The Instigator
bsh1
Con (against)
Winning
7 Points
The Contender
bladerunner060
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points

Quickfire Debate: Justice, Retribution, and Forgiveness

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after 1 vote the winner is...
bsh1
Voting Style: Open with Elo Restrictions Point System: Select Winner
Started: 7/14/2015 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 3,172 times Debate No: 77471
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (70)
Votes (1)

 

bsh1

Con

Preface

This is my first quickfire debate. My idea of "quick" is probably less rapid than other people's notions of the same. You will have 3 full hours to type up your argument; there are 6,000 characters per round. The goal is to focus on meaningful, substantive discourse rather than rely on source-spamming or the like. It's designed to test the alacrity of your wit and your ability to present cogent arguments under a time crunch.

This debate is impossible to accept. If you accept without my permission, you automatically forfeit the debate. To accept, please apply in the comments. Voters on this debate must have at least 2500 ELO, as well.

Full Topic

Regarding criminal acts, justice can usually be obtained without the victim's forgiveness of the criminal.

Terms

The definitions below are influenced by or excerpted from Socrates/Plato and Wikipedia.

Justice - giving each their due
Forgiveness - "Forgiveness is the intentional and voluntary process by which a victim undergoes a change in feelings and attitude regarding an offense, lets go of negative emotions such as vengefulness, with an increased ability to wish the offender well. Forgiveness is different from condoning (failing to see the action as wrong and in need of forgiveness), excusing (not holding the offender as responsible for the action), pardoning (granted by a representative of society, such as a judge), forgetting (removing awareness of the offense from consciousness), and reconciliation (restoration of a relationship)."

Rules

1. No forfeits
2. Any citations or foot/endnotes must be individually provided in the text of the debate
3. In the interests of keeping the debate dialogue-centered, there is a cap of 6 new sources per round from each debater.
4. No new arguments in the final round
5. Maintain a civil and decorous atmosphere
6. No trolling
7. No "kritiks" of the topic (e.g. forgiveness is impossible, etc.)
8. My opponent accepts all definitions and waives his/her right to add resolutional definitions
9. For all undefined terms, individuals should use commonplace understandings that fit within the logical context of the resolution and this debate
10. Pro must go first and must waive in the final round; Pro must ensure both debaters are ready at the time he accepts
11. The BOP is on Pro to show the resolution to be true; Con must prevent Pro from doing that and offer some justice benefit to forgiveness
12. Violation of any of these rules or of any of the R1 set-up merits a loss

Structure

R1. Pro's Case
R2. Con's Case, Pro rebuts Con's Case
R3. Con rebuts Pro's Case, Pro defends Pro's Case and Summarizes
R4. Con defends Con's Case and Summarizes, Pro waives

Thanks...

...again to whomever accepts; I am looking forward to a truly challenging and enjoyable discourse!
bladerunner060

Pro

Hello to everyone who reads this! After PMing with bsh1, I've confirmed we're both online and ready to go before accepting this debate. Thanks to bsh1 for this debate, and I look forward to an interesting exchange of viewpoints.


Introduction

So, the resolution we're considering is whether justice can usually be obtained without forgiveness. I, of course, accept the R1 definiions. Indeed, they're central to my case.


We are considering criminal acts. Justice, here, is coming from society and the justice system--as flawed and imperfect as those often are. Justice is giving what's due. And that means the question is whether anyone is ever "owed" forgiveness, and whether a victim can be faulted as being unjust for withholding that forgiveness.


Crimes Generally

Many crimes have no "victim" per se--they're crimes against society at large. Crimes like drugs, public order, and tax evasion, to name some, don't have a specific victim who could forgive the criminal. Crimes like murder preclude the possibility of the victim's forgiveness. Some basic statistics aggregated by a relatively biased source (but originally provided by bjs.gov) indicate that, as of 2011, more than 80% of the US federal prison population consists of victimless crimes such as drugs or public-order offenses [1].


Unless justice can't be obtained in those cases, it's obvious that generally speaking forgiveness of the victim is not necessary for justice to be obtained. While I welcome Con to contest those statistics, I don't want to play a semantics game here, I'm not trying to win on a "most crimes don't have a victim" argument. The point I'm trying to make is that in order for it to generally be the case that forgiveness is necessary to obtain justice, we'd have to say that crimes with a victim require forgiveness in order to obtain justice, and we'd have to have some basis for that assertion.

Forgiveness Is Irrelevant to Justice

I argue that forgiveness is irrelevant to justice. To be sure, forgiveness is a moral good. We should encourage forgiveness. But with Justice we're talking about obligation. Many things are moral goods, but not obligations. It is my position that forgiveness is part of that class.


