The Instigator
socialpinko
Pro (for)
Winning
16 Points
The Contender
Microsuck
Con (against)
Losing
0 Points

Objective moral facts do not exist

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 5 votes the winner is...
socialpinko
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 6/11/2012 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 3,666 times Debate No: 24217
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (30)
Votes (5)

 

socialpinko

Pro

===Definitions===


An objective moral fact will be defined as a moral truth, which is independent of any human experience or perception. The fact that there are no moral truths if proved would not itself count as a moral truth (I only include this as it seems like an obvious semantic option). Moral truths regard what is right or wrong, moral or immoral, and will not have to do with whether or not such things exist.


Most likely will be defined as having a higher probability than not and existence will be defined as having actual being.


===Resolution and BoP===


The resolution will revolve around the existence of objective moral facts with Pro arguing that they more than likely do not exist with Con arguing the opposite. The burden of proof for Pro will be to provide a positive case in support of the propositions that objective moral facts more than likely do not exist. Con's burden will simply be to attempt to refute Pro's case.


===Rules===


1. Drops will count as concessions.

2. Semantic or abusive arguments will not be counted.

3. New arguments brought in the last round will not be counted.

4. R1 is for acceptance. Argumentation will begin in R2.
Microsuck

Con

Thank you for challenging me to this debate. It is certainly a great honour to debate you once again on this issue. I wish you the best of luck. :-)
Debate Round No. 1
socialpinko

Pro

I must say it always is a pleasure to debate with Kohai, and no I will never stop calling you that. I wish my opponent the best of luck starting this debate and on a side-note, I will keep my introductory arguments short as simply a summary of the respective arguments. I will go into further detail as the debate goes on.


Contention I. Morality and Contingent Experience


Human experience and perception is not a necessary phenomenon. It's certainly possible that the human species would have never existed or that no intelligence would have evolved in the universe for that matter. We also know that moral questions and dilemmas are entirely contingent on the existence of some intelligence to ponder between different choices of action. If there is no cognition there are no choices and if there is no intelligence there is no questioning of the correct way to act. Hence, we are lead to the conclusion from these facts that morality emerged when human cognition (or any type of intelligent cognition for that matter) emerged. Hence, morality itself is contingent on an observer or intelligent being or beings and is thus not objectively existent.


My opponent could attempt to get around this objection by pointing to features of the world as a source of moral facts, irrespective of any human observer or actor. However, David Hume created an apt challenge to this argument with his is-ought gap.


Contention II. Morality and Hume's Gap


Perhaps the simplest argument against objective moral facts lies in David Hume's famous is-ought gap[1]. In A Treatise on Human Nature[2], Hume argued that there was no way yet shown to derive an ought from an is. Explained, this means that there is no warrant behind the derivation of how things should be, based off of how things are. Consider the example of killing an innocent person. There's no reason why it can be shown to be wrong to kill an innocent human just based off the fact that it is the killing of a human. Before this can be shown, an evaluative premise showing that killing innocent humans is wrong must be inserted. The gap is useful in showing that the simple facts of the world do not lend themselves to moral prescriptions.


===Sources===


[1] http://personal.bellevuecollege.edu...
[2] http://michaeljohnsonphilosophy.com...
(Book Three, Part One)
Microsuck

Con

Thank you, socialpinko, for your opening arguments.

WHAT IS MORALITY?

"The unit of ethics is values. Values are things that one must work to gain or keep (a simple example of that is nutrition). These values are short-handed ways of expressing moral principles (ex. “we need to eat because otherwise we die”), and moral principles are short-handed way of expressing scientific or social facts (such as the facts about metabolism)." (Tremblay, Francois 2005).

OPENING ARGUMENTS

1. There is a moral choice, with two or more possible actions.

2. Those actions exist in a context.

3. The combination of that context and our hierarchy of values determine the values effected by each action. (ibid)

Objective morality is a moral truth INDEPENDENTof any human experience or perception. Because there are times when two or more actions are possible, it therefore follows that the action exists in a context. For example, imagine tht you and I were in Nazi Germany and we were hiding Jews to save them from the holocaust. All of the sudden, we hear a knock at the door. Long behold it is two Nazi soldiers. Immediately, we have two choices: 1) Lie to them and tell them that we are hidding no-one; or 2) Expose the Jews to the Nazi soldiers.

Because the combination of that context and our hierarchy of values determine the values effected by each action, it logically follows that there is an action that will be better, or more moral (if you will) than the other. That action is the moral truth in this case.

Let's talk about context. The action of "killing" certainly seems prime facia morally wrong, but let's look at the context of certain forms of "killing".

1. Killing just to kill
2. Killing a bug that crawled into your house
3. Killing an animal for food on a hunt trip
4. Killing someone that has a gun trained on you.

The context of the killing action is certainly different and in each case it is necessary for us to determine the objective moral truth. Francois Tremblay notes:

"If we take contextuality out of the picture, we are no longer being objective. At least in that portion of the moral judgment, we are talking about doctrine. We have let subjectivity enter the picture, in our belief in the ultimate authority of our rules to replace context.

In fact, I would contend that we are no longer talking about morality, either. We have taken away a part of reality which directly pertains to moral judgment. Thus we are no longer talking about morality, but rather about a mental abstraction which has no more relation to action in the real world." (ibi)

CONCLUSION

Whenever there are two or more possible actions, it always follows that there is an objective truth; one that is better than the other based upon the context of the action.



