The Instigator
jack_ling
Con (against)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
Zaradi
Pro (for)
Winning
28 Points

Resolved: Individuals have a moral obligation to assist people in need.

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 4 votes the winner is...
Zaradi
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/12/2012 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 763 times Debate No: 21963
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (10)
Votes (4)

 

jack_ling

Con

I'd like to thank the affirmative side and eagerly await their case and a good debate. Value Premise: Morality.
Thank you again.
Zaradi

Pro

Since it was agreed upon that I could post my case into the round on a google doc (comments section) I will do that.
https://docs.google.com...#

I look forward to an interesting debate.
Debate Round No. 1
jack_ling

Con

I would first like to thank my opponent for this Lincoln Douglas debate and quite a worthy debate.
Now onto my case. I will begin by stating my value premise, value criterion, and going into detail about my contentions and burden. I will end by attacking the affirmative case.

I negate.

Because I support legal duty, I must negate the resolution, Resolved: Individuals have a moral obligation to assist people in need. In order to clarify the round, I offer the following definitions. I define an individual as a distinct, indivisible entity; a single thing, being, instance, or item. To assist is to give support or aid to; help. A need is a requirement, necessary duty, or obligation. Morality is conformity to the rules of right conduct; moral or virtuous conduct. And finally, a moral obligation is an obligation arising out of considerations of right and wrong.
I value morality because it is the ultimate good implied by the resolution which questions the weight of an individual's need and another's obligation to assist that individual. The negative side seeks to achieve ultimate morality by means of the value criterion which is human agency. Human agency is defined as each person's ability to determine and take responsibility for his or her actions and their outcomes. Human agency will lead us to supreme morality, and not a need for moral obligation to assist those in need. Thus, the answer to the underlying question of today's resolution is that it is simply impossible for us as a society to have a moral obligation to assist those in need. The negation of the resolution is most probable because of three contentions. First, moral obligation does not exist is society. Secondly, we do not have the capability to assist everybody who is in need. And thirdly, affirming the resolution destroys agency.

Contention 1:
Moral obligation does not exist in society. As we have an inalienable right to free will, we simply cannot be forced to do something which we feel goes against our will. Free will allows us as humans to progress along the path to moral enlightenment. This is because humans are consistently obtaining new and more reliable information upon which we may make better moral decisions. As moral obligation and free will are mutually exclusive, we cannot exercise our will to be free while having a moral obligation restricting us. What is it then that stops moral obligations from becoming out of hand and forcing us, against our will, to kill, rape, pillage, or any other act which causes disturbances in society? In addition, moral obligations require passion which does not and shall not exist in society on a level as is required to affirm the resolution. In order to actually weigh over this contention and sub-point, passion must exist in every single individual in the society. But it is near impossible to get two people to understand each other's positions on an identical level; thus, we cannot have a moral obligation of any kind because of the lack of passion. As we have no examples of eternal obligation brought upon us by morality, we must see the flaw in the resolution and negate it altogether.

Contention 2:
We do not have the capability to assist everybody who is in need. Allow the negative side to explain this claim with a situation. Let's imagine for a moment that we are near a body of water deep enough for a large man to swim in. Let's imagine now that there is a baby in the middle who is in need of assistance. It would be good for me to swim to the baby and rescue him to prevent harm and death. We can agree that it is the good thing. But we must acknowledge that not everybody can commit this action as not everybody can swim. Now we can apply this to any given situation brought upon by the resolution of the debate.
John Keke writes:
"The Responsibility-Principle is obviously a basic ethical principle for without it we could not
hold people morally or legally accountable. Without the principle the systems of ethics and law,
as we presently understand them, would have to be fundamentally revised."
As my card currently stands, we can drop the affirmation of the resolution at the current moment because the resolution is not always true as it is required to be affirmed. But the negative side seeks to eliminate any possibility of an affirmation. With this said, we can look to the conception of morality known as Deontology. Deontology is the conception of morality which has a strict set of rules explaining that if an action is immoral in one case, it is then immoral in all cases. The negative side is completely backed up by this conception in that there are situations when helping an individual in need results in death, injury, etc. While we do not always have the capability of assisting those in need, we, by definition, have the ability to fulfill our legal duties. This is true because legal duties require the possibility of fulfillment by any and all under the social contract.