As Con notes, forgiveness is voluntary and justice is what is due. Has a criminal been wronged if he is unforgiven? If he's paid his debt to society, he no longer "owes" for his crime, but neither, in my opinion, is he in turn "owed" forgiveness for his crimes from his victims. If a rape victim finds themselves unable to forgive their attacker who has been convicted, sentenced, and imprisoned, in what way has justice been harmed? The victim could try to forgive in a voluntary act, so they aren't being harmed. Is it the criminal, then? To be a bit repetitious, by what right can they demand that forgiveness?

Forgiveness is about more than restitution, as Con's definitions indicate. If someone, through negligence, were to kill one of my dogs, I'm unlikely to ever forgive them for it. The demands of justice are that I be recompensed for the dog, and I respect that, but the demands of justice are not that I'm obligated to reciprocate by forgiving the crime itself, which cannot be undone.

Forgiveness is emotional

Forgiveness, as a voluntary act relating to emotions, is as capricious as all emotions. And justice cannot rely on emotions. If you've wronged me, perhaps by stepping in my foot, I might feel like I should kill you--but that's unjust of me, it's an unreasonable response to the harm. If nothing short of that will satisfy me, then to argue that forgiveness plays any necessary role is to argue that justice is impossible without the consent and emotional willingness of the harmed, which negates the entire principle of justice as being blind and as objective as possible. Justice cannot depend on one's feelings, and it cannot force you to have specific feelings. You can't have an unjust emotion--it is what it is.


Mercy and Forgiveness

What can rely on emotion is Justice's mitigation: Mercy. Christian theology traditionally teaches that "human beings are subject to death and eternal separation from God as a result of their sinfulness"[2], but that they may be forgiven by God and Jesus through the religion. This forgiveness is separate from, and over and above, the justice which would otherwise require that death and eternal separation. Obviously, as an atheist, I don't hold to the premises here. The point is made to show that justice and mercy are distinct. And mercy is good, but it is distinct from justice per se. Justice can be achieved without mercy, for mercy is subjective--who deserves mercy is in the proverbial eye of the beholder, while justice is ostensibly blind.

Shakespeare says in The Merchant of Venice (Act IV Scene i) [3]:


"The quality of mercy is not strained;
It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven
Upon the place beneath. It is twice blest;
It blesseth him that gives and him that takes:
‘T is mightiest in the mightiest; it becomes
The throned monarch better than his crown:
His sceptre shows the force of temporal power,
The attribute to awe and majesty,
Wherein doth sit the dread and fear of kings;
But mercy is above this sceptred sway;
It is enthronèd in the hearts of kings,
It is an attribute to God himself;
And earthly power doth then show likest God’s
When mercy seasons justice. Therefore, Jew,
Though justice be thy plea, consider this,
That, in the course of justice, none of us
Should see salvation: we do pray for mercy;
And that same prayer doth teach us all to render
The deeds of mercy. I have spoke thus much
To mitigate the justice of thy plea;
Which if thou follow, this strict court of Venice
Must needs give sentence ‘gainst the merchant there."


With that, I turn the floor to my esteemed opponent. 

[1] http://www.drugwarfacts.org...

[2] http://plato.stanford.edu...
[3] https://en.wikipedia.org...(Shakespeare_quote)
Debate Round No. 1
bsh1

Con

Thanks to Blade for this debate! I apologize for the long-ish response time. It took longer to type up than anticipated. I will now present my case:

==================================

"Forgiveness is not always easy. At times, it feels more painful than the wound we suffered, to forgive the one that inflicted it. And yet, there is no peace without forgiveness." - Marianne Williamson

C1. Forgiveness and the Self

"'A state of unforgiveness is like carrying a heavy burden--a burden that victims bring with them when they navigate the physical world...Forgiveness can lighten this burden.'" [1]

Failure to forgive represents a failure to relieve yourself of pain. Suppose I am the victim of a mugging and I harbor hatred and anger towards the person who attacked me. Holding onto those negative feelings means that I become a victim of those feelings. It is as if the mugging is un-ending, that the attacker’s ability to make me feel angry or scared or hurt has not diminished, and that my life is now worse off because of that anger. I am not due those negative feelings which were inflicted on me by the mugger, but failure to forgive means that those emotional wounds will stay with me for quite some time, possibly forever, meaning that the act of mugging (already undue) would leave me with long-term emotional pain that is also not my due.

Forgiveness, in terms of releasing pain, has many benefits for a person. In fact, "[l]etting go of grudges and bitterness can make way for happiness, health and peace. Forgiveness can lead to: Healthier relationships, Greater spiritual and psychological well-being, Less anxiety, stress and hostility, Lower blood pressure, Fewer symptoms of depression, Stronger immune system, Improved heart health, [and] Higher self-esteem." [2] This demonstrates that forgiveness really does assist a person in ending the emotional trauma unjustly inflicted on them by their attacker.

