The Instigator
WriterSelbe
Con (against)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
MasterKage
Pro (for)
Winning
9 Points

Resolved: Individuals Have A Moral Obligation To Assist Those In Need

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 3 votes the winner is...
MasterKage
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 11/22/2011 Category: Miscellaneous
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 3,655 times Debate No: 19438
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (7)
Votes (3)

 

WriterSelbe

Con

Because I always seem to lose when debating on the negative, I figured the best way to go about this would be to get some practice. Feel free to give me pointers and whatnot.

The first round is for acceptance. When debating, please site sources and use a Lincoln-Douglas layout with a value, criterion, and necessary definitions. In fact, one should write their initial argument like an actual case.
MasterKage

Pro

Well I accept the challenge. Honestly, i am glad your are using the L-D debating format, as I am very much used to this style of debate.

Oh and, good luck.
Debate Round No. 1
WriterSelbe

Con

Morality has many definitions—many forms—and many different societies that live by it, but the morals that each society lives by cannot be exactly the same. To look out for the good of a society, a person has to look out for oneself as instinct dictates lest they risk their own survival. This doesn’t mean that the helping of others is wrong but that to help others we must put ourselves first.


Before I begin, I would like to define a few recurring terms that will appear throughout. Firstly, morality being conformity to ideals of right human conduct, and obligation being something one is bound to do (Merriam-Webster). Thus, combining these two terms, moral obligation would become a belief or act one fulfills to conform to ideals of right human conduct. Thirdly, society is defined as a community, nation, or a broad grouping of people having common traditions, institutions, and collective activities and interests (Merriam-Webster). Altruism is behavior by an animal that is not beneficial to or may be harmful to itself but that benefits others of its species.


For the following reason, I negate the resolution: a society where individuals conform to a certain morality and all maintain the same moral obligations will not lead to rationality, and a rational society is what humans wish to achieve. This leads to the value, which is self-preservation. When living with the goal of self-preservation, society is more rational.


My first contention is that morality varies from person to person, thus a person’s ideas on what their moral obligation might be is different from another person’s. Morality, as stated above, is the conformity to ideals of right human conduct. However, right human conduct is subjective and can be influenced by one’s society. A person who lives in the Midwest might have far different morals than a person who lives in the Middle East.


Secondly, saying individuals are morally obligated to assist those in need is a broad, inclusive statement. A person cannot help everyone in need let alone everyone they witness in a state of need, and if they were to help everyone they came into contact with that was in need of assistance it would not be healthy for the one giving. If too many people acted as if they were obligated to help whoever they could that was in need then those who gave would be suffering in the place of those who had needed assistance prior or alongside them. In a certain case, an altruistic person—whose behavior could be potentially harmful as stated by the definition prior to the contentions—who is living by the resolution which obligates them to assist those in need may end up being the person in need and, in order to assist oneself, have to stop assisting others out of obligation to oneself, which is human instinct—putting oneself above others. Pertaining to this, those who aren’t giving by nature but rather cynical will have more mental strain put on them than those who are more trusting and willing to give if they are forced to assist those in need.


As my third contention, I will point out that some moral obligations could be considered uncivil and immoral to people excluded or even included in the society where that moral system is practiced. The KKK was morally obligated to assist their fellow members by seeking out African Americans and exterminating them, adding to my first point that moral obligation is subjective. During World War II in Germany, the Nazis had their moral ideals given to them by Hitler, who said they were obligated to hunt down the Jews and force them into concentration camps. This was to assist their country which would supposedly be better off without the Jews. Basically, members of the KKK and Nazi Germany thought they were assisting others when they killed the African Americans or placed Jews in concentration camps. That was their moral obligation. Al-Qaeda requires that all infidels be killed because it is their obligation to annihilate them for their God. With this idea in mind, one will think that conforming to the moral ideals of a society and fulfilling said obligations is not always a good thing.


Lastly, if a person is forced to assist others, they are not doing so out of an obligation to morality but rather an obligation to something or someone else, defeating the morality in their obligation. Thus, they are obligated to assist others, but it is not their morals that make them obligated so. It is like a school having a canned food drive where if the whole class brings in enough cans they will all get treats. Instead of bringing in cans out of an obligation to morality, a child will bring in cans out of obligation to the class because the child does not wish to let his or her classmates down and also obligation to the child’s own person, as the child does not want to miss out on the opportunity for treats.


