The Instigator
Tim_Spin
Pro (for)
Winning
20 Points
The Contender
faithlessgod
Con (against)
Losing
0 Points

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

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 6/27/2011 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 1,273 times Debate No: 17296
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (11)
Votes (4)

 

Tim_Spin

Pro

Trying this out again.

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.

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.
faithlessgod

Con

Hi, this is my first debate. Do not think there is anything to clarify further in R1. Will await your arguments in R2.
Debate Round No. 1
Tim_Spin

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.
faithlessgod

Con

I would love to engage in this debate but unfortunately, due to unforseen circumstances, I now do not have the time over the next few days, so I forfeit this. Tim_Spin hopefully you can restart this and Contradiction can be Con and I will be interested to see how that debate evolves.
Debate Round No. 2
Tim_Spin

Pro

Forfeit by Con. Vote Pro.
faithlessgod

Con

faithlessgod forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
Tim_Spin

Pro

Vote Pro.
Debate Round No. 4
11 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Tim_Spin 5 years ago
Tim_Spin
Sure
Posted by Contradiction 5 years ago
Contradiction
Do you want to debate this after you're finished debating faithless god?
Posted by faithlessgod 5 years ago
faithlessgod
... at the earliest
Posted by faithlessgod 5 years ago
faithlessgod
Please note, I cannot post my argument till Thursday night UK time
Posted by Tim_Spin 5 years ago
Tim_Spin
Yes to both cognitivism and realism.
Posted by Contradiction 5 years ago
Contradiction
Are you arguing from a cognitivist and realist perspective?
Posted by Cliff.Stamp 5 years ago
Cliff.Stamp
You had a solid opening, though not what I expected maybe the banhammer fell.
Posted by Tim_Spin 5 years ago
Tim_Spin
She hasn't been online I don't think.
Posted by Cliff.Stamp 5 years ago
Cliff.Stamp
Forfeit? I was looking forward to that, why?
Posted by Tim_Spin 5 years ago
Tim_Spin
My account was closed. Plus ann will probably forfeit.
4 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Vote Placed by Zarroette 2 years ago
Zarroette
Tim_SpinfaithlessgodTied
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Total points awarded:40 
Reasons for voting decision: "Vote Pro" - Con. This convinced me.
Vote Placed by Man-is-good 5 years ago
Man-is-good
Tim_SpinfaithlessgodTied
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Total points awarded:50 
Reasons for voting decision: Con's forfeit leaves Pro's arguments unanswered.
Vote Placed by GMDebater 5 years ago
GMDebater
Tim_SpinfaithlessgodTied
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Total points awarded:70 
Reasons for voting decision: forfeit.
Vote Placed by RoyLatham 5 years ago
RoyLatham
Tim_SpinfaithlessgodTied
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Total points awarded:40 
Reasons for voting decision: Forfeit leaves arguments unanswered.