The Instigator
larztheloser
Pro (for)
Losing
14 Points
The Contender
Zaradi
Con (against)
Winning
16 Points

That society ought to recognize animal rights

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 8 votes the winner is...
Zaradi
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 10/30/2012 Category: Miscellaneous
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 6,081 times Debate No: 26739
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (37)
Votes (8)

 

larztheloser

Pro

This is for the second official DDO Tournament, and this is the second round. It is a great honor to be debating Zaradi again, and to have this oppertunity to discuss this really important topic.

Once again I don't think either of us will really try to cheat with our definitions. "Society" is to be taken in the most general possible sense, so pointing out specific people who have better things to do than care about animal rights is not sufficient to carry the motion. Generally this motion is about whether animal rights should be recognised and not about who should recognise them. "Animal" shall include all members of the scientific animal kingdom except humans, who are presumed to have rights already. "Rights" "are entitlements (not) to perform certain actions, or (not) to be in certain states; or entitlements that others (not) perform certain actions or (not) be in certain states." (http://plato.stanford.edu...). This does not imply that all rights ought to extend to all animals, that some animals ought to have all rights, or inversely, that all animals ought to have some rights.

The burden of proof in this debate is mine. That means that I need to prove why society ought to recognise at least some rights for some animals.

Bad voters, please go away.

As per the rules of this tournament, this is an acceptance round. I wish my opponent very good luck and look forward to starting this debate.
Zaradi

Con

I'll agree with my opponent on one sentiment: Bad voters should stay away. Please.

I'll be taking the negative side of this topic, as to why society ought not recognize animal rights. I, of course, agree to my opponent's definitions, but will note two things:

1. I do hope my opponent doesn't decide to run an abusive argument over his definition of "rights". That has a liiiiiittle bit too much lee-way to it, although it does come from a good source. It's probably just false paranoia, as larz isn't the kind of person to run an abusive argument, but regardless.

2. I feel that one definition was missing from what my opponent gave. Of course, the resolution is talking about what we should or shouldn't do in terms of animal rights, but ought possesses another connotation to that. Ought means to possess some sort of obligation, whether it be a moral one or a legal one, with more sources leaning toward the moral side of things.

http://www.merriam-webster.com...
http://dictionary.reference.com...;

I'd love to debate philosophy, but regardless, it's the pro's burden to prove that society HAS to recognize animal rights. Not doing so would not prove an obligation, and thus would not affirm the resolution. As such, it's my burden to disprove that, either through refuting his case or the presentation and defense of my own.

With that, I turn it over to larz and wish him the best of luck.
Debate Round No. 1
larztheloser

Pro

Thanks for accepting, Zaradi. My apologies for forgetting to define "ought" (my opponent is absolutely spot on with this). My apologies also for any delays in posting my rounds - my final exams are taking some time away from me. My opponent is right in saying that I have zero intentions of running an abusive definition, but that should be self-evident from my case anyway.

We are all different
You've probably noticed that there are many different kinds of people in the world. These differences range from quite trivial things - what or skin or eye color is, for instance - to somewhat more important things - for instance, our age. Despite being somewhat different, however, we all have more or less the same rights. Some nations give their people more rights than others. People in certain circumstances (like children) are often given additional rights. But there are some basic rights we all have (there is, indeed, even a universal declaration of human rights - http://www.un.org...).

It is irrational to give rights arbritrarily. Since we accept rights for people who look different, think different and act different, there is no justifiable criteria to discriminate between humans and animals. There are limits to this where such discrimination is possible. Giving chickens the right to vote, for instance, makes little sense because a chicken's brain is actually incapable of understanding what a vote is. In a similar way, seriously mentally retarded humans with the IQ of a chicken are usually prevented from voting. Here there is a justifiable criteria for why this right might not be extended to chickens. What makes the criteria justifiable is that it distinguishes between the human and the animal in a morally relevant way.

Now take another example. Human kids and kittens both don't like to be tortured. They both feel pain and both are capable of suffering. Human kids and kittens are both able to be scarred for life. It may well be that human kids have less fur than your average kitten, but this is irrelevant to the issue of torture. There may be specific instances when some torture of a human kid or young cat is justified, but in general, there is no justifiable criteria to distinguish between them.

