The Instigator
Logic_on_rails
Pro (for)
Winning
11 Points
The Contender
imabench
Con (against)
Losing
0 Points

Swearing is, on balance, a negative influence on society

Do you like this debate?NoYes+9
Add this debate to Google Add this debate to Delicious Add this debate to FaceBook Add this debate to Digg  
Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 3 votes the winner is...
Logic_on_rails
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 5/10/2012 Category: Miscellaneous
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 7,673 times Debate No: 23525
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (6)
Votes (3)

 

Logic_on_rails

Pro

I thank Imabench for agreeing to debate this interesting topic with me. It is a controverial topic which I'm quite sure would rouse many a rabble, many a believer in free speech etc. I intend to show though that swearing is, on balance, a negative influence on society.

On another note, this debate is part of MIG's temporary debate tournament, round 2.

Resolution matters

With regard to the resolution I wish to have no semantics games or stupidity. Readers, assume typical definitions where required. For instance, let's not argue what ‘on society' constitutes – it's obvious.

That said, let's be clear on a few matters:

On balance' refers to a weighing of positives and negatives. Basically, ‘on balance, a negative influence' refers to the negatives outweighing the positives.

While the word ‘influence' is used, which tends to imply a factor into actions taken, this debate will also discuss the actual impacts of swearing and how this is bad for society. ‘Influence' therefore will refer both to actual impacts and how one's mindset is changed. More on this later.

And on swearing, let us be abundantly clear that we are not talking about swearing an oath or promise. Chivalry is indeed a fascinating subject, yet we are not discussing oaths here. To outline a suitable definition for swearing, I sourced this http://www.pement.org......:

"By swearing, we mean the use of profanity, obscenity, or coarse language... To use biblical terms, swearing includes "corrupt words" (Eph. 4:29), "filthy language" (Col. 3:8, NIV), and "cursing" (James 3:10)"

One might consider ‘to swear at' to mean:

"To use abusive, violent, or blasphemous language against; curse" - http://www.thefreedictionary.com......

I think however that readers have a general understanding of what swearing is, so we needn't go be too specific about it. This debate is not intended to get stuck in a quagmire over specifically what constitutes swearing, although that is an issue at hand.

Debate Structure

Round 1: Definitions, resolution matters and acceptance
Round 2-3: Advancing of arguments, clash etc.
Round 4: Final arguments and conclusions

It should be noted that both debaters should not bring up entirely new arguments in their final rounds, although rebuttals and the introduction of supporting evidence is permissible. Basic debating rules of conduct and such apply. Due to the nature of this debate though Con is allowed to use swear words (I will ardently refrain from doing so), although I don't want an excessive degree of swearing.

Now, since the first round isn't for arguments I leave it to Imabench to enter the lion's den...
imabench

Con

"And on swearing, let us be abundantly clear that we are not talking about swearing an oath or promise"

This is about f*cking swearing, loud and clear.

"Due to the nature of this debate though Con is allowed to use swear words (I will ardently refrain from doing so), although I don't want an excessive degree of swearing."

Loud and clear, I will try to not f*cking swear so much like I do in other debates.

F*ck, I just swore.....

Aw sh*t....

Arg, Let the debate begin!!!!
Debate Round No. 1
Logic_on_rails

Pro

I thank Imabench for accepting this debate. A reminder to readers that this is a shared burden of proof – I am arguing swearing is a negative influence, Concould argue for a neutral or positive influence.

Now, without ado, let’s begin.

An Introductory Scenario

One must see there are alternatives to swearing. Let’s pretend that you’ve got a report due the next day:

1-Swearer's choice of words : @@@@ [not typing here]! The report’s due tomorrow!
2-Non-swearer: Blast it! The report’s due tomorrow (or heck, what in the blazes etc.)
3-Polite person: What a nuisance. The report is due tomorrow. (or anything polite)

Options 1 and 2 both emphasise a short, sharp burst of anger. The difference is that when the meaning of a swear word could be taken offensively we can avoid that offence via option 2. The less offence taken in society the better. Ie. less offence would result in more happiness, and if we adopt utilitarianism as an ethical system we’d prefer happiness. To (over) simplify, utilitarianism advocates actions that produce the most happiness.

So, between option 1 and 2 option 1 generates the potential of offence. Also, I contend that effective, precise communication is superior to imprecise communication. As swearing is typically used in too wide a range of contexts, it’s meaning is often unclear. At best, swearing does have meaning, yet has less nuanced a meaning than, alternatives.

That’s not to state that 3 isn’t superior to both 1 and 2. 3 prevents anger, assists in creating a calm atmosphere and soon. Option 3 also maintains civility.

