The Instigator
scgates
Con (against)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
Schwetzky
Pro (for)
Winning
3 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 2 votes the winner is...
Schwetzky
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 11/29/2011 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,012 times Debate No: 19549
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (16)
Votes (2)

 

scgates

Con

I negate the resolution stating Resolved: Individuals have a moral obligation to assist people in need. Before moving on, some terms of the resolution must be defined. Moral obligation, according to Black's Law Dictionary, is a duty or responsibility to something or someone pertaining to the conscience. For this debate, I will use a value of Responsibility, because this debate is about whether or not it is our responsibility to assist other people. I will use a value criterion of Discretion, because by using discretion, we can make judgments as to when it is right to assist somebody. My value criterion achieves my value because by using discretion in certain situations, a person can make responsible decisions that will both benefit themselves and the person in need. I will be arguing this resolution with three contentions.

Contention 1: Obligations to oneself must come before the obligations to others. If an individual viewed their own welfare as less significant than the welfare of other people, then logically they would be able to promote the welfare of other people without having any obligation to promote the individuals own well-being(This is a simplistic explanation of the concept of anti-egoism). If anti-egoism were true between individuals, then it would be simple to affirm this resolution. However, one must ask: How could the well-being of other people be of less importance than that of yourself? There are multiple things wrong with this theory. For one thing, you can't help others if you're dead, and you can't keep yourself alive very well if you don't think of your own survival as more important than the welfare of somebody else. Therefore, this concept that would be essential to affirming this resolution falls. Part of using discretion in a situation is taking to account your own welfare along with the welfare of the individual in need. If discretion is not used, then responsible decisions can't be made.

Contention 2: Failing to assist those in need doesn't make them no longer of value. My opponent may argue that by not assisting those in need, it states that their lives are not of value. However, not assisting those in need instead states that it would not be a right decision to help the person in need. As H. M. Malm, writer and modern philosopher, states, "My failure to save you implies only that I do not think that the burden of saving you falls on me; it implies nothing of what I think about the value of your life." Not helping somebody in need does not do anything to state that their lives are not valuable, only that it wouldn't be a responsible decision. By using discretion such as this, it would allow for more responsible decisions about helping people.

Contention 3: Helping somebody in need may lead to a lack of self-reliance. If a society in which everybody was OBLIGATED to help each other existed, then an individual could exploit that society. This would lead to more laziness: if everybody in a society were OBLIGATED to help the individual, then the individual wouldn't have to do anything, because somebody else would do it for him/her. This means that the resolution would lead to an absence of responsibility.

In conclusion, having sympathy for those in need is not the same thing as having an obligation to them. To go over my contentions, obligations to oneself must come before the obligations to others, and failing to assist those in need doesn't make them no longer of value. Third, helping an individual can lead to a loss of self-reliance. I urge a negative ballot in today's debate.
Schwetzky

Pro

Definition of obligation: the action of obligating oneself to a course of action (as by a promise or vow). According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary

First I would like to thank my opponent for doing this debate and taking interest in this subject.

Picture this:

You Worked your whole life to become your dream, a man in the army(or woman). You served your 20 or so years in the army protecting your country. You are to be respected. You are at a higher rank than the average "Joe". Am I correct? You helped keep your country safe and away from terrorism. As I said before, you are to be respected. You come home from your service and you see that your family doesn't exist anymore, you are poor, hungry and in need. So, opposition, are you trying to say that you would leave that person in the street and leave them to have a miserable rest of their life?

All people were created in G-D's image and he intended for u to help our fellow humans. What you are trying to argue is that going against G-D is good? I for one believe that is INHUMANE!!! Now, I am not trying to say that war isn't good. For, that is completely off topic.For you to argue against helping others in need is proving one thing: The original intent of America is lost. Remember, we are called the UNITED States of America for a reason! As citizens, we are OBLIGATED to help each other. WE ARE UNITED!!!

My opponent has stated what the "big picture" is. and I quote: " this debate is about whether or not it is our responsibility to assist other people." That is correct. It IS our responsibility. He also stated in his contention 3 that helping each other could exploit society. I would like to remind my opponent that the subject is to assist people in need. For someone to want secrets to a society is not a need but a want, therefore, that arguement is irrelevant.

In my opponents Contention #2, not only do I believe he was being hypocritical but I believe that he made a very good point in my favor. He stated "Not helping somebody in need does not do anything to state that their lives are not valuable, only that it wouldn't be a responsible decision". This implies that not helping someone in need is not a responsible decision. In that case, that is fro my arguement, not his.

