The Instigator
Merda
Pro (for)
Winning
7 Points
The Contender
annhasle
Con (against)
Losing
0 Points

Resolved: That ethical non-naturalism is a superior ethical theory to ethical naturalism.

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 1 vote the winner is...
Merda
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 6/22/2011 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,797 times Debate No: 17196
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (13)
Votes (1)

 

Merda

Pro

This debate is for Merda's moral philosophy tourney. The subject of this debate will be which is a superior ethical theory, ethical naturalism or ethical non-naturalism.

Rules/ Clarifications

1. Drops will count as concessions.

2. Semantic or abusive arguments will not be counted.

3. Burden of proof will be shared.

4. New arguments brought in the last round will not be counted.

5. R1 is for acceptance and clarifications. Argumentation begins in R2.

Definitions

Ethical naturalism is the meta-ethical view that (a) moral statements are truth apt, (b) these statements are made true through objective features in the world, and (c) these objective features are reducible to a set of non-moral facts.[1]

Ethical non-naturalism agrees with points a and b of the definition of ethical naturalism but disagrees with point c. Ethical non-naturalism holds that the objective features of the world that make ethical statements truth apt are irreducible to a set of non-moral facts.

Superior will be defined as being more warranted or better upheld. Common sense will dictate it's definition. If my opponent takes issue with any of these definitions, I will ask that he brings them up in the comments section or in a PM to me. I don;t want this to be a definitional debate.

I wish my opponent the best of luck in this debate and I know she will put up a good fight.

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org...
annhasle

Con

I accept the challenge along with the rules and definitions.

Although the debate will involve a certain level of semantics (almost all debates do), I will try my best to avoid a "definitional debate".

For the record, both my opponent and I are moral nihilists and have taken it upon ourselves to find a resolution where both of us are playing devil's advocate. So this debate holds an extra level of difficulty for both of us since these are not our beliefs and are instead the antithesis of what we believe. I say this to avoid comments of, "You are now a moral realist?!" or the like.

Now that's out of the way, I wish my opponent luck! I have yet to debate against ethical non-naturalism on this site and look forward to the debate. Knowing my opponent, it shall be engaging yet fun.
Debate Round No. 1
Merda

Pro

Premise 1: Assuming moral realism, moral claims are either reducible or irreducible to non-moral facts.

This premise is best explained via analogy. If you go to a library, there will either be book(s) or no book(s). This is not a false dichotomy. It's simply descriptive of the options that we are given. Now with moral claims, they can either be reduced to non-moral facts or not. It's a yes/no question in this case. And so disproving A necessarily implies B since A and B are the only two options and common sense dictates that one must be true. So a refutation of one theory both fulfills a negative burden to refute the opponent's case a positive burden to bring one's own case.

Premise 2: Ethical naturalism holds that moral claims are reducible to non-moral facts.

Premise 3: Moral claims are not reducible to non-moral facts.

This was brought up by Hume in his is-ought problem. There is a gap that still exists between a descriptive claim about the world(abortion is an act of killing) and a prescriptive claim(one should not have an abortion). This is because there is no evaluative premise involved as to the moral status of killing. It is simply pre-supposed. An example would be an argument not to eat spinach. P1: Spinach does not taste good. C1: I should not eat spinach. It lacks a necessary premise to justify the conclusion. If a P2 was added in that said, "I should not eat things that do not taste good." then the conclusion would logically follow. The same goes with justification of a jump between descriptive and prescriptive statements.

The way ethical naturalists propose a way around this problem is to add an evaluative premise on what makes things good, which are identified with natural properties(e. g. eating causes pleasure, pleasure is good, people should eat). But ethical naturalists run into another problem in order to avert the is-ought problem. Moore called it the open-question argument and from there, the naturalistic fallacy. The open-question argument states that assigning natural properties to moral concepts inevitably results in another open-question.

Take for example the question of whether or not abortion is wrong. An ethical naturalist would try to explain the morality or immorality of abortion with reference to a natural property that it entails. Most of the time it would be in reference to the fact that abortion takes a life and because of this, it is wrong. But this leads us to another question of why taking a life is wrong. We have simply replaced the term abortion with killing. Explaining moral concepts via natural properties is what Moore called the "naturalistic fallacy".

Conclusion 1: Moral claims are irreducible to non-moral facts.

As was explained before, there are two options. Either moral claims are reducible to moral facts or they are not. Since I have sufficiently shown why when tying to reduce moral claims, one must first come over the is-ought problem and the necessary conditions to move past the is-ought problem make one run into the open-question argument and the naturalistic fallacy, moral claims are thus irreducible to non-moral facts. In order to refute this line of reasoning, my opponent must either show that there is a third option that my reasoning implies that I am not mentioning, show a naturalistic bridge between descriptive and prescriptive statements, or show a way around the open-question argument. I will go more indepth into my points once I see what kind of reasoning my opponent plans to use. But for now I feel I have made a sufficiet first case and I now pass the debate back to my opponent.
annhasle

Con

annhasle forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 2
Merda

Pro

Merda forfeited this round.
annhasle

Con

annhasle forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
Merda

Pro

Merda forfeited this round.
annhasle

Con

annhasle forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
13 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Merda 5 years ago
Merda
I'm begging you not to forfeit. Log in already!
Posted by popculturepooka 5 years ago
popculturepooka
Interesting topic, folks.
Posted by Cliff.Stamp 5 years ago
Cliff.Stamp
Interesting conclusion given your argument, but enough discussion in the comments before the arguments are set.
Posted by Merda 5 years ago
Merda
She must also show why the solution has it's roots in naturalistic and non-moral terms.
Posted by Cliff.Stamp 5 years ago
Cliff.Stamp
Merda, if Ann successfully argues for a solution to is-ought do you then consider the BoP to be fulfilled?
Posted by Cliff.Stamp 5 years ago
Cliff.Stamp
I care because you are intelligent and lucid and thus in general I would look forward to reading what you wrote as there is a high noise saturation level on DDO lately. In this case I find it particularity interesting as it is obviously pandering for a handicap which I would not have imagined you would do which means I vastly misunderstood how you think which is curious internally and thus I was trying to see what information I lacked or what I inferred incorrectly. However as to the scale, I would not read too much into the level of caring as it is just a few comments. Due to the nature of my work I have a lot of pauses in my day where I am waiting (intentionally) often using delays as tactics in negotiation. In these brief gaps I usually scan the internet and read and respond as interest allows. I have a decently high reading and typing speed so these comments in reality, not to disappoint you, would only have reflected a few minutes of my time.
Posted by Merda 5 years ago
Merda
I think I'll have my case written in the next hour or two hopefully.
Posted by annhasle 5 years ago
annhasle
Like I said, I pointed it out since its part of a tournament -- and, like I said, there's an increased awareness of 'fairness'. Its not that I care either way. Its for the benefit of the other debaters and to avoid any suspicions later on when someone wins. Its just to show fairness, Cliff.

Why do you care so much anyways? No one else has been fazed by it.
Posted by Cliff.Stamp 5 years ago
Cliff.Stamp
Ann, you cared enough to note it I was simply curious (as a voter) how you expect this to be utilized.
Posted by annhasle 5 years ago
annhasle
It's not my choice nor do I care enough to argue either way. But within a tournament, there's always an increased awareness of 'fairness' and 'legitimacy'. If I had been the only one playing devil's advocate or Merda was, that could be used against either of us. I want to avoid that.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by ApostateAbe 5 years ago
ApostateAbe
MerdaannhasleTied
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Total points awarded:70 
Reasons for voting decision: Con was first to forfeit