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ODBT: Suicide Is Objectively Wrong

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 11/13/2012 Category: Society
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,404 times Debate No: 27185
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (1)
Votes (2)




This will probably be the first debate instated that is part of the ODBT (Official DDO Beginner's Tournament). It will be between me and jedipengiun.

My resolution: Suicide is not objectively wrong.


Please no trolling or semantics.


suicide- the act or an instance of taking one's own life voluntarily and intentionally especially by a person of years of discretion and of sound mind.

is- present 3d singular of be.

objectively- dealing with facts or conditions as perceived without distortion by personal feelings, prejudices, or interpretations.

wrong- something wrong, immoral, or unethical; especially: principles, practices, or conduct contrary to justice, goodness, equity, or law.

Round Structure-
1. Acceptance
2. Neg. Will present case. Aff. will attempt to negate Neg.'s arguments. Aff. will present his/her case.
3. Neg. will defend R2 arguments. Neg. will attempt to negate Aff.'s arguments. Aff. will deconstruct Neg.'s defenses. Aff. will defend his/her arguments.
4. Neg. will deconstruct Aff.'s deconstructions. Neg. will deconstruct Aff.'s defenses. Neg. will come to supposed conclusion. Aff. will attempt to negate Neg.'s counter-deconstructions. Aff. will defend his original arguments once more. Conclusion will be stated by Aff.

The BOP will be shared.


I accept and look forward to debating you. Best of luck.
Debate Round No. 1


Thanks to jedipengiun for accepting this debate.

Contention 1- Idealism

Everyone has the right to take their own life. A person's most unassailable title is their own life and person. In an allegory, ending one's life, when subject to great suffering is comparable to awakening from a terrible nightmare, and as it passes redemption follows. Most suicides are acts of will, it is a way of denying life's pains which a person may be subjected to. Moral freedom, which is the most profound fulfillment of ethicality is only obtained by denying one's will to live, suicide allows a person to fullfill this will. When a person fulfills this will with the ultimate sacrafice of suicide, you are redeemed from life's pain, pleasures, and desires that you were otherwise subjected to, when this freedom was idol. When one destroys their own existence, will to live has not been destroyed, on the contrary, he would otherwise keep his life if it was satisfactory to him, he may be able to assert his power to free will, but it's will to live vs. power of circumstances, and when the circumstances become too great, the will to live is not prevalent, and is removed under one's own freedoms and choices.

Contention 2- Liberalism

Under the philosophical prescriptions of Liberalism, it is asserted that a person's life belongs to them and that no other person should force their own ideals onto someone else, in other words, the idea that life must be lived. The individual that controls said body has decisions they can make on how they want to live that life, and whatever decisions they make should be respected, as long as they don't apprehend anybody elses will, and of course suicide does not do that. Under the principles of self-ownership, people who have control over their can do what they please with it, and right to life and right to death are the most basic of all these prescriptions. Another reason that suicide is not wrong per se would be that objectively meaningless life, or life that has no purpose is why one must kill oneself, to escape from sheer agony of pain they may be objected to, suicide is like being released from prison. A liberation one might say. When one prescribes objectively meaningless life, the person in question who is wanting be liberated is able to give meaning to life, in other words, meaning of life is subjective, not objective.

Contention 3- Subjective Morality

3a. Optional Subjective Morality-

Morality is subjective; meaning that personal choice determines ones standards and moral ideas, as opposed to objective morality, which presupposes universal moral ideas that morality is objective and everyone must follow them.

Subjective morality is optional, everyone decides what they consider moral, they set objectives and standards. Things that set standards for people is situational adaptation, or the ability to adapt to a situation, for example:

A person who considers homosexuality immoral may become good friends with a homosexual, get to know them and realize the immorality they drew from this is groundless, after being exposed, "prima facie" and seeing both sides of things.

Another thing that may influence a child's moral standards can be, "Upbringing", for example:

A child is raised in the Christian faith and is raised to think homosexuality is immoral, now of course the child doesn't object because they look up to the people that advocate this idea, "their parents", and any moral objection or standard is grounded in to them as "pure logic" until they are able to see both sides of things, and can conform their own sense of morality.