C2. Forgiveness and the Criminal

Criminals who feel repentant about what they have done may feel unable to move past their crime. They themselves may be unable to feel like anything other than a criminal, and may be haunted by that act for the rest of their lives. While no criminal should forget their crime, the lessons they acquired from it, or what it did to their victim, many should not have to be forced to constantly live in the moment of their crime. Forgiveness may release them to move on with their lives, and rejoin society as productive members, not haunted by their actions, but not given a pass on those actions as well. It is restorative justice at its finest.

C3. Taking Responsibility

Criminals who are able to be forgiven, or who operate in more forgiving criminal justice systems, tend to more directly take responsibility for their actions. Criminals are clearly due responsibility, and encouraging them to accept it themselves would likely both increase the chance that people will be held responsible for their acts and will make finding out who is responsible more easy. "Evidence from actual legal situations supports the idea that for some crimes victims will choose a different path to justice if it is available. Restorative justice programs, such as the commission established in South Africa to respond to apartheid-era violations of human rights, typically prioritize victims' needs and enable the perpetrator to tell his or her story. These elements foster a dialogue between victim and criminal that results in two important consequences: victims report high rates of satisfaction with the process, and offenders are more likely to take responsibility for their crimes." [3]

C4. Instrumental Good

The victim's forgiveness of the criminal also serves an instrumental good in the pursuit of justice, in the sense that it makes doing other things (like reconciling) easier. It is hard, for instance, to reconcile or pardon when one still harbors enmity towards the criminal. When victims are able to forgive, reconciliation can begin. So, forgiveness promotes the attainment of justice through making other actions easier or more likely.

Reconciliation and pardoning have several benefits for justice. For instance, if a friend commits a wrong against me, and I cannot forgive my friend, I will be denying myself a relationship that could still be beneficial for me. Everyone makes mistakes, and preventing relationships from re-forming due to a lack of forgiveness denies all participants in that relationship any future benefits that may arise from that relationship. Additionally, if we cannot forgive, then it becomes harder to pardon. Politically speaking, no official can pardon someone who the populace feels strongly about. It requires a kind of social forgiveness to make it politically viable for an official to allow a person out of jail. In the U.S., for instance, pardoning certainly serves justice interests insofar as many people held in prison for small crimes often serve overlong sentences in poor or rough conditions, which is not their due. [4]

C5. Vindication of the Victim

Acknowledging the victim's power to forgive recognizes their power over the assailant or criminal, and asserts that they are the ones with power. The victim has the final say over the criminal, they can refuse to allow the criminal to haunt them and they can make forgiveness a statement of that power. Asserting the victim's rights, which are their due, is a final and very important benefit to forgiveness.

Sources

1 - http://www.psmag.com...
2 - http://www.mayoclinic.org...
3 - http://www.scientificamerican.com...
4 - http://www.slate.com...

Thanks again to Blade for this debate. I turn the floor over to him, now...
bladerunner060

Pro

Thanks again to Con for this debate, and thanks for the response. I'll get right into it--trying to get this response in in under an hour (I've got 5 minutes to go!).

To do so, I'd like to remind us of the definition of forgiveness, as provided by Con:

"Forgiveness is the intentional and voluntary process by which a victim undergoes a change in feelings and attitude regarding an offense, lets go of negative emotions such as vengefulness, with an increased ability to wish the offender well. Forgiveness is different from condoning (failing to see the action as wrong and in need of forgiveness), excusing (not holding the offender as responsible for the action), pardoning (granted by a representative of society, such as a judge), forgetting (removing awareness of the offense from consciousness), and reconciliation (restoration of a relationship)."

Emphasis mine on "voluntary".


C1

Con says that failure to forgive is a failure to relieve yourself of pain. But how does that relate to our motion? Is he arguing that it's necessary to relieve yourself of pain? He says there are benefits to forgiveness. And I would certainly agree! But we're talking about justice here, and whether forgiveness is necessary to obtain it.


C1

Con argues in C2 that "Forgiveness may release them to move on with their lives, and rejoin society as productive members, not haunted by their actions, but not given a pass on those actions as well. It is restorative justice at its finest."


But restorative justice requires restoration. The criminal can't undo what he did. Forgiveness is an intentional and voluntary process to change feelings. Con argues here, if we assume that this C2 relates to the motion, that the victim owes to the criminal forgiveness so that the criminal doesn't have to be "haunted" by his own acions. How is that justice? Con hasn't quite explicated that yet, and I really don't see how.