In my opponents Contention #3, he stated that if you look at your welfare as less than other peoples welfare, then logically they would be able to promote the welfare of other people. In the preamble of the Constitution it states that we shall "promote the general welfare." Notice it did not say "promote your welfare before the general welfare". Now, you don't want to go against the Constitution which our forefathers had never intended for us to infringe on, do you? If you did, that wold be another reason your arguement would be going against America!
In the next round I will refute all of my opponent's points and state my own.
Vote for Pro.
Debate Round No. 1
scgates

Con

as a brief road map, I will first attack my opponents case, and then defend my own

For his intro/first point, he created an example of somebody who came home from the army to find that his family doesn't exist anymore, and now, all of a sudden, he is dirt poor and on the street. this is both unrealistic and contradictory. Lets say, for this example, that this person is in the US. For one, if you were, a: in the army, and b: a high-ranking officer, suddenly ending up on the street after service is virtually impossible(I know from experience, a large part of my family either was or still is in the military). For one, they have plans to cover a GI so that a newly released GI ISN'T left on the street. Secondly, the statement of your family simply not existing anymore after only 20 years is itself absurd, but I digress. As to whether or not I would leave them on the street, I believe that, as I stated in my first point, the obligations to my own situation would have to come first. If I'm not in a position to help somebody, then I shouldn't be obligated to sacrifice for them.

His second point is completely irrelevant to this debate. The resolution isn't about America, or society. it is about the INDIVIDUAL. as for the argument about god, perhaps Christians would feel this way, but are you saying that those of other religions are inhumane because their religion doesn't require them to care for each other? Therefore his second point doesn't have much to do with the debate.

Now moving on to his attacks on my case...

He stated that my first point was agreeing to his side. that is not true; he must have misinterpreted my first point. My first point is that we must look to OURSELVES first. one of his arguments, in fact, fits the bill perfectly with the idea of anti-egoism, stating that we are obligated to each other. I have already stated that this idea of thinking is wrong, and a couple reasons of how. Here's an example to help explain my first point-lets say that somebody is struggling to swim while in the middle of a lake. YOU KNOW THAT YOU CAN'T SWIM. so are you still obligated to jump into the lake? NO. this is a simplistic example, but still points out that if you don't look to yourself while helping somebody, then it will still be an irresponsible decision

My opponent did not pose a clear argument against my second contention, so I must ask him to verify.

my opponents third attack was just an extension of the attack of my first point, and never actually attacked my third point, which was that if we help people, then they may lose self reliance, and depend on others. This, contrary to what my opponent stated, does not mean that they are now only wanting for money. They still are in need. BUT THEY ARE TOO LAZY TO DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT.
Schwetzky

Pro

First I would like to say that my opponent has made a very good case yet we are not getting anywhere by just arguing about the same things so I will set things straight and provide more arguments.
My opponent refuted my little "story" and stated that after twenty years in the military he cannot become dirt poor. Well, last year, their were over 20,000 homeless war veterans who attended a "help" outdoor convention so they could get back on the right track. So, yes, it is possible. Maybe my argument wasn't that well said, so here is another example. Two years ago, my friend's mother past away. He was 10 years old. Obviously, he was in need of comfort. Everybody around him felt obligated to help him and comfort him. Wouldn't you too? Well, you should. And if you think that this doesn't happen often, well it happened again to another friend of mine and our whole school IS obligated to help. We have wrote letters, and numerous other things to help him through this hardship. You also stated that if you are not in the position to help someone, then you are not obligated. The second friend I stated, I am not "close" to him. Yet I feel and am obligated to help him. So IF you were to argue against that, shame on you.
My opponent stated that the person that needs help is too lazy to do something about it, well how in the world are those two kids supposed to help themselves? THEY NEED COMFORT AND HELP.
He stated that his argument was not agreeing to his side. I may have very well misinterpreted it. But he went on to give the example that you cannot swim so you are not obligated to help somebody drowning. For one thing, 9 out 10 times there will either be a life guard on duty or somebody else that can swim. So, the person could just ask another INDIVIDUAL.
As for clarification on his second contention, their is no other way to explain it.

Overall, people do have the obligation to to help others in need. Sharing comfort and help is a great policy. And remember, sharing is caring. For these reasons and more, I have clearly won this debate.
Debate Round No. 2
scgates

Con

I'm just going to go over the main issues of this debate, and then explain why I have won this debate.

the first main issue here was whether or not people are obligated to provide comfort and help to victims of disasters. my opponent has stated 2 examples of people who the local area felt obligated to help. The one thing that my opponent has failed to point out in this, however, is WHY. Why am I OBLIGATED to help somebody I don't even know. Why should I sacrifice my time, effort, and (in some scenarios) resources to help somebody who will probably never repay me? My opponent has simply stated we are obligated, without giving any proper reasoning. moving on...

