has called the kettle black!

Okay, RFD:
(1) I assumed that the following had to be true for this to be a valid moral quandary: (1) that the man who hands you the gun is invincible, (2) that the situation is inescapable, (3) that the man who hands you the gun has a clear and obvious method of eliminating the 101 people, and has demonstrated its use, (4) the man who handed him the gun accepted no other alternatives than the desired result.
(2) After the debate I voted Con, because Con brought these points up to invalidate the quandary and Pro resorted to pure utility, which is kind of funny. Especially when you can just shoot the guy who gave you the gun.
(3) Tie for conduct.
(4) Con for grammar and spelling. "their" instead of "there"
(5) Con made the more convincing arguments, because Pro never limited the debate to a valid hypothetical.
(6) No sources, no points. Tie.
Posted by thethickgreyline 7 years ago
thethickgreyline
Btw thanks for the debate Republican I've learned alot from it. XD
Posted by thethickgreyline 7 years ago
thethickgreyline
wait no i didn't
My internet is buggering up
ffs
Posted by thethickgreyline 7 years ago
thethickgreyline
hahahahahahahahahahaha

i just posted comments on the wrong debate.

Ignore all that

my bad everyone.
Posted by thethickgreyline 7 years ago
thethickgreyline
Omg you cant kill the guy!
That is not a possibility
I wrote he has the ability to kill all of you if he wishes
This means you cant kill him. It is implied!

We are not debating if there was a better decision he could have taken we are debating whether or not it is moral to kill the prisoner or not. It is off topic and is not what we are debating.

I will have to make the parameters more obvious in my next debate. I apoligise. Its my first time debating and i thought that it was implied.

Yes we all wish we could kill the guy but that is not what we are looking at.
Posted by thethickgreyline 7 years ago
thethickgreyline
This was my first debate btw
Tbonepickens has completely missed the point of what i was trying to say.
I was argueing that it is consequences and intent that matter.
I was talking about this senario not another fictional one made by you
Your ridiculule makes no sense since i was talking about this specific scenario

In your scenario i would be acting with the intent of killing 100 pedofiles and the pedofiles may have families who would be destroyed by what happened. The result is still the same. it is still moral to save them. You have not grasped my point at all. I accept blame for this as i rushed this debate because i have been busy.
Posted by Republican95 7 years ago
Republican95
That last round of mine might have been a little overwhelming...for clarification I shall simplify it.

For morality to exist there must be real moral choices.
Since there are no moral "choices" in my opponent's scenario, morality doesn't exist in that scenario.
Therefore, both solutions are unmoral.
Resolution negated
4 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Vote Placed by KeithKroeger91 7 years ago
KeithKroeger91
thethickgreylineRepublican95Tied
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Vote Placed by Lexicaholic 7 years ago
Lexicaholic
thethickgreylineRepublican95Tied
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Vote Placed by Brock_Meyer 7 years ago
Brock_Meyer
thethickgreylineRepublican95Tied
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Vote Placed by evilpanda 7 years ago
evilpanda
thethickgreylineRepublican95Tied
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