C3

In C3, Con tells us that taking responsibility and involving the victim result in higher satisfaction. But he gives us no reason to think it has helped justice.


C4

In C4, Con actually gets into addressing justice directly. He claims that there's "an instrumental good in the pursuit of justice", but his justification for that good is that "it makes doing other things (like reconciling) easier." I confess I'm not clear how reconciliation is necessary for justice.


Con says "It is hard...to reconcile or pardon when one still harbors enmity towards the criminal. When victims are able to forgive, reconciliation can begin. So, forgiveness promotes the attainment of justice through making other actions easier or more likely."

But, how is reconciliation necessary for justice? Con again seems to put a burdeon on the victim--a burden that I simply don't see justification for.

Con claims that "if a friend commits a wrong against me, and I cannot forgive my friend, I will be denying myself a relationship that could still be beneficial for me". Yet, given that forgiveness is voluntary, failing to forgive indicates that you no longer think that relationship is beneficial. And, indeed, depending on the wrong it's entirely possible that it's not beneficial any more.

Con says "Everyone makes mistakes, and preventing relationships from re-forming due to a lack of forgiveness denies all participants in that relationship any future benefits that may arise from that relationship." But how does this relate at all to justice, which is the resolution?

Con claims that "If we cannot forgive, then it becomes harder to pardon. Politically speaking, no official can pardon someone who the populace feels strongly about. It requires a kind of social forgiveness to make it politically viable for an official to allow a person out of jail. In the U.S., for instance, pardoning certainly serves justice interests insofar as many people held in prison for small crimes often serve overlong sentences in poor or rough conditions, which is not their due." He argues here that forgiveness is necessary to give criminals their due. Except that's not true--society has deemed that the sentence is the criminal's "due", so how does Con justify that it's not their "due"? Only because he thinks they should be forgiven, yet there's no link to justice there. It's just Con saying it.

C5

Con says that "Acknowledging the victim's power to forgive recognizes their power over the assailant or criminal, and asserts that they are the ones with power." Yet, under Con's framework, that's false. Because we should all agree that the pursuit of justice is good and necessary. So i the victim's forgiveness is seen as necessary for justice, then there's an obligation to forgive. That's not power, because it negates the voluntary aspect of forgiveness.


Con says "The victim has the final say over the criminal, they can refuse to allow the criminal to haunt them and they can make forgiveness a statement of that power. Asserting the victim's rights, which are their due, is a final and very important benefit to forgiveness." But, that power is only present if they WANT it. If they don't want it, Con wants us to say they're violating justice. I reject that wholly, and I reject that it's an expression of power to claim that victims are obligated to forgive criminals to obtain justice.

Thanks again to Con, and I'm looking forward to his next round!
Debate Round No. 2
bsh1

Con

Thanks once again to Blade for this debate. I hope I can be a bit more prompt in responding this time. I will now address his case.

==================================

C1. Crimes Generally

Firstly, Blade’s statistics apply just to federal prisons, not to prisoners in general or criminals in general. Additionally, there are competing studies which reach different conclusions: "Roughly 34% of all prisoners in the U.S. are incarcerated for victimless crimes." [1]

Secondly, one could argue that all or (at least) most crimes have some kind of victim. For instance, crimes against public order victimize the public, by harming their right to live in an orderly society. The same can be said of drugs; perhaps the claim could be also made that drug crimes support a broader industry that is harmful (illegal drug industry), and so everyone who is a victim of that industry is also a victim of those who act to support that industry. Finally, drug users can even be their own victim, destroying their own bodies with their decisions, in which case they are eligible to engage in self-forgiveness.

Thirdly, the resolution assumes that crimes have victims. To argue otherwise treads into the realm of critiques. The resolution implies that the criminal acts in questions have victims; if it didn't, it would be incoherent. It would be like saying: "regarding victimless acts, justice cannot be obtained without the victim’s forgiveness..." Thus, it’s clear that the resolution is making the basic assumption that this debate is about those crimes that have victims. Even Pro appears to recognize this when he writes: "I don't want to play a semantics game here, I'm not trying to win on a 'most crimes don't have a victim' argument. The point I'm trying to make is that in order for it to generally be the case that forgiveness is necessary to obtain justice, we'd have to say that crimes with a victim require forgiveness in order to obtain justice, and we'd have to have some basis for that assertion."

C2. Forgiveness =/= Justice

Firstly, it's not my job to argue that forgiveness is obligatory. I can argue that it is just a moral good. All I need to assert is that justice cannot usually be obtained without some forgiveness.

Secondly, this contention only argues that the forgiveness is not necessary to give the criminal their due. It says nothing about giving the victim their due. So, it only applies to a small portion of justice and the actors involved.

