The Instigator
Con (against)
0 Points
The Contender
Pro (for)
1 Points

Rawls veil of ignorance achieves justice better than Nozick.

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 1 vote the winner is...
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 4/22/2013 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,862 times Debate No: 32797
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (1)
Votes (1)




1st contention; Application of a true veil of ignorance
Applying a true veil of ignorance is not possible. We cannot make a pure objective decision. Even If it were possible it could not apply to justice.
Contention 2: subjectivity vs. objectivity
How is justice determined? Based on societies past experiences and/or court cases (subjective). So, society has subjective morality at its root. From the veil of ignorance, we would have to make a completely objective decision. Applying an objective suppot to a subjective value is flawed.


= 0. Road map =
0. Road map - Duh
1. Framework - I shall establish a framework of discussion to clarify the intent of my arguments
2. Refutation - I shall refute the arguments of the Con
3. Underview - disclaimers and reservation of rights

= 1. Framework =
Observation 1: Philosophy-

Whenever one chooses to partake in a debate concerning philosophical principles, it is of the utmost importance that said discussion take place within an ideological vacuum. that is to say that we should not assume principles related to philosophical concepts are true or false prior to the beginning of a debate. Unless we maintain this standard of argumentation, no progress will come of any debate. Instead bias of opinion enters into the realm of discussion and prematurely shapes our assumptions about such principles. through the course of this debate the issues that we must refrain from making prematurely biased judgements are as follows: 'Justice', 'The veil of Ignorance', and 'Nozick'.

Further, let it be know that my opponent fails to clarify exactly what he means when he says 'Nozick', however I will assume that he is referring to Nozick's Entitlement Theory[1]

Observation 2: Presumption of Belief-
Pro and Con refer to stances on a given proposition, not to the role of an instigator or contender. I make this clarification to preempt a burden of proof fallacy from my opponent. He is the instigator of this debate, and is therefore responsible for proving the claim he sets forth to be true -- I am not responsible to prove any claim to be true. Instead I as the contender have the burden of clash to refute the arguments of my opponent.

That said the point of this observation is to clarify that the Pro has the presumption of belief in this debate. Meaning that once everything has been said and done, you default Pro if you fail to hear a compelling argument from the Con, or if I as the Pro am able to successfully refute the arguments of Con.

Further I mean to clarify that I will not present a constructive of my own. Refutation will suffice.

= 2. Refutation =
Contention 1

My refutation here will be in three parts,

a. My opponent's argument has a fundamental lack of warrant. He claims that we are not able to utilize the Veil of Ignorance, however never shows you why this is true. One might believe that the warrant comes in his analysis that we are unable to make purely objective decisions, but this still only a claim.Not a warrant.

b. My opponent's first contention is not actually a contention -- it's a collection of claims. For an argument to be a contention it must contain a clear claim, a warrant(s), and an impact which shows why the argument matters. My opponent instead has three claims which he utterly fails to justify: That the veil of ignorance is not possible, That we are unable to make purely objective decisions, and they objectivity can't apply to justice.

c. If you as the voters do not hold my opponent accountable to his burden as the instigator, and instead accept this argument as a legitimate contention, then this debate becomes truistic -- no discussion can take place. My opponent simply assumes these three claims to be true, and advocates a vote for con under the assumption that they are true -- that's a big debate no, no.

Contention 2-
My refutation will again be in three parts,

a. This argument doesn't fully or accurately explain what the difference in subjectivity and objectivity is. This is bad as it allows my opponent to cherry pick his arguments concerning the nature of these two things and ends up making his argument both vague and uncompelling. Instead he makes the assumption that justice is inherently subjective and hashes out a few trigger words disguised as a warrant.

b. This argument is wholly circular with my opponent's contention 1. There one of his basic claims, is that we are unable to make objective decisions (which is faise, but we'll get to that in a moment) and here he claims that justice must be subjective since it can't be objective.

c. Objectivity does indeed exist. If you were to hand an employer two different resumes while he had no idea what kind of people the resumes belonged to, he's going to make an objective decision based on the content of the resumes, that is the very nature of objectivity. In the same way, if you present a jury with objective facts regarding a court case and do not tell them anything about the perpetrator him or herself, then they're going to make an objective decision.

I would explain further but as my opponent has failed to meet his burden I don't really have anything to argue against. To further explain the viability of objectivity in the lack of a Con argument would be to adopt a burden of proof I do not have.