It might seem like I’m setting forth common arguments. To a point that is true. However, let’s judge by, say:

Civility / Politeness

A rational mind

Happiness

Lack of anger

Fairness

Etc.

Given the above, we can see that swearing doesn’t contribute to these values, as well as resulting in other impacts. Let’s see this.

Foundational aspects of swearing

Swearing is to use ‘abusive, violent’ language we find in many definitions. Swearing itself tends to signify immorality or obscenity - “that the use of such [swear] words in the context of swearing actually admits that they signify something immoral or obscene.” [1]

The widespread usage of such words suggests that the acts represented have become tolerated, otherwise such words would be treated with disgust and not used as commonly. If Con wants to argue that nobody swears based on meaning then he runs into the fact that swearing has resulted in degradation of our speech – we communicate imprecisely, a negative impact.

We must also recognise that swearing showcases anger and betrays things like chivalry and the image of the scholarly gentleman. Simply, swearing clearly betrays rationality, reason and civility. I don’t care if there are alternatives that also betray these things. The point is swearing doesn’t meet these criteria, resulting in swearing being a negative influence.

Let’s be clear on common perceptions of civility:

But The Times virtually never prints obscene words, and it maintains a steep threshold for vulgar ones. In part the concern is for the newspaper’s welcome in classrooms and on breakfast tables in diverse communities nationwide. But a larger concern is for the newspaper’s character. The Times differentiates itself by taking a stand for civility in public discourse” [2].

That The Times, a respectable newspaper, shows a need for civility and recognises that news is best spread through civility is not conclusive evidence, but certainly something for readers to consider.

Swearing is inherently abusive and violent - negatives. Swearing betrays rationality – another negative. Also, swearing either has resulted in immorality or a lack of communicative ability, both negatives.

Distinctions of Character

Swearing helps promote different gender standards

Western society tends to view swearing as more appropriate for men than women. For example:

People also tend to judge women more harshly than men for their use of obscenities. Society in general can also make moral judgments about women who swear” [3]

Note the term ‘moral’. While judgements are made about men who use swear words these judgements are not always ‘moral’ judgments. We see that this double standard is promoting unreasonably different gender standards - another negative influence on society.

Class Barriers

Society tends to perceive that lower classes are more prone to use swearing, and swearing has connotations of lower class. The validity of this perception is highly questionable, yet it makes a point –perceptions create barriers, barriers that aren’t always legitimate, justified or beneficial. Granted, there are forms of discrimination that are justifiable, but the elimination of swearing would be beneficial to breaking down these barriers, and so swearing is a negative influence.

Examples of Swearing’s Negative Effect

Doctors

In one year, 15.4/100 GPs were verbally abused” [4] – Reference to NZ GPs. Clearly, verbal abuse affects a person’s concentration and clarity of mind, essential in a medical profession and essential to good public health.

In a survey by the British Medical Association 95 per cent of GPs and hospital doctors reported that they had been verbally abused, a quarter of whom had been abused more than five times within the last year.” [1]

There are many more sources to back up claims of verbal abuse in various medical journals. It needn’t be said that verbal abuse results in anger which in turn clouds judgement.

Police

Society tends to require a degree of order and control in order to function optimally. Police implement this order and undermining this order is a negative.

Well, it’s expected that a recent judgement on swearing at police have consequence. “Police unions warned that the ruling would erode respect for the police and lead to more officers being verbally abused.” [5] [6]

Let’s not disrupt law and order.

Politicians...

George Orwell once lamented how politics corrupts the English language. Well, it’s never good when the former prime minister of your country does it while in office and it becomes a media sensation! [7]

for the light of utterance of shameful words soon leads to shameful actions” – Confucius [8]

Such conduct swamps newspapers and results in a lack of proper news being told. The lack of proper policy discussion and rationality is not a good thing. Remember, this is a result of swearing.

And what about the prime minister being a role model? So much for that! The fact is we wish to act with grace and civility in all discussions, and swearing has been shown to mire that.

Communication

Let’s be blunt, swearing is clearly not good at being specific. Let’s take some veritable idiot looking at a hapless chap who just made a pitifully foolish mistake. He might say;

You [insert swear word (s)] idiot! You’re [insert swear word (s)] stupid!

Whereas, depending on the situation, one might be more accurate and true to say:

You would seem to be sciolistic dilettante.

That is not to state that the second statement is always more accurate, but that using a larger vocabulary gives greater meaning to your words over time. I think we get the idea.