Sentience, like that I just described, is of course just one example of the kinds of things we share with animals, but I'm mostly using it because it's relatively easy to prove and is used by most other animal rights activists. Hitting a dog with a stick will cause that dog to react, implying that the dog can feel the pain of being hit. Further investigation will reveal the dog reacts negatively to this pain. Anybody who doesn't believe me on this should find a dog and try to hit it with a stick. Philosophy aside about the degree to which dogs are conscious of that pain, the fact that they know it and suffer for it is pretty well documented - which is highly relevant because the same reason is why humans are free from torture (ie we don't like it either). Furthermore, consciousness has never been a criteria for rights. Knocking somebody out gives you no right to torture them.

In at least this respect, then, we are NOT all different - the moral rules of why we should be given rights are generally generalisable to animals.

Human Responsibility
Having said the above, I think I don't need to injure any more dogs to make anybody believe we are superior to animals in many respects. Elephants may be much bigger than us and possess bigger ears, but they don't build luxury sports cars for themselves or play elephant chess.

This power leaves us with two alternatives. We could wield it to help animals, or we could use it to harm animals. Compassion, for the interests of animals, would be the driving factor in helping animals more, while human self-interest would be the reason for wielding this power to hurt animals. Whatever we decide here - helping or harming - is what we have a moral responsibility to do. If there are EVER any instances where the animal should be helped it is a privilege - if there are several such general instances it is a right. This might be a rather unusual causal link to make, so let me explain - take the right to life, for instance. The animal wants to live. Helping it (the compassionate alternative) means not to kill it. Harming it (the selfish alternative, for instance to provide a fur coat for yourself) means to kill it. At the point where you are not harming it, you are giving that animal the privilege of life. When that principle is applied fairly across many animals, it becomes a general principle for all such animals, such that it can be properly called a right those animals possess.

My claim is that compassion is a more responsible alternative to self-interest. As the charter for compassion affirms: "Born of our deep interdependence, compassion is essential to human relationships and to a fulfilled humanity. It is the path to enlightenment, and indispensable to the creation of a just economy and a peaceful global community" (http://charterforcompassion.org...). Of course, just because it says that doesn't prove it's true, so what does?

We now know quite scientifically that compassion - both towards other people and other animals - is better for us than self-interest. For instance, we know that compassion is positively correlated with happiness, healthiness, and attractiveness (http://www.huffingtonpost.com...). The idea that great power implies great responsibility is an extraordinarily popular one, and it seems, for good reason. Other research suggests that compassion is an evolved part of who we are (http://greatergood.berkeley.edu...). But these are simply the selfish reasons to be unselfish, which isn't a particularly great standard - if you include in your calculations not just how you benefit, but also how the animal benefits, then 99% of the time affording animals certain rights sounds pretty fair. Even if you don't accept this assessment, the notion that compassion is NEVER the better alternative towards animals in a given situation seems to me to be a mistaken one.

Why we HAVE to do it
My opponent seems to want me to prove why we must be logically consistant or responsible. I'm not going to argue that we don't have free will. Most politicians are living proof that people can be both inconsistant and irresponsible at the same time. So let us entertain that thought for a moment. What would an inconsistant, irresponsible world look like? More importantly, would you like to live there? If not, then I'm afraid you're going to have to be a part of that change, and not be inconsistant or irresponsible. And that means you ought to recognise animal rights. It doesn't take much imagination to affirm that an irresponsible world, without the inconsistancy, probably isn't so good in terms of things people are wired up to like or value (their own lives, for example). Alternatively, an inconsistant, arbritrary world would be a place of infinite uncertainty. Put together, this is hardly what any person would consider what we "ought" to become. This might sound presumptious, but it is a general moral norm that most people would recognise. Naturally there are some people who would not - often those same people that don't believe these kinds of rights should be extended to humans either. This is why I said in round one that society must be taken in the most general possible sense.

Conclusion
This debate is about whether we want to live in a fair, compassionate world or an unfair, self-interested one. I believe very strongly that there are certain ways we ought to treat each other - that's why we have rights at all. But there must be justifiable, relevant limits if we are not to extend these to animals. Even so, extending those rights to animals is still a nice, compassionate thing to do for those animals, which is in and of itself a moral good.
Zaradi

Con

I thank my opponent for his enlightening case. Without further adeiu, I shall begin.

Society - What is it?

As we've both agreed, society is to be defined in the most general terms, but as society is the actor in the resolution, the one who will be recognizing the rights of animals, I feel that we should be discussing what society really actually is. Is society the state of government? Is society just a group of people in the same social circles? Or is it everyone who interacts with one another in some manner? Regardless, we can derrive one thing from the thought: that whatever society is, it's necessary for some sort of agreement to be a society of any kind. Much like the government has an agreement with the citizens it governs and a hospital has an agreement with the people it doctors and employs, these societies, no matter the size or form, pose some form of contractual agreement, whether literal or verbal.

