The Instigator
Surrealism
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
vintinthethird
Con (against)
Winning
6 Points

Teleological Morality is Superior to Deontological Morality

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 2 votes the winner is...
vintinthethird
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 4/13/2014 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,197 times Debate No: 52337
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (7)
Votes (2)

 

Surrealism

Pro

Important clarifications and definitions:

This debate is not about whether teleological or deontological morality is correct, it is about which is superior of the two.

Teleological morality is the moral framework(s) under which the morality of an action is determined by its consequences.

Deontological morality is the moral framework(s) under which the morality of an action is determined by the intent of the actor.

1st Round is for acceptance.
2nd Round is for opening arguments.
3rd Round is for cross-ex.
4th Round is for rebuttals.
5th Round is for encapsulation.
vintinthethird

Con

I accept this debate. I will be arguing that a deontological morality is superior to a teleological morality.
Debate Round No. 1
Surrealism

Pro

Surrealism forfeited this round.
vintinthethird

Con

Given my opponent has forfeited this round, I will post only a brief argument this round.

Deontological Morality is far superior as it judges the character of the action and not just the outcome. For example, a man donates large amounts of money to charity. This seems to be a good action to do. However, say that the man did this action to boast of his wealth, or to improve his popularity. The situation has completely changed, as the intent of the action was not moral at all. Using a teleological system, that man would be praised, when in fact his character is flawed and he didn't do the action for any moral reason

Furthermore, there may be a case whereby a person has the intent of doing a good deed which, due to bad luck, turns out to go wrong. An example could be a person helping someone across the road. Whilst they are in the road a madman in a car bulldozes them down. Using a teleological system, the helper would be condemned, as his actions have caused a death. However, this is plainly ridiculous, as the outcome was out of his control. We cannot blame the person for this event, so a deontological system is plainly superior.
Debate Round No. 2
Surrealism

Pro

I apologize for forfeiting the last round and delaying this one. I appreciate my opponent only posting short arguments. I shall do the same.

Contention One: Resolvability

The point of any moral framework is determine what is moral and what isn't, otherwise you haven't got a moral framework. So obviously, we need to be able to use this framework in our lives to resolve moral disputes, otherwise the framework ay as well not exist. Because of this, a framework needs to be able to be capable of being used based on observation by humans. Humans cannot observe the intentions of other humans, but we can observe the consequences of human behavior. So right off the bat, teleological morality is superior because we can actually use it.

Subpoint A: Determination

One might counter this by saying that we could simply ask people their intentions. The problem with this is that people can simply lie about their intentions, whereas our observations about reality are uncontradictable.

Contention Two: Intention

Another problem with deontological morality is that it turns actions immoral based on intention. To illustrate how silly that is, imagine a very rich man donate millions of dollars to charity to feed homeless and starving people. He may simply be trying to improve his image, but does that mean that these homeless and starving are not being fed? That it is immoral to feed millions if your ultimate intention is to further your own glory? I think that the people being fed ares imply happy to be fed. I hope that this example illustrates why determining based on intention is silly.
vintinthethird

Con

I would agree that judging a persons intentions is harder than judging their actions. However, it is definitely worth it as we gain a better, more accurate insight into the moral judgement of the person. With teleological morality, there is a much larger scope for error in judgement. This is because the future is uncertain. A person may make a decision hoping that a certain situation occurs, but there is a chance something else will happen outside of the control of that person, much like my example of the person helping someone across the road (which went unrefuted, I'd like to add). In that example, we would judge that person immoral (using a teleological morality) when all he did was help someone cross the road. This shows why teleological morality is unreliable and unfair.

My opponent said that deontological morality can't be used to "resolve moral disputes" . I feel this is ignoring one of the most important reasons for morality, which is to allow people to choose a moral course of action. This is important as, although people can disguise their intentions from others, they cannot disguise it from themselves.

As for my opponents example, although the action was moral, his intention was not to help the people, it was to help himself. So yes, I would see him as a immoral (or at least not moral) man. Imagine the same situation, but this time the man is doing it to help others. He doesn't want any fame, and in fact tries to stay anonymous. Out of those two men, which would you say has a better moral compass?

To conclude:

It is illogical to judge someone's actions on the outcome, as the future is not predictable, meaning uncontrollable events can happen that makes the action look bad.

Deontological morality is very easy to use when making decisions of your own which is the most important part of morality.

If two men did the same thing, one for personal gain and one to help others, there is a clear difference in the morality of the men.
Debate Round No. 3
Surrealism

Pro

Surrealism forfeited this round.
vintinthethird

Con

I won't post any new arguments this round.
Debate Round No. 4
Surrealism

Pro

Surrealism forfeited this round.
vintinthethird

Con

Another forfeit...
Debate Round No. 5
7 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 7 records.
Posted by Surrealism 2 years ago
Surrealism
ZebramZee, I specified in the first debate round that we don't care whether either is correct, but rather which one is superior of the two. Morality may be an artificial construct, but there is still some fuzziness in that construct which needs to be worked out.
Posted by bsh1 2 years ago
bsh1
So, essentially, Consequentialism vs. Deontology. That is an age-old and nearly unwinnable debate because args just go in circles.

Moreover, I always thought teleological morality was more closely linked with Virtue Theory than with Consequentialism.
Posted by ZebramZee 2 years ago
ZebramZee
There is no such thing as 'morality', so this debate is meaningless. Neither is superior because neither is actually true.
Posted by Surrealism 2 years ago
Surrealism
But we don't use morality to determine the goodness of people, we use it to determine the goodness of actions. That's what morality is - a guide to action.
Posted by Hematite12 2 years ago
Hematite12
Surrealism, your definitions for both teleological and deontological morals are false.

What you said for teleology is consequentialism.

What you said for deontology is an ethical stance that is compatible with any ethical system.

Even if you define the terms as you did, they aren't contradictory. ACTIONS may be ethically determined by their consequences, but a PERSON may be ethically judged by their intent, or intended consequences.

I would propose that you revise the debate before someone accepts it.
Posted by phantom 2 years ago
phantom
Philo, I don't know his exact intentions, but having the resolution this way means the debater can defend a theory as superior even though he does not think it's wholly sound. In other words, I might disagree with both theories but find that deontology theory has more pros and thus comfortably accept this debate. You don't have to completely commit to either theory this way.

I may accept this if no one else does.
Posted by philochristos 2 years ago
philochristos
If this is not an argument over which is true, then what do you mean by being superior? Isn't one or the other superior only insofar as it is more true than the other? Other than being true, what could possibly make one superior to the other?
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by Poetaster 2 years ago
Poetaster
SurrealismvintinthethirdTied
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Total points awarded:02 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro forfeited the debate almost entirely, but for the one round in which he showed up, his argument was better than Con's overall case. Both participants seemed to lack a full awareness of the meta-ethical nature of their claims, which immediately signals an underdeveloped appreciation of ethics itself. Pro, however, did show more awareness when he said, "teleological morality is superior because we can actually use it". That is, he didn't try to discredit deontology on the grounds that it makes 'wrong moral predictions', but on the grounds that it cannot actually be practiced. Con simply presented his moral judgements of the two ethical systems, which betrays a misunderstanding of how to argue meta-ethically. Despite this, Con actually showed up, so he gets the points.
Vote Placed by Dennybug 2 years ago
Dennybug
SurrealismvintinthethirdTied
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Total points awarded:04 
Reasons for voting decision: FF