The Instigator
kcirrone
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
LR4N6FTW4EVA
Con (against)
Winning
10 Points

Resolved: Consequentialism should trump deontology in the matter of national defense.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 6/9/2008 Category: Politics
Updated: 8 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 3,250 times Debate No: 4377
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (4)
Votes (2)

 

kcirrone

Pro

Resolved: Consequentialism should trump deontology in the matter of US national security.

Definitions:

Consequentilism: an action should be determined by the consequences of an action rather then the immediate action itself. "Ends justify means."

Trump: exceed, overcome, take precedence over.

Deontology: an action should be determined by the action itself rather then the outcome of the action. "Ends do not justify the means."

National Security: The matter of defending the nation when there is a threat or possible threat.

Case:

Value: Justice
Value Criterion: Consequentialism

The Thesis of this case is that justice, being the implied value in the resolution, can only be upheld when looked from a consequential standpoint, when dealing with national security. The outcome of an action must be seen as foremost when deciding an action.

Contentions:

I. The Right of protection is utmost in the US government. In the constitution it states that the primary reason for the government is to provide for the common defense. If the government fails to do this, they are not being just to its citizens. Therefore making an illegitimate US government.

II. The outcome of an action needs to be the primary focus of the US defense department. If bombing an Al-Qaeda stronghold would prevent an attack on the US, then it would be just to do so, for it would protect us and save more lives. Yes, we would need to do a "wrong" action in and of itself, but the consequences more then the action itself. I.e. more people are saved. This must be the focus of defense and national security.

III. Just War Theory. According to the just war theory, the right to use force is justified if the goal is moral, i.e. saving lives, and the outcome results in a greater good, i.e. saving MORE lives.

IV. "The Ticking Time-Bomb Scenario." If there was an atomic bomb that would explode in 3 days, would the government have the right to do w/e is necessary to extract the information of its location from an enemy, terrorist, etc? Yes it would. The outcome would be terrible if not done. An atomic bomb could kill up to 2 million people in one blast, and this is the weaker ones. Again, more lives are saved which is what the government must protect.

V. Deontology cannot be used when determining matters of national security. In the matter of national security, the primary objective is to protect and save lives. Deontology only looks at the action, and if people die because action wasn't taken, then the people would say, it was the government's fault. Deontolgy cannot be looked at when deciding matters of security. It would only lead to negative slopes.
LR4N6FTW4EVA

Con

I too will present the value of justice, as both consequentialism and deontology are intended to achieve justice. Justice, although it has many different competing definition, will for this debate be synonymous with morality, as this is a general principle.
So, Value: Justice
Value Criterion: Kant's Categorical Imperative
That is "Act only according to that maxim whereby you can at the same time will that it should become a universal law." This criterion is warranted because, as Kant points out in his "Groundwork for the Metaphysics of Morals," failure to uphold the imperative leads to contradictions, and the failure to carry out justice.
Thesis: Consequentialism in national defense contradicts the imperative, and is therefore immoral.

Contention 1: Most military strategies violate the CI

A. A reformulation of the CI is "Act in such a way that you treat humanity, whether in your own person or in the person of any other, always at the same time as an end and never merely as a means to an end." Military strategies sacrifice lives, "for the greater good." This is using human life as a means to an end, disrespecting and violating the moral sanctity of human life.

B. Military strategies are also contradictions of the CI in another way. The CI tells us to act as if our actions were to become a universal law, military strategy often relies on the fact that it can't become a universal imperative. For example, the maxim that was used in the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki was roughly along the lines of "If we bomb Japan we will shorten WWII and save lives." If this maxim was generalized to "If we bomb an aggressive nation, we will shorten conflict" it could not be universalized. Every nation would be dropping atom bombs on major cities, 'in order to save lives and shorten conflict." Certainly nuclear holocaust is not Justice.

Moving on to my opponent's case and moving down.
I agree to my opponent's definitions.

His value is fine, but it needs to be defined, I defined justice in my warrant for my value.

His value criterion is flawed. he is using a criterion of consequentialism to prove that consequentialism is just. It is circular reasoning, and it cannot stand, which means we have to take the only other criterion in this debate, mine.

