The Instigator
113086
Pro (for)
Losing
4 Points
The Contender
Citrakayah
Con (against)
Winning
5 Points

That Utilitarianism is Untenable

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 4 votes the winner is...
Citrakayah
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 5/2/2013 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,226 times Debate No: 33218
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (10)
Votes (4)

 

113086

Pro

Full resolution:
That the consequentialist theory of ethics known as Utilitarianism is false in all of its forms.
Definitions:
Consequentialism: Any normative theory which states that the ethical course of conduct is necessarily the one which produces the best consequences.
Utilitarianism: The belief that the action which produces the best consequences, and hence is ethically best, is the one that maximises pleasure and minimises pain to the greatest possible extent.
Rules:
1. A forfeit or concession is not allowed.
2. No semantics, trolling, or lawyering.
3. All arguments and sources must be visible inside this debate.
4. Debate resolution, definitions, rules, and structure cannot be changed without asking in the comments before you post your round 1 argument. Debate resolution, definitions, rules, and structure cannot be changed in the middle of the debate.5. Arguments are to be strictly formalised and signposted. All arguments are to be listed and numbered, all premises are to be preceded by "Px", where "x" is the number of the premise, all examples are to be preceded by "Ex.", and all analytical argumentation is to be preceded by "An.". Rebuttals shall state which premises, analysis or examples they disagree with, and rebuttal is to follow the same formula.
Voters, in the case of the breaking of any of these rules by either debater, all seven points in voting should be given to the opponent.
Burden of proof:
In this debate, Utilitarianism is to be presupposed. It shall be my job to demonstrate that it is untenable.
Model:
Throughout the debate I shall put forward the following arguments:
1) The Mere-Addition Paradox
2) The Utility Monster
3) Moral Luck
4) The Trolley Problem
Citrakayah

Con

I eagerly accept, and look forward to a fascinating debate.
Debate Round No. 1
113086

Pro

The Mere-Addition Paradox

P1 - According to Utilitarianism, a society with more total pleasure is preferable to a society with less total pleasure.

Ex. A society with 100 hedons is preferable to a society with 99 hedons. For an explanation of how hedons are calculated under Utilitarianism, please see Source 1.

P2 - A society with a large population of very happy people is inferior to a society with an equivalent population and then an additional group of people with lives barely worth living.

Ex. For the sake of argument, let us suppose that the greatest life ever lived was worth 1000 hedons. A society with a population of 10 billion people each of whom lived this life would be worth 10 trillion hedons. This society (let us call it 'Society A') would be inferior to a society with this population plus an additional population of 10 billion people with lives barely worth living, only worth 1 hedon (let us call this society, 'Society A+'). This is because Society A+ is only worth 10.001 trillion hedons whereas Society A is only worth 10 trillion.

P3 - According to Utilitarianism, a society where each person has a hedon value equal to the mean hedon value of this second society is equal to the second society and hence superior to the first.

Ex. Society A+ has a total hedon value of 10.001 trillion hedons and a population of 20 billion. Imagine a third society (let us call it 'Society B'), where each citizen has a hedonic value of 500.05 hedons. Society B would therefore be equal to Society A+ and hence superior to Society A.

P4 - This process could be repeated ad infinitum until eventually we arrive at a society with a very large number of people each of whom lived lives barely worth living which would still in fact be preferrable to the seemingly utopian original society.

Ex. Let us call this society 'Society Z'.

P5 - It is untenable to maintain that this society is better than the Utopian one envisioned in P1.

C - Utilitarianism is untenable.

 A population becomes larger while each individual in it becomes worse-off

Fig. 1 - A diagramatic representation of the Mere Addition Paradox.


Fig. 2 - A cartoon that parodies this conclusion.

The Utility Monster

P1 - According to Utilitarianism, it is morally obligatory to decrease your own hedonic value if doing so is the action that will increase the hedonic value of society by the greatest amount.

Ex. If there existed a monster, who would take great sadistic pleasure in my pain, and inflicing pain upon myself in order to give it this sadistic pleasure was the action that created the most total happiness for society, then it would be morally obligatory for me to do so.

