The Instigator
Intra_Arcanum_Mendacium
Pro (for)
Tied
0 Points
The Contender
Mnotter
Con (against)
Tied
0 Points

Selflessness Does Not Exist

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 9/16/2015 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 273 times Debate No: 79789
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (1)
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Intra_Arcanum_Mendacium

Pro

Let's suppose that John has lost his wallet, along with the $200 he had in it that he intended to buy a new bike with. He'd been saving for weeks and, naturally, he's quite distraught. His father, Craig, feels sorry for him. He decides that he will give him the money for the bike that he lost.

He goes to the local shops to find an ATM to get the money out, on his way he comes across a shop selling a wallet identical to the one his son just misplaced. It was cheap so he decided to buy it too. That's when he is struck with an idea that he could quite easily just put the money in the wallet and tell his son that he found his wallet. John was quite young so there was no I.D's or bank cards that were lost to ruin the deception.

He reasoned that it was selfless deed. By giving his son the money for the bike outright it would be seen as a gift and his son would, to a degree, be indebted to Craig. Whereas if he simply "found" the money that John had rightfully earned doing chores and saving birthday money he would, of course, be thankful but in no way in his fathers debt.

Craig reasoned that this was a far better option, as he did not want his son to be raised believing he was spoilt and privileged.

He handed John his wallet that afternoon, to a showering of thanks and an eternally grateful son. Selfless deed done, he thought.

Later that night he begun to think how happy it had made his son, and in turn, him. Then a new thought entered his mind, did he make the decision for the best of his son? Or himself?

Surely he made the right choice, his son would not think that he is spoilt, just lucky.

Though, why did he fear raising a spoilt son? For doesn't the very definition of spoilt imply good things, for the spoilt?

Was he doing it simply so he didn't raise and have to live with somebody that was insufferable later in life due to the luxuries he gave him?

Does selflessness exist at all?

I do not think so.
Mnotter

Con

The concept that is being considered here is egoism, in summary, the thought that the decisions and actions that an individual makes is to improve the person's quality of life, whether directly or indirectly.

Selflessness is very much existent, a person could always be framed as having an internal motive; however, if it's not premeditated then it is indeed selfless. The story example used shows this, that the happiness received from performing a 'selfless act' was only noticed after the deed was done showing it was not premeditated. Feeling good about performing charity does not mean it was all driven by a personal motive. Egoism would argue that it is driven for personal reasons such that it makes someone feel better about their personal character, for their own self esteem.

If someone premeditated that they were going to the soup kitchen so they could raise their self-esteem, then no it's not a selfless act, if someone goes to the soup kitchen because they want to help other people in need and they think their time would help, then yes it is a selfless act.

Personal motives are what defines whether or not an act is selfless or not because there is no real way to measure every inner working in our minds to find the exact reason why we do each thing in every individual context.
Debate Round No. 1
Intra_Arcanum_Mendacium

Pro

Intra_Arcanum_Mendacium forfeited this round.
Mnotter

Con

Mnotter forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 2
Intra_Arcanum_Mendacium

Pro

Intra_Arcanum_Mendacium forfeited this round.
Mnotter

Con

Mnotter forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
1 comment has been posted on this debate.
Posted by canis 1 year ago
canis
You have to life IN the World. WITH others. By you OWN.
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