Contention 1: The United States government must provide for the common defense, yes. But its actions in doing so cannot trump the CI, and many consequentialist actions do.

Contention 2: In this you are using circular reasoning. You are saying that because bombing al-Qaeda saves lives, it is just. Consequentialism is just that, you never say why saving lives is more just, you seem to think it just is. Also, as I pointed out in Subpoint B, actions done to save more lives end up causing more harm than good if the CI is applied.

Contention 3: Warrant the Just War Theory, it is just a theory, you can't state it as truth, you need to warrant its legitimacy.

Contention 4: Again, consequentialist actions are warranted by consequentialism, circular reasoning. Also, "extracting" the information, ie torture, is treating the terrorist as a mean, not as a man. This is not just.

Contention 5: This assumes that that primary objective of national defense is in fact just. You are begging the question. Your job is to show that consequentialism upholds justice, not the primary objective of national defense.
Debate Round No. 1
kcirrone

Pro

Friendly Note: Thx for accepting my debate. Lol, I'm glad there is another LD debater here =)

I will attack/rebut my opponent's case then move on to crystallize and defend my own.

Opponents case

Value Structure:

Value: Justice --> We both agree on
Value Criterion: Kant's Categorical Imperative

First off, my opponent says that my value criterion of consequentialism does not stand because its circular logic. I have 2 responses: 1) I am only using a direct VC as stated in the resolution, Aff. only VC, nothing wrong with that, and its allowed. 2) However if you agree with what my opponent is saying, then you must drop his VC because its a sub-section of deontology, i.e. a negative only VC. So, judges you must pick 1 outa the 2 choices I gave, either accept both of ours, or drop both, meaning that only the value of justice remains.

My opponent says that justice and morality are the same. This is false, something can be just and immoral, or vice versa. The definition of justice is giving each their due, morality is good/right conduct. There is a difference, so you must drop her correlation link. Justice, is being looked at, not morality.

My opponents VC, since we are debating justice can be dropped right now, because Kant's Categorical Imperative is a moral only categorical.

"Act only according to that maxim whereby you can at the same time will that it should become a universal law." From Kant. Ok lets look at this maxim. What my opponent failed to see is that this can work both ways. In this case, the Department of National Security and an enemy. Both must universalize their actions. Take death penalty for instance; Kant was pro-death penalty because he looked at the actions of the criminal, not the state department. He wasn't anti-death penalty because he said the state should universalize it's actions. He says the criminal must universalize his action, i.e. killing. So on this basis lets look my case. On my side I am keeping with the "universal actions" in that I am holding to the enemy, who wants to hurt our citizens, to their own universalized action. Also, since this maxim is unconditional, then self-defense is seen as unjust and immoral. What type of society would we live in where aggressors kill and terrorize at will without remorse because the fair-minded people cannot defend themselves because they are being held to the universal action maxim.So essentially, you either drop this maxim totally or use it as a con-affirmation point. I.e. his point helps me in the long run.

Contentions:

I. Most military strategies violate the CI.

A) "Act in such a way that you treat humanity, whether in your own person or in the person of any other, always at the same time as an end and never merely as a means to an end."

Ok, first off, this maxim cannot be held to matters of national security. Yes, must military actions do violate this specific maxim. However, look at it in this way. Consequentialism does uphold this. How?? Simple, the maxim asks to treat humanity as a means, not an end. What about the US society, how are you treating them in their own right person by letting an attack happen, because it violates "morality". (Remember, the resolve is Justice). This is exactly why the CI is so confusing. To truly uphold Justice, everything must be looked at. And consequentialism does so, for the majority of the time. This specific maxim cannot be held totally on either the Aff. or the Neg's side. But my side holds it more, because I'm also looking at the future ramifications of a specific action.

B) The CI tells us to act as if our actions were to become a universal law, military strategy often relies on the fact that it can't become a universal imperative.