Conclusion

I’ll leave it at that for R1, and hope I’ve articulated a powerful case. Over to Imabench.

Sources

1 - http://jundiku.multiply.com......
2 - http://www.nytimes.com......
3 - http://www.howstuffworks.com......
4 - http://journal.nzma.org.nz......
5- http://www.telegraph.co.uk......
6 - http://www.telegraph.co.uk......
7 - http://www.smh.com.au......
8 – Aristotle, Politics, Book VIII, 1336b.14-11
imabench

Con

1) The pro's scenario

Humans are emotional creatures, we can be delighted or sometimes just happy, other times we can get annoyed or very, very pissed off. Curse words are words that help people unleash the frustration inside them in a situation which politeness or less harmful words dont fully express. People who do not release their frustration now has all of that rage bottled up over time which can cause a significant deal of stress. So cursing can be seen as a quick way to release all of your anger and become a happier person, rather than holding your tongue all the time and over time letting all of that rage build up inside you until you lose your mind or snap.

In the first video to the right is an episode from mythbusters. It is about a myth that swearing when suffering from something helps you tolerate pain more than if you were just using more milder forms of curse words. It has even been proven by other studies that swearing can help people tolerate pain more.

http://www.time.com...
http://www.scientificamerican.com...
http://www.telegraph.co.uk...
http://www.nyheadache.com...

As for precise vs imprecise communication, communication doesnt come in the form of just the context of words, because curse words carry more emotion to them and help people really express how they feel on the inside.

Swear words are hardly civil, I give the Pro that. However curse words help a person release their anger in a situation so that they are happier over the long term period whereas being polite means holding your tongue and having all that annoys you bottled up inside over a long period of time. Swearing can help a person feel better later, feel less depressed later, and helps express their anger. Anger is a bad thing to have inside you, curse words remove that anger faster then using politeness or more milder forms of cursing.

2) The aspects of swearing

People dont often swear because they want to be vulgar or uncivilized or cool, most of the time people swear to deal with pain or stress in their lives, really express their emotions and feelings in words, OR TO JUST MAKE A F*CKING POINT.

Had I not done that chances are you would have skipped right over it or not even given it a second thought, right? Then the point is made, cursing helps people make a point to.

As for betraying chivalry and acting like scholarly gentlemen, there is a time to act polite and a time to really express the pain you are in or speak out about what you really want to say, and we cant always put chivalry on top of our right to express ourselves. Swearing is negative in civility but it is the best way to express ones opinions and emotions at the same time.

3) Swearing betrays rationality and morality among other things

Initially it does, but there are long term effects that swearing has on people stress levels and ability to cope with pain that must be taken into account.
http://www.parents.com...
http://www.lifehacker.com.au...

4) Class Barriers

People in the lower classes have a lot more pain in their lives, emotional situations to deal with, and stressful lifestyles then the fabulously rich upper class does. If swearing were eliminated it would knock down these class barriers, it would only drive the lower class further up a wall since their easiest way to relieve themselves of stress, protected by the first amendment, would thus be taken away. Lower classes probably do curse more, but since curse words help tolerate pain the lower class NEEDS these curse words to help them get through the daily grind otherwise they just might kill themselves.

5) Examples of negative effects

The first and second case the Pro brings up are cases of someone being the victim of verbal abuse and curse words. Curse words do harm others only if they are directed at specific people in a hateful manner, meaning curse words can be violent towards innocent people only if they are directed at them in a hateful manner.

As for the politician, looks like he was also directing his frustration at people and expressing all the stress he was going through

============================================================================

How is swearing beneficial to society?

1) It helps people cope with pain
http://www.alphagalileo.org...

2) It helps people express what they feel emotionally
Deals with emotional pain, see above

3) It helps people deal with excessive stress in their lives
See the lower class argument

4) It can be funny and entertaining to others
The next two videos you watch are David Chapelle and Kevin Hart doing stand up comedy, and the funniest parts of their act and are used just to express disbelief or emotion in a scenario, and not used directly against people.

(Chappelle skip to 5:09 if you want in the link at the bottom)

5) It helps express disbelief or shock
(See Chappelle Video at bottom of link, it wont post into normal video mode for some reason)

6) It can help make a point

Take this example, which person makes their point heard more?

Person 1: "Obama has not handled the situation as well as he could have"
Person 2: "OBAMA IS F*CKING IT UP, WHAT THE F*CK IS HE THINKING???"

Chances are that even though the second one is less civil, it expresses how the person is feeling with Obama and has made their point be heard more than the first person.

