The Instigator
CogitoErgoCogitoSum
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
Rezzealaux
Con (against)
Winning
43 Points

Should ethical dilemmas be resolved before permissions granted and actions taken?

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 9/5/2008 Category: Society
Updated: 8 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 2,008 times Debate No: 5281
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (7)
Votes (7)

 

CogitoErgoCogitoSum

Pro

DEBATE TOPIC:
Given a moral controversy, is making a choice whose morality is uncertain and is contrary to the higher moral ground inherently the amoral choice? Should morality be established / determined before we are permitted to continue making the choices that would have otherwise been uncertain?

I mean to say: Are we in the right for making choices that could potentially be immoral, but we just havent figured out if they are yet? Does ignorance of morality/immorality justify chosen actions and relinquish the evilness of our choices?

Does knowledge of the fact that we are ignorant of the morality of a choice make the choice immoral? Does our choice to perform an act when we know full well that there is a moral debate waging on that action make us morally righteous?

Given any moral uncertainty, should we not default to the moral high-ground - that choice which harms the fewest and in the least extreme ways.

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My position: Pro.

I adamantly believe that when we are uncertain of the immorality of a choice, we should opt for the alternative one that we know is moral. Regardless of the morality of the choices themselves, uncertainty in the matter makes them immoral by default, because we would be choosing to act on a belief that we know could potentially be immoral.

Holding the personal belief of (im)morality doesnt constitute conclusiveness of (im)morality. The mere fact that a debate exists in the matter is all that is needed to debunk personal opinion. And until the morality is resolved, all choices should default to the most moral.

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I know those were just a bunch of questions, not really an argument. It is rhetoric if anything. But I explained my position well enough, I think. Place yourself in my shoes and really think about that, it seems just and right to me... I don't think much evidence is required for this. It is an appeal to an emotional bias, but really when discussing morality, is there any other kind of argument? I cant even imagine anyone would disagree with my position except to rationalize selfish agendas in all things.

Is there anyone out there who actually believes that its okay to do or say or choose anything... when and if you dont know if that choice moral or not? That being ignorant (or choosing to be ignorant) is all the justification you need to perform morally questionable acts? Is there anyone who believes the morality of a choice is moral UNTIL proven immoral (where I hold the opposite position, a choice is potentially immoral until proven moral)?... And that until a choice is conclusively proven immoral, its okay to do it in defiance of the existing debate?
Rezzealaux

Con

I negate, that "[E]thical dilemmas [should] be resolved before permissions [are] granted and actions [are] taken".

First order of business. As my opponent declined to do so, I will define the resolution:
ETHICAL DILEMMA: a situation requiring a choice between equally immoral alternatives. (combination of "ethical" and "dilemma" definitions; dictionary.com)
RESOLVED: to come to a definite or earnest decision about; determine (1st definition; dictionary.com)
DEFINITE: clearly defined or determined; not vague or general; fixed; precise; exact
PERMISSION: authorization granted to do something; formal consent (1st definition; dictionary.com)

With the inclusion of the phrase "permissions granted", we are assuming, then, that the "ethical dilemmas" of the resolution are not one person's ethical dilemmas, but a group's ethical dilemmas. It cannot be argued that the "ethical dilemmas" ARE of one person's, because a person does not "grant permission" to himself (or herself: assume I do this for every instance I only explicitly refer to the male gender) whenever he wants to do something; he just does it. Also, the first words from my opponent are "Given a moral controversy". We don't call arguments between the little voices inside our heads "controvers[ies]", we call public disagreements controversies. As the resolution does not specify who, what, when, or where, we will also have to assume that the resolution is talking about any and all groups. From that we can also extrapolate that "resolved" means that all of a group (whichever one is applicable) has together come to a decision - this is further supported by the wording of PRO's case, as he continually says "we". Adding that to "resolved", it means the group needs to come to a consensus about the "ethical dilemma".

So, the resolution means:
"When faced with a moral dilemma, every group ought to come to a consensus about what they will do before doing it."

Again, my position is CON. Let's begin.

>Burden of Proof: My opponent has the burden of proof of showing that the resolution is true, as it is the statement he wrote and put forth as true. Even if I lose all of my arguments and refutations, if he has not proved the resolution true then you default CON because CON lacks such a burden.