In summary, my case has stated that morality itself is subjective, that it is not possible to help everyone in need, and that a person’s first obligation—according to human nature and instinct—is to oneself. I also stated that some societies have moral obligations that might seem inhumane to us and that we would not want them to fulfill and that if someone is forced to assist others, it is not out of moral obligation. For the reasons stated prior, I strongly negate the resolution.

MasterKage

Pro

I thank Con for their reply and, so far, for this interesting debate.

Firstly, I will set up my own argument then proceed to attack Con's points.

Resolved: Individuals have a moral obligation to assist those in need. I affirm this resolution.

My value for this debate will be Justice.

My criterion for this debate will be humans natural instinct to assist other humans in situations of need that the original human or humans can not do alone.

I will establish my own definitions for this debate.
All definitions are cited from the Merriam Webster online dictionary.

Morality is the particular moral principles or rules of conduct or conformity to ideals of right human conduct.

Society is the companionship or association with one's fellows : friendly or intimate intercourse : company, or a community, nation, or broad grouping of people having common traditions, institutions, and collective activities and interests. I will be using the latter as it allows for better understanding for the debate.

Inputting the definition of Altruism would be the same as Con's, so I see no need to repeat it in the debate.

My first contention is that of The Golden rule.

From the age when we can talk, we are drilled to accept and conform to the Golden rule.
The Golden rule is essentially a rule of ethical conduct referring to Matthew 7:12 and Luke 6:31: do to others as you would have them do to you.

The Bible states "do to others as you would have them to do to you".
This is basically stating that we should do to others what we do to them so if we ever become in this situation we would choose the correct option according to the Golden rule.
This goes to if any person is in person requiring adequate need, you should think of if you were in said situation and give help to the person.

My second contention is that of helping people in a significant amount of need.

The resolution states that Individuals have a moral obligation to assist those in need.
Helping a person with a significant problem or obstacle certainly would help said person greatly. Helping a person with an insignificant or such a small problem with whom you are not experienced with or lesser experienced with, then other areas, the person you are trying to assist may have been able to resolve the situation faster than help from you could permit, this may cause the person to become angry or defiant, lashing out on the person assisting to help the person in need.

I have finished my argument, now I will attempt to attack my Con's case.

In your first contention you stated that the definition of morality would differ depending on your location on Earth.

Regardless of the small change in definition on world location, it is still, generally, in the correct nature to help a person in need.
Also, regardless of your ethnicity, wouldn't you be more than willing to help another person who is the same ethnicity as you?

In your second contention you stated that a person cannot help everyone he/she meets in need.
This goes back to my second contention stating that the insignificant or small problems can be avoided to allow further help for any significant problems that anyone is having that the person encounters.

In your third contention you stated certain groups, such as the KKK and the Nazis, would use moral obligation to influence their group into committing actions that are harmful.

This does not refer to the average person.
All the people, all the groups you stated, were not in their correct state of mind, as the three groups had leaders that were charismatic and manipulative, warping their minds to conform to each groups ideals.

I have stated my argument and attack each of your points.

Thank is all.
Debate Round No. 2
WriterSelbe

Con

I thanks my opponent for their response. Their value was justice while their criterion was a natural instinct to help others. My argument for his value is that justice is something upkept by obligation to law, not to morality. Secondly, the instict to help others is not natural, otherwise it would not be considered an obligation.

My opponents first contention is the Golden Rule, which states that while we should help others, there is no force compelling us to do so, nothing that binds and obligates us to do so. It only states we should. Should does not mean have to, it does not mean that we are obligated to do something-should is a suggestion.

Secondly, my opponent says that helping a person may cause them to lash out at you, making altruism a bad thing. Since humans' first obligation is to themselves, all obligations are to oneself. A quote from my fourth contention:

'Lastly, if a person is forced to assist others, they are not doing so out of an obligation to morality but rather an obligation to something or someone else, defeating the morality in their obligation. Thus, they are obligated to assist others, but it is not their morals that make them obligated so. It is like a school having a canned food drive where if the whole class brings in enough cans they will all get treats. Instead of bringing in cans out of an obligation to morality, a child will bring in cans out of obligation to the class because the child does not wish to let his or her classmates down and also obligation to the child’s own person, as the child does not want to miss out on the opportunity for treats.'

Now my opponent proceeds to attack my case by saying it would be in good nature to help those in need. While it would be in good nature, my opponent doesn't explain what binds and obligates us to help others. 'Also, regardless of your ethnicity, wouldn't you be more than willing to help another person who is the same ethnicity as you?' No, I myself would not, though that is beside the debate. One's first obligation is to oneself, and if putting oneself first means you are not able to help someone in need, then the resolution is negated.