============================================================================

Swearing might not be civil, but it still has its benefits because it helps people express their emotions, it can be used to lessen pain and fight stress, not cursing could lead to having more stress, it helps people make a point, it can be downright hysterical if used properly, and it is a quick way for people to deal with stress in their lives rather than keep their mouth shut and deal with all that bottled up anger inside them.

http://www.youtube.com...
Debate Round No. 2
Logic_on_rails

Pro

I thank Imabench for his reply.

With that said, I wish to remind readers that the resolution uses the words ‘on balance’. Essentially, I need only argue that the negatives are greater than the positives; I don’t need to argue against the existence of positives, although I can.

Also, let us also remember the word ‘influence’ . While immediate impacts are important, if swearing promotes social dynamics that lead to something like irrationality over the longer term then it’s a negative influence.

Anyhow, to the debate.

Dropped Arguments

Imabench has, to my best understanding, completely conceded the following:

1. All examples of swearing and their impacts (bar the video of Kevin Rudd, but he conceded the impacts of that)
2. Swearing helps promote different gender standards
3. Foundational aspects of swearing arguments (he does say that there are long term beneficial effects by betraying morality and rationality, yet otherwise he completely conceded this section)
4. That swearing isn’t civil / polite and the nature of my introductory scenario
5. Swearing doesn’t describe accurately in a literary sense (he does argue about emotion and such, yet the actual meaning of the words being less accurate was conceded)

I think readers really ought to just realise the depth of what Imabench has conceded as negative impacts. Readers, do remember the impacts I listed in R2. These concessions result in swearing being agreed to have many major negative impacts / influences on society.

Con Counters

Con did counter some of my points. Let’s go through these.

Anger release

I will agree swearing can, for some people, be an effective way of releasing anger. However, it is actually such a good thing to release anger?

If somebody is having a bad day and they complain about it do the people they talk to feel any better? Often not, indeed, they may often feel worse! Telling the world that ‘I’m mad as hell, and I’m not going to take it anymore!’ (see the movie Network for the quote) tends not to restore confidence and happiness. You’re mad and you complain to somebody who gets mad about the same thing. Guess what? Now you’re both mad and no better off.

Also, let’s think about the long term view here. One can become calmer by learning to not just release anger on a whim. I don’t swear, and it’s part of the reason that I (I believe) keep a level head and don’t get ultra angry. Certainly, I don’t let anger take me to violence, madness or anything of the such. Not letting things faze you so easily and being rational are both good things, and the release of anger is not conducive to either. Not that I reject the Romanticist school of thought by any means though.

Of course, other words besides swear words release anger, and I ask my readers when they need to release such a large amount of anger that no other words besides swear words will do? I fear that such situations are very few in number. I am never at the stage where I am utterly crippled by my lack of swearing.

So, Con’s main argument is only valid in situations of the need to release extreme anger, and frankly, the other considerations far outweigh this potential (if that) benefit. Let me ask you if what swearing results in with regard to the short term outweighs the longer term disadvantages. Then tell me that there aren’t any other ways to get these advantages. I rest my case.

Making a point

Swearing makes a point, brutally. Need we remember the negatives associated with these words?

Again, there are alternative ways to make a point using milder words (replace Con’s expletive on this example with ‘blazing’ and you have made the point just as easily) .

I also want to stress the idea that brutally expressing points and not having people develop the patience to discern finer points and subtleties is not necessarily a positive. Do you want a rational, calm listener who actually listens to everything or the fellow who needs something shouted in his face?

Also, swearing might make a point, but it could well be a vague point. Expressions, tone and such all convey a point, yet the specificity of a point can be called into question when compared to language.

Again, swearing promotes a certain style of actions which we don’t want.

Class barriers

I said here that these barriers were in part due to perception of lower classes swearing. Therefore, the barriers are real and imaginary, so it’s really a case of which barrier to deal with. Dealing with swearing deals with the perceptions that create the imaginary barrier.

The question is, yet again, are there other effective ways to do what swearing does? Yes. Do these other ways propagate the negative perceptions associated with swearing? No.

Examples of negative effects

Well, Con rather conceded to the effects here, however, he said one counter “As for the politician, looks like he was also directing his frustration at people and expressing all the stress he was going through

Con is right in that Mr. Rudd was expressing his anger, however, this is a poignant example of how Con is missing my point. My point was that the media swarmed over this statement and it totally distracted from proper news and policy discussions in the media for a good week. Given that policy discussions are more beneficial for society than Mr Rudd’s tirade, one could conclude that his action was a negative. Also, the prime minister sets a bad example on the international stage for Australia. The point is simple – Mr. Rudd’s outburst may have relieved anger for him, yet it certainly didn’t result in a greater good for society.