Of first, look to my above explanation of universality + Kant and the DP. However, my opponent uses the example of the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. If the US did not do this, there was 1 other option. A land invasion. Which would have resulted in 2 million+ dead. The US had to make a choice to end the war, and they decided to do the one which would have resulted in less dead. My oppoent is using a flawed reasoning to justify no action. This maxim cannot be held at all, in the fact it is unconditional. I.e. never can be changed to fit circumstances. If the US did this, what would the US be like today? We would probably be speaking Japanese, or German, or Russian. I'll give a historic account as my opponent did. Take the Holocaust for instance. According to the CI it would have been immoral to kill the Nazis who were doing this. One of the most tragic events in history would not have been stopped because the CI says we have to universalize our actions. This is a flawed maxim, and I believe the debating community can see that.

Now ill defend my own case:

I. The United States government must provide for the common defense.

His response: yes. But its actions in doing so cannot trump the CI, and many consequentialist actions do.

My defense: In order for the US government to remain a legitimate government then we must hold to the main promise to our people. Also, protecting innocent live definitely trumps the CI.

II. The outcome of an action needs to be the primary focus of the US defense department

His response: In this you are using circular reasoning. You are saying that because bombing al-Qaeda saves lives, it is just. Consequentialism is just that, you never say why saving lives is more just, you seem to think it just is. Also, as I pointed out in Subpoint B, actions done to save more lives end up causing more harm than good if the CI is applied.

My Defense: Saving lives is a fundamental just action. The primary right is the right to life. It is an inalienable and inherent right. And talking about making assumptions, you never actually prove why consequentialism would lead to more harm. You only use the idea of universality, which I have already proven is contradictory and flawed.

III. Just War Theory

His response: Warrant the Just War Theory, it is just a theory, you can't state it as truth, you need to warrant its legitimacy.

My Defense: I will indeed concede this point, however if the judges look at my concession then they must drop your whole entire CI case, in that you failed warrant it either. It is as you say, "just a theory."

IV. "The Ticking Time-Bomb Scenario."

His response: Again, consequentialist actions are warranted by consequentialism, circular reasoning. Also, "extracting" the information, ie torture, is treating the terrorist as a mean, not as a man. This is not just.

My Defense: As I said previously Im using it as a Aff. inherent VC. And I never said that extracting information was torture. However, lets look at this for a second, in my ticking-time bomb senario, you, on the Neg, would be refusing to take action therefore leading to a nuclear explosion killing millions of people. Lets look at the CI's universality maxim: Essentially we would not a negative universal action by not taking action because inaction leads to negative results. Therefore, universalizing non-action, then you are creating a negative universal action. Again, the CI is contradictory.

V. Deontology cannot be used when determining matters of national security.

His response: This assumes that that primary objective of national defense is in fact just. You are begging the question. Your job is to show that consequentialism upholds justice, not the primary objective of national defense.

My Defense: First understanding the flaws of deontology in the case of national security will lead to the conclusion that consequentialism is necesary for this. Remember the resolve sates not just consequentialism vs. deontolgy, its in the matters of national security.
LR4N6FTW4EVA

Con

First, value definition debate

He defines Justice as "giving each their due." This definition only harms his case, it is a deontological definition: John Rawls, who defined justice in this way was extremely critical of consequential, and based a system of ethics around this definition of justice in order to provide an alternative to consequentialism. So, if we take this definition, my opponent cannot win this debate. Secondly, this definition is one definition, it is not what justice is used to commonly mean. Justice as it is commonly used is "the principle or ideal of just dealing or right action" (Merriam-Webster) I use this definition because dictionaries determine the meaning of a word by determining how the word is used, so, justice means doing what is right. Morality is "conforming to a standard of right behavior" (Merriam-Webster) so it is conforming to what is right. Pretty similar, huh?

VC debate: Touche. But, my opponent's VC is not warranted, he simply provides a VC and does not show how it successfully links back to justice. I, on the other hand warrant my VC and link it to my value, so my value criterion is superior.

Also, the point on the death penalty is a good one, but the point is that the criminal is not being treated as a mean, he is being treated as an end, albeit a bad one. Secondly, if you can get current military strategies to work under the CI your side fails because you show that consequentialism doesn't have to trump deontology.

Self-defense is not necessarily prohibited, it just must be done justly. I could not shoot a burglar, but I could take actions such as calling the police or temporarily disabling him (taser?)