From this we can conclude, in the most general sense as to be conplient with the definition provided and agreed upon, that society is formed by these contracts, and from these contracts are where we derrive things like permissibility and obligation from. The reason why we have to look to morality stemming from contractual agreements is because these contracts actually create an obligation to do something. For example, a paramedic has a legal obligation stemming from his employment contract to attempt to save anyone in danger while on the job. Other theories, though, do not create an obligation, like utilitarianism. If morality doesn't actually obligate us to do something, then we have no reason to actually accept its premises and moral skepticism follows, which prevents us from actually having an obgligation in this first place (meaning resolution is negated prima facie).

That is why I must contend that society has no contractual obligation to regonize the rights of animals.

Contention One - Inability to formulate a contract

Let's consider the example of a worker negotiating their employment contract with their employer. The exchange of words and language is what allows them to reify their contract together and make any changes necessary to ensure that the contract is mutually beneficial. The only problem here is simple: when was the last time you heard an animal speaking fluent english (that isn't Scooby Doo)? Since they cannot communicate with society, they cannot be a part of the contract, and thus reap benefits from said contract. This means that society cannot possess an obligation to recognize animal rights.

A point my opponent may bring up is that certain animals possess the ability or aptitude to communicate with humans through sign-language, such as apes, as an attempt to prove that they can communicate. The only problem with this is that this point forgets the instinct of animals for immediate pleasure. They're smart enough to be able to figure out that if they repeat whatever the humans are doing, then they will receive some sort of treat or reward. That's not communication, but merely instinctive repetition.

Contention Two - Nature of a contract

Like I had mentioned a litle bit previously, contracts are based off of being in mutual benefit. If both people benefit from the contract, then they have all the reason in the world to abide by the contract and reap the benefits from it. If, however, one side of the contract is gaining a benefit whereas the other side is not gaining any benefit, it a) breeds corruption since the side in benefit will push his benefit and control and dominate the side not getting benefit, and b) doesn't create a stable contract, as the side not gaining any benefit has no reason to keep abiding and being a member of the contract and can leave to enter a different, more fair contract. Thus, contracts must be mutually beneficial.

The nature of contracts being mutually beneficial means we have no obligation to give them these rights for a few reasons:

First: Animal's don't benefit from us testing on them and using their fur for clothing and their innards for food, which means there's no mutual benefit for them to rationally agree to a contract on.

Second: Human's don't benefit from a contract with animals where we have to respect their rights. Only animals would benefit from a contract, but this isn't mutual benefit since only one side would be gaining benefits while the other side wouldn't be gaining any sort of benefit.

Third: The way that humans treat animals is unreciprocal - animals don't perform tests on us or use our skin for clothing. This means that even if both groups benefit from a contract together, the content of their obligations would still inherently differ.

As such, there's no reason to affirm the resolution, as we possess no obligation to extend to animals these rights. With that's let's look at my opponent's case.

The main problem with my opponent's case is he attempts to pull the fast one of blurring the line of permissibility versus obligation. My opponent's case is about how humans have vastly more power than animals do, and it's our responsibility to use our power wisely and respect the rights of animals. The only problem with this approach, however, is that it only establishes the permissibility of doing the action, but not that it's morally obligatory, which is his burden through the mutually agreed upon definition of 'ought'. Sure, we would be living in a much better, consistent world if everyone helped elderly women across the street, but we hold no obligation to do so, as elderly women can probably get across the street just fine on their own and if they couldn't they shouldn't be trying to cross the street in the first place. As I'm the only one proving some form of obligation, you have to look to the negative case, which means you ultimately negate the resolution as there is no contractual agreemenet between humans and animals.

Because the affirmative has failed to prove any sort of obligation, and I'm proving that the only formable way of derriving an obligation ultimately negates, the resolution is negated and I urge the voters to vote con.
Debate Round No. 2
larztheloser

Pro

I thank my opponent for opening his contentions.

We are all different

My argument here was that there is no justifiable criteria for distinguishing between animals and humans in ways that are relevant to rights. If we can award rights despite human differences, we can also award rights despite animal differences.