Thirdly, cross-apply my case's contention two here. It really addresses this fairly well. Ultimately, a criminal is due the punishment meted out by the state; they are not due a life haunted by their act, particularly if this act was a relatively minor harm, a crime committed as a youth, a mistake, or a first time offense. It is unfair to punish the criminal for years in prison, and then to still condemn them to be punished afterword. The motto here is to forgive them, but not allow them to forget the lessons they have learned.

C3. Forgiveness is Emotional

First, why are emotions not justified grounds for moral impulses? Surely, emotions are useful moral guides. The human feeling of empathy for instance, is useful in ensuring we aren't okay with genocide or torture or other such abominations. Why is forgiveness not a similar case?

Secondly, emotions are not necessarily the root of moral impulses such as forgiveness. "We conclude that current evidence is insufficient to support the hypothesis that emotional processes mediate our intuitive moral judgments, or that our moral concepts are emotionally constituted. We suggest instead...that our moral judgments are mediated by a fast, unconscious process that operates over causal-intentional representations. The most important role that emotions might have is in motivating action." [2]

Thirdly, forgiveness may relate to emotions, but it also often goes against our emotional desires. It is often very hard for victims to forgive. Blade's objection to forgiveness is that acting on our emotions is necessarily morally risky, then forgiveness is not subject to this objection, because it requires one to act against our emotional intuitions. Forgiveness is defined at the opening of the round as the letting go of emotions.

Fourthly, you can unjustly inflict emotional pain on another person. That's why we view psychological bullying or torture as wrong. If that's the case, then actions (like forgiveness) which alleviate such unjust emotions, do promote justice.

C4. Mercy

Right, basically, all Blade is saying here is that "justice and forgiveness are different." That's begging the question, because it's exactly what Blade needs to prove. Blade is just going in circles here. He's not actually proving his point. So, to illustrate this:

P1. Justice and forgiveness are different
P2. Justice and forgiveness are different
C1. Justice and forgiveness are different


Additionally, this Christian theology, which even Blade rejects, is based on a retributive form of justice. That justice is inflicting penalties, or "death and eternal separation." But clearly, the idea of justice is more than just inflicting penalties, it is about "giving each their due." I may be due a penalty just as much as I may be due a reward. The reward can be achieved through forgiveness. That is what this debate is about.

And, justice cannot truly be blind if it seeks to give each their due. The determination of who is due what is equally in the eye of the beholder. That justice is blind is a nice saying, but the determination of who is due something relies as well on the interpretation of those meting it out. Moreover, if forgiveness is a tool of justice, and justice is blind, that doesn't mean that forgiveness isn't usually required to attain justice.

Sources

1 - http://mic.com...
2 - http://faculty.georgetown.edu...
bladerunner060

Pro

C1

The purpose of this was to note that there are some victimless crimes. Claiming it's a kritik seems pretty unfair--the notion of "victimless crimes" is pretty standard [1]. As I said when I brought up the point, I did not intend to play semantics, but only noting that not all crimes have victims, and so therefore Con's burden is to establish that with crimes that DO have victims, it's necessary to get their forgiveness in order to obtain justice.

To be clear: I'm arguing that forgiveness is irrelevant and unnecessary to justice, though I concede it is generally a good thing, and he needs to show "justice benefit to forgiveness".

C2

Con semms to want to escape his burden, claiming "it's not my job to argue that forgiveness is obligatory. I can argue that it is just a moral good. All I need to assert is that justice cannot usually be obtained without some forgiveness." This is just false. Moral goods are not equivalent to justice, and that which is asserted without evidence can be dismissed likewise. He wants me to show definitely that justice can be obtained without forgiveness, yet doesn't want to fulfill his end of this, which is to show that there's any link to justce from forgiveness at all. Thus far, he hasn't linked the two. Without that link it's completely reasonable of me to assert that there's no need for forgiveness in justice, which is sufficient to carry the motion.

Let's be clear here, if forgiveness is irrelevant to justice, as I contend, then it's not necessary to obtain justice. I've given arguments as to why it's not necessary.

C3

Con seems to misunderstand me here. While it's true that empathy helps us understand, emotionally, the reasoning behind justice, it's not a required emotion. A sociopath with no empathy can still behave justly--it doesn't make it unjust to not "feel" the empathy.