The Tragedy of the Commons

While this hasn’t been discussed as a point per se so far, this warrants discussion, and I’ve alluded to the idea many times so far.

The tragedy of the commons is basically (specifically, it tends to apply to limited resources) a situation where multiple individuals act rationally in their own self interest, and this leads to the depletion of a resource, even though it is clearly in no one’s favour to let this situation to occur.

Let us apply this to swearing.

Swearing tends to be something which an individual does. Perhaps, like Con suggests, one does it to release anger, make a joke etc. If we grant Con’s arguments for this thought exercise, it is clear that individuals may consult their self interest and swear. However, on a larger scale swearing can create an environment with more anger, less civility and so forth. This environment can deplete resources like happiness. Henceforth, swearing can lead to a worse situation, just like The Tragedy of the Commons.

Entertainment

This rather falls under the scenario stated above. Regardless, one can have humour of a similar quality by substituting out the swear words. Also, I ask, does this outweigh the noted negative impacts of swearing?

Disbelief or shock

Swearing is good at expressing disbelief or shock. The question is, do we wish to express such things by way of swearing? Are there perhaps more appropriate ways of doing so? Perhaps ways that are less likely to aggravate a situation?

Swearing has connotations, and these connotations can often elicit reactions which are not preferable. Imagine person X swears at person Y expressing shock over something Y did. Y may not be so happy...

Conclusion

I just want to remind readers the full extent of the arguments from R2 dropped by Con. I also want readers to try and look at the longer term influence of swearing and things like the Tragedy of the Commons. Nevertheless, I’m sure readers understand what has been said so far.

I look forward to Con’s reply.
imabench

Con

"With that said, I wish to remind readers that the resolution uses the words ‘on balance’. Essentially, I need only argue that the negatives are greater than the positives; I don’t need to argue against the existence of positives, although I can."

You dont have to, I understand there are downsides to swearing and I am here just to present a case that swearing does have positive effects that are enough to make swearing overall negligible.

"I think readers really ought to just realise the depth of what Imabench has conceded as negative impacts. Readers, do remember the impacts I listed in R2. These concessions result in swearing being agreed to have many major negative impacts / influences on society."

Maybe you forgot your own rules? Round 2 and 3 were to advance arguments and then clash. Seeing as how you went ahead and gave 8000 characters of your own arguments I am not going to present 7000 characters of counter arguments and leave only 1000 to present my own case.

"1. All examples of swearing and their impacts (bar the video of Kevin Rudd, but he conceded the impacts of that)"

How am I supposed to argue against examples? deny they exist? As for their impacts I did argue that, you argued that they make people elss civil I argued that they let people better express themselves and thus the effects cancel out.

"2. Swearing helps promote different gender standards"

I argued that swearing didnt promote different class standards, which was the main point of your argument regarding Distinctions of character, and the gender standards were a small part of your overall argument which I responded too. As for "promoting different gender standards" All that is argued by the pro is that it is more acceptable for men to swear then for women to swear because women are more civilized and graceful then men are, meaning that society holds women in higher honor then they do men when it comes down to speech. Its not swearing's fault that society doesnt like it when women swear, its societies fault. Replace swearing with public urination and look at the example again. Even though it is frowned upon it is more distateful when a woman urinates in public than when a man does. That doesnt mean its public urination's fault though, its society's.

"3. Foundational aspects of swearing arguments (he does say that there are long term beneficial effects by betraying morality and rationality, yet otherwise he completely conceded this section)"

So your argument is that I dropped this argument if you ignore the part where I responded to this argument..... You gave your point, I gave my counter point. Im not going to argue that swearing isnt chivalrous so give me a break already. You showed how swearing is bad because it isnt civil, I showed how it since it allows people to express their true shock, frustration, disbelief, etc and not cause stress later that this aspect of swearing balances out how impolite it can be and make swearing overall neutral.

"4. That swearing isn’t civil / polite and the nature of my introductory scenario"

Of course I dropped that argument how could I argue against it? Jesus, at this point if I didnt argue if Apples werent Green youd think the Pro would hold that against me too.....

"5. Swearing doesn’t describe accurately in a literary sense (he does argue about emotion and such, yet the actual meaning of the words being less accurate was conceded)"

How can you claim I dropped an argument when even you admit I argued against it? Same argument as number 3, im moving on now I already wasted 4,000 characters on Pro's accusations that I dropped half his arguments...

"I will agree swearing can, for some people, be an effective way of releasing anger."

