The Instigator
Happyreclusive
Pro (for)
Losing
5 Points
The Contender
Valladarex
Con (against)
Winning
26 Points

Resolved: that there are moral absolutes.

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 8 votes the winner is...
Valladarex
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 5/17/2013 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 767 times Debate No: 33817
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (2)
Votes (8)

 

Happyreclusive

Pro

I set out to prove that there are moral absolutes. I"ll use "moral" and "ethical" synonymously, choosing one over the other as style dictates. By "absolute," I mean something is that true in all possible worlds, necessarily true, and true in all situations. For example, the judgment "lying is wrong" is necessarily true and there is no circumstance when lying is right."

My arguments are Kantian, so my opponent should be quite familiar with Kant's moral theory. I put no restrictions on the opponent, but be forewarned that I have a doctorate in philosophy, and I have taught for 25 years. I'm only trying to say that I have a good deal of practice and experience in this area.

Appeals to emotion and majority opinion are strongly discouraged, unless my opponent proves these have some value in proving the truth of his conclusions.

I assume the full burden of proof.

The argument I wish to present is Kant’s proof that lying is always wrong. The conclusion is proved through reductio ad absurdum. Let’s assume that “lying is not wrong,” that is, there are circumstances in which lying is right or even morally necessary.

If we accept that there are circumstances when lying is not wrong, we soon learn that we cannot believe anything anyone says to us. (Whenever someone says something, I wonder “is this a circumstance in which he thinks lying is not wrong?") If we cannot believe anything anyone says to us, then no one can lie. Thus, the rule that allows lying makes lying impossible. The negative, “it is false that lying is not wrong,” or “lying is always wrong” is true.
Valladarex

Con

Introduction

I thank my opponent for the opportunity to debate this topic. I hope for a civil and fair debate.

I will advocate that lying is moral, depending on the circumstances. To do this, we should first agree upon the definitions of some words. I will be using the Merriam Webster dictionary.

Lie: an untrue or inaccurate statement that may or may not be believed true by the speaker

Moral: of or relating to principles of right and wrong in behavior.

Rebuttals



"My arguments are Kantian, so my opponent should be quite familiar with Kant's moral theory. I put no restrictions on the opponent, but be forewarned that I have a doctorate in philosophy, and I have taught for 25 years. I'm only trying to say that I have a good deal of practice and experience in this area."

I hope you don't intend to appeal to authority.

"If we accept that there are circumstances when lying is not wrong, we soon learn that we cannot believe anything anyone says to us. (Whenever someone says something, I wonder “is this a circumstance in which he thinks lying is not wrong?")"

I don't see any problem with not believe anyone says with 100% certainty. People don't have to believe in anyone 100% for society to function well. In fact, 100% certainty is a bit absurd, considering that people are unpredictable.

Questioning whether someone would have a reason to lie is perfectly normal, and is certainly not amoral. It's a good idea to be skeptical of people's statements.

"If we cannot believe anything anyone says to us, then no one can lie. Thus, the rule that allows lying makes lying impossible. The negative, “it is false that lying is not wrong,” or “lying is always wrong” is true."

People can lie, even if others don't believe them. For example, I could tell an officer I wasn't speeding, when I actually was. He doesn't believe the lie, since he used a radar gun to track my speed. It is still a lie nonetheless, even if he doesn't believe me.

Another example is when a person believes someone will most likely tell the truth the him. If a teacher asks a straight-A student if he did his homework without cheating, the cheating student could lie and say he didn't. The teacher, knowing that the student usually does well in the class, will take his word on it, even though she has doesn't think it's 100% certain that the student did his homework without cheating. These two examples show how people can lie, even if the person being lied to is unconvinced, or convinced to a degree. Thus, lying is possible even if people don't believe in others with 100% certainty.

Arguments

I will now argue that lying can in fact by moral. There are many types of lies, which include :

Bad Lie: lying to oneself. (like thinking one could do something that they couldn't)

Barefaced Lie: one that is obviously a lie to those who are hearing it

Big Lie: attempts to trick the victim into believing something major which will likely be contradicted by some information the victim already possesses, or by their common sense. (like my officer example)

Contextual Lie: One can state part of the truth out of context, knowing that without complete information, it gives a false impression.

Fabrication: when someone submits a statement as truth, without knowing for certain whether or not it actually is true.

Honest Lie: verbal statements or actions that inaccurately describe history, background, and present situations. There is typically no intent to deceive and the individual is unaware that their information is false.

Perjury: making verifiably false statements on a material matter under oath or affirmation in a court of law

White lies: minor lies which could be considered to be harmless, or even beneficial, in the long term. White lies are also considered to be used for greater good.

Emergency Lie: a strategic lie told when the truth may not be told because, for example, harm to a third party would result

As you can see, there are various lies that one could say. It's easy to tell that some lies are more moral than other ones. For example, a minor lie is much better to make than perjury.

