The Instigator
Logical-Master
Con (against)
Winning
16 Points
The Contender
bored
Pro (for)
Losing
15 Points

Psychological Egotism is is false

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 6/11/2009 Category: Society
Updated: 7 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 1,301 times Debate No: 8599
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (7)
Votes (5)

 

Logical-Master

Con

Greetings to my opponent. I wish her good luck and request that the audience not allow any biases to get in the way of their judgment. With that said, let us begin:

DEFINITIONS OF PSYCHOLOGICAL EGOISM: http://en.wikipedia.org...

Note: I would advise my opponent not to rely on the criticisms provided on the page. My previous opponent tried this in my previous debate on this matter and I was more than able to deal with them.

I shall make this round short and quick to the point through offering up a pure and simple syllogism which upholds my stance quite nicely:

Premise 1: All willing conscious actions are performed based on one's "upbringing" and biological influences.

Premise 2: One's upbringing and biological influences is what one's conscious/unconscious mind consist of.

Premise 3: One basing their actions on their own conscious/unconscious mind is a means of satisfying it (in other words, doing what it wants to do).

Conclusion: Therefore, people only willingly perform acts that satisfy their own conscious/unconscious mind.

And voil´┐Ż . . . an argument in favor of Psychological Egotism.

To go into example, let us take into consideration the classic case of a young man helping an old lady across the street. This is generally an example of altruism, but even under cases which are perceived as altruism, the fact of the matter is that helping the old lady is still a case of doing something based on mental influences, thus is an attempt to satisfy the mind. In other words, a self serving action. In laymen terms, helping others puts altruistic individuals in a state of content.

With that said, I shall conclude this round and await my opponent's response.
bored

Pro

Hello all. Thanks to my opponent for offering this debate. I look forward very much to debating him.

I'm generally wary of Wikipedia so I would like to amend the definition, which, currently is: Psychological egoism or egotism is the view that humans are always motivated by self-interest, even in what seem to be acts of altruism. It claims that, when people choose to help others, they do so ultimately because of the personal benefits that they themselves expect to obtain, directly or indirectly, from doing so.
according to Wiki

I hope my opponent will allow the removal of 'even in what seem to be acts of altruism' as I find this contradictory.

'Altruistic' according to Merriam Webster is 1 : an unselfish regard for or devotion to the welfare of others
2 : behavior by an animal that is not beneficial to or may be harmful to itself but that benefits others of its species

This seems to contradict the Psychological Egoism definition, which states that all individual actions are selfish, or based upon self-interest.
Now, I shall disprove my opponent's argument that Psyhological Egoism is true, according to his syllogism.

I shall do this with the example of an everyday experience, one which I'm sure most have seen, if not taken notice.

Two girls are about to play a game of tennis singles. To determine the order of serves, one girl (let's call her Abby) offers to twirl her raquet. On the butt of the raquet (like most t) there is a letter which could be read two ways, either a 'p' or a 'd' or a 'w' or an 'm'. Abby's opponent, (Beth), will pick one letter. Beth picks 'd'. She does not have a specific reason for chosing, yet this is a completely voluntary action, one she knew (if not consciously, subconsciously because she has undoubtably played before and the practice is a common one) beforehand but has no specific reason for chosing one or the other. Abby has the raquet reading 'p' or 'd'. She asks her opponent to chose a letter, p or d. Beth choses 'd'. Abby twirls the raquet on its head and eventually it falls to the ground, showing one letter. It is a d. Therefore, Beth will choose whether she serves or returns first.

In this simple example, Beth has chosen based not on satisfying the subconscious and conscious mind because there is nothing in there which stimulates her decision. In the next game, she may choose 'p' or 'd' again. She probably has no clue which now.

The syllogism assumes that the subconscious and consciuos mind work together to form a concrete decision ( doing what IT wants to do). However, the decision of the conscious mind (logic) and the decision of the subconsious (perception) are often quite different.

Here is the case of Chad, a boy who has not studied for his Health Safety exam. He is lost on the first question. Question #1:
What is the best way to get back to shore after being caught by a riptide?
a) Swim in a directly perpendicular line towards the shore
b) Swim parallel to the shore
c) Swim at a 90 degree angle towards the shore
d) Swim at a 45 degree angle towards the shore
e) Stay afloat until a turtle swims by and jump on its back for a safe ride to the shore.

Now, Chad knows from his lessons 'teaching to the test' that the best answer would be C. However, he is thinking back and it doesn't seem to ring a bell. His conscious is saying, C, his subconscious is disagreeing. Therefore, the mind does not agree and Chad must choose between the two. He is not satisfying IT as a whole, he must make the free individual decision on which way to go, and therefore is not doing what IT wants to do, because it is impossible.

Thank you to my opponent for this interesting topic. I look forward to his response.
Debate Round No. 1
Logical-Master

Con

==========================
RE: DEFINITION REVISION
==========================

I accept my opponent's revision of the definition, but I must point out that the wiki article which she wishes to revise doesn't necessarily possess a contradiction. If anything, it is implying that altruism doesn't exist if Psychological Egotism is in fact true.