He then tries to have things both ways, after arguing that forgiveness as an emotional response can be valid, by arguing that it's NOT an emotional response. But forgiveness is "the intentional and voluntary process by which a victim undergoes a change in feelings and attitude regarding an offense". If it's not voluntary, it's not forgiveness; if it's not a change in feelings and attitude, it's not forgiveness. He hasn't offered a reason why justice needs a change in attitude or feelings yet, and so my conention that it's unnecessary stands and the resolution stands until such time as he can give us some reason to impose a moral justice burden on victims to forgive their criminals. Thus far, he's given us no reason to suppose that justice cannot be obtained without it, and at this point he's locked into defenses as opposed to new arguments.

Con here conflates action with emotion in a way that simply has no validity. Certainly, you can unjustfly inflict emotional pain. You do that with ACTIONS. Your own emotions cannot be unjust. Bullying and torture require action. If I simply don't like another person, there's no argument that I've somehow violated justice in doing so. Only if I ACT on that dislike in an unjust way is it unjust.

C4

Con thinks that it's begging the question to assume that justice and forgiveness are different. It's begging the question to assume that they're the same. It would be an instant win for Con. So of course I'm arguing they're different--that's my entire burden in this debate, and to argue that it's fallacious to fulfill my burden is troublesome.

He claims I go in circles with a strawman. I dismiss his strawman and ask him to engage with my arguments as I presented them.

It's worth noting that pardoning and reconciliation are expressly excluded from forgiveness under his own definition. "Forgiveness is different from condoning ...excusing ... pardoning ... forgetting... and reconciliation...." Second, it's worth noting that Con is asking us to assume he's right, and that forgiveness is necessary for justice, despite never actually linking the two as per his burden in R1.

Conclusion:

I've argued that forgiveness is an emotional response, in keeping with the definitions Con provided, and that there's no grounds to assert that victims owe criminals forgiveness. Without a link, this argument should stand to demonstrate a lack of necessity for forgiveness in order to obtain justice.

Con has argued that forgiveness is a good thing, and has used things like pardons and reconciliation (which are, per his own definition, NOT forgiveness) to justify it as having possible links to justice. These possible links are not directly related, and "possible" at best. They don't any link from forgiveness to justice, just a link for forgiveness to good things. I conceded forgiveness was good in R1!

If we took it as true that forgiveness was generally necessary to obtain justice, we'd be taking it that justice was generally impossible if the victim would not, or could not, forgive the perpetrator, and that the failure to forgive was unjust. I reject both of those. Justice attempts as much as possible to be objective and not reliant on one side's obstinancy; just as a criminal's failure to recognize they've done something wrong doesn't affect whether what they've done is just, neither does a victim's failure to forgive affect the justice of the situation, both because justice doesn't require emotions and because there's no grounds to assert a moral burden on the victims of crimes to "wish the offender well".

I believe I've fulfilled my BoP by virtue of Con's failure to uphold his admittedly much smaller burden of showing any link at all. In the absence of any link of forgiveness to justice, it's fair to say that forgiveness is not necessary to obtain justice and so I believe the resolution is upheld.

Thanks to bsh1, and to the voters who read this quickfire debate!

As a reminder, I waive the final round as per the rules and can't respond again.


[1] https://en.wikipedia.org...
Debate Round No. 3
bsh1

Con

Thanks, Blade! I will now defend my case and conclude.

===============================

Overview

The resolution does not specify for whom that justice is obtained. If I can show that justice for the victim can usually be obtained with the victim’s forgiveness of the criminal then I can negate just as well as if I can show that justice for the criminal can be obtained with the victim’s of forgiveness of the criminal.

I would also call to mind the specific definition of justice that was agreed upon: "giving each their due."

C1. Forgiveness and the Self

Pro asks what the connection to justice is. This is his ONLY attack here. Thus, if I can show that there is a connection to justice here, this contention stands.

I wrote in my case: "I am not due those negative feelings which were inflicted on me by the mugger, but failure to forgive means that those emotional wounds will stay with me for quite some time, possibly forever, meaning that the act of mugging (already undue) would leave me with long-term emotional pain that is also not my due...[F]orgiveness really does assist a person in ending the emotional trauma unjustly inflicted on them by their attacker." The connection to justice is apparent in this passage. The pain that has been levied upon me by the mugger is as unjust as the crime itself, which inflicted upon me physical pain that was undue. Similarly, forgiveness gives me back my due: it gives me the emotional peace I had before the attack and that I was entitled to. Thus, forgiveness is intimately linked with justice through the giving of dues and the rectifying of "undues."

C2. Forgiveness and the Criminal

Pro writes: "But restorative justice requires restoration. The criminal can't undo what he did."

This misunderstands the point of restorative justice. It is not about undoing past or restoring past events, but about restoring the criminal as useful, productive, and non-dangerous member of society.