Please note how I am not going to be a dick about this and list it as arguments dropped by the Pro.

" You’re mad and you complain to somebody who gets mad about the same thing. Guess what? Now you’re both mad and no better off."

So it comes down to this. Not swearing allows someone to get away with something stupid while the person speaking cant express their true frustration which will surely lead to stress later on which is harmful to ones health. On the other hand we have swearing which allows people to express their anger and the other person has to realize whether or not theyve messed up badly.

If a mother drowns her four children in a bathtub is the father who comes home and find this not allowed to swear because it might hurt the mothers feelings? I didnt think so either.

"Not letting things faze you so easily and being rational are both good things, and the release of anger is not conducive to either"

There is a time to be civil and I time to really release your frustration because even science has proved that bottling up all your anger only will cause you health problems later on in life.

http://www.newburyportnews.com...
http://www.marriagesherpa.com...

"Of course, other words besides swear words release anger, and I ask my readers when they need to release such a large amount of anger that no other words besides swear words will do?"

Well of course other words release anger, but swear words are simply the best at releasing it, can you think of words that release more anger than swear words?

"So, Con’s main argument is only valid in situations of the need to release extreme anger, and frankly, the other considerations far outweigh this potential (if that) benefit."

How nice of you to just shimmy the word "extreme" in there just to justify your case. Swear words can release minimal to large amounts of anger depending on whether they are muttered softly and unheard by others (which leaves them unharmed and help you feel better) or screamed at the top of your lungs, now which of those two happens more often now? the answer is the first. So swearing can help you release anger in a way where nobody else is hurt no matter how much or how little anger ends up being lifted off your shoulders.

"I said here that these barriers were in part due to perception of lower classes swearing. Therefore, the barriers are real and imaginary"

You might want to pick just one....

"The question is, yet again, are there other effective ways to do what swearing does? Yes"

List 5 ways that can help people quickly and immediately alleviate large amounts of anger that isnt worse then swearing.

"My point was that the media swarmed over this statement and it totally distracted from proper news and policy discussions in the media for a good week."

Well then blame the media for being so distracted by meaningless things in the first place then, dont blame the swear words for being distracting because they arent, the media just chooses to make it that way so therefore its the media's fault that they are so obsessed when someone swears, its not swearings fault.

"one can have humour of a similar quality by substituting out the swear words"

It may be of similar quality but it is not of equal or greater quality because swearing releases the most amount of anger and it also just happens to release the most amounts of hilarity given the context.

"on a larger scale swearing can create an environment with more anger, less civility"

And replace it with an environment of less stress since it releases anger instead of bottling it up while preserving civility since curse words can be muttered under ones breath and affect no one while helping an individual release anger. Swearing doesnt always cause anger, in most cases it releases it so people can be happier later.

F*ck me im already out of characters.... If Pro is going to rub in everything I allegedly dropped then I might as well emphasize how the Pro has completely dropped the argument that swearing is proven to help people deal with pain (see first youtube video above)
Debate Round No. 3
Logic_on_rails

Pro

I thank Imabench for his reply.

I apologise if my tone of last round was seen as condescending or aggressive. I can see how my intention to clarify the state of the debate could be seen otherwise. Again, I apologise to Con if I seemed arrogant earlier.

That said, some statements of Imabench were somewhat incorrect. For example, the rules are quite clear in allowing counter arguments in round 2, 3 and 4. While I don’t expect everything to be countered, that doesn’t mean my arguments don’t stand...

Anyhow, let’s get onto the debate.

Releasing Anger?

So far in this debate I’ve tended to argue that there are other avenues of releasing anger. Given the effectiveness of these avenues, swearing isn’t really necessary except in situations of great anger. Indeed, Freud argued that there were other ways to ‘get it out of your system’, such as a psychotherapist, that would allow a dangerous build up of emotion to be vented without transgressing social norms or making yourself ill. [1]

However, we have both missed the trees for the forest. Now, I can understand if readers consider the following a new argument and disregard it due it’s timing, although I contend that it’s a rebuttal, but enlightenment is our goal here. Basically, Con is advocating the hydraulic theory of emotion.

Ever heard somebody say not to ‘bottle your feelings up’ or that you could ‘burst under pressure’ ? They’re endorsing this view. Freud (to simplify) argued that since the mind was being consistently replenished with mental fluid, so it would eventually have to be ‘bled’ and emotional expression was the normal way to ‘discharge’ fluid. [2] He also argued that a build up would eventually seek discharge through ‘other, even less palatable means’ .