I am guessing that I didn't word my third argument right, because my opponent thought that I was making a blanket statement with that. So I will try and make it more clear. If somebody is, say, hungry, they have one of two options. They can wait for somebody who is OBLIGATED to them to give them food, or they can buy some food, or work to make money to buy some, or scrounge up materials to cook some, or many other options. In other words, they can DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT. If somebody were to take the first option and wait for somebody who is obligated to them to satisfy this persons hunger, then they are choosing the lazy path and proving a loss of self-reliance.

My opponent has also failed to uphold the BURDEN OF PROOF in this debate. in case my opponent doesn't know, the burden of proof is the explanation of why we are obligate as being the ONLY OPTION for this debate. Why do we have to provide aid to others? If we do it BY CHOICE, then they are still being helped. As I stated before, why do I HAVE to help somebody on the street if I have other personal obligations in my life that need attending to?

These are the reasons that I have won this debate.
Schwetzky

Pro

My opponent has stated a good point that I have not given a reason why we are obligated to help others. So I will go ahead and fulfill his wish.

Why are we obligated? We are obligated because of a few reasons.

1: It shows a good character in a person. We all know the phrase, what goes around comes around. So whether or not the actual person you help will repay you, someone, someway will. There are many people that see the good side of things.

2: How would you feel if you were in that position? Let's say you see someone who is desperately in need of help. You ignore them. Well, it is very possible that you could end up like them, or maybe a relative or a best friend could. Why wouldn't you help them?

My opponent also clarified his third argument so I would like to tear it apart.

He said that all of these homeless or "in need" people are lazy. There are many examples of non-lazy homeless and besides, many of the "in need" people you see, aren't actually in need. THEY are the lazy ones. For example, J.K. Rowling. Do you know how rich and famous she is?!?! Well, not too long ago she was homeless and in need. But she fended for herself and wrote her amazing books on napkins and leafs. THAT IS NOT LAZY. Another example of a non-lazy is actually a local of mine. She is a grown up and doesn't have a home. Yet she wasn't lazy a now she has an amazing job and millions in the bank. HOWS THAT FOR A LAZY BUM?????!!!!

Scgates also stated that I have not upheld the burden of proof. Well, I actually include it in my last argument.

Thank you for reading this debate and I truthfully hope that vote in favor of the Pro. Thank you.
Debate Round No. 3
16 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by scgates 5 years ago
scgates
i think that the one vote was unfair. religious and personal beliefs shouldn't be a factor in the decision of a debate. whats funny is he says that if anything is wrong with his decision to message him; i go to message him and the website says it isn't accepting messages.
Posted by Schwetzky 5 years ago
Schwetzky
I agree, although i found it to be kind of funny too.
Posted by scgates 5 years ago
scgates
ya, although i agree with the one person who has voted. it wasn't much of an argument. im hoping that my next one is better.
Posted by Schwetzky 5 years ago
Schwetzky
We NEED MORE VOTES!!!!!!!!!
Posted by scgates 5 years ago
scgates
The last argument is like a rebuttal and a crystallization of your side.
Posted by Schwetzky 5 years ago
Schwetzky
just a question, are we using the last argument as like a rebuttal where we can't provide a new point or not?
Posted by scgates 5 years ago
scgates
last argument, then done. nice job. like i said, this is my first draft for this side of the debate, so its interesting to see the arguments for the other side and how people would go against my arguments. good debate.
Posted by scgates 5 years ago
scgates
ok, no problem
Posted by Schwetzky 5 years ago
Schwetzky
lets completely disregard that arguement, please.
Posted by scgates 5 years ago
scgates
no problem...sorry i didn't read your comment until after i posted, so theres an argument against it. do you want to ignore the argument, or were you only saying to not take offense? i was slightly confused.
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by 16kadams 5 years ago
16kadams
scgatesSchwetzkyTied
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: Well the god thing was never overturned, and I am a christian, so if you think that this vote is unfair due to my religion then PM me and I will tie it, thats the reason pro won in my eyes.
Vote Placed by cameronl35 5 years ago
cameronl35
scgatesSchwetzkyTied
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Reasons for voting decision: The arguments were decent...but it just felt like two teens shouting at each other. Nobody wins