'This goes back to my second contention stating that the insignificant or small problems can be avoided to allow further help for any significant problems that anyone is having that the person encounters.' This does not matter. The resolution fails to elaborate and say, 'when feasible.' Whenever anyone is in need, the resolution requires us to help them, making the resolution incorrect.

'This does not refer to the average person.
All the people, all the groups you stated, were not in their correct state of mind, as the three groups had leaders that were charismatic and manipulative, warping their minds to conform to each groups ideals.'

But they believed what they were doing was their moral obligation. One cannot say that they were not in the correct state of mind. They believed what they were doing was their moral obligation, thus making it right. Also, since there were people who denied their moral obligation by not assisting the Nazis, moral obligation is proven not to exist.

I now await my opponent's argument.
MasterKage

Pro

I thank Con for her response.

"Their value was justice while their criterion was a natural instinct to help others. My argument for his value is that justice is something upkept by obligation to law, not to morality. Secondly, the instinct to help others is not natural, otherwise it would not be considered an obligation."

Moral obligation to assist those in need is just, so this does indeed fit the resolution.
The instinct to help your fellow humans is natural.

"My opponents first contention is the Golden Rule, which states that while we should help others, there is no force compelling us to do so, nothing that binds and obligates us to do so. It only states we should. Should does not mean have to, it does not mean that we are obligated to do something-should is a suggestion."

The origin of the Golden rule goes back to the Bible.
I clearly cited the Bible's use of the Golden rule.
Matthew 7:12 and Luke 6:31: do to others as you would have them do to you. This is essentially a command.
There is no should or any other word that commits to a suggestion context.
I simply implied should.

"Secondly, my opponent says that helping a person may cause them to lash out at you, making altruism a bad thing. Since humans' first obligation is to themselves, all obligations are to oneself."

I, again, clearly stated that "Helping a person with an insignificant or such a small problem with whom you are not experienced with or lesser experienced with, then other areas, the person you are trying to assist may have been able to resolve the situation faster than help from you could permit, this may cause the person to become angry or defiant, lashing out on the person assisting to help the person in need."

This is essentially stating that if you feel you are not experienced in the area that the person who needs assistance, it would be a wiser idea to let the person in need resolve situation on their own, opposed to helping them far longer than they would take on their own.

" This does not matter. The resolution fails to elaborate and say, 'when feasible.' Whenever anyone is in need, the resolution requires us to help them, making the resolution incorrect."

The resolution also fails to state "at all times"

"But they believed what they were doing was their moral obligation. One cannot say that they were not in the correct state of mind. They believed what they were doing was their moral obligation, thus making it right. Also, since there were people who denied their moral obligation by not assisting the Nazis, moral obligation is proven not to exist."

Regardless of whether they believed that their actions were morally correct, it does not condone their actions of using moral obligation to for harmful purposes
Debate Round No. 3
WriterSelbe

Con

WriterSelbe forfeited this round.
MasterKage

Pro

My opponent has forfeited this round.
Extend all arguments.
Debate Round No. 4
WriterSelbe

Con

WriterSelbe forfeited this round.
MasterKage

Pro

My opponent has forfeited this round.
Extend all arguments.
Debate Round No. 5
7 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 7 records.
Posted by MasterKage 5 years ago
MasterKage
My argument has been posted.
I await your response.
Posted by MasterKage 5 years ago
MasterKage
Oh and Logicrules, could you perhaps elaborate, since you question has not been answered yet.
Posted by MasterKage 5 years ago
MasterKage
Whoops, I forgot the first round was for acceptance. Silly me.
Posted by WriterSelbe 5 years ago
WriterSelbe
Perfect! I look forward to it.
Posted by MasterKage 5 years ago
MasterKage
Oh and i should have my argument sometime tommorow.
Posted by MasterKage 5 years ago
MasterKage
Well I accept the challenge. Honestly, i am glad your are using the L-D debating format, as I am very much used to this style of debate.

Oh and, good luck.
Posted by logicrules 5 years ago
logicrules
clarify, do you mean all or only those who claim to be moral and state that morality?
3 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Vote Placed by QT 5 years ago
QT
WriterSelbeMasterKageTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Forfeit.
Vote Placed by innomen 5 years ago
innomen
WriterSelbeMasterKageTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Obvious forfeit.
Vote Placed by Raisor 5 years ago
Raisor
WriterSelbeMasterKageTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Conduct for the forfeit.