P2 - According to Utilitarianism, it is morally obligatory to decrease the hedonic value of someone else if doing so is the action that will increase the hedonic value of society by the greatest amount.

Ex. If this monster would take more pleasure from the suffering of someone else, then it would be morally obligatory to harm them in order to give the monster its pleasure.

P3 - If a group of people can sacrifice themselves in order to give greater pleasure to one particular being that could experience a pleasure more significant than all of their pains combined, then the group would be obliged to do so.

Ex. If we extend the sadistic power of this "Utility monster" such that it would not suffer from a diminishing marginal return of pleasure, then all members of society would be morally obliged to inflict as much pain as possible upon themselves to give greater pleasure to the monster.

P4 - If any of these premises is untenable, then so is Utilitarianism, which presupposes them.

C - Utilitarianism is untenable.

An. I believe that three particularly important lessons can be derived here:

1) Hedonism, and hence Hedonistic Utilitarianism does not discriminate between different types of pleasure. Sadistic pleasure is just as intrsically valuable as compassionate pleasure. One might try to avoid this, as JS Mill did, but it seems absurd to maintain that some pleasures could intrinsically be better than other pleasures without being more pleasant under Hedonism.

2) Utilitarianism does not give any preference to morally better people. The seemingly evil Utility monster was just as worthy of pleasure as any saint would be.

3) Utilitarianism does not give any preference to equality over inequality. There is no reason under Utilitarianism, why we should help the worst off rather than the best off when we can benefit each equally.

Moral Luck

P1 - Any tenable moral system only lays blame on people for actions over which they had control.

P2 - Utilitarianism is subject to 'moral luck' where people are morally better because they are luckier, even though luck is inherently beyond their control.

Ex. Two people (let's call them "A" and "B") each toss a coin. When a coin lands heads, world hunger is solved; when a coin lands tails, one billion people die. A's coin lands heads and hence solves world hunger. B's coin lands tails, and hence one billion people die. According to Utilitarianism, A has done something morally praiseworthy, while B has done something truly evil. This is known as consequential moral luck, because the consequences of the action were inherently luck based, and according to Utilitarianism, so was the ethical praise and condemnation due to each person. This is an inherent and inescapable problem with any form of consequentialism.

C - Utilitarianism is untenable.

An. I believe that this shows the greatest problem with Utilitarianism, that it gives no heeway to intentionality. Given that Utilitarianism is concerned with consequences and consequences only, people can intend to wonderful things and be unlucky, under Utilitarianism this is morally bad, while people who intend to do horrible things but get morally lucky are morally praisworthy.

The Trolley Problem

P1 - According to Utilitarianism it is morally obligatory to do the action that increases society's hedonic value to the greatest possible extent.

P2 - According to Utilitarianism, if there was a speeding trolley that was going to run over five people, then (providing that all six lives are equal in hedonic value) it would always morally obligatory to kill one person to save the five.

Ex. If there was a bridge running over the train tracks, and there was a very fat man on the bridge whose mass would be enough to stop the trolley dead in its tracks, then it would be morally obligatory to push him off the bridge in order to save the five.

Fig. 3 - A representation of this variant of the trolley problem.

P3 - It is not tenable to maintain that P2 is correct, given that there exceptions.

C - Utilitarianism is untenable.

An. In fact, not only does Utilitarianism maintain that it would be morally obligatory to push the fat man, it maintains that it is not even up for debate. According to Utilitarianism, any feeling to the contrary is in fact mere moral squeemishness, a weakness of human nature, because it is clear that pushing the fat man produces the best consequences.

Conclusion

I have shown to you conclusively that Utilitarianism is untenable. If any of these arguments is not fully refuted then the resolution of this debate remains affirmed. Vote Pro.

Sources

1) An Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation, Chapter 4 http://www.econlib.org...

Citrakayah

Con

Refutations:

Mere Addition Paradox
P1 – Conceded.
Ex. N/A
P2 – Rejected.
Ex. Inferiority or superiority is a measure of worth of an object. Utilitarianism states that the action which produces the greatest overall pleasure is the most ethical action. This does not specify whether or not the society itself is better. For instance, let us take a group of two people and compare them to another person. All three people have identical levels of happiness, and we’ll ignore cascade effects.

