On balance, Collectivism is preferable to Individualism
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|Updated:||2 years ago||Status:||Post Voting Period|
|Viewed:||1,053 times||Debate No:||64675|
2. No new arguments in the final round
3. By accepting the debate, Con agrees to the following definitions...
>> Collectivism- the philosophy that the interests of society as a whole should be considered ethically paramount.
>> Individualism- the philosophy that the interests of the individual should be considered ethically paramount.
4. The definition of "preferable" is up for debate, but Con may not make the argument that there is no objective framework for deciding which philosophy is preferable.
5. Burden of Proof is shared. I must show the Collectivism is preferable to Individualism, and Con must show that Individualism is preferable to Collectivism.
Good luck, Krit!
Indeed, we shall do this.
I will be using rationality as the main criterion for evaluating which philosophy is preferable, so the resolution can basically be re-stated as "belief in collectivism is more rational than belief in individualism". My case revolves around 3 independently functioning reasons for why this resolution is true.
Collectivism increases the chances of individual success
The logic underlying this is simple. A society, by definition, is a group of individuals. So when we refer to "valuing the interests of society", we are really just saying that we are valuing the interests of the largest possible number of individuals within that society-- we are valuing the interests of the majority. And since an individual is statistically more likely to part of the majority than the minority, collectivism ensures that any given individual is more likely to have their interests protected than not. Thus, theoretically, collectivism increases the probability of individual prosperity.
However, this is not only demonstrable in theory; we can see empirical examples of this holding true in practice as well. Just take a look at nature; we can observe numerous different types of animals which voluntarily choose to live in large groups-- wolves, elephants, lions, chimpanzees, bison, sheep, antelopes, ants, bees, ducks, small fish, and many more fall into this category. There is a reason why such a behavior has become so widely adapted: living in such 'societies', where the group as a whole is valued over each individual animal, has proven to be an evolutionary advantage to the individual animals themselves, as it ensures them a greater chance of their survival and thus given them more time to pass on their genes. The completely impartial, purely utility-centered mechanism of natural selection clearly indicates that the collectivist lifestyle is beneficial to individuals.
Rationality mandates that if we are attempting to choose between two ideas, and if one of the ideas encompasses the goals of the other idea, then we must favor that one all-encompassing idea. In this case, that is collectivism, with its maximization of the probability of individual success. My next argument further supports this by contending that individualism in practice is detrimental to collective success (and therefore detrimental individual success as well, since the collective is composed of individuals).
Individualism has negative social repercussions in practice
Whenever we observe individualism being implemented in society, we always see with it an accompanying increase in destructive societal tendencies. The first time we can see this happening in human history is right at its dawn, with the Neolithic Revolution. Prior to it, human societies were entirely egalitarian, with the social bonds between family members holding together large clans in which every individual was cared for and provided with an equal distribution of resources; conflict between clans was also minimal by virtue of social bonds between clans developed through inter-marriage and trade . But with the advent of the Neolithic Revolution and its associated innovations, this collectivist way of life was greatly diminished, and individualistic social phenomena such as private property ownership and social stratification became the centerpieces of human societies . From that point onwards, human history has been notably more violent, with wars, slavery, tension between classes, and crime becoming commonplace.
This trend has continued throughout history, with events motivated by the pursuit of individual interests always resulting in a society which is worse off than before. This is most notably visible in the French Revolution, with the bourgeoisie and their desire for greater personal liberties at the grave expense of social stability. Even today in Western countries, we witness that trend manifest itself in the contrast between urban centers (the hubs of modern ideals such as individuality) and rural areas (where collectivist communities as described previously still exist to some extent). Signs of social decay are far more prevalent in urban centers than rural areas, with rates of violent crime and poverty levels being 3 to 4 times higher in cities than on the countryside . Individualism simply does not work out in practice, as it attempts to simultaneously promote everyone's conflicting self-interests at once, which inevitably leads to tension, violence, and the degeneration of the social fabric that bonds people together. Thus, collectivism should be preferred by default.
Individualism lacks a valid ethical justification
From the definitions of Individualism and Collectivism for this debate, we can assume that morality exists to preserve human interests, which are usually centered around the avoidance of suffering and the obtaining of happiness. Both Collectivism and Individualism aim to accomplish this common goal of ethics, only differing in whose interests are valued more and in what manner. Individualism posits that everyone should value their own interests above everyone else's, while Collectivism posits that everyone should value everyone's interests equally (thus leading us to the conclusion that preserving the maximum possible number of people's interests the ethical choice).
The problem with individualism is in its lack of warrants. I will go ahead and demonstrate why the most common justification of it, that of psychological egoism, is invalid. Even if it is true that human beings are innately selfish and thus subjectively value their own interests over those of others, that doesn't necessarily mean that they *should* do that. To use psychological egoism as a justification for individualism is to commit an example of is/ought fallacy-- a form of non-sequitur in which one falsely assumes that because something *is* done a certain way, it *ought* to be done that way. The default mindset of human beings does not necessarily serve as a valid criteria for morality.
Another problem with this justification of Individualism is that it has its basis completely in the subjective nature of human experience. If we evaluate it from a more distant perspective, we see that no one human being is objectively superior to another, and so it is only reasonable that we value all of their interests equally, which essentially leads us to the conclusion of collectivism's soundness. Thus, collectivism more objectively accounts for human interests than individualism, and it just has a much stronger ethical basis than individualism in general, effectively rendering it to be the more rational philosophy.