Opponent's case:

1. He never brings up any new information to rebut my point, and as I said, using the CI does not prevent the government from upholding its promise, the government can do so, it just must be just in doing so. If one could shirk justice in order to uphold a promise, killing people in order to uphold a promise would be okay, simply because I fulfilled my promise.

2. Bombing al-Qaeda kills people as well, which is wrong, because it is using people as a means to an end. It is not punitive killing, which is just, as you point out, but it is using killing to perform what one feels is a more just action.

3. The CI is not just a theory, the CI is supported using clear logic, the JWT is supported using "intuition."
CI logic:
1. Moral laws must be objective in order to be laws
2. In order to determine if an action is in accordance with moral law, one must only check the objectivity of said action.
3. The CI determines objectivity.

4. First, if extracting information isn't torture, than it is fine under the CI and your scenario fails to uphold your point. If it isn't torture, it is perfectly acceptable to act. If it is torture, consequentialist actions would a) be unjust because as I said, the terrorist is being treated as a mean not a man. Secondly, he has no motivation to tell the truth, so the actions will likely fail. Consequentialism fails in that we cannot predict accurately all the consequences of our actions, so we have no way to know if we are being just or not. Kantianism faces the metaphysical challenges that consequentialism fails to overcome. The loss of millions of lives is intuitively bad, but it is intuitive, not necessarily logical. My opponent is appealing to emotions rather than logic. We must look at the logic of both positions, and a position that uses men as means is logically wrong. Rawls points out that consequentialism should not be accepted because we may turn out to be the one left behind.

5. I again say this: We must adhere to justice in performing our actions. Actions are not just, regardless of the consequences unless they are performed justly. If one became an assassin in order to raise money for charity, one would hardly call him just. In short, the means matter.

My case:

A. Treating men as means is fundamentally wrong, immoral, and unjust. Simply because one deems it the most effective means of achieving an end does not mean it is the most just means of achieving the end. Deontological positions are still effective in achieving an end.

B. Military action is usually not punitive, it is usually preemptive, kill him before he kills me. Punitive action would be fine. As for the atom bomb example, the United States is faced with two options a) destroying two cities, which will definitely result in the loss of life, or land invasion, which may carry a high risk of casualties. Although at first glance, atom bombs seem better, one must look at the original intent of the war. US involvement in WWII was in response to Pearl Harbor, it was punitive. Our job was to punish the Japanese government. Atom bombs punished the Japanese people, who were innocent. Land invasion would have avoided many civilian casualties and would have been the just means to win the war.

Voters: You vote Neg, because a) my VC is superior, b) consequentialist actions often treat men as means, rather than as men, and c) consequentialism does not give each there due.

Side note: Are we going to try to be realistic and not have me post for R3, or are we going to break from LD format? I don't care either way.
Debate Round No. 2
kcirrone

Pro

kcirrone forfeited this round.
LR4N6FTW4EVA

Con

Flow all my points across I guess then. Do we want to redo this debate?

100 character long argument.
Debate Round No. 3
4 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Posted by RedEye 8 years ago
RedEye
Lol, srry I accidentally closed my account. =) O well..
Posted by LR4N6FTW4EVA 8 years ago
LR4N6FTW4EVA
It seems my opponent's account has been closed, that's unfortunate. I guess my question was unnecessary.
Posted by kcirrone 8 years ago
kcirrone
Lol, I see that, because your a John McCain fan, so am I =). I love debating consequentialism vs. deontology. Nice meeting you, and good luck.
Posted by LR4N6FTW4EVA 8 years ago
LR4N6FTW4EVA
You know, I actually agree with you, for reasons other than those you listed, but I wanted to play Devil's Advocate, it's educational. Besides I love any debate where i can use the CI, especially in matters of National Security.
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by joshizinfamous 3 years ago
joshizinfamous
kcirroneLR4N6FTW4EVATied
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Total points awarded:07 
Reasons for voting decision: Wording of the resolution was very poor by pro seeing as how you were the instigator you should of set it up similar to this. "When the safety of a country is threatened, Consequentialism should trump deontology" That's actually winnable. But you forfeited the round. Con for all 7.
Vote Placed by DrAlexander 8 years ago
DrAlexander
kcirroneLR4N6FTW4EVATied
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Total points awarded:03