Speaking of rendering of terms: For the remainder of this debate, I shall be referring to Psychological Egotism as "PE" is order to shorten the amount of characters I am using.

================================
RE: People can choose randomly, ergo PE is false|
================================

Basically, the contender is arguing that because people can do things which seemingly have no purpose or rationalization, that people can act without satisfying their own conscious/subconscious, therefore making PE false.

However, this is a rather faulty observation to be making as her own examples make it quite clear that the individuals are acting in order to satisfy their own minds. Take for instance Beth in the first example. She has chosen "d." However, from the way PRO has described it, Beth has chosen "d" simply because she is apathetic to the two choices. Her making a decision based upon apathy is satisfying the apathy which she herself possesses either consciously or subconsciously and is therefore upholding my syllogism in favor of PE quite nicely. Not to mention that we must also keep in mind that she wants to play the game of tennis and that merely participating in this game of "chance" will in fact allow her to do just that. Furthermore, one could possibly go further in arguing that Beth simply has a specific bias in favor of one of the letters upon each time she chooses. Nevertheless, I feel that her apathy as well as her desire to play the game are far better explanations.

===========================================================================
RE: Decisions of the conscious mind (logic) and the decision of the subconscious (perception) are often quite different.
===========================================================================

This is true, but nowhere in my syllogism is this disputed. Rather, it is simply suggesting that one acts based one, the other (hence the use of the "/" But truth be told, it is usually both which one decides to act based upon). Thus, this is merely a matter of mis-clarification and is thus to be dismissed without hesitation.

In addition, my opponent's example with Chad is no more relevant. In the end, Chad would decide based on his subconscious, conscious or even some combination of the two (which my opponent seems to agree with). The moment he decides which answer he feels comfortable with will in fact be the very moment he has made a decision to appease himself.

I now await my opponent's second round. Later. :D
bored

Pro

I thank my opponent for posting his debate round.

I am glad we have a consensus on the definition, however we may have conflicting views on the part of altruism, which I shall be glad to further debate if my opponent wishes to bring it up in the third round.

In defense:

There are, undoubtably, events in one's life where one makes a decision based on satisfying one's mind. However, that is not what we are debating. My opponent's position is that every decision is made to satisfy the mind. This cannot be the case, as I shall now attempt to prove, if my opponent does not accept the apathy example.

Say we have, Jones, a private doctor practitioner. He is approached one day by a man who stole his wife ten years earlier. Clearly, the man (Smith) has forgotten completely, and the wife committed suicide shortly after running away with Smith. Smith, who is in need of cardiovascular surgery, is one of Jones' new patients. In the operating room, Jones stands with his knife. It would be so easy to make a fatal cut and it would all be over. A slip of the knife, etc. The nurses and techies are new so they wouldn't notice the changes. Jones would just not have to notice, and let Smith slip away.

What does Jones do?
I'll leave you with that thought: does he follow his subconscious or conscious mind?
thanks
Debate Round No. 2
Logical-Master

Con

==========================
RE: DEFINITION REVISION
==========================

She states the following: "I am glad we have a consensus on the definition, however we may have conflicting views on the part of altruism, which I shall be glad to further debate if my opponent wishes to bring it up in the third round."

To which I say the following: There is no need as this isn't what the debate concerns.

================================
RE: People can choose randomly, ergo PE is false|
================================

My opponent has opted not to continue arguing in this section of this debate. Since this is my final round (hence I will have no way of further responding), it is only reasonable to conclude that this area remains uncontested and anything additional which my opponent may possible try to add this argument be discounted in the next round.

===========================================================================
RE: Decisions of the conscious mind (logic) and the decision of the subconscious (perception) are often quite different.
===========================================================================

See above.

===================
RE: The case of Jones |
===================

My opponent has presented me with a hypothetical situation in which a man known as "Jones" is approached one day by another man (Smith) who had previously stolen his wife a decade in the past, only for his wife to commit suicide. Smith is in need of cardiovascular surgery and Jones just happens to be the doctor conducting the surgery. At this point, Jones seemingly has complete control over whether or not the man who had "stolen his wife and had perhaps ended her life" lives or dies. Jones is in a situation where he would be able to get away with his murder. What my opponent asks of me is "what would Jones do." Indeed, would he follow his subconscious or conscious mind?

However, I must say that I find this question as will as this hypothetical scenario to be insufficient in terms of attributing to my opponent's argument.

I don't personally know "Jones" nor do I know enough about the situation to know what he would do, if that's what my opponent is getting at. However, what I do know is that he'd follow his subconscious/conscious mind. His decision would boil down to the genetic/environmental influences in his life. For instance, if he was raised to adhere to a certain set of morals and that these morals has constantly remained with him in his life and that he had valued these morals more than anything else, when deciding on whether or not to kill Smith, he mentally appease himself and not kill Smith (this is not to say that other variables could immediately show up to change his method of though as I am just providing an example).