Pro next questions whether it is just to require the victim to forgive the criminal. Whether or not the victim is required to do so is not the same as discussing whether or not it’s necessary for justice. As I wrote last round: "the criminal is due the punishment meted out by the state; they are not due a life haunted by their act, particularly if this act was a relatively minor harm, a crime committed as a youth, a mistake, or a first time offense. It is unfair to punish the criminal for years in prison, and then to still condemn them to be punished afterword."

C3. Taking Responsibility

Pro again questions where the connection is to justice. I would repeat what I said in my case: "Criminals are clearly due responsibility, and encouraging them to accept it themselves would likely both increase the chance that people will be held responsible for their acts and will make finding out who is responsible more easy." It would be unjust to not assign criminals responsibility because it's clearly something that they deserve (that is their due) because of their actions. If forgiveness promotes them receiving responsibility, then it is helping them to receive their due. That promotes the attainment of justice, which is "giving each their due." Pro never disputes that forgiveness promotes people taking responsibility.

C4. Instrumental Good

Pro’s next questions how reconciliation and pardons promote justice. In the interests of time, I’ll kick reconciliation, but I will defend pardons. Pro writes: "society has deemed that the sentence is the criminal's 'due', so how does Con justify that it's not their 'due'?"

Firstly, this point emphasizes how justice isn't blind, since dues are in the eye of the beholder. Secondly, by reasonable analysis, nonviolent offenders have sentences that are unjustly long. The federal government imposes mandatory minimums on nonviolent drug crimes that range from 5 to 10 years. Growing 100 marijuana plants, for instance, can get someone locked up for 5 years. [1] This is clearly overly harsh--no one is harmed, and in many states this is legal, but yet people are incarcerated for a significant portion of their life. My point is that pardons, such as the one Obama is pursuing, promote justice by alleviating overly harsh sentences. As I wrote last round: "pardoning certainly serves justice interests insofar as many people held in prison for small crimes often serve overlong sentences in poor or rough conditions, which is not their due."

Since pardoning has justice benefits for many people, and since Pro never contests that forgiveness makes pardoning easier, forgiveness instrumentally furthers justice. This is important: I am NOT saying forgiveness is pardoning; they are different. I am saying that forgiveness is a prerequisite for pardoning.

C5. Vindication

1. The victim can still refuse to forgive, even if it is a requirement for justice. They would be free to choose to act justly or unjustly, so the victim still holds power because they still have a choice.

2. Even if it were obligatory, it's still vindicating by saying that victims' wellbeing matters by releasing their negative emotional baggage through forgiveness.

CONCLUSION

I have shown:

1. Forgiveness enables pardoning, and pardoning promotes justice by eliminating unjust sentences
2. Forgiveness releases victim's of undue emotional pain
3. Forgiveness restores the criminal, which is the criminal's due
4. Forgiveness enables criminals to be held responsible, which is their due

Regarding Pro's case, he drops my first two objections to his C1. He never contests that his C2 does not apply to justice for the victim (releasing emotional pain) and doesn't discuss my more in-depth explanation of justice for the criminal (my 3rd point). And, my response to his C3 was an "even if" arg: moral impulses aren't emotion, but even if they were, they are useful. And even if they weren't forgiveness goes against emotions. Thus, the resolution is negated. Thank you! Please VOTE CON!

Source

http://tinyurl.com...
bladerunner060

Pro

Waived as per rules.
Debate Round No. 4
70 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by bladerunner060 1 year ago
bladerunner060
@salam.morcos:

This was a quickfire debate, so we both had a very short time in which to craft our responses. RFDs are always good, whether you qualify to vote or not.

@bsh1:

I asked whiteflame to clarify his position, given that his use of the word "due" went against what the word means. I don't find that an unreasonable request. He has now clarified, which is what I asked for. I fail to see the validity in your objection; I do not believe I've "pushed the envelope" in asking these questions, and after getting a response, I am not further pestering him on the matter. Agreement with his vote or reasoning is irrelevant to asking for clarification. That said, given certain issues I have, I'm unlikely to revisit this comment section.
Posted by salam.morcos 1 year ago
salam.morcos
I just read this debate. It's a good debate, but I did expect more from both debaters. Would have voted, but I'm still behind in the leaderboard. If you guys still want a non-official vote and RFD, I'd be happy to provide one.
Posted by whiteflame 1 year ago
whiteflame
My view is that the extended analysis on what a due actually means is necessary for me to buy your view. I don't require that to buy bsh's view, which only requires that I view a due as a moral good. The link to a moral good is firmly established from what I'm seeing. Whether that good obligates us to take action is another story entirely, and the basis for me buying your argument. I view that as an extra step that I would have to take in order to buy your argument.
Posted by bsh1 1 year ago
bsh1
@Blade

You said: "You never made the case that they were "due" it, any more than I contradicted it." I strongly disagree. I think my arguments in the debate walk you through the logic fairly well. I even re-quoted stuff in the comments.

