The Instigator
twizzler11
Con (against)
Losing
7 Points
The Contender
TheRaven
Pro (for)
Winning
11 Points

RES: It is morally permissible to kill one innocent person to save the lives of more innocent people

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 1/4/2009 Category: Miscellaneous
Updated: 7 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 3,780 times Debate No: 6409
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (5)
Votes (3)

 

twizzler11

Con

I'd like to debate this LD style.

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

I offer the following definitions from American Heritage Dictionary to aid in today's debate:

Morally – Conforming to standards of what is right or just in behavior, of or relating to the distinction between right and wrong, or good and evil, in relation to the actions, desires, or character of responsible human beings; ethical.

Kill: Deprive of life

Innocent: Clear of blame or guilt in a situation, legally blameless

Permissible: permitted; allowable

My core value for today's debate is morality, as defined by the American Heritage Dictionary as "the quality of being in accord with standards of right or good conduct." Every person has the moral obligation that relates to other people, either directly or indirectly involved with him or herself. Immanuel Kant, in his Categorical Imperative, indicated that there is a single moral obligation that is innate and must be observed in all situations and behaviors in order to truly follow moral law. Because this ‘obligation' of every person is innate, Kant stresses the use of "practical reasoning" over any type of decision derived from experience, claiming that practical reasoning is the only way to protect moral obligations.
To specify, a moral obligation is a "moral duty towards yourself as well as towards others". The negative upholds this notion by understanding it isn't morally permissible to kill one innocent person because that is contradicting a person's moral duty towards others.

My value criterion for today's debate is Kant's Categorical Imperative. This Categorical Imperative, as set by Groundwork, is the standard by against which all moral obligations, or duties, can be judged. Kant mandates three major formulations, including universal law, end in itself and autonomy, be followed in order for a moral maxim to be accepted. As the affirmative, my opponent has the burden to show that killing one innocent person passes through all the formulations in Kant's CI to justify that the act is, indeed, moral. If the act of killing one person to save the lives of many fails to achieve all 3 formulations of the Categorical Imperative, the act cannot be deemed moral and the affirmative cannot achieve the negative's core value, urging a negative ballot.

Contention One: the killing of an innocent person in itself is a contradictory idea, conflicting with the first formulation of the Categorical Imperative.
An innocent person is, as defined above, is a person free culpability or blame in a situation and is "legally blameless". However, the act of killing, the "deprivation of life", is the deprivation of a basic human right to which every human is entitled. In the case of a criminal, punishment such as killing could be justifiable as punishment. However, since the person is innocent, he or she has done nothing to serve the ‘punishment' to culpability as a criminal might. Since the affirmative advocates ‘punishing' someone who is free from blame by depriving them of their basic right to life, the affirmative fails to achieve the formulation of Universal Law and perfect duty under the CI. The idea of killing an innocent person is, in itself, a contradictory idea.

Contention Two: The affirmative world doesn't fit under the third formulation of the Categorical Imperative of autonomy.

A maxim can only be considered moral if it passes through the 3 formulations of the CI. The third formulation is the Formulation of Autonomy. Basically, the people creating the maxim must employ a veil of ignorance, where they do not know if they will be the one involved in the situation or not. For example, the person trying to affirm a maxim that advocates the permissibility of stealing must determine whether or not he would be fulfilling his "moral duty" to himself under the core value of morality if he was the victim of the theft or his "moral duty" to others in society if he was the thief. In either instance, the person doesn't fulfill his moral obligation to himself and others and thus, the action cannot be considered immoral. The same concept applies here, in that it is NOT morally permissible to kill one innocent person because to do so would not fulfill the moral obligation to others in society and thus would not fulfill the requirements of a ‘veil of ignorance' in the third formulation.

Since advocating the affirmative side isn't moral through the steps laid out in the negative's value criterion of the Categorical Imperative and this criterion is the clearest means to achieve morality, the negative's core value, I can see a negative ballot.
TheRaven

Pro

I'll start with my case, then move on to my opponents.

My value for this debate is moral permissibility. This is clearly the inherent value indicated by the resolution, as the resolution asks for a morally permissible action in the face of a moral dilemma. This is different from morality, in that we have a dilemma here, and thus morality for this dilemma is circumstantial. The affirmative does not have to prove that the action is completely moral, but that it is morally permissible, or allowable by morality.

The value criterion for the debate will be of Act Utilitarianism. Act Utilitarianism can best be defined as the greatest good for the greatest number, when you are faced with a limited amount of options. The resolution refers to a moral calculus involving life, in that either you kill one person, and save more people, or you don't kill one person, and more people die. Utilitarianism upholds moral permissibility because as free, rational, and moral agents, we have a moral responsibility to maximize the most amount of good that can be achieved from a moral dilemma. Since good is an intrinsic value of morality, then as agents we must understand that a morally permissible action is one that reaps good results.