3b. Subjective Morality and Conditions-

All morality is situational as suggested in my about co-contention, as is the decision to be moral subjective morality (situational) suggests that every moral standard, action, or presupposition is based on objective morals one takes or prior events, each situation is based on conditional conclusions. Meaning the decision to even have morals is subjective in itself. For example:

A person decides they have a moral obligation to perform an action such as performing a good deed or kill one person to save ten; in both of these situation lie two objectives that you can follow;

a) Accept or reject the moral ideal.
b) Perform the action to follow up on your presupposed ideal.


In contention one, I used the idealist argument that set ground for the morality of suicide.
In contention two I put forth the liberalist argument that establish the "self-ownership" argument.
In contention I put forth the subjectiveness that entails from setting moral standards.

Expressed Conclusions;

Suicide is a moral freedom that everyone is able to exercise and under circumastances of "objectively meaningless life" is morally and subjectively right and appropriate. (Contention 1)

Suicide is an application of self ownership and the violation of self ownership by an outside party is "objectively wrong" (Contention 2)

Subjective morality under conditional and optional logic refutes the objectiveness under presupposed standards. (Contention 3a and 3b)

All of the expressed premises make suicide;

A moral freedom

Protected by self-ownership

All morality is subjective therefore one cannot presuppose "wrong" onto any premise that is conditional.

Thank you.




I want to begin, like my opponent, stating my position. Suicide is objectively wrong. I make this claim on certain grounds, the states of affairs and how the world actually is, the amount of choice/options that a person can have, and the use of the word "voluntarily" and "intentionally", within the definition of suicide.

In your idealism paragraph you begin with stating that most suicides are acts of will. This is incorrect, and only 1/10th of suicide's can be considered suicidal acts from will, this is because the course that ends in suicide, more often than not, is from depression or anxiety[1]. However within the definition of suicide the use of concepts such as voluntary and intentional allow us to exclude these points (because sufferers of depression can be considered to be less conscious or less of a free agent). Now, at the risk of losing points for being semantic I feel I should state that there is a reason I do so, when I state that suicide is objectively wrong, I want to make it explicit that I am speaking of rationally deduced suicide. This may have been implied, however I don't feel it was sufficient, so I'm stating it.
You also make the statement that a "person's most unassailable title is their own life and person". Implying, by extension, one also has the choice to end it. I disagree with this. An through analogy I will show you why.

You have to build a house, and you have 1000 pieces of lego (building a house is much like building an identity and life). However, you can only use about 400 of these pieces to create your own house, this you have no choice in and we need 1000 pieces to make our house (this is because of our nature, by nature we are social creatures and spend time with others, granted this differs and is not always 400 pieces but I picked a number at random, some people have higher others lower). We have a spare unused 600 pieces of lego that we can share with others, and others use these pieces of lego to create their own homes and houses.
Now you meet friends, maybe that special someone, and you begin to build a house. You've got your 1000 pieces and you're happy. You've invested yourself aswell and others into the building of this house.
Now imagine that the special person in your life, maybe has invested 400 pieces into your house takes all these pieces away. The house that you have built and live in has collapsed in on itself because a person has retracted all their pieces (through suicide). And now your life, through an unnecesary action, is destroyed.
This view of Social Contractarianism and why our lives are not our own should state why suicide is objectively wrong. It is within mans nature to be social, and because of this social contracts are made and are not to be broken. The world has in built ought's and this is one of them. Suicide, does more damage than it does good.

The paragraph on liberalism highlights one of my main issues with the notion of subjectivity. From what I can gather, you seem to be commenting with a lot of the philosophy of John Stuart Mill. His main thesis in On Liberty is dependant upon the notion that you put forward here (against suicide). This notion being, in your words, it is asserted that a person's life belonds to them and that no other person should force their own ideals onto someone else. In the words of John Stuart Mill over himself, over his body and mind, the individual is sovereign.[2]
Mill's account of Liberty and Individual Freedom is founded on the notion of harm. Mill would contend that Suicide is an action that only affects the individual, and is a product of individual choice, and the state has no right whatsoever to interevene here. However, Mill's account of the State is founded upon his Harm Principle. And it's worth noting that in On Liberty Mill never explicitly states what can be considered as harm. And because of this vagueness, we don't know whether or not that the harm that others take from an individuals suicide can be constituted as something the state must interevene in/with.
I realise that my position is vulnerable to straw man. But from what was proposed by my opponent, John Stuart Mill's On Liberty expresses all of this and more. It's a good read.

