The Instigator
sh0tym5
Pro (for)
Winning
4 Points
The Contender
Ragnar_Rahl
Con (against)
Losing
3 Points

R: It is morally permissible to kill one innocent person to save the lives of more innocent p

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 1 vote the winner is...
sh0tym5
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 11/26/2008 Category: Miscellaneous
Updated: 8 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,322 times Debate No: 6015
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (7)
Votes (1)

 

sh0tym5

Pro

I affirm the resolution resolved: It is morally permissible to kill one innocent person to save the lives of more innocent people.

The value for this debate ought to be societal welfare, because society is the agent of the action this resolution encompasses, and because in order to determine the moral permissibility of such an action, we must analyze the cause-and-effect calculus of the action. If the effect of the action is that of society attaining societal welfare, and if the affirmative can show the moral grounds behind it, the affirmative wins the round.

The standard I will use in this round will be Amitai Etzioni's New Golden Rule.
Amitai Etzioni's "new golden rule" argues for the rebalancing of values. Specifically, Etzioni contends that freedom and morality must be balanced as well as autonomy and community. Etzioni's golden rule is "Respect and uphold society's moral order as you would have society respect and uphold your autonomy."

Contention 1: Respect for autonomy means we respect consent, but it must be consent freely given. Eric Rakowski, Taking and Saving Lives. Columbia Law Review, Vol. 93, No. 5, (Jun., 1993), pp. 1107-1108

Actual and Hypothetical Consent Volenti nonfit injuria ("No wrong is done to one who consents") is an established moral principle which the law sanctions. Respecting other people means allowing them to decide for themselves what harms to risk or suffer in return for what they prize. For those who share this ideal of voluntariness, rooted in both Kantian moral philosophy and the English utilitarian tradition of which Mill is representative, a person's consent to be killed for his own good or for the benefit of others will often render it morally permissible to kill him. Regard for his autonomy requires that we defer to his wishes.

Contention 2. Consent is enough to permit one to perform an action. This consideration should apply to risks people assume of being killed intentionally to save others. Eric Rakowski, Taking and Saving Lives. Columbia Law Review, Vol. 93, No. 5, (Jun., 1993), pp. 1108

A person's reasoned, informed, and uncoerced consent to an action generally suffices, as a moral if not as a legal matter, to permit one to perform the action so far as that person is concerned. When, moreover, consent is given explicitly not to die but to bear some risk of being killed that falls far short of certainty, and when the benefits seem reasonably to rival the costs, legal objections motivated by the fear that consent to suffer harm might not in some cases be completely voluntary typically fall away. We allow people to drive to work on busy highways, even though a certain number will be killed in crashes." In most if not all cases in which death might accompany some activity, we require only that participants be apprised of the risks they run and that they take minimal precautions that a large majority of persons would recognize as prudent.

Analogous considerations should apply to risks people freely assume of being killed intentionally. Situations in which killing some people might save others are rare, but in some instances one can imagine people assenting to their being killed in the unlikely event that those situations occurred. The situations most easily envisaged are those in which killing some would save many more others. "when consent cannot be given we use hypothetical consent this hypothetical consent is universal to all of society for each person so as contention 2 says, as far as each person is concerned each person is entire society it's just the general understanding of what society collectively would say which is many over 1"

Contention 3. Law is filled with examples of times when we assume consent when it can't be given. Eric Rakowski, Taking and Saving Lives. Columbia Law Review, Vol. 93, No. 5, (Jun., 1993), pp. 1110

The question is therefore whether it is permissible or morally required for one to act as if people had agreed to the application of a maximizing rule when in fact they have not considered one or have not expressed their collective assent. In certain circumstances, acting as somebody would have wished if he were informed, lucid, and undistracted seems plainly appropriate if his consent to what would generally constitute an invasion of his rights cannot be obtained. Providing medical assistance to an unconscious person is the stock example. Other examples include personal ones which are made everyday and thus provide a link to current status and quo. In a legal sense, contract law supplies another example of hypothetical consent: when contracts fail to specify how some unanticipated event should be handled, arbitrators or courts typically attempt to determine what arrangements the parties would have made had they foreseen the unexpected event and accord them rights against one another on that basis.