Contention 3:
Affirming the resolution destroys agency.
Liam Murphy writes:
"The general idea behind the "alienation objection" is that impartial morality makes various
demands on our motivations that are incompatible with the motivations necessary for fully
valuable personal projects and relationships. One influential claim is that if we can only have
projects and relationships when morality "gives" them to us (by saying that they are morally
permissible, or that they would bring about the best outcome), then we will not be able to see our
35projects and relationships as having intrinsic value, and as a result will not be able to have
genuine projects and relationships at all."
Our key points of agency are those relationships and programs which require legal duty in order to operate and better society as a whole. This links into my second contention because if something requires legal duty in order to function, then mutual exclusion is obvious with moral obligation.
If one is being forced by moral obligation in order to create the maximum utility by Utilitarianism, then they are further alienated from morality in that it is not their own moral choice. Morality is grown in an environment of self choosing the moral worth of an action. Therefore, if we are forced to do something, our moral worth is not gained, but it is rather depleted.

Now onto the affirmative case.
Now let's talk about the framework of the affirmative constructive. The very framework which the affirmative side wishes to persuade us to believe is barely framework in its essence. This is all because the structure is mass quantities of testimonies and cards, but the affirmative does not explain why I should care on the various statements he quotes. This is important because the negative side thoroughly explains the evidence and what the actual impact of said evidence is. The affirmative simply throws these cards at us with no explanation of why these support the actual affirmative case.

Now a quick question to the affirmative side. I would like to see the response that the affirmative gives in rebuttal. Are there times when we are not capable of assisting those in need? Is there any single time or several times when why are not able to assist those in need?

Now let's look at the first contention of the affirmative constructive.
The affirmative, in his first contention, claims and says that the ethics of hospitality not only requires that we are receptive to individuals in need, but also that we engage in them . He then proceeds to a testimony. The problem with the first contention is the obvious fact that he fails to analyze the actual contention. He doesn't explain why this makes the resolution true. It is false analyzation when the claim is made that because there is an authority and theory which agree with the claim, it is ultimately true. There is actually no analyzation in the contention itself. We can barely call this a contention in that it only has a claim and quote. There is no evidence. There is no warrant at all. And above all, there is no impact on why this is important to judging the round. He then makes the giant mistake of not explaining what the actual quote means to us. To judge the round, you must realize that the analyzation included in this contention is little to none if it exists at all.

Onto the second contention.
We must weigh over the negative contention over the second of the affirmative because there is no warrant. The framework of this contention is almost identical to the first, but it gives the slight explanation of what the actual quote being used says in his own words. Yet, he does not explain why we should take this into consideration against the faults which exist in the resolution. By this, the negative proves to explain that the contention consists of logical clauses and quotes, but almost no implications on why the directly impacts the resolution in itself.

Finally, the third contention.
This argument explains that we welcome obligation when it has to do with assistance, but it does not explain why we welcome obligation. And it does not explain if we welcome moral obligation as we apparently do with obligation. For the third time in my attacks against the affirmative, I will point out that this contention is composed majority of a quote by an "authority". But even after his so called analyses of the argument, we have no idea how this in fact relates to the resolution.

Now let's look at how his case should be judged as a whole across the flow. None of his contentions explain how he achieved the value premise by means of his value criterion. Also, he doesn't explain how we can measure whether he achieved the premise or not. Now look at his whole case by appearance. Notice how the quotes are of darker color and underlined. Almost all of the affirmative constructive is composed of these quotes and almost no analyses.