Furthermore, the entire notion of subjectivity, here, is completely undermined by the implication of subjectivity, and you have made one of them here. Subjectivity implies Tolerance. You make this connection yourself with comments such as; "whatever decisions should be respected" and "that no other person should force their own ideals onto someone else". The entire notion of subjectivity undermines itself, and becomes self-refuting, in that it proposes objective rules. Rules such as all choices an individual makes are to be respected, and do not be dogmatic. Subjectivism implies either that there are objective rules, tolerance, or you are left with the contention that everybody is infallible and there cannot be genuine moral decisions. Which is it? Subjectivism implies tolerance (something objective) or do we conclude everybody is infallible?

Optional Subjective Morality and Conditions
In 3a it seems you are contending that there are several ways to view ethics. Different views can be caused via upbringing, or different subscriptions to particular beliefs or systems of ethics. While I do not disagree with this, I do not subscribe to the contention that they are all of equal worth. For example I wouldn't suggest that my friend, Derek, who subscribes to the view that all ethical/moral decisions should be directed towards cake making (any option that promotes cake making is what he considers ethical, I made it up, sorry) has an opinion of equal worth to that of Jeremy Bentham's Utilitarinism.
What grounds do I rest my belief's of worth upon, you ask? I rest them upon how the world actually is. And how the world actually is, is an objective axiom, that is to say, it is without bias.
Now, you may state that it is of my own opinion that I use this as an axiom. And you are right. But this is an axiom that most, if not, all ethical positions take. The whole, you cannot derive an ought from an is is non-sensical. As Daniel C Dennett puts it, if you cannot derive an ought from an is, what can you derive it from? [3].

My Position
I put forward the notion that there is an objective moral system that we ought to live by, by virtue of being human. Humans have things that ought to, or ought not be. For example, I ought not kick a pregnant woman in the stomach. Why? Well because it minimises health and well-being for the woman. Now, your subjectivist position cannot allow for any scrutiny of such a horrendous action. It's simply somebody else's view of ethics. I ought not kick a pregnant woman because, the way the world actually is, dictates that this should not happen. Suicide also falls into this bracket. The world has in built oughts, I by my nature, ought not be tortured, because to be tortured would minimise health and well-being.
Suicide also falls under the category of what ought not be done. Suicide breaks social contracts, and it's an action whose end decreases the health and well-being of a community. I would like to elaborate upon my position more so, however I'm running out of characters and for that I apologise.
To summarise, Suicide is an action which is causes unnecessary harm to those around you, it minimises health and well-being, and it breaks social contracts.

References -

[1] - - Risk Factors for Suicide, first paragraph, 3rd sentence
[2] - John Stuart Mill (1859). On Liberty. Oxford University. pp. 21–22.
[3] - "If 'ought' cannot be derived from 'is', just what can it be derived from? ... ethics must be somehow based on an appreciation of human nature - on a sense of what a human being is or might be and on what a human being might want to have or want to be. If that is naturalism, then naturalism is no fallacy." (Dennett, p. 468)

Thank you.
Debate Round No. 2


I thank my opponent for his response.


Even though it is true that depressed or anxiety-ridden people can be of less than a sound mind, the soundness of their doesn't mean that they don't have will, even though they are unable to make relatively rational desicions they are still able to make decision that constitutes their will, through choices and agents. Now to address your analogy, I have already addressed this, their is such thing as an objectively meaningless life, meaning if someone feels no use for this, they can discard all the pieces, socialibilty is no excuse to take away someone's free will. To address your social contracts argument, again the objective moral system does not entail that we ought to follow it, we all have our own subjectives, I have already addressed this, social contracts do not entail we live by them, you can break a contract.


My opponent never elaborates on how suicide can harm others, so I can not address it. My opponent prescribes that tolerance is objective, this is a strawman, my opponent proposes that said statements are presupposed to be objective, when I do not where he gets this notion, shall I represent my opponent's logic in some syllogism;

Axiom 1; Subjective entailments are presupposed to be objective.

Premise; Tolerance is a subjective entailment.

Conclusion; Tolerance is objective.

Optional Subjective Morality and Conditions

Although I do agree that oughtness derives from isness, that doesn't make everything an isness, we can all concede that every moral standard derives from a universal is, but that doesn't make it a universal ought. And my opponent rests his subjections that how the world actually is dictates that this should be how moral standards are, I have already addressed this, how the world actually is cannot and does not mean all subjectives rest upon it. For example, evolution;

All life may evolve from a cell, per se, but that doesn't mean that humans of today, have the same characteristics as the cell.

Ergo, moral subjectives do not become moral objectives just because they derive from them.