My opponent has attempted to argue that the ability to form a contract is a distinguishable criteria. Let me first of all reject the premise that everyone in a given society owes a duty to that society. A newborn infant may not have any understanding of what a "duty" actually is, but they are still considered a part of society in that they still have recognised rights. These same rights are awarded to the intellectually disabled, very elderly and pretty much anything else. Niether does a citizen need to agree with their government for there to be a government, nor a doctor agree with his employer for there to be an employer. It's because I can disagree with somebody in every possible sense of the word and yet feel they are worthy of human rights that human rights cannot be merely contractual. If my opponent wanted a discussion about social contract theory, then I'm afraid this is the wrong debate.

The response to this that my opponent used is that they are necessarily contractual because only a contract creates an obligation. While a contract creates a legal obligation, so too do laws, judicial rulings, executive orders and the like. I'm not arguing in this debate that rights derive from any sort of legal obligation, however. I'm arguing that we have a moral obligation to be logically consistant and rational in our awarding of rights. So not only is it not the only source of legal obligation, it's also totally irrelevant to my case. As my opponent agreed in his own definition of obligation, there are other kinds of obligations. I would even go so far as to argue that the concept of a "contract" presupposes the moral obligation to be logically consistant and rational, because without this concept the contract would be meaningless.

In addition, on a more moral level, the standard here isn't sufficient for awarding rights. The reason why our society makes these kinds of contracts is to avoid harms, but animals experience these harms too. If there were no harms there would be no contracts, and therefore only an examination of the harms is sufficient (think of the tortured dog I discussed earlier). As it so happens, the harms are the same, and our experience of them is the same.

However, let us ignore all that and assume for a moment that I'm wrong about this and that contracts really are the basis for everything in society, including rights. The specifics my opponent has identified for why animals cannot contract is they cannot form one and there is no legal consideration. While inability to form a contract is never a basis for rights (recall my example of torturing a guy after knocking him out), I argue that not all contracts are agreed to explicitly. For instance, by browsing this site you have implicitly agreed to abide by the terms of use. Juggle has not negotiated, in English, an agreement with every user of this site. So speaking English is no requirement for a contract. There is a legal principle in much of the world that both parties need to understand the contract for it to be legal, but animals do understand many obligations. The obligation to not kill each other, for instance, is inherent to all herd or pack based animals. Even if the obligation is only for immediate pleasure, it is still an obligation (although most of the time, animals can actually do things for reasons other than immediate pleasure).

Let us come to consideration. First, what is the consideration in human rights? I gain the right not to be killed. The rest of society gains the right to not be killed by me. Now consider animal rights. Animals gain the right not to be killed. I gain the right to not be killed by animals. I know what you're thinking - that's not a benefit because we have that right already, right? I mean, elephants have no right to kill us! But what contract gives us this right (remember I'm making the false assumption here that all rights are based on contractual obligation)? Under the status quo we are assuming a right that according to my opponent's framework does not exist, and therefore gaining this right would be our legal consideration.

The net effect of all this is that contractionism as a basis for rights fails, is not sufficient, and even if it were true would still support the animal rights case.

Human Responsibility

Here my opponent argues that responsibility establishes permissability not obligation. In order to show this, my opponent also needs to rebut my material for why we "ought" to be responsible, which happens in the next section. As it so happens, my opponent had absolutely no rebuttal to this. Think about it with some context - if I make you responsible for baking a cake to my birthday party, then I am obliging you to do so. Anybody has the right to bake me a cake (in fact, you have the right to bake a cake for me even if it's not my birthday) but not everyone has the obligation. The reason why is because being responsible is one of the things we generally ought to do. To this my opponent said that superior outcomes aren't obligations either. That's true, but the recognition of them creates obligations. If we judge something superior and we want to create such a world, it only follows that we have to be a part of that change. Just because it is something we will for ourselves (as opposed to having it imposed on us) makes it no less of an obligation.

Take, for example, my opponent's example of the old person crossing the street. What my opponent described was a situation in which you might judge not helping the lady to cross to be a better outcome, either for yourself or for the lady. This cannot be taken to be responsibility towards the old lady because you do not consider yourself responsible for her. Let us assume you ARE responsible for the old lady, however. Let us further assume that this isn't a legal responsibility but a moral one - that you believe old ladies should be helped out very strongly, perhaps because you believe in compassion. In that case, there is a generally assumed obligation to do so (because obligation can derive from responsibility). Even on a pure semantic level the words "responsibility" and "obligation" can normally be used interchangably (http://thesaurus.com...) although of course this doesn't make it true. To win this point my opponent needs to prove WHY we are not obliged to follow our responsibilities, because again there is no criteria for what we should do that responsibility does not meet. I've already admitted that some people do not have the same standard of responsibility or do not follow it, but we already give those people the same rights so that isn't really an argument.