The point I am getting at is that it doesn't matter whether or not his decision is based on his subconscious, conscious or both. The fact of that matter is that it being based on either is what this debate is about. The fact that my opponent has limited my choices to the two seems to be acknowledgment of this as being true. In other words, it doesn't matter what my opponent says the answer is (although I don't believe there is an answer we can gather given the utter lack of information) as my case is upheld either way.

Now if my opponent ends up using an additional argument or anything which I really had no way of responding to in this round, I ask that you dismiss it without hesitation for the sake of fairness.

With that said, I thank my opponent for the debate, thank you all for reading and ask that you all vote CON.

Later. :D
bored

Pro

bored forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
7 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 7 records.
Posted by Logical-Master 7 years ago
Logical-Master
A change of heart?
Posted by Logical-Master 7 years ago
Logical-Master
"either intentionally or unintentionally influence one's biology, nor was religion/spirituality discussed in key parts where it should have been"

I'm not sure what you're getting at. Drugs and other triggers can intentionally or unintentionally influence one's biology, but the key factor to keep in mind is that they have influenced individuals and thus are the basis of their actions at one time or more. The same can be said for religion and whatever is deemed as spirituality.

Nevertheless, thanks for reading. :)
Posted by Danielle 7 years ago
Danielle
RFD:
(1) Before debate: Con
(2) After debate: Con
(3) Conduct: Con
(4) S/G: Pro
(5) Arguments: Tie
(6) Sources: Tie

(5) The thing is, Pro did not discredit Fraud's theories of the conscious/unconscious mind enough to win the point of arguments. I agree with Con anyway, so this doesn't really matter. However, I'm disappointed that Pro didn't respond to some crucial loopholes in Con's arguments. Moreover, Pro nor Con discussed the influence of drugs and other triggers that either intentionally or unintentionally influence one's biology, nor was religion/spirituality discussed in key parts where it should have been. Basically, this debate easily goes to the Con. I wish Pro put forth more effort; she seems intelligent enough and could have made this a really interesting debate! : )
Posted by bored 7 years ago
bored
I apologize for failing to meet the time standard. I hope my opponent forgives my breach of protocol:(

I don't mind if you still want to debate further. I agree, my arguments were not at their best :P

I wouldn't mind bringing up the first two arguments again..
As for the Jones case, my rather muddled point was that Jones cannot satisfy both his subconscious and conscious, so PE does not reasonably exist. The point of PE is that all of one's decisions satisfy 'it':
"Premise 3: One basing their actions on their own conscious/unconscious mind is a means of satisfying it (in other words, doing what it wants to do)."

However, when 'it' is actually two separate entities, which may have conflicting views (as my Jones scenario was to exemplify), then it becomes impossible for one decision to satisfy. Jones can only make one decision. He may be complying with one part of his mind but he is not satisfying 'it'.
_____________________________________
http://www.successful-blog.com...
I would like to make a few quick points about the other arguments which I neglected in my second round. My opponent may choose to address them or not.

PE depends, from what I understand, on decisions--purposeful movements that set a course for one's future. However, choices, which are temporary motions but still made by the mind (sub/conscious) not necessarily to satisfy it but to satisfy the surroundings. Beth is making a choice, a move to expedite the process. She could stay there and ponder for an hour or two but she doesn't want to hold up the entire process. She's not satisfying her mind, but the minds of those around her. Everyone expects her to make a choice, quickly. She is not encouraged to consult a psychic or the stars or a deck of tarot cards to encourage her subconscious to act. She doesn't satisfy her mind; she satisfies her surroundings.
Thanks for being so gracious :P & sorry.
Posted by Lexicaholic 7 years ago
Lexicaholic
RFD: Con
(1) Agreed with Con before.
(2) Agreed with Con after.
(3) Pro forfeited through delay, vote to Con.
(4) Pro had fewer spelling errors, vote to Pro.
(5) Con made a more convincing argument, vote to Con.
(6) Con used the only source, but it was definitional so I called it a wash.
Posted by Logical-Master 7 years ago
Logical-Master
I'd hate for you to use your entire round on what is essentially cross examination, thus welcome you to continue asking more questions in the comment section here (if needed) and that you post an argument (to substitute for the inquisitive nature of your second round) based on my answers in the comment section. I shall fully acknowledge you doing this in my debate round. What say you? :)
Posted by bored 7 years ago
bored
Thank you, L-M! I know I asked you to set up this debate but I am so tired I really can't come up with a coherent argument. I'll sleep on it and be back tomorrow! Or actually..later today. Yawn. Thanks
5 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Vote Placed by Clockwork 7 years ago
Clockwork
Logical-MasterboredTied
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Vote Placed by Danielle 7 years ago
Danielle
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Vote Placed by Vi_Veri 7 years ago
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