What utilitarianism tells us is, in the event that we are forced to choose, we should choose to sacrifice a single person rather than two other people. It doesn’t say the group of two people is ‘better’. They aren’t. But, to quote Spock, the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few. Unpleasant, of course, but nevertheless true.

So, according to utilitarianism, if we are given the choice between dooming Society A+ or dooming Society A, we should choose Society A to doom. Indeed, again ignoring cascade effects that a given group might have on another group, it is immoral to sacrifice a larger group for a smaller group. While the lives of the people in the larger group might be worse, that can be changed. Moreover, calculating the exact amount of pleasure someone has is de facto impossible—there’s a fair bit of fuzziness, so personal judgment calls are involved.
P3 – Also rejected.
Ex. First, this assumes that we’re calculating things based off means. That isn’t necessarily the case, we might decide to base it off median, for the same reason we often use median income rather than mean income.

Secondly, I of course again view my opponent’s argument as equivocation. I might regard the societal norms of a society as more ethical, or regard the society as doing more ethical things. I might also regard the lives of people under a society as better off. But, in a British-empire like example, I would regard the imperial power, despite being better off, as less ethical than those they rule over.
P4 – Rejected.
Ex. See above.
P5- Accepted, but I do not maintain that society is better.
Ex. N/A
C – Utilitarianism is still tenable.

The Utility Monster
P1 – Accepted.
Ex. N/A—in theory. The problem comes when treating this as a serious proposal. The fact is that no such entity exists. This is equivalent to asking whether a hammer would be useful in a world where nails were made of clay. (Credit to Alonzo Fyfe at Atheist Ethicist for the metaphor). It wouldn’t, but that doesn’t affect my argument. We live in a world where society does not gain the most total happiness by allowing sadists to do whatever they please. Moreover, the existence of machoists, who receive pleasure from pain, gives sadists a safe outlet. So, arguably, do video games.
P2 - Accepted.
Ex. N/A
P3 - Accepted.
Ex. Again, I take issue with the explanation. There is no such being. It is equivalent to critiquing the use of calculus by asking what would happen if 2+2=5! Ethical and moral systems are meant to guide us as we make decisions in the real world, not in a thought experiment which presupposes impossible notions.
P4 - Utilitarianism does not presume them.
C - Utilitarianism is still tenable.
An.
1) That isn't entirely true. Compassionate pleasure is better than sadistic pleasure (usually) because it helps other people.
2) Certainly. But while he might be worthy of pleasure, that doesn't mean that we are oblidged to assist him in harming other people, or to attempt to discourage unethical behavior and encourage ethical behavior by withholding pleasure.
3) Again, not necessarily. This could easily be dismissed by using a median measure of pleasure rather than an average one.

Moral Luck
P1 - Accepted, if we take actions for which they had control to mean any voluntary action. And if by 'blame' we mean 'regards the person as having done something unethical'.
P2 - Rejected.
Ex. People can account for their luck when making their decisions about their actions. For instance, if I attempt to do good things and fail miserably every time due to incompetence, it really does matter that my intentions are good to the people I inadvertantly kill.

Now, one might ask about exceptions, but I would argue that the function of the emotions we associate with blame to discourage future mistakes. If it is truly a fluke, then while your action might have been unethical per se (and I personally would argue that utilitarianism can incorporate probabilities to say that the most ethical action is the one that is most likely to do the greatest good, but that isn't given in the definitions so isn't applicable here unless my opponent says otherwise), feeling shame and similar emotions is pointless: You are not going to do it again, and would not have even without any shame.