"Given a moral controversy, is making a choice whose morality is uncertain and is contrary to the higher moral ground inherently the amoral choice? Should morality be established / determined before we are permitted to continue making the choices that would have otherwise been uncertain?"
>Nontopical. Ethical Dilemma is defined as "a situation requiring a choice between equally immoral alternatives", meaning the morality of the situation is ALREADY certain and that the choices are EQUAL and they're both IMMORAL.
>> This pretty much takes out all of his case.

"Regardless of the morality of the choices themselves, uncertainty in the matter makes them immoral by default, because we would be choosing to act on a belief that we know could potentially be immoral."
> This later part of his case takes out the thing he said earlier, as well.

"Holding the personal belief of (im)morality doesnt constitute conclusiveness of (im)morality."
> Nontopical. We are talking about a group.

So, the current standings are:
> PRO has nothing to support the resolution.
> PRO is not meeting the burden of proof.

I await a case from my opponent.
Debate Round No. 1
CogitoErgoCogitoSum

Pro

CogitoErgoCogitoSum forfeited this round.
Rezzealaux

Con

CASE: Since it's a moral dilemma, i.e., the choices available are all EQUALLY undesirable, it is not necessary, i.e. no "should", for the group to come to a consensus before permissions are granted and actions are taken.

EXTENSIONS: Burden of Proof; my opponent has made no case for his side.

I await a topical argument to refute.
Debate Round No. 2
CogitoErgoCogitoSum

Pro

CogitoErgoCogitoSum forfeited this round.
Rezzealaux

Con

1) My opponent forfeited the debate.
2) My opponent failed to meet the burden of proof placed upon him by the resolution.
3) I provided a reason to vote CON.

Ergo, you vote CON.
Debate Round No. 3
7 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 7 records.
Posted by Lexicaholic 7 years ago
Lexicaholic
RFD: CON
1. Agreed with Pro beforehand. In an ethical dilemma a pragmatic consideration of harm needs to be undertaken before a proper action can be undertaken, although time and other factors may weigh on this.
2. Was convinced by Con that Pro had failed to meet his burden of proof, leaving me to vote Con, although I still agreed, sort of, with Pro's position.
3. Con had better conduct, forfeits.
4. Con had slightly better grammar.
5. Con was the only one arguing, so Con had the better argument.
6. No sources cited, Tie.
Posted by CogitoErgoCogitoSum 8 years ago
CogitoErgoCogitoSum
Burden of proof is a "get out of jail free" card designed by modern rhetoricians to break a stalemate, requiring no real argument or proof of their own. "My position is right by default until The Instigator can prove his argument conclusively"... on the basis that it preexisted and has been established and accepted for far longer... Its an appeal to tradition.
Posted by CogitoErgoCogitoSum 8 years ago
CogitoErgoCogitoSum
I would like to point out some fallacies about my opposing arguers here...

Lack of an argument (ie the fact that I missed two rounds or failed to provide refutation) in no way constitutes a loss. That is ignorant and illogical. Those of you who stated that are guilty of a rhetorical fallacy.

Lack of proof is not proof of the contrary. Im sure anyone with half a brain, at least, would admit that.

My argument, however lacking it may be, speaks for itself.

As for the "burden of proof"... that IS a fallacy. The entire belief that any ONE side possess more responsibility to prove their claim than the other is as fallacious as you can get. That is not objective nor is it an unbiased pursuit of truth.
Posted by CogitoErgoCogitoSum 8 years ago
CogitoErgoCogitoSum
I do apologize to everyone for missing two rounds of this debate. Debate.com decided to require phone number verification, and at the time I didnt have a cell. I was literally forced by a bogus system to forfeit two rounds.
Posted by Logical-Master 8 years ago
Logical-Master
PRO forfeits two rounds. Sufficient reason for a CON vote. Better lucky next time, joshy! :D
Posted by jason_hendirx 8 years ago
jason_hendirx
Plus, the intention of an act is trivial compared to the effects of it. Therefore, a debate regarding the intentions of actions with complete disregard to their effects is also trivial.
Posted by Ragnar_Rahl 8 years ago
Ragnar_Rahl
"
I adamantly believe that when we are uncertain of the immorality of a choice, we should opt for the alternative one that we know is moral."

If you are not certain about the morality of one option, you will rarely if ever be certain of the morality of the alternative.
7 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 7 records.
Vote Placed by Lexicaholic 7 years ago
Lexicaholic
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Vote Placed by Rezzealaux 8 years ago
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Vote Placed by s0m31john 8 years ago
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