Three independently functioning reasons to prefer collectivism over individualism have been presented.
The resolution is affirmed!
And with that, I eagerly await Con's constructive case :D
I would like to thank the opposition for his reply!
a) Collectivist Societies
The main and fundamental premise behind this first contention is that when a society is built off collectivism, everyone is pulled in into a collective society, which works towards a collective goal that might not be the consensual goal of all men. This attitude (i.e the attitude that men can all be collected and work on one fundamental goal through consent) should be called “societal altruism”. Societal altruism takes upon the presumption that societies are not ultimately modification of individuals, which are substances, but that individuals are modifications of societies, and societies can exist without individuals. These attitudes of “societal altruism” eventually create an attitude, a subliminal but interestingly complex one, of “collectivizing all men” in pursing the goals of the “majority”. A collectivist society, and collectivism as a socio-ethical system, meets this fallacy: the fallacy of bandwagon. Utilitarianism assumes that might is right; the majority may be for redistributing the money of Steve Jobs and Bill Gates. However, this goes against the individual liberties that he has. This argument will be based upon the premise that the majority is not always correct, and that when men are collectivized, they are ultimately collectivized to follow one goal, one aim, which ultimately destroys their freedoms as this collectivization cannot be supremely consensual. This shall be demonstrated in the following syllogism:
P1. All men are free
P2. All free men are individuals with different wants
C. All men are individuals with different wants
From this conclusion, we can infer the following:
P1. All collective societies are united in wants
P2. All societies that are united in wants are non-plural in regards to other wants
C. All collective societies are non-plural in regards to other wants
The second conclusion ultimately contradicts the first conclusion that men comes up with. When societies are non-plural in regards of the desires of each other, they needlessly oppress. This oppression comes with a huge price for the liberties of the pepole. This quality, virtue, can be exemplified via fascism. The collectivism of National Socialism and Fascism led to the rise of the destructive states of Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy, responsible for killing at least 5 million people. The main logical structure behind these societies was an attempt in the creation of a sociological Absolute built upon nationhood; that a nation must be valued above life for it is the future of the race or the people etc. I quote from the Doctrine of Fascism: “Fascism has not only been a political revolt against weak and incapable governments… but also a spiritual revolt against old ideas which had corrupted the sacred principles of religion, of faith, of country…Never before have the peoples thirsted for authority, direction, order, as they do now”
b) Arguments from Evolution
There are many arguments for evolution. The main arguments, however, imply the following premise; that individual sustainability is ultimately the most important thing that man must aspire for. The only way for human evolution to continue is via the virtue of self-sufficiency. Here, I am not arguing for overt selfishness, for such ethical demands would allow for society to be wrecked by "evolution" Ultimately, men aspire independence and individualism. Men are inherently individuals and requires independence to sustain themselves. Men are never identified as a societal unit. Individualism promotes evolution; in the past, food and many other vital supplies were scarce. In this, we take the position of Mr.Herbert Spencer. Via free-compeitition, and highly-individualistic compeitition, humans could get smarter, stronger. i.e "better" in this case. Humans will eventually become, via free-compeitition, "Ubermensch" or the super-man, a man who has a superior psychological and moral instinct. There are many exemplifications of this; if we observe society, we can ultimately see that societies where human freedom is worshipped, we can see that generally there are more scientific progress in such societies. An example of this is the United States of America. The United States of America has the second largest amounts of patents applications, despite their population being significantly smaller in respect of proprotion. Another example of this is Japan, which has the most patents in the world. Their society was built upon the principle of individual freedom and the respect of such concepts.  Mr. Spencer's predictions, that ultimately there must be as few artificial restrictions as possible for intellectual progress (and perhaps progress in general), is proven in this respect.
c) Game Theoretical Arguments
d) Ends of Political Sciences
The study of political science is ultimately aimed at creating a society that could balance the encroachments on the rights of man and still create a state in which law and order could be sustained. There are generally two ways of describing the rise of the government; one is government by necessity of commodity, and the other is government by necessity of liberty. Both focus upon the individual exclusively. The first way is a traditional way: an ancient materialistic theory. This theory states that societies as we know it today arises from the necessity of the organization of goods after the division of labor. This view can be said to be individualistic; ancient philosophers often described societies as a compound connection of individuals. For example, I quote Aristotle in his De Polis “ In the first place there must be a union of those who cannot exist without each other; namely, of male and female, that the race may continue…Out of these two relationships between man and woman…the first thing to arise is the family.... Now, that man is more of a political animal than bees or any other gregarious animals is evident…And it is a characteristic of man that he alone has any sense of good and evil, of just and unjust, and the like, and the association of living beings who have this sense makes a family and a state.” Now, this doctrine places the state and society as tools of the individual, not vice-versa, as collectivism affirms.The second way is a more necessarily contract based way. This is called the social contract, which presents a more sociological origins towards socially coercive institution. This view also takes upon the premise that ultimately, all actions have an individualistic basis. Government was made via contract, and contract necessitates liberty, which is the ONLY benefit that men can gain from coercive power.
UchihaMadara forfeited this round.
Uchy wants this postponed
That is correct.
Just like how 18K doesn't want freelo :D
gib me frelo