Contention 4. Autonomy has both instrumental and intrinsic value. Eric Rakowski, Taking and Saving Lives. Columbia Law Review, Vol. 93, No. 5, (Jun., 1993), pp. 1113-1114

A deeper question is why autonomy itself has value, so that a person's status as a reasonable judge of what is right or good for him deserves respect and his choices deserve deference to the extent that they do not unjustifiably harm other people. This is a controverted question, to which there are many answers. Certainly, autonomous decision making has instrumental value. It contributes to our well-being, not only because of the delight we take in our own agency, but also because we are usually the best judges of what will advance our interests. Autonomy, however, has intrinsic value as well. We would not trade our capacity for choosing and leaving our mark in return for life on a wondrous experience-machine, even if it produced a perfect counterfeit of our experience of free agency. More fundamentally, we not only value efficacious choice, we respect the capacity to choose in ourselves and others because ranking ends and selecting means is ultimately what defines us as persons. The evident importance of autonomy to our identity and well-being is the main reason paternalism is only tolerable in exceptional situations.

Contention 5 Hypothetical consent can be a standard of Moral Permissibility. Eric Rakowski, Taking and Saving Lives. Columbia Law Review, Vol. 93, No. 5, (Jun., 1993), pp. 1115

Hypothetical consent is simply the consent that somebody would actually have manifested in a normatively authoritative situation of relevant knowledge and rational choice that never in fact occurred. Thus, the standard I am endorsing merely attempts to explain and guide our intuitive reactions to particular cases by holding people to bargains they would have made, insofar as they would have wanted themselves held to those bargains. It is therefore consonant with, indeed an expression of, the personal autonomy that morality should protect and nurture. Deference to a person's considered higher-order desires, insofar as they can be ascertained, is deference to that person.

For these reasons I urge you to affirm the ballot.
Ragnar_Rahl

Con

"
The value for this debate ought to be societal welfare, because society is the agent of the action this resolution encompasses, and because in order to determine the moral permissibility of such an action, we must analyze the cause-and-effect calculus of the action. If the effect of the action is that of society attaining societal welfare, and if the affirmative can show the moral grounds behind it, the affirmative wins the round.

"

There is no such thing as societal welfare, society is not an agent nor an evaluator. It is an unchosen collective, and an ambiguous one, I.e., it contains elements whose welfare contradicts one another's , and therefore can have no welfare as a whole. The welfare of the robber contradicts the welfare of the rich man, the welfare of the rapist contradicts the welfare of the women walking in an alley, yet all of these exist in "society."

"
The standard I will use in this round will be Amitai Etzioni's New Golden Rule.
Amitai Etzioni's "new golden rule" argues for the rebalancing of values. Specifically, Etzioni contends that freedom and morality must be balanced as well as autonomy and community. Etzioni's golden rule is "Respect and uphold society's moral order as you would have society respect and uphold your autonomy."
"
This statement in this context is essentially equivalent to "Respect the murderers' right to slaughter you just as you would have them respect your right to live." It is an impossible self-contradictory mess. Further, it contains an ipse-dixetism, it doesn't tell us what makes the "order" here moral. Using it to demonstrate said morality is therefore begging the question.

"
Actual and Hypothetical Consent Volenti nonfit injuria ("No wrong is done to one who consents") is an established moral principle which the law sanctions.
"
I do not consent. Nor does the innocent in question. Therefore that principle is not applicable here.

"When, moreover, consent is given explicitly not to die but to bear some risk of being killed that falls far short of certainty, and when the benefits seem reasonably to rival the costs, legal objections motivated by the fear that consent to suffer harm might not in some cases be completely voluntary typically fall away.
"
I have given no such consent, and neither has the innocent in question, indeed, if he had, he would not be innocent, he would be guilty of placing himself at such risk, and therefore fully liable for what happened to him, so it doesn't address the resolution.