Deconstructing Pro's Case-

Pro's axiom that kicking a pregnant woman equates to suicide is laughably absurd, as I expressed in my Liberalism argument, people shouldn't force their ideals on anyone else or prevent someone else from expressing theirs, and any sound person would know that kicking a pregnant woman in the stomach is apprehending someone elses will, which suicide does not, as I have already addressed....... your will, not theirs. Pro then makes another axiom that torture equates to suicide, this again has been expressed...... your will, not theirs. Pro them goes on to make more assertions that suicide breaks social contracts, minimises health and well being of a community, and harms other around you, without providing proof of this. I will let this pass and allow Pro to make a case for this next round.


Thank you for your response. :)

If a person has not, as Kant puts forward, a 'perfectally rational will' then they are exempt from moral judgements. If we are being pedantic whilst reading this, then I will change the sentence to they are exempt from valid moral judgements. Now if someone has depression of anxiety they, and I said this initially, can be considered less conscious or less of a free agent. However I feel that this is becoming a red herring and is side tracking us from the debate, I think we're on the same wavelength here anyhow and we probably ought (objective I jest) to leave this 'issue'.

As for the social contract argument, I feel you are not addressing the issue that you feel you are. You state, "social contracts do not entail we live by them, you can break a conduct". Ofcourse you can, I'm not saying that we cannot. However, what I am stating is that the breaking of a conduct or the breaking of a social contract, is immorality. It is immoral to break a social contract. To refer to the topic at hand, it is the breaking of social contracts via suicide, that is immoral.
This social contract is objective, that is to say that using the definition we both agree'd too, it is without the distortion of personal feelings or prejudices. So we can both say that Suicide is objectively wrong according to social contractarianism. You state this yourself when calling this my objective moral system.
The issue is this. You are assuming that a rule must also state why the rule must be followed. Or that a rule must express why it is to be followed. You are speaking of rules that enforce rules and not rules themselves. Anticipating this I founded my rules in something objective, and something that the two of us must presuppose. That there is a world, universe, or something that actually is. I believe that I stated I base my claim on the way the world actually is. I have placed Social Contracts into this realm, an objective realm. A realm in which anyone who accepts that there is a world, that we can learn, and that there is ethics must subscribe too.
You must either state that the world is not objective, or that we cannot learn? Or quite absurdly, denounce the existence of the world?
I would like to agree with you that social contracts do not entail that we live by them. We could quite happily live a life breaking social contracts left right and center. But you must acknowledge you live an immoral life. I can break the social contract dictating that I ought not commit suicide. But simply because I can, well this doesn't necessitate that it is not objective.

You make the statement that I never elaborate on how suicide can harm others, which is true, I didn't, however I felt that it was self-evident with the analogy that I had used. Self-harm can cause pain, and damage to the lives around you. If you don't believe this to be true, I want you to ask the person closest to you how they would deal with or feel if you commited suicide tomorrow. Nota bene, I am not saying that life is contingent on the person closest to you. It is one, of many, way of demonstrating the negative social, emotional, physical and intellectual impacts of a persons suicide upon the people around them.
"My friend commented suicide because people kicked her and called her a **** even thought she was a virgin. I did all I could but it just wasnt good enough and I regret that." [1]

Now onto my tolerance point. Subjectivism prescribes tolerance. You state objective rules that we all must live by yourself. That is where I get this notion. If your subjectivism is true, then you absolutely must not and you necessarily have no right whatsoever to make the following statements,
"whatever decisions should be respected", "that no other person should enforce their own ideals onto someone else". These two statements go against the very nature of subjectivism. Subjectivism refutes itself here. Now you can state that this is mere opinion, and it is merely your opinion. But that is all you can say. And if you do say. Again, you are refuting the very propositions you put forward.
We shall take a look at one of the propositions you have put forward. "That no other person should enforce their own ideals onto someone else". According to this view, taking it to it's logical conclusion, you've got no grounds to state this. Why? Well if you state this, I might jump back and claim that you are being dogmatic, that you are trying to tell me how to act, what I ought not and ought to do. The very thing you are trying to propose is being refuted by the fact you propose it, by the fact that you are trying to convince me, or force your own ideal, upon me. Again, I ask you, what is it to be, you tell me that your proposition despite being grounded in subjectivism is objective and applies to all and thus refutes the grounds at which you stand, or you act consistent with what you propose and state nothing? In other words, do you refute yourself or silence yourself?