Bibliography

1. Tremblay, Francois. "The Case for Objective Morality." The Case for Objective Morality. Strong Atheism, 1 Jan. 2005. Web. 14 June 2012. <http://www.strongatheism.net... >.

Debate Round No. 2
socialpinko

Pro

I would first like to point out that my opponent has not only not responded to my argument from contingent existence, therefore I will merely extend it. Since it is merely a conditional fact that humans exist in the first place, any moral "truths" will be completely dependent on this. Meaning, they will be dependent on human perception or experience to make any sense at all. I will spend my time here refuting my opponent's positive case for an objective morality.


Contention I. Moral choice.


This is where my opponent's case lacks warrant. Nowhere does my opponent actually justify the point of his that there exists a moral choice since he hasn't actually justified his position that the values which we rely on to make our choices are actually objective and not simply subjective inclinations. I admit that choices regarding actions exist (for the sake of the debate I think free will is a matter better left out), I just don't admit that they have any objective moral meaning and my opponent has not sufficiently provided a case upholding that proposition.


Contention II. Contextual action.


Based on my understanding of my opponent's point, he is arguing that every action we take occurs in a context. That it is based on other factors related to our own values of how to act. I would agree with this statement but don't think it helps my opponent's case since (A) this undermines the objectivity factor i.e. it doesn't address my point that existence is inherently conditional and (B) my opponent really needs to defend his conception of values as being objectively moral in the first place before this point could actually help his point. If our values placed on things like nutrition or health or general well being are not objectively founded, then how does it follow that our moral rules based on those values are objective truths?


Contention III. Value Hierarchy.


I also admit that people generally build up their values into hierarchies. However, this doesn't mean what my opponent seems to think it means. The fact that values are ordered in a hierarchy does not mean that those values themselves have any objectivity (I don't mean the value of nutrition doesn't objectively refer to nutrition, I mean the value of nutrition is not objective vis a vis being a value). Values are ordered ordinally. This means that things are valued in relation to others. If I have an option A and B, I might value A over B. But this doesn't mean they have objective value, it means I subjectively value things as better or worse in relation to other relevant options. The supposed objectivity of our values upheld by Con is unwarranted and unsupported.


Conclusion


My opponent has generated an interesting case in defense of objective moral facts. He argues that within context, we have options on how to act and thus may incorporate those options objectively into our cardinal hierarchy of values. However, my opponent has failed to justify the position that our values are cardinally objective as opposed to ordinally subjective. Therefore his entire case lacks the necessary foundation on which to base objectivity. If the values on which moral calculation is based are not objective, then the conclusions based off of those calculations are themselves merely descriptions of subjective conditions and thus not objective moral facts at all.
Microsuck

Con

Microsuck forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
socialpinko

Pro

It's a shame my opponent forfeited. Extend arguments and refutations. Vote Pro.
Microsuck

Con

Forgive me for the forfeit. Please vote pro.
Debate Round No. 4
30 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Microsuck 4 years ago
Microsuck
Ok. I am really sorry I forfeited. I finally finished all my debates so I will have time to complete.
Posted by Cody_Franklin 4 years ago
Cody_Franklin
I'll debate you on this too, Micro. If you want.
Posted by socialpinko 4 years ago
socialpinko
No not at all. I'm referring to the initial argument you brought.
Posted by Microsuck 4 years ago
Microsuck
Is that suppose to be an insult or what? I forfeited the debate.
Posted by socialpinko 4 years ago
socialpinko
No problem. Yeah, I've never seen or heard of the argument you presented until now.
Posted by Microsuck 4 years ago
Microsuck
What, the argument that I forfeit? Sorry so much for the forfeit, I have been SWAMPED.
Posted by socialpinko 4 years ago
socialpinko
Good debate Kohai, that was an interesting argument I must say. Never seen it before.
Posted by socialpinko 4 years ago
socialpinko
Who here is a blogger?
Posted by rosafarnandis 4 years ago
rosafarnandis
This is a really good read for me. Must agree that you are one of the coolest blogger I ever saw. Thanks for posting this useful information.
promo printing
Posted by Clash 4 years ago
Clash
Microsuck, you didn't answer my questions. If you don't want to answer them then that's fine. And evolution may play a role in morality, but it cannot explain and be behind objective moral facts if they really exist.

And socialpinko, I just asked Microsuck two questions, and don't think they are to any harm to this debate. In fact, they are far from the topic of this debate. This debate is about if objective moral facts exist. My questions was who Microsuck believes is behind these objective moral facts, and how he can believe in objective moral facts without believing in God too. If you however don't want me to talk about this in your debate, then I will respect that and not have this discussion with Microsuck in here anymore.
5 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Vote Placed by Maikuru 4 years ago
Maikuru
socialpinkoMicrosuckTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Con conceded.
Vote Placed by vbaculum 4 years ago
vbaculum
socialpinkoMicrosuckTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Though I contend that moral facts exist, I thought Con's arguments were based on an unpersuasive and inaccurate conception of morality, was unnecessarily focused on context and didn't respond to the contingency argument. Pro was able to point out these flaws among others. Pro's case was thus stronger, though on citations and grammar, I consider there cases equal.
Vote Placed by ldcon 4 years ago
ldcon
socialpinkoMicrosuckTied
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Reasons for voting decision: 1st Vote! FF
Vote Placed by royalpaladin 4 years ago
royalpaladin
socialpinkoMicrosuckTied
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Reasons for voting decision: FF
Vote Placed by thett3 4 years ago
thett3
socialpinkoMicrosuckTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Con told me to vote pro...too bad it couldve been a good debate.