The Instigator
Skept
Pro (for)
The Contender
Hopefuldebater
Con (against)

Since good secure more happiness, we should live good.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/30/2017 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 1 week ago Status: Debating Period
Viewed: 341 times Debate No: 106247
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (2)
Votes (0)

 

Skept

Pro

Since good secures more happiness, we should live good.
Hopefuldebater

Con

Before I start, I want to say that I am quite new to this and forgive me if I make any mistakes during this debate. First of all, I feel like we must define what is good because it is such a subjective term. One could view something as good if it allows them to feel happy, thereby rendering the whole proposition meaningless as it ultimately does not say anything. Consequently, I will assume that when you say "good", you mean morally and ethically correct. I disagree with the proposition that doing what is good will ultimately bring about happiness. An act which is morally correct can ultimately bring forth sadness because being altruistic or good means sacrificing oneself for others. A balance must be struck between carrying out good deeds and being able to live for oneself. Thus, I am refuting the assertion that doing what is good somehow brings about happiness and arguing that a balance between what is good and what is considered selfish must be met for the happiness of an individual.
Debate Round No. 1
Skept

Pro

Good deeds or sacrificing bring forth happiness and unhappiness, but good deeds' case, happiness is more than unhappiness.

Selfish deeds also can be good deeds.
Hopefuldebater

Con

I will now proceed to rebut the opposing arguments and present my own arguments regarding the topic.

Rebuttal
The opposing side has argued that more happiness than unhappiness occurs when good deeds are performed. However, they have failed to substantiate their claim and merely stated it as if it were a fact. I will now present a couple of hypotheticals in order to disprove their case. I will admit that hypothetical situations are a weak way of substantiating my own argument, however in a debate involving such abstract concepts, it is difficult to provide actual evidence.

1) Imagine a person with a terminally ill pet dog. The moral choice is to console and assist the dog in their dying breaths. It is naturally what is considered the morally correct. Generally, the logic behind this act is that we should aim to provide any type of consolation to those who are ultimately meeting their demise. However, it is not guaranteed that consoling and looking after the dog will bring it happiness. In contrast, it would likely engender a tremendous amount of grief to the owner. Therefore, I propose that this situation which is deemed morally correct actually does cause more grief and suffering than happiness.

2) Let us now question the morality of of stealing from the wealthy to give to the middle class. Various polls I found online had a majority of people asserting that stealing from the rich to give to the poor is ethically incorrect. [1] [2] However, instead of stealing from the wealthy to give to the poor, what would happen if we instead gave to the middle class? It is logical to conclude that more people would find it immoral than the above example to give to the poor. However, I believe that this immoral action would provide people with a greater amount of happiness. This is because a person who is wealthy would value a certain amount of money less than someone who does not have as much money. For example, $10000 may seem like a paltry sum to someone with billions of dollars, but to someone from the middle class, it would be a significant and influential amount of money. So, I am asserting that what is deemed morally incorrect by society may engender happiness.

Argument
Your whole argument is predicated upon the idea that we should do anything we can to achieve happiness. You assert through your opening statement that we should live ethically because it "secure[s] more happiness". In doing so, you suggest that we should be good not for the sake of morality, but for the sake of happiness. It seems to me like you are taking a utilitarian perspective. You suggest that we should perform an act when there is more happiness than unhappiness. However, I am not entirely certain of this because you have provided vague statements and have not elaborated upon your point of view. Anyway, this perspective is a dangerous one as it ignores the aspect of justice.

Here is a criticism from H. J. McCloskey:
Suppose that a sheriff were faced with the choice either of framing a Negro for a rape that had aroused hostility to the Negroes (a particular Negro generally being believed to be guilty but whom the sheriff knows not to be guilty) and thus preventing serious anti-Negro riots which would probably lead to some loss of life and increased hatred of each other by whites and Negroes or of hunting for the guilty person and thereby allowing the anti-Negro riots to occur, while doing the best he can to combat them. In such a case the sheriff, if he were an extreme utilitarian, would appear to be committed to framing the Negro. [3]

Forgive me if I am misinterpreting your stance on the matter, but your title heavily implies that happiness is a reason to perform certain actions. Although I agree to an extent that we must all aim to be good people, I disagree with the reasoning presented by the opposing side. I do not however agree with the notion that our lives should always be dominated by the need to be good. I will further explore substantiate my standpoint in the next few rounds.