Starting to see how Con is advocating this view? Well, let’s get to problems with the theory that he’s implicitly endorsing. Also, remember that Freud argued there were other ways to release anger besides emotional expression.

Psychologists are increasingly realising that the hydraulic theory of emotion is too simplistic... On occasion it can be positively harmful [referring to the spontaneous expression of emotion]. Recent evidence has pointed to the possible dangers of talking about one’s emotions at the wrong time.”[3]

Now, this evidence concerns the psychological therapy of debriefing given to victims of trauma. However, before you ignore this completely, debriefing assumes a hydraulic theory of emotion; it’s based on the same underlying idea of expressing or talking about negative emotions in order to let them dissipate harmlessly, rather than being ‘bottled up’ for the future. However...

If the hydraulic theory of emotion were correct, we should expect to find that those who undergo debriefing immediately after a traumatic event would suffer fewer long term symptoms than those who received no counselling. According to psychologist Jo Rick, however, things are the other way round: debriefing actually makes things worse. In one study of road accident victims, she found that those who had undergone debriefing had more flashbacks and more fear after the accident than those who had not.” [4]

Various other studies about the harms of debriefing. [5, 6] There’s more as well.

The point is thus – if debriefing doesn’t work as the hydraulic theory of emotion would predict, why believe the theory? If a theory’s predictions fail to come true you disregard the theory.

Also, evolutionary theory raises questions about the plausibility of the hydraulic theory of emotion. Dylan Evans puts this quite nicely “if different emotions evolved to motivate different kinds of action, it is hard to see why they should ‘build up’ like some waste product when not ‘discharged’, let alone why they should be capable of being ‘released’ by completely unrelated actions.

I think I’ve provided a strong case to disregard the hydraulic theory of emotion, and with it the very idea of having to release anger. Furthermore, even if Con proves the validity of the hydraulic theory of emotion’s validity, he runs into the issue that various other ways exist to release anger, as I have argued previously, that are nearly as effective. Furthermore, Freud actually argues for other methods ‘without transgressing social norms’, as swearing does.

Now to other points.

Other Con arguments

Due to character limits, I’ll just leave my argument on humour as is. I’ll also leave my argument on gender standards as is for the same reason Readers can decide whom is more persuasive.

On the Kevin Rudd issue, Con said “you argued that they make people less civil I argued that they let people better express themselves and thus the effects cancel out.”

The effects don’t cancel out here. One person (Mr. Rudd) expressed his anger, which was all fine and all, however, the entire nation’s newspaper quality was severely weakened due to his tirade for about a weak. Also, Mr. Rudd set a bad precedent. There are other effects besides civility as well. Do the effects cancel out!? I don’t think so.

On the ‘Now, you’re both mad and no better off point’ , Con replies with the standard advocacy of the hydraulic theory of emotion. Besides my attacks on the theory, I don’t actually see what this contention has to do with my point. I was arguing that making more people mad can result in a negative, but Con replied arguing about the original angry individual, which misses the boat on the overall negative.

Now to recap some of my points.

My arguments

We both agree on the matter of civility. The issue of doctors and police having their judgement impaired was shown in R2, and I’ve argued for Kevin Rudd’s anger release being an overall negative. I’ve discussed that swearing is poor at clearly expressing a depth of meaning. I also discussed that perhaps the widespread use of swearing means that the acts represented by the words have become tolerated (although this implies swear words are even partially used for their meaning) . This was outlined, and broadly agreed to in R2.

I’ve discussed the issue of swearing creating distinctions in character, be it class barriers or gender standards. I’ll let readers decide the validity of each side’s arguments on these issues.

I then made a crucial point with my tragedy of the commons analogy – swearing, on a larger scale, can create a society not desired, even if it results from actions benefitting individuals.

At other points I discussed matters like the connotations of swearing, the issue of one making another mad and so forth. Mostly these matters were addressed with the ideas found in the hydraulic theory of emotion.

This round I’ve illustrated many flaws with the hydraulic theory which Con must support for his arguments, both evidence based and thought experiment styled. Furthermore, even if the hydraulic theory is supported there are numerous other methods (Freud even recommends other methods besides emotional expression) to release anger that will do the job in a vast majority of situations.

Conclusion

I ask readers to consider what both of us have said and make an informed, quality judgement. Try not to bring prior opinions about swearing into consideration, as I can imagine that the idea of not swearing is anathema to some.

I also want readers to take particular note with the words ‘on balance’ and their implications.

Finally, let me thank Imabench for debating this interesting topic, and MIG for facilitating the tournament that led to this debate.