For these reason I urge a negative ballot as the burden requires.
Zaradi

Pro

Sadly, I was hoping that my opponent would offer more resistance than he did. He misinterprets what my case is saying, and just flat-out doesn't understand most of it. I'd like to clarify on what my case talks about, and why his arguments are non-responsive and don't apply.

First, he places an argument on the entirety of my framework that basically says, more or less, that I don't show why we ought to value my framework. This argument is completely false, as my entire framework is riddled with explanation as to what it says and why it is true. Starting at Hagglund 1, where I explain that morality isn't some overarching normative structure, but rather an ethical dilemma that arises from our everyday encounters with the Other. This transitions to Hagglund 2 where it talks about how this account of ethics and the encounter with the Other defines the very possibility of ethics, which warrants why my framework functions apriori to my opponent's framework. From there we transfer to the first Westmoreland card that explains that under the epistemological concept set up by Hagglund, the only way we can explain the encounters with the other is if we ground our normative ethics in the ethics of hospitality. Now we transition to the reasons below the standard to prefer my framework, which my opponent has entirely neglected to talk about, which is the Hagglund 3 and 4 cards. All of this goes conceded in the last round, so you can cleanly extend it across the flow.

Now to respond to his arguments against my first contention, which is the Westmoreland 2 evidence. His first point is I don't provide analysis as to why this makes the resolution true, but you can clearly look above the card and see how I say (and I will quote) "The ethics of hospitality requires that we are not only receptive to individuals in need but that we positively engage in them". This points a clear link to my framework and affirming the resolution, a warrant that he did not touch in his last round. The impact is clear cut in the card: under the ethics of hospitality, we are required to not only be receptive to people's suffering, but that we actively engage with them. This goes flat-out conceded, so you can cleanly extend it.

Now for the arguments against the second contention, which is the Hagglund 5 card. To begin with, I'd like to ask my opponent to clarify on what his argument is saying, because the wording of it makes no sense. All my second contention is saying is that we are always open and obligated to the Other, which gives us the obligation to assist those in need through the ethics of hospitality. He concedes the warrant coming out of Hagglund 5, so it can be cleanly extended as well.

Now onto the final argument against my third contention, which is the card by the Prophet, Jacqujes Derrida. This provides a clear link to the obligation to the Other and an obligation to assist people in need through the ethics of suffering. The warrant coming out of Derrida is perfectly clear on this. My opponent conceded this warrant, so you can cleanly extend it across the flow.

To answer my opponent's question, our relation and obligation to assist people in need through our encounters with the Other mandate that we do whatever we can, regardless of it's effectiveness. So if the aid worked or not would be irrelevant to the discussion.

Now, let's talk about my opponent's case.

Let's start with his framework, first. I'd like to point out that he has absolutely no way of actually achieving his value of morality. Just because we maximize human agency, it doesn't mean that we create some "supreme morality". The link between the two is missing in his case, and he no warrant to prove the link is true. But then secondly, the only way we can achieve true agency is through our encounters and interactions with the Other, so I'm going to be outweighing my opponent and fulfilling his standard better than he is.

Let's move onto his first contention, where he talks about how moral obligations don't exist because we all have the right to free will.

1. I'm clearly showing in the AC how we have a clear moral obligation to assist others in need through our interactions and encounters with the Other, so this point is moot.
2. Not all humans have the same human rights, as the government is what distributes our rights. To say everyone has the same rights is to say that women in America have the same rights as women in Iraq, Iran, or Saudi Arabia, which is entirely false. So his contention falls flat on his face there.
3. But even if the first two arguments aren't true, he provides absolutely no warrant as to why having free will means an obligation cannot exist in society. He merely asserts it without any sort of evidence to back it up.

His contention one is entirely false, as I have just shown.

Let's move onto his second contention, where he says that we don't have the capability to assist everyone.