Moreover, we might ask whether a true fluke can be considered to be the result of one's own actions, or the actions of other people. For instance, if I am a doctor, with good success rates, and I operate on a patient who has been shot and fail to save them, the person who shot them is more at fault for the death than I am. In Pro's example, it's not B's fault (assuming B has no choice but to flip the coin). It's the fault of the bastard who made the coin flip in the first place.
C - Utilitarianism is still tenable.
An. Praise serves to encourage us to do certain actions. Unless someone is so incompetent that I can rely on them to do good things when they try to do bad things, I see no reason to encourage someone to do things that lead to a high risk of bad things happening.

The Trolley Problem

P1 - Accepted.
P2 - Accepted.
P3 - Rejected. What are these exceptions? Who says that we are maintaining P2 in every single case rather than as a general rule of thumb?
C - Utilitarianism is still tenable.
An. Of course it's up for debate. If we never bothered to question our ideas, we'd be stuck in the Stone Ages.
Debate Round No. 2
113086

Pro

Mere Addition Paradox

P1 - Con has conceded

P2 - Con has rejected

An. Con is claiming that inferiority/superiority is distinct from being preferable or not preferable. He concedes that a society with more total pleasure is superior to one with less total pleasure but is denying that it is preferable. Personally, I believe that this distinction is ridiculous, I will leave it to the voters to decide which side they lie on.

An. Even if this distinction does exist, it is still completely irrelevant to the soundness of the argument. Because if one were to have the power to create either society, then according to Utilitarianism we would be obliged to create the latter.

Ex. Con conceded that we should doom Society A before we doom Society A+, but this goes both ways. If someone was playing God, and had the choice between creating either Society A or A+, then, according to Utilitarianism, said person would be obliged to create Society A+.

An. Con also stated that the quality of the lives of the larger group of people can be changed, and I would like to remind him that this is a thought experiment, and poking holes in the semantics of the thought experiment does not negate the point that it is making. We can easily add to the conditions of the thought experiment that the qualities of the lives of the citizens cannot be changed.

An. Con finally stated that we cannot always calculate the exact hedonic value of a person. Again, this completely misses the fact that this is a thought experiment. He accepted P1, which gave as its the notion of felicific calculus. The fact that he conceded this premise shows that he acknowledges that pleasures and pains can be calculated in theory. Given that this is a thought experiment, we can add to its conditions that we can and do know with absolute certainty everyone's hedonic value, whether or not this is possible in the real world is irrelevant.

P3 - Con has rejected.

An. Con criticises me for using means rather than medians, and this shows a basic failure to understand mathematics. As per the felicific calculus agreed upon in P1, it is total pleasure we are concerned with, and total pleasure = average pleasure x population. He uses the analogy of median income, which is used because it preference to equality of wellbeing. Utilitarianism does not give preference to equality, since an unequal society with more total happiness is according to it preferrable to an equal one with less total happiness.

An. Con also points out that we cannot be sure about he ethical the citizens are. This completely misses the point, given that we are talking here about wellbeing. According to Utilitarianism, the ethical course of conduct is to maximise hedonistic wellbeing, and so whether we would be ethical in creating either society has nothing to do with how ethical the society is, but only how much total pleasure it has.

P4 - Con has rejected

An. See above.