You wrote: "I'm the one who expressly noted that this should not influence voters earlier, earlier when you interjected as a response when I was directing a comment to fullmetal. I have only responded to your points... Votes 100% should be based off what happened in round. But impressions should be fair, and if you bring something up to me, it's unreasonable to expect me not to respond." I understand your point, and I agree that our rehashing points shouldn't be influencing voters. My issue is that you seem to be taking issue with judge's votes to a point that may push the envelope. While I think asking them to explain, justify, and expand on their RFD is a debater's prerogative, there is an upper bound on how much a debater can exercise that right.

But, I am really done with the conversation. Let it rest here please...I don't see much in the way of productive discourse coming from a continuation of this discussion.
Posted by bladerunner060 1 year ago
bladerunner060
@whiteflame:

My last comment was written apparently as you were writing your last. I am concerned that you're demanding a definition you never asked Con to provide, and that goes against the standard definition of the word. I would like you to explain that. You are, of course, not obliged to offer more than what you've provided, but I find that point troublesome. What bsh1 and I have been discussing is a side issue to that concern.
Posted by bladerunner060 1 year ago
bladerunner060
@bsh1:

You never made the case that they were "due" it, any more than I contradicted it. I had nothing to respond to. This comes back to before, when you said you didn't think justice was binary, that is, that it was present or not. Except that the resolution was not "on balance, there's more justice with forgiveness", it was that justice *can be obtained* without forgiveness. Your non-binary interpretation is just irrelevant to that. If we CAN obtain justice without forgiveness, then the resolution stands--even if we can obtain *more* without it. That's why I have such trouble with your interpretations regarding obligation and the binary nature. You want this to be about something that the resolution isn't.

While I understand your concerns regarding outside-debate discussion, I was asking whiteflame and, given that his explanation involves using a definition that isn't the dictionary definition of the noun, and that you never actually explicated, over the standard meaning of "due", my concerns are still bothering me. You wanted to discuss some points, and I responded. I'm the one who expressly noted that this should not influence voters earlier, earlier when you interjected as a response when I was directing a comment to fullmetal. I have only responded to your points. If you think that you should be able to direct comments at me but I shouldn't respond so as not to continue the debates in the comments, I'm going to have to respectfully disagree with that position. Votes 100% should be based off what happened in round. But impressions should be fair, and if you bring something up to me, it's unreasonable to expect me not to respond. (I'm not saying that whiteflame is being unfair. I do have some concerns, however, hence my asking him. I expect he's got an explanation that I get, as I know he's a pretty darn smart dude, just as you are).
Posted by whiteflame 1 year ago
whiteflame
I agree with bsh. I think I've discussed this about as far as I'm willing to go on it, anyway. Suffice it to say that the lapse in analysis of what justice means and whether it obligates victims to act or not was something I felt was integral to any outcome of this debate.
Posted by bsh1 1 year ago
bsh1
I am also concerned that we're re-hashing the debate here. While there is something to be said for debaters' rights to ask judges to clarify, to challenge points of RFDs, and to discuss the contents of the debate, I think that when the debate continues into the comments, it gets a bit silly. Judges should be making their evaluations off of their views on the text of the debate, and I am concerned that the in-comments debate should not be a notable source of reasoning for a judge. Votes should be based off of their impressions of the round.
Posted by bsh1 1 year ago
bsh1
@Blade

You wrote: "The victim could try to forgive in a voluntary act, so they aren't being harmed." This analysis still doesn't say what your saying now. Just because the victim could try to forgive voluntarily to avoid harm, that doesn't mean that if they don't forgive they aren't still being harmed. You did not--really anywhere--in the debate, make the actual assertion that: people want their negative emotions, and so they are due those negative emotions.

I also disagree that dues typically imply obligations. If I am due X, I deserve X. To me, that's the more obvious statement to make than, if I am due X, I am obligated to receive X. For instance, if I work hard at my job, I might deserve a pay raise, but my employer is not obligated to give me one. Or, if I work hard on a project, I might deserve an A+ due to the sheer effort invested, but I am not obligated to receive that grade. I mean, I disagree that dessert necessitates obligation. Dessert is a moral good, not a moral imperative.
Posted by bladerunner060 1 year ago
bladerunner060
Nor in his, though, whiteflame. So you're preferring an interpretation he never explicated over an interpretation that's the common dictionary one (but that, I concede, I didn't copy and paste).
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by whiteflame 1 year ago
whiteflame
bsh1bladerunner060
Who won the debate:Vote Checkmark-
Reasons for voting decision: Given in comments.