= 3. underview =
a. If my opponent further clarifies his arguments, then I maintain the right to change my refutations so that they respond to his arguments appropriately. This is necessary and just as my burden of clash is dependent on his burden of proof.

b. If the fundamental nature of my opponent's arguments change, then he will be committing an 'ad hoc rescue' fallacy. Such a situation should be understood as an automatic forfeiture of all seven points. This shall be understood to have occurred if my opponent's first contention does not deal with the viability of the veil of ignorance due to a lack of possible objective decision and/or his second contention does not deal with... well it's circular fallacy so he can't save this contention.
Debate Round No. 1


=Road Map=
1. Rebuild my contentions.
2. Refute my opponents arguments.
3. Voting Issues.

My opponent states in (a) on contention one, that I lack warrant of the inability to make totally objective decisions and offers the court room analysis. In response, objectivity [] is making a decision without influence from emotions or personal prejudices. Even in a courtroom this is not possible. In a case with an accused rape victim, women of the jury will take sides of the supposed victim. This is important because with the inability to make a pure objective decision that the veil requires, we cannot support a subjective value.

On (b), my opponent claims that my contention one is not an actual contention. Two responses to this, 1st, a contention is only an assertion [merriam-webster's online dictionary] and I did assert my point. Secondly, though it is my fault, i was working on my cell phone and therefore had an even more limited amount of characters. {my bad} lol

On (c) my opponent speaks about you, the voters. Myself, as the instigator, can affirm this argument in the way i see fit. And I will get to this more on the contention two. Discussion can take place, because it is an open debate that is up to the voters to decide how they see fit.


On (a) subjectivity and objectivity are or should be understood terms in a Justice debate. But since my opponent also fails to define, they are still open to define. Subjectivity- judgement based on personal impressions or feelings and or past experiences. Objectivity- judgement uninfluenced by personal impressions or feelings. In this case, (the veil of ignorance) there is not a situation in which a TRUE veil of ignorance can be applied. Justice is itself subjective, because we have to base justice on past experiences. Slavery was once wrong, but now we see the issue with it. We base justice on the past and arrange it so the injustices do not occur again (rectification).

On (b) my opponent believes that it is circular with contention one. The limited text on my cell led me to limit my contentions length. Therefore I used contention one as a precursor to my contention two which is my main point.

On (c) Objectivity does not and cannot truly exist. A PURE objective decision cannot be made in any decision. As for the employer, if someone totally disagrees with homosexual rights, and a homosexual applicant comes before him, his past emotions/prejudices will come into play. Thus leading to a subjective decision. Subjectivity is the only way to support justice and the veil cannot allow for this.


I agree that my opponent can refute further and grant his argument on this. I understand the burden of clash.

I can save my 2nd contention, because they are both similar to upholding my arguments. Main argument is that a pure objective decision can in no way be made. Yes both contentions may deal with similar arguments but achieved in different ways.:
My 1st, showing that we cannot apply a true veil of ignorance. My 2nd, showing that Justice is subjective and the veil requires a pure objective decision.


= Road Map =
4. Road Map - duh
5. Framework - I will extend my framework, and show it preempts Con arguments.
6. Rebuttal - I will respond to Con's refutations in a line-by-line rebuttal
7. Highlights - I will highlight the important issues which may have been lost in the line-by-line
8. Underview - I will extend appropriately. I will wrap up unfinished Business.

= 5. Framework =
Silence is compliance. The fact that my opponent chose not to address my framework in his previous round means that he accepts it as a standard by which to weight and direct this round.

Obs 1: Philosophy-
When one debates philosophy, one must do so in an ideological vacuum. What this means is that we cannot make any assumptions about the validity of a philosophical construct prior to the discussion and clash which support or deny that construct. In the case of this debate, that construct is the veil of ignorance; unless a logical argument shows that it is not possible to maintain the veil of ignorance, then you must accept it as a philosophically sound construct.

Obs 2: Presumption of Belief-
This is very important to maintain in his debate, primarily due to the nature of my opponent's refutation in contention 1. You must presume the stance of the contender to be true and acceptable unless the instigator can show a logical argument which proves their stance to be true. My opponent fails to do this concerning the objective decision making, but instead defaults to a semantic argument in a rebuttal speech. I will cover his more in dept in just a moment, but this semantic argument is a big voting issue for the Pro.