P5 - Con has conceded

C - The conclusion stands

The Utility Monster

P1 - Con has accepted

An. Con compares my example of a Utility Monster to the question of whether or not a hammer would be useful in a world where nails are made of clay. Again, he is missing the point of a thought experiment, and he fails to understand the idea of a principle. A principle is something you use as a basis for further beliefs and in order for the principle to be true it must also be true that everything that follows from it is true. If it is the case that the principle of Utilitarianism is true, then it would be the case that we would be obliged to give our pleasure to the Utility monster. This is a hypothetical scenario, but principles should still prove true even in hypotheticals that do not directly contradict possibility, and Con has given no reason to believe that the Utility Monster is impossible.
Ex. The Theory of Gravity predicts that things will always accelerate at 9.8m/s^2 on Earth without interference from any other forces. If there is any possible world in which this is false, then the Theory of Gravity as a principle is false.
P2 - Con has accepted
P3 - Con has accepted
An. Con again notes that there is no such being, and once again I remind him that this is irrelevant, given that this is a thought experiment. He compares this to 2+2 equalling 5, but this is logically impossible, whereas the Utility Monster is not.
Ex. If this debate was being held in the 1940s, Con would have been equally justified as he is here in claiming that there exists no such rocket capable of taking people to the moon, and thereby claiming that any thought experiment involving such a rocket was nonsense. Of course, we know today that such a rocket is metaphysically possible, and without being provided a good reason to believe otherwise, we should accept that so is the Utility Monster.
An.
1) Notice how I said intrinsic, not instrumental. Con seems to have conceded that sadistic pleasure is just as good as compassionate pleasure if there is no instrumental difference between the two.
2) Yes it does mean that. Because Utilitarianism holds that we are obliged to ensure the greatest good for the greatest number, even if that means violating the free will of others.
3) See "Mere Addition Paradox: P3 - An."
C - The conclusion stands
Moral Luck
P1 - Con has accepted.
P2 - Con has rejected.
An. Con notes that it does matter to the people whom you unintentionally kill that it was unintentional. I am talking about the intrinsic moral status of the person here, it is perfectly possible that the people wouldn't care or wouldn't know. Still, we should acknowledge that intention has a significant impact upon the moral status of the actor, and consequences are necessarily subject to luck. He states that the purpose of blame is evolutionary, but he is misses the distinction between prudential and epistemic judgements. I am talking about an epistemic blame here, how much blame we should assign based on how much they deserve, and nothing else. Finally, Con states that it is not B's fault in my example case, but I would like to point out that the situation being the result of a person and not nature is not a necessary part of the thought experiment. Again, he is simply trying to avoid the problem.
C - The conclusion stands
Trolley Problem
P1 - Con has accepted
P2 - Con has accepted
P3 - Con has rejected
An. Con has simply conceded that Utilitarianism holds it as being morally obligatory to push the fat man. Such a conclusion is completely unacceptable to me. Voters, I leave it up to you to decide which is more intuitive to you. Secondly, if Utilitarianism is true, then P2 must be true in all cases where the lives have positive hedonic value, so it must be a universal law rather than a general guidline.
An. Utilitarianism maintains that any thoughts about whether or not it is morally acceptable to push the fat man are simply moral squeamishness. This is because it is factually the case that under Utilitiarianism, we ought to push the fat man (as per P2) and this cannot be disputed, so any feeling to the contrary must simply be in error.
C - The conclusion stands
On all four accounts therefore, the conclusion has stood. Utilitarianism is untenable, vote pro.
Citrakayah

Con

Mere Addition Paradox
P1- See above arguments
P2- See above arguments.
An. No, I concede that a society with more total pleasure is preferable as opposed to being somehow innately superior.
An. Why yes, we would have that obligation. But, again, we can change their lives for the better! Pro continues to ignore this, but it's an essential part of utilitarianism. If we obliged to provide the greatest possible pleasure, then we are also oblidged to improve the lives of those people, and to think in the long term.
An. Adding such a condition would be foolish, and further take it out of rationality and into a bizarre fantasy-land specifically constructed to make utilitarianism look as bad as possible without having the slightest effect on what it actually is.
An. Conceded.
P3 - See above arguments.
An. Mistake on my part.
An. Actually, it does matter. Keep in mind that the British Empire was unethical because of its effects on other people. It decreased their total pleasure.
P4- N/A
P5- N/A
C - Conclusion is negated.

The Utility Monster
P1 - N/A
An. And Pro has given us no reason to believe that the Utility Monster is in the least plausible. A creature that experiences over one unit of pleasure for each unit of pain inflicted, forever, no matter how many units of pleasure it gets, and cannot be sated in any other way than inflicting pain (for instance, violent video games don't serve as an outlet) is innately an extraordinary claim.
P2 - N/A
P3 - N/A
An. It's logically possible in the sense that it isn't inconsistant, but that doesn't necessarily mean that much.
Ex. It is logically possible that a reality warping entity made utilitarianism the best ethical system by zapping anyone who doesn't agree with it. This is not a serious argument for utilitarianism.
An.
1) Yes, your point?
2) That would require his pleasure gained to be more than that lost from putting him above all else.
3) N/A
C - The conclusion is rejected.