Contention 1) The affirmative clearly results in better consequences, and more good. If we look to the affirmative world, more lives are saved and more rights are protected. Protecting life is essential in all cases, as life is the most important thing one can protect due to the fact that without life, a person has nothing. In this case, either side will result in a loss of life. By killing one innocent, more innocents may be saved, thus resulting in the most protection of life. In order for morality to be achieved, protecting life is pinnacle. A moral action should not result in a massive loss of life; rather, it should do everything to prevent death. The negative is allowing more innocents to die, condemning them to death and minimizing the protection of life in this case. This is acting immorally, whereas the affirmative is acting morally by saving lives.

Contention 2) Action and inaction are the same thing in this resolution. Simply put we have two options here, we can kill one person and save lives, or chose not to kill one person and condemn those many innocents to death. The latter option is, in and of itself, a choice and thus an action. By not acting, you are making a conscious decision to allow those people to die and are basically killing them. For example, if person A watches as person B places poison into person C's coffee, and then says nothing, he is making the decision not to save that person's life and is acting to kill him. His inaction is an action and thus for this resolution action and inaction are the same thing.

(((((((((((((((((((((((((((((REFUTE))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))

>>V: Morality.

First off, as i have shown, the intrinsic value of the resolution is moral permissibility. This is circumstantial, as this is a moral dilemma, and we must clearly look at the entire picture.

Second, my opponent is correct that we all have moral obligations, or "moral duties to others." However, this is a clear contradiction of my opponents case. Do we not have a moral duty to save lives? We clearly have contrasting obligations here, and I will show later why my opponent's obligation is flawed.

>>VC: Categorical Imperative.

This is a flawed VC for the following reasons.
1) Kant, when developing his ideas, placed them in the context of a perfect world, and never took into account different situations.

2) The idea of the Categorical Imperative should be ignored in this round simply because, as I have show, action and inaction are the same thing in this resolution. Therefore, whatever my opponent claims that the affirmative does to violate the CI, she does to all those she is essentially killing.

>>"Contention One: the killing of an innocent person in itself is a contradictory idea, conflicting with the first formulation of the Categorical Imperative........"

My opponent seems to be claiming that since the affirmative kills one innocent person, it is inherently evil. First tie this back to what I said earlier about the resolution asking for what is allowed by morality. Clearly the affirmative is allowed because it will result in a net gain of life.
Second, if the idea of killing an innocent person is contradictory, then this second contention is contradictory, as the negative is essentially killing more innocent people.
Third, my opponent is looking for a perfect duty. This simply cannot be found where the only two options are killing, or killing more people.

>>"Contention Two: The affirmative world doesn't fit under the third formulation of the Categorical Imperative of autonomy"

This contention is completely contradictory. Simply put, my opponent is arguing that we cannot affirm because we cannot state as to if we will be the person killed or the person killing, or in the equation at all. However, this also applies to the negative world. My opponent, who is killing those other people, must apply this to her action as well. Therefore the "veil of ignorance" also states that she is acting immorally because she cannot say as to if she will be the person killed in the affirmative world, or one of the many people killed in the negative world.

End thesis: My opponent's case, in the end, would conclude that both the affirmative and negative are immoral. However, as the resolution states, we are looking for a morally permissible action, or an action allowed by morality, and thus we look for which outcome is better in this dilemma. Therefore we look to the affirmative case, which clearly shows that the affirmative results in a much better outcome and thus is allowed.
Debate Round No. 1
twizzler11

Con

twizzler11 forfeited this round.
TheRaven

Pro

Extend my case and all my refutations.
Debate Round No. 2
twizzler11

Con

twizzler11 forfeited this round.
TheRaven

Pro

Well, my opponent forfeited again, so extend my entire case and refutations on hers. Thank you and I urge an affirmative vote.
Debate Round No. 3
5 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Posted by Atheism 6 years ago
Atheism
Votebombing fails.
Posted by LightC 7 years ago
LightC
Excuse me, I vote affirmative. lol, big mistake on my part. Everytime I say negative, I mean affirmative, and visa versa.
Posted by LightC 7 years ago
LightC
I vote negative.

RFD:

1. The affirmative never warrants in her case why Kant is correct on his thesis of morality, thus I rejected her standard.

2. The negatives end thesis was my voter. Since he proved that both cases have some element of immorality, I just reject the resolution because on "negation theory." The neg. does not need to prove the resolution false, only not true. Thus, since the affirmative is not upholding morality, I negate.
Posted by TheRaven 7 years ago
TheRaven
Thank you for debating this topic.
Posted by Metz 7 years ago
Metz
If no one takes this debate before our debate is out I will take it. Also if you feel like debating any of this years resolutions send me a challenge, I am always open
3 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Vote Placed by Atheism 6 years ago
Atheism
twizzler11TheRavenTied
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Vote Placed by rougeagent21 7 years ago
rougeagent21
twizzler11TheRavenTied
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Vote Placed by TheRaven 7 years ago
TheRaven
twizzler11TheRavenTied
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