Sources
[1] http://www.escapistmagazine.com...
[2] http://www.debate.org...
[3] https://en.m.wikipedia.org...
Debate Round No. 2
Skept

Pro

The action increasing the amount of happiness than unhappiness is morally and ethically correct. I agree that the owner is unhappy and that stealing brings happiness to the middle class at a certain time. However, the action's impact should be evaluated not by certain figures or time, but by the entirety. The owner's deed will increase the amount of happiness and the stealing will decrease the amount of happiness from the world's point of view, in the long term.

If he committed to framing the Negro, he is not a genuine utilitarian because that framing will bring more pain than pleasure to the world.

My thoughts are similar to utilitarian's.
Hopefuldebater

Con

I feel like this debate has fallen into what I was fearing the most. I even mentioned at the start of the debate that defining what is good as what brings the most happiness is dangerous. Basically, it makes the statement we"re trying to prove or disprove circular. Instead of saying what is good leads to happiness, you"re instead saying that what is good inherently is what brings about the most happiness. It may seem insignificant, but there are subtle differences. So, I will act accordingly and adjust my points to cater to these slight differences.

Response to the opposition"s rebuttal
The opposition has rebutted my claim by saying that the owner"s actions will increase the amount of happiness but has not substantiated their claim. They merely state that looking at the broader picture will allow us to see that the act clearly brings about more happiness than sadness. But, how have they gone about and made that conclusion? Also, how do they know for certain that the owner"s actions actually lead to a greater amount of happiness before the act is committed? What if his act of consoling the dog leads to his suicide due to the immense amount of pain felt? Would these actions still be moral by their definition? By their definition, it appears that morality is determined by the end result. However, it is impossible to know the end result before the act occurs, showing the impracticality of aiming to do good, when the definition of doing good is bringing about the greatest amount of happiness. An act which could be intended to bring about happiness could in fact bring about misery. Do we ignore the intent of the actions or not?

Also, I would like to clarify something regarding your response to my negro example. The negro example basically asks if you would rather have hundreds of people killed or an innocent man convicted. In your perspective, would you rather hundreds of people be massacred than to send an innocent man to prison? Are you saying that the resulting pain to the world from framing an innocent man is somehow worth more than a human life? I believe you need to further elaborate upon your belief. How does murdering hundreds of lives bring less pain than falsely sending someone to prison?

I would also like to address an issue I have with your definition of good. According to you, good and bad are determined by the end result rather than by the intent. Let me present another hypothetical situation. A person throws a rock out of anger with the intent of physically injuring another human being without a good reason and instead it misses and hits a criminal fleeing police officers. The rock hits the criminal and knocks him out, but no lasting damage is done to the criminal. The police are able to apprehend the criminal due to the act of throwing the rock. By your definition, this would be a moral act, as it brought about the most happiness despite the malicious intent behind it. However, this definition completely ignores intent and thus is a flawed definition of what is morally correct.

(Please ignore the fact that my apostrophes have turned into quotation marks. For some reason this happens when I"m reviewing before I post)
Debate Round No. 3
Skept

Pro

Indeed, we cannot anticipate the result of the action accurately, but that does not prove my definition is false.

I did not know "some loss of life" means "hundreds of people be massacred". In that case, I expect that to frame and not to frame are evil both.

The intent is also significant. The person who has that intention is evil. I expect that deed will ensure the person to act more badly. However, whether that act itself is good or not depends on specification.
This round has not been posted yet.
Debate Round No. 4
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This round has not been posted yet.
Debate Round No. 5
2 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Posted by Hopefuldebater 2 weeks ago
Hopefuldebater
Can please someone provide me feedback regarding the debate? I"m not sure what to think because it"s my first debate.
Posted by canis 2 weeks ago
canis
Cut off my left hand because it made me unhappy...Happyness is good..killed a freind with the right hand..
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