Moral Luck
P1 - N/A
P2 - N/A
An. In that case I would argue that we should assign blame in greater quantities to intentional actions. That does not make them necessarily more or less ethical, though.
C - The conclusion is rejected.

The Trolley Problem
P1 - N/A
P2 - N/A
P3 - And Pro has given us no reason aside from his personal feelings on the matter as reason for it being unacceptable.
An. P3 did not specify if the lives had equal hedonic value.
An. Actually, it might be a result of a different ethical system.
C - The conclusion is rejected
Debate Round No. 3
10 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Citrakayah 4 years ago
Citrakayah
I meant to put 'really doesn't matter to the people I kill'.
Posted by wrichcirw 4 years ago
wrichcirw
"CON makes a lot of statements that generally boil down to agreeing with PRO's scenarios, and offering a counter-opinion to PRO's opinion."

Change to:

CON makes a lot of statements that generally boil down to conceding that PRO's scenarios logically flow, and then offering a counter-opinion to PRO's opinion.
Posted by wrichcirw 4 years ago
wrichcirw
CONCLUSION:

PRO makes a lot of statements that logically flow, but then leaves it up to voters to assign values of "good" and "bad" to them.

CON makes a lot of statements that generally boil down to agreeing with PRO's scenarios, and offering a counter-opinion to PRO's opinion.

I've offered my own opinion on numerous occasions as to why I disagree with PRO. However, none of my opinions had anything to do with CON's arguments.

---

This debate was pointless. The criteria by which to judge it (tenability) was left to the voters, which essentially makes this debate about voting one's opinion. My opinion is that neither side convinced me of their arguments.

Looking at the resolution, apparently the point was to see if "the consequentialist theory of ethics known as Utilitarianism is false in all of its forms." PRO could not convince me of this, but I found CON's arguments to actually allow me to sympathize with PRO's position to some extent, so arguments tie.

I was tempted to award S&G to CON due to PRO's changing font sizes, but I found this debate to be overall quite unsatisfying, and will award zero points to both debaters. I will award conduct to CON because of what I considered to be a poorly structured debate by PRO. I found nothing in PRO's arguments that assigned or demonstrated any "false" values, and nothing that demonstrated tenability. All they demonstrated was moral squeamishness.
Posted by wrichcirw 4 years ago
wrichcirw
6) CON: "For instance, if I attempt to do good things and fail miserably every time due to incompetence, it really does matter that my intentions are good to the people I inadvertantly kill." Fully disagree. However, I also see no reason to think that consequentialism is untenable for the reasons that PRO states, so to me arguments here are a wash.

7) Again, I fail to see how PRO's trolley example makes utilitarianism untenable. Obviously PRO is squeamish, but such utilitarian logic has direct applicability to military scenarios.

All SEALs in the Osama Bin Laden raid were trained to jump at women and children in the compound and to separate them from the rest of the unit. Why? Because these women and children may have been strapped with explosives, and separating them from the rest of the unit would be the most utilitarian scenario, even at the potential cost of that SEAL's life.

All PRO has done is to illustrate this same example with his fat man, and then somehow offer his opinion that this is wrong. I will simply contend that PRO is wrong to harbor such an opinion.

Thinking along this vein, a direct application of the "utility monster" to real life would be military expenditures. Is PRO really arguing that the military is untenable? He would then have to demonstrate that life WITHOUT the military would produce more hedons than WITH the military. Otherwise, the "utility monster" is indeed best for society, which is the status quo.

8) PRO: " Con has simply conceded that Utilitarianism holds it as being morally obligatory to push the fat man. Such a conclusion is completely unacceptable to me. Voters, I leave it up to you to decide which is more intuitive to you. "

This is my main problem with this debate. PRO never outlined what would make something tenable or untenable. Therefore, it really is just left to the opinion of the voters. I wholly disagree with PRO's position, and wholly disagree with CON's arguments.

(conclusion next)
Posted by wrichcirw 4 years ago
wrichcirw
1) I see nothing paradoxical about PRO's "mere-addition paradox". PRO did not make any case that per-capita hedons is preferable to the aggregate.