I want to clarify. I am not stating that the pregnant woman scenario I put forward, and the torture scenario equates to suicide. And where you derived this notion, I have no idea. I was putting forward examples of immoral actions. I am not saying, all moral actions are synonymous and all immoral actions are synonymous. What I am saying is that they share a common property, the way the world actually is dictating what should not happen (I used the words should and ought synonymously here). I believe you misread, or misinterpreted what was there, as I used the following "falls into this bracket".
"Kicking a pregnant woman in the stomach is appregending someone elses will". On what grounds is this immoral? Your own opinion subjective grounds that you seem so adamant upon enforcing upon me? Or are they based upon an objective system?

I have set the foundations for my ethics, I will now show you how suicide is destructive. The following website I stumbled upon accidentally and I feel can show you how traumatic it is for those who have lost someone to suicide.
This website is full of stories about the pain and trauma of suicide.

This website has an expert, talking about the social effects of suicide.

A key difference between suicide and murder is the person doing the action. So some of the effects of suicide are close to that of murder. We don't suggest that there is only 1 victim in murder, the murdered, we also believe that the family members become affected and that the people around the murdered are affected so why is it when we imagine a suicide we imagine an absence of victims? I find it absurd. I am not saying they are synonymous, but they are not mutually exclusive. Some, not all, some of the factors affecting those who have lost a love one to murder are equal to that of suicide. I grant you, this is speculation, but I think we can agree that it has enough inductive force to be considered valid.

Completed suicide and psychiatric illness in relatives are risk factors for suicide. [2]


[1] -;
I advise that if you feel confirmation bias, search through the other stories.
[2] -
Under the paragraph interpretation.

I would like to apologise to anyone and everyone if my writing has not been up to scratch. I am very busy recently and so I have not been able to check thoroughly everything that I have wrote.
Thank you. :)
Debate Round No. 3


emospongebob527 forfeited this round.


I would like to use this round to now summarise my position and my opponents position.

My opponent could not successfully attack the proposition that "Suicide is objectively wrong".
His Idealism argument rested on the assumptions that a persons life is his own, and I shown my opponent that this wasn't the case through several sources. An account of how the world actually is, an account that shown the contention that a persons most unassailable title is their own life and person is a false contention. There exists a social contract that we engage in and the breaking of this contract is what can be defined as immoral.
His Liberalism argument was close to that of John Stuart Mill's On Liberty and so I assumed (through the principle of charity) this is what he was using to critique any objective morality. My account of morality being a social contract can show the contention put forward by you, and Mill, is false. I then used the notion of harm, one of the foundations of Mill's On Liberty, to run a reductio upon the notion that Suicide must be objectively immoral and that Individual over himself, over his body and mind, is in truth not sovereign. I also used the ambiguities in Mill's on liberty to prove that Liberalism is not a sufficient ground to attack "Suicide is objectively wrong".
I also pointed out, that his, and the concept of Subjectivism itself, is inconsistent with what is proposed by subjectivism. From what he was saying, he was deriving objective rules to be applied to all, through subjectivism. Thus refuting himself and his use of subjectivism. I put him in a position where he either had to admit that subjectivism was not a sufficient ground to attack "Suicide is objectively wrong" or he had to state that all moral actions were equally valid and thus infallible.

Throughout this I was was showing my opponent to be inconsistent with the propositions he put forward and the propositions to be false.
In addition to this I put up a case for Social Contracts to be a sufficient foundation for the statement "Suicide is objectively wrong". I was able to prove that this position is strong in the face of adversary also. I shown that suicide does more harm than good, and put forward several sources, first hand accounts of those who have known someone who has commited this action, and this shows that Suicide, is in fact, objectively immoral.

I would like to apologise for any typo's or grammatical errors that I have made throughout, because I have not had the time to reread what I have wrote.
If you are intellectually honest, have pushed personal prejudices aside, and are to judge only based on what is in the debates, you will vote Pro. Thank you. :)
Debate Round No. 4
1 comment has been posted on this debate.
Posted by jedipengiun 5 years ago
Sorry about the long wait, I have been working on a response, I will post it as soon as I'm home. :)
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by TrasguTravieso 5 years ago
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Total points awarded:04 
Reasons for voting decision: FF
Vote Placed by Muted 5 years ago
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Total points awarded:04 
Reasons for voting decision: Con did very well in the opening arguments. He could have won if he hadn't ff.