1. You can extend the third observation at the top of my case that says the resolution isn't about whether or not we fulfill on obligation, but rather about whether it exists. This is true because of the word "have" in the resolution instead of words or phrases that indicate whether or not we can fulfill the obligation.
2. The ethics of hospitality are grounded in the actualization of a moral obligation, not about it's fulfillment, so all I have to do is prove that under the ethics of hospitality, we would HAVE a moral obligation, not whether it would be possible to fulfill it.
3. All his Keke evidence is saying is that there's a principle in place for those who don't act upon their moral obligation, or fail to be able to act upon it, not that there isn't one in the first place. So his evidence isn't saying what he's trying to make it say. He's strawmanning the card.

Thusly, his second contention falls flat on it's face.

Now, let's talk about his third contention, that rests solely on his Murphy card.

1. There's literally no warrant as to why what he's saying is true. He merely asserts it to be true with no reasoning or analysis as to why the claims made in the card are true. By affirming, we allow people to continue their encounters and interactions with the other, which is the only way to achieve true agency. So by affirming, we actually encourage agency, instead of destroying it.
2. There's no link between having a moral obligation and destroying agency. This is a missing link in his third contention that makes it entirely false.
3. Extend his own wording thiat this contention links SOLELY into his second contention. This means that the only way he can gain offense off of this argument is if he's winning his second contention. So if I'm refuting his second contention, he can't get any offense off of it.

So at this point, the round breaks down pretty simply.

1. My opponent hasn't touched on a single warrant in my case, and has vastly misinterpreted what it was saying. His arguments against it were non-responsive and entirely false.
2. He has no link between his criterion and value, thus making it impossible for him to fulfill his own framework.
3. By affirming, I better meet his own criterion than he is.
4. I'm sufficiently refuting every single one of his contentions, as well as clearly extending my own.

So at this point, the ballot is a really easy affirmative vote.
Debate Round No. 2
jack_ling

Con

jack_ling forfeited this round.
Zaradi

Pro

Awh, he closed his account. Pity.
Anyway, vote pro.
Debate Round No. 3
10 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Zaradi 4 years ago
Zaradi
Eh, I could've sworn Derrida came first. Must've just gotten my dates flipped around.
Posted by FourTrouble 4 years ago
FourTrouble
Uh, no. Heidegger's main contribution to philosophy is Being and Time, which was published 30 years before Derrida hit the scene.
Posted by Zaradi 4 years ago
Zaradi
There was another debate with someone who used Heidegger. Hold on, I'll grab the link.
And actually, it's arguable that Heidegger is more indebted to Derrida than vice versa.
Hagglund, yeah. That's just truth. Derrida? Probably not.
Posted by FourTrouble 4 years ago
FourTrouble
The references to Hagglund and Derrida, both are completely indebted to Heidegger. I really like Heidegger's philosophy, wasn't expecting to find anyone else on this site who likes him.
Posted by Zaradi 4 years ago
Zaradi
@FourTrouble: I just remembered that I don't have any Heidegger evidence in this case. Why do you ask?
Posted by Zaradi 4 years ago
Zaradi
I do. He's a very interesting philosopher, and it's a pleasantly fun challenge to wrap my mind around some of his concepts.
Posted by FourTrouble 4 years ago
FourTrouble
@Zaradi, you like Heidegger?
Posted by Zaradi 4 years ago
Zaradi
docs.google.com
If you don't have an account, just make one. It's free.
Make a document on there with your case in it (simply c/p)
Take the link to that page and c/p it into the round.
My case will be up momentarily.
Posted by jack_ling 4 years ago
jack_ling
I'm not sure what you mean by that, but I don't see why not. How do you do this (in case I too run out of space)?
Posted by Zaradi 4 years ago
Zaradi
Hey, do you mind if I post my case on a google doc? It's too big for the character limit.
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Vote Placed by Yep 4 years ago
Yep
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Vote Placed by Mestari 4 years ago
Mestari
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Vote Placed by TUF 4 years ago
TUF
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Vote Placed by Buddamoose 4 years ago
Buddamoose
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Reasons for voting decision: FF