= 6. Rebuttal =
Contention 1-

a. Here my opponent doesn't make a logical argument to show why objectivity cannot exist, he simply provides a new definition in a rebuttal speech and offers some conjecture concerning said definition. Further this argument is nothing more than a pathos appeal gone wrong as he utilizes the scenario of a rape victim and concludes that objective decision making is impossible here. Now here's why that's bad, when you make an argument based off of a definition, then it becomes a truistic statement and doesn't leave room for clash to happen. Reject this outright.

b. I also two responses. First, my opponent again responds with a definition as a rebuttal so make a direct extension from 1a here. Second, it crucial that every argument have a single claim, with strong warrant(s) and a single impact. My opponent does not does not do that here, he strings together three different claims and calls it a legitimate argument. Further when I challenge him on this he just adds some definitions and calls the problem fixed. This is not appropriate rebuttal, as it is truistic and semantic. I urge you to reject these tactics outright as they kill debate.
Further my opponent's excuse that he made this debate on a cell phone is a pitiful one at best. He could have waited until he was around a computer to make his arguments, the fact that he didn't is his own fault.

c. My opponent groups this with Contention 2, but going to go ahead and refute here and extend as is appropriate. The rules of argumentation dictate that the instigator and the contender have certain burdens they must fulfill so that a debate may flow smoothly and cohesively. For my opponent, he holds the burden of proof in this debate which must exist beyond simply making claims and leaving the voters to do as they wish. He must have a solid claim, warrant and impact for an argument to exist. As he does not have these things, he doesn't have an argument I urge you voters to hold him accountable for this mistake through the vehicle of your vote.

Further he has still failed to provide a warrant to validify his arguments. Instead he simply present new definitions to preempt my argument which end up being semantic and making his arguments out to be nothing more than truistic statements. My opponent has failed to respond to my initial refutations by providing warranted statements and any attempt to do so at this point will be an ad-hoc rescue.

Contention 2-
a. Again my opponent is simply arguing semantics. I don't burden to define, that's the responsibility of the instigator int he constructive. If he fails to do that then the debate doesn't exist withing a single set of definitions. What that means is that when my opponent decides in rebuttal that he should probably offer some definitions, he's changing the nature of his arguments in a rebuttal. That is an ad-hoc rescue and is grounds for a full forfeiture of all seven points in the debate.

I don't know clear I can make this guys, a definition does not make a suitable warrant. You must back an argument with logical structures which show that the premise you're arguing for is true and valid. Simply saying 'here what this dictionary says' does not do that.

b. This response is a cop-out. Both of these arguments are dealing with the same thing (lack of objective decision making) and rely on another in his constructive. My opponent isn't going to be able to salvage this argument in this debate, as it would require him to completely retool the argument with a different claim and a different warrant. This is exactly what I warn against in my underview as being an ad-hoc resuce argument, and you need to reject so that my opponent doesn't get an unfair edge.

c. How is an employer going to know an applicant's sexual preference base on the business experiences they've recorded on an application? My opponent doesn't address the fact that given only an applicant's qualifications and business experience that his o her choice would be made objectively based on their qualifications. he's changing my argument and committing a strawman fallacy by assuming that the employer is prejudiced against gays.

The fact that subjectivity can exist does not mean that objectivity cannot exist. People can look past their own biases and opinions and make decisions based on objective evidence. The voters on this debate, for example, may feel strongly one way or the other, but they're still going to vote based on the content of this round. Not on their own opinions.

= 7. Highlights =
a. Veil of Ignorance-

My opponent doesn't touch on this at all in his first contention (which was where he first talked about it originally), and barely touches on it in his rebuttal. He has had plenty of character space throughout this debate to discuss this issue. He has defaulted to cheap semantic arguments instead of making logically sounds structure to arguing the impossibility of the veil of ignorance.

opponent has cherry picked issue in this debate that he's wanted to respond to and has utterly failed to make an argument as to why the veil of ignorance is not possible.

b. Nozick-
This is a big issue guys. Honestly it's enough to vote Pro on right now. My opponent hasn't even bother to discuss the viability of Nozick's entitlement theory in this debate. Even if won everything on the flow you would still vote Pro because Con has failed to show that Nozick upholds justice better. Honestly due to this lack the theories end up being balanced no matter what.

Further to begin arguing Nozick in the final round would be a new argument and not viable for my opponent.

= 8. Underview =
a. This is moot as my opponent meets this framework.

b. I point out several ad hoc rescues in my opponent's rebuttals, he never responds the fact the making this fallacy is an automatic forfieture, so he mus accept this framework. Vote Pro on this alone.

Also, he really can't save his second contention as I maintain my prior argument that it's circular with his first.

Vote Pro!
Debate Round No. 2


jfree forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
1 comment has been posted on this debate.
Posted by jfree 3 years ago
My apology for opening this debate up on my cell phone, which in turn limited my actual case.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Vulpes_Inculta 3 years ago
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Total points awarded:01 
Reasons for voting decision: FF