"Analogous considerations should apply to risks people freely assume of being killed intentionally. Situations in which killing some people might save others are rare, but in some instances one can imagine people assenting to their being killed in the unlikely event that those situations occurred.
"
You can imagine whatever the hell you want, your imagination does not affect the reality of the matter. If someone actually gave such consent, they are not innocent in regards to its consequences, if they did not, your argument for killing them falls apart. In neither circumstance does it address the resolution.

"Providing medical assistance to an unconscious person is the stock example.
"
Because people will generally consent to medical assistance. They will not generally consent to being killed. Further, such is not a moral question. Though legal liability is removed when someone resuscitates someone who turns out not to have wanted it, such an event is an accident and an error, and not morally permissible with full knowledge of the context.

"In a legal sense, contract law supplies another example of hypothetical consent: when contracts fail to specify how some unanticipated event should be handled, arbitrators or courts typically attempt to determine what arrangements the parties would have made had they foreseen the unexpected event and accord them rights against one another on that basis.
"
In the case of arbitrators, that's fine, arbitration only happens when both parties agree to abide by the arbiter's verdict. In the case of courts, that is not acceptable. If the contract does not address a given situation, it's statement is not relevant to that situation's resolution. There is no standard by which to "attempt to determine" such.

"Hypothetical consent is simply the consent that somebody would actually have manifested in a normatively authoritative situation of relevant knowledge and rational choice that never in fact occurred. Thus, the standard I am endorsing merely attempts to explain and guide our intuitive reactions to particular cases by holding people to bargains they would have made, insofar as they would have wanted themselves held to those bargains.
"

Anyone who would have made such a bargain could not be classified as "innocent" in this context, and you have no reason to believe they likely would have. Further, it is entirely possible for someone to be conscious and yet be in a situation in which killing them would save lives, indeed, most situations posited in this event have all parties conscious. When they are right there and aware, you have no right to assault them without asking, even were you under the idiotic impression that they would "hypothetically consent" to it, which they wouldn't have.

In either case, speaking of consent does not deal with the question of innocents, you have not addressed the resolution. People who have consented to death in a certain situation are not without liability for the consequences.
Debate Round No. 1
sh0tym5

Pro

sh0tym5 forfeited this round.
Ragnar_Rahl

Con

Golly. Extend.
Debate Round No. 2
sh0tym5

Pro

sh0tym5 forfeited this round.
Ragnar_Rahl

Con

Extend extend.
Debate Round No. 3
7 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 7 records.
Posted by Ragnar_Rahl 8 years ago
Ragnar_Rahl
Since he explicitly asked me to challenge his value, that cancels previous comments about accepting it.
Posted by Ragnar_Rahl 8 years ago
Ragnar_Rahl
"No rational person would not consent. "

How so? I don't trust you with my life, why would I consent to letting you decide when to end it?
Posted by sh0tym5 8 years ago
sh0tym5
Why wouldn't you consent. You are definitely being coerced by the debate. No rational person would not consent. Accept my other one and see if you can really put down hypothetical consent.
Posted by Ragnar_Rahl 8 years ago
Ragnar_Rahl
I don't consent. Actuals beat hypotheticals.

I'd take the topic but it appears to state that contradiction as an assumption, and thus by taking it I would be consenting to it :D.
Posted by I-am-a-panda 8 years ago
I-am-a-panda
Stop putting up the same debate topic over and over again!
Posted by sh0tym5 8 years ago
sh0tym5
That's what my case is all about. By respecting hypothetical consent, Aff is able to balance autonomy with society and this upholds Etzioni's golden rule which links to societal welfare which indeed encompasses morality. Have you read the entire case, or do you just not get it?
Posted by Ragnar_Rahl 8 years ago
Ragnar_Rahl
"Specifically, Etzioni contends that freedom and morality must be balanced as well as autonomy and community. Etzioni's golden rule is "Respect and uphold society's moral order as you would have society respect and uphold your autonomy.""

You can't balance a contradiction.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Tatarize 8 years ago
Tatarize
sh0tym5Ragnar_RahlTied
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