Out of all of these lies, I believe the most moral would be the emergency lie. Here's a scenario:

There is a terrorist who wishes to blow up a city. In order to do so, he must get the codes to a bomb in order to detonate it. A soldier, who knows these codes, will be able to endure the suffering if he does not tell the terrorist that he knows the codes. Since the terrorist would eventually give up, the city would be saved. If the soldier was honest, and said he knew the codes, the soldier knew he'd be tortured until he gave the codes, and in turn the city would be destroyed. Is it moral to lie in order to save millions of lives, with the only person not benefitted from this lie is the terrorist and his organization? I think the obvious answer is yes.

The morality of action should depend on whether a greater good is made by that action. Since the action of saving a million lives outweighs the action of telling a person a lie, making that lie is a morally justifiable thing to do.

I'll let you respond now.

Debate Round No. 1
Happyreclusive

Pro

I forfeit the debate. I included comments trying to draw someone more mature (older and more experienced), with a strong academic background, who had read (at least) some Kant. Instead of making the comments, and hoping the audience would understand and follow my request, I should have simply forced the issue by preventing other people from applying to be my opponent in this particular debate.
Valladarex

Con

"I forfeit the debate. I included comments trying to draw someone more mature (older and more experienced), with a strong academic background, who had read (at least) some Kant."

Why do I have to be older in order to understand philosophy? Why do I need to a strong academic backround? This appeal to authority doesn't help your argument.

If you believe you could back your claims, it doesn't matter how much I've learned about Kant or how much of an academic backround I have. You could have just demonstrated why my beliefs are false and yours are correct.

Either way, I'm not convinced you have a strong academic backround. You have not demonstrated any extraordinary knowledge on the topic. But, if you really want to forfeit because of this weak excuse, I guess I can't stop you.

Vote Con.
Debate Round No. 2
Happyreclusive

Pro

Baiting me won't work. Vote con.
Valladarex

Con

I don't understand why you are so against debating me simply because I am young and haven't read much of Kant. If Kant is right, you should have demonstrated it. Forfeiting right after I made my points is disrespectful to me, as it shows you don't care about my point of view because of your weak excuses.
Debate Round No. 3
Happyreclusive

Pro

Oh good, this is the last round. No, not following the guidelines I set up is disrespectful. I was very specific. Vote Con.
Valladarex

Con

"My arguments are Kantian, so my opponent should be quite familiar with Kant's moral theory. I put no restrictions on the opponent, but be forewarned that I have a doctorate in philosophy, and I have taught for 25 years. I'm only trying to say that I have a good deal of practice and experience in this area."

"I put no restrictions on the opponent, but be forewarned that I have a doctorate in philosophy, and I have taught for 25 years."

"I put no restrictions on the opponent, but be forewarned that I have a doctorate in philosophy"

"I put no restrictions on the opponent"

"no restrictions"

So, what guidelines did I not follow? You specified there was no restrictions on your opponent. This is so lame. Next time try not to make up reasons to justify your failure in debating an opponent. They don't help you.
Debate Round No. 4
2 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Posted by Happyreclusive 3 years ago
Happyreclusive
Okay. I want to confess upfront that I am a liar. Being a liar does not mean that I always speak falsely. Sometimes liars speak the truth to better hide the times when they lie. The point is that liars, like me, might speak the truth and they might not speak the truth and we never indicate which we're speaking at any given time.

I have the most exhaustive information on finances and investments. Having said that, you should buy gold because the price is gold is going up.

If you look elsewhere to check my statement, then you must not believe me. Besides the fact that now you've hurt my feelings, please explain why you don't rely on what I say. Or, put your money where you mouth is, and buy gold.
Posted by Zaradi 3 years ago
Zaradi
How is it impossible to lie if no one believes anyone. The act of me lying is independent of the act of someone believing me.
8 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 8 records.
Vote Placed by wiploc 3 years ago
wiploc
HappyreclusiveValladarexTied
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: Conceded.
Vote Placed by 1Devilsadvocate 3 years ago
1Devilsadvocate
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Reasons for voting decision: F.F.
Vote Placed by Vulpes_Inculta 3 years ago
Vulpes_Inculta
HappyreclusiveValladarexTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Pro forfeited and asked to vote for Con. Conduct to Con as well because Pro's style was very insulting to his opponent.
Vote Placed by Ragnar 3 years ago
Ragnar
HappyreclusiveValladarexTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Countering wrichcirw, as insulting one side in a debate is not a valid RFD.
Vote Placed by MassiveDump 3 years ago
MassiveDump
HappyreclusiveValladarexTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Well, dick.
Vote Placed by ClassicRobert 3 years ago
ClassicRobert
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Total points awarded:14 
Reasons for voting decision: Conduct to con, because Pro simply made a debate that he clearly didn't want to hold a debate over. Also, Con was not in violation of the rules by accepting, as Pro said, "I put no restrictions on the opponent." I didn't notice any s/g errors for Pro, but I noticed a couple for Con, so that goes to Pro. Pro failed to meet his burden of proof, so arguments went to Con, and neither side used sources.
Vote Placed by wrichcirw 3 years ago
wrichcirw
HappyreclusiveValladarexTied
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Reasons for voting decision: so, PRO is an @$$hole.
Vote Placed by bladerunner060 3 years ago
bladerunner060
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Reasons for voting decision: I would have given conduct to Pro for forfeiting, but he felt the need to insult his opponent for no good reason.