Sources

1 – Dylan Evans, Emotion – A Very Short Introduction, Oxford University Press, pg. 54-59
2 – Ibid
3 – Ibid
4 - Ibid
5 – http://www.bohrf.org.uk...
6 – http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov...
imabench

Con

I am unable to finish the debate because of a calc exam I have.

I thank the Pro for a great debate and I thank all the voters for reading. Please vote according to the arguments :)
Debate Round No. 4
6 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 6 records.
Posted by Down_In_Flames 4 years ago
Down_In_Flames
To say a thing is bad makes it bad. If swear words didn't have a 'negative influence on society', they would not be considered swear words. And since this is the actual source of their existence, and their power- human beings have purposely created them for the uses that CON mentioned.

If society truly believed (as a whole) that the benefits of swearing did not outweigh the cost of swearing, they would not longer care enough about swear words to even believe they are bad- thereby removing their power/existence.

Sum up: my argument is that since swear words are man-made, their very existence proves their worth to society, as people continually choose to support their existence through usage as well as expressed disgust at their usage. (If you didn't like it, you wouldn't do it. What you think you hate, you actually love to hate.)
Posted by RoyLatham 4 years ago
RoyLatham
I agree with Blackvoid's analysis of the debate, so I won't repeat that.

Chinese has no specific swear words; there are no words that cannot be used in polite company. Yet they manage to get by using plain-language insults instead.
Posted by BlackVoid 4 years ago
BlackVoid
RFD:

Its pretty easy to vote Pro straight-up on the "on balance" section. It means Pro must prove the negatives of swearing outweigh the positives and Con must prove they don't. Con can throw out as many advantages of swearing as he wants, but if he doesn't argue that those negatives actually *outweigh* the benefits Pro brings up, its a Pro win.

Thats exactly what happened. Imabench talks a lot of about releasing emotion, bottled up anger, and pain tolerance, but he doesn't explain how that outweighs the numerous conceded disadvantages Logic brings up. On the flip side, Pro does argue repeatedly how swearing can anger 2 people instead of 1, can distract a whole society from public policy, and leads to verbal abuse which cancels out Con's own Stress argument. Essentially, he directly argues that the disadvantages of swearing outweigh the advantages. So I go Pro based off him better fulfilling the On Balance part of the resolution.

On the other arguments, it was clear that Con was allowed to refute Pro's arguments in his R2, considering the debate rules had R2 listed as "Advancing of arguments/clash" on it. So dropped arguments in R2 are concessions. As Logic pointed out, almost all his disadvantages of swearing weren't responded to, namely the verbal abuse on doctors argument. I mean, Con did say that swear words are only abusive if used in a violent way, but in this situation they obviously were.

I'm with Con that there are no alternatives to swear words that release the same amount of anger/emotion, but the disadvantages Pro has are much larger. Con also doesn't really contest that society would be more civilized if swearing wasn't done, which is also pretty big.

Conduct for last round FF, I also thought imabench acted pretty rudely in his R3, whereas Logic was civil throughout.
Posted by newbie28 4 years ago
newbie28
i belief swearing is a part of life. growing up around adults, your parents friends, siblings and peers exposes you to different types of dialog and different conversations- some people swear to express their emotions. children should probably not be around people like this because it can become a negative influence. proper human beings know that there is a time and place for everything but when our children turn on the radio or t.v. they will hear these swearing words but it is up to the parents to correct and explain the content of these words and what they will not tolerate. it begins at home!
Posted by Logic_on_rails 4 years ago
Logic_on_rails
Mouthwash, we will finish the debate properly. It will take some time of course as we had 2 rounds left but rest assured that we will finish this properly.
Posted by MouthWash 4 years ago
MouthWash
Are you going to post that other round too?
3 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Vote Placed by SuburbiaSurvivor 4 years ago
SuburbiaSurvivor
Logic_on_railsimabenchTied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:40 
Reasons for voting decision: Well, conduct obviously goes to Pro for Con's continuous abusive language (lol). In the end, Pro gave better arguments that far outweighed Con's.
Vote Placed by RoyLatham 4 years ago
RoyLatham
Logic_on_railsimabenchTied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:30 
Reasons for voting decision: The key to this debate is the "on balance' part. con makes valid points, but they don't tip the balance. Pulling out your six gun and shooting a guy dead may well release your pent up frustration and more fully express your feeling than more civil alternatives, but it fails "on balance." Ditto swearing. Con didn't forfeit, he passed. There is no conduct violation.
Vote Placed by BlackVoid 4 years ago
BlackVoid
Logic_on_railsimabenchTied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:40 
Reasons for voting decision: Comments