2) PRO: "- According to Utilitarianism, it is morally obligatory to decrease your own hedonic value if doing so is the action that will increase the hedonic value of society by the greatest amount."

IMHO this is just incorrect. If one takes only one's own hedonic value into account, the entity would not be obligated at all to do what PRO suggests. Apply this logic to any group - "one" could mean any manner of collective, and can also mean the individual.

3) I find PRO's "moral luck" dilemma to be unconvincing. There's no explanation as to why a coin toss that has no discernible differences per toss would result in wildly differing scenarios. Without this explanation, one would have to assume that it was not due to random luck that caused the differing scenarios, and indeed the consequences would be paramount in evaluating the morality of the action.

If we're to assume probabilistic scenarios, then a coin toss that results in equal amounts of "good" and "bad" would be "neutral", in that the positive and negative hedons would cancel out.

4) PRO's trolley problem seems to solidify that he places morality only in the context of societal utility, without necessarily defining "society". I'll wait to see how CON addresses this.

5) CON: " We live in a world where society does not gain the most total happiness by allowing sadists to do whatever they please. " This is debatable. What if the sadists were the ones that protected society from some existential threat? Example, the natives offering sacrifices to King Kong, while King Kong kept threats to the natives off the island.

I conclude that CON concedes PRO's arguments regarding the utility monster. However, I fail to see how this utility monster makes utilitarianism untenable.
Posted by Citrakayah 4 years ago
Citrakayah
Daktoria, relating to your first point, the rules expressly state that utilitarianism is being presupposed. My burden is /only/ to show that Pro has not shown utilitarianism to be untenable.
Posted by Citrakayah 4 years ago
Citrakayah
Well, breaking the format would have led to a complete forfeit. I thought it was rather bad too, though.
Posted by wiploc 4 years ago
wiploc
It's an interesting debate, but I didn't finish it.

It is tiring to have to keep scrolling up to the first post in round two in order to see what "P2" and "P4" refer to. And I don't know what "An." means. And, when you answer questions without referencing what the question is about, that's frustrating too. I finally decided that you were just writing to each other, and didn't expect anyone else to try to read the debate.
Posted by 113086 4 years ago
113086
Yes, Round 1 is for acceptance.
Posted by Citrakayah 4 years ago
Citrakayah
If Round 1 is for acceptance, I would like to accept this debate.
4 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Vote Placed by 16kadams 4 years ago
16kadams
113086CitrakayahTied
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: The vast majority of points dropped by con, conceded by con, or those which con even agreed with really weren't convincing enough, or strong enough, to prove his point. Pro, as the instigator and the nature of his positive claim, gives him the BOP. His arguments really weren't convincing (the trolly monster argument, for example, was extremely weak). All in all, con provided what seemed to be superior argumentation and pro did not uphold his burden. And, this debate could have been much better.
Vote Placed by Subutai 4 years ago
Subutai
113086CitrakayahTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Counter Daktoria's unjustified conduct point.
Vote Placed by wrichcirw 4 years ago
wrichcirw
113086CitrakayahTied
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Reasons for voting decision: see comments, poor debate
Vote Placed by Daktoria 4 years ago
Daktoria
113086CitrakayahTied
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Reasons for voting decision: In short, Con never explains why quantity is superior to quality in any of his criticisms. He just begs the question by brutally asserting the conclusion of quantity being superior to quality in his premises. This leads to a very questionable understanding of "ethics" which pursues a "good" society. In fact, Con even says ethics is not necessarily about creating a "better" society. Yes, in fact ethics is about necessarily creating a better society because good is better than bad. Con also begs the question in assuming quality of life can necessarily be changed, and he assumes this is a valid premise for ethics. Why does future potential (assuming it even exists) excuse past and present sacrifice? Con then abuses process by ignoring the axiom of "hedons". While, yes, hedons are subjective, Pro offers the premise as a compromise to grant utilitarianism leeway. To deny the objectivity of "hedons" makes utilitarianism untenable in itself.