Con's Case

He didn't have one. All his points were rebuttals to my case. I expected to have something to rebut here so I'll just leave it at this.

I look forward to reading everything else my opponent has to say.
Zaradi

Con

Let me start the debate by saying that my opponent has misinterpreted many of my arguments. Whether the strawmanning was intentional or not remains to be seen, but from looking at my opponent I doubt it was. Therefore, allow me to clarify.

My argument is that morality must be somthing that obligates us to follow it. Otherwise, we would have no reason to follow it, and thus would only beg the question of why be moral. This means that contractarianism is the only plausible form of morality that can give us an obligation to do any action. Because animals and humans cannot and will not form a contract between the two of them, we can hold no obligation to give them those rights. We can do it and it would be a permissible action, that fact I never denied, but actually conceded in my case. But as the resolution is asking for an obligation, my opponent has to prove some sort of obligation to give them those rights, and that can only come from some sort of contractual agreement.

My opponent's first argument is that not everyone owes a duty to society. But remember, as I stated in my case, that contracts must be mutually beneficial. Take, for example, the examples my opponent uses, which are the infants and the mentally disabled. They hold no duty to the state, but rather the state holds a duty to them in the form of health care and treatment among other things. We, as normal citizens, hold a duty to the government in the form of taxes and what not. They hold a duty to us to give us protection and certain rights. Contracts do not, and are not, merely one way.

My opponent's second argument is that we don't need to recognize rights in order for the rights to exist, and thus rights cannot exist contractually. My opponent is correct. Contracts do not create rights. However, contracs, and the government as my argument is, recognize rights and allow others to utilize those rights. We cannot recognize our own rights. I can't say that I suddenly have an inherent human right to reproduce and start raping chicks and getting them pregnant, nor can I say that I have an inherent human right to wealth and start stealing money from people to fuel my right. Rights must be recognized by an outside agent, in this case that outside agent is the government. And as the resolution is asking whether we hold a moral obligation to recognize animal rights, and not on whether those rights exist in the first place, this argument falls as well.

My opponent's third argument is that we are debating about a moral obligation, and not a legal one. This is true. It's good, then, that I'm supporting the ethical system of contractarianism, which does create this moral obligation. I'm merely using the government as an example to prove the validity of the theory and to clarify upon it's principles. But then secondly, my opponent has also done nothing to prove that a moral obligation exists outside of contractarianism other than we have a responsibility to do so, however that does not prove obligation, but rather permissibility. So even if you buy all of his responses, you still default to my case since I'm the only one providing some framework that establishes obligation.

Also, my opponent makes a few fatal drops from my case:

1. He drops my arguments as for why humans and animals cannot form a contract with one another, but rather attacks the concept of contractarianism as a whole instead. Because of that, if I'm even winning a sliver of a chance of contractarianism being true, you default to the negative position.

2. He drops the a priori argument that I made that if contractarianism is false, then there are no other ethical theories that actually provide an obligation. If morality doesn't obligate us to follow it, then it would only beg the question of why be moral, and then skepticism would follow, which means that it's impossible to hold an obligation in the first place. This means that even if you buy that contractarianism is false, and because he has not provided an alternative framework to work with, the resolution is still negated.

With that, my case still easily stands. This means you negate the resolution as I'm a) the only one providing a theory for why things are actually good or why morality actually obligates us, whereas my opponents case just makes assumptions that we hold those obligations and that those obligations exist in the first place. and b) even if you're not buying contractarianism, you still look to the dropped a priori argument that says if contracts aren't true then moral skepticism follows and then there can't be any moral obligations and the resolution is automatically false. This actually puts my opponent into a double bind because either a) he has to concede that contracts are true, and then you look to the two dropped reasons why humans and animals cannot make a contract together to negate or b) contracts aren't true and you look to the a priori. Either way, you negate off of my case. But now let's address his case.

My opponent claims that in order to disprove that responsibility establishes obligation that I needed to respond to why we 'ought' be responsible and I dropped that, but that's not true at all. I did respond to that by saying that all it does is blurs the lines of permissiblity and obligation. But moreover, in that section all he does is he says that the affirmative establishes a better world and then says "Don't you want to live in a better world? If so, then you're obligated to do something!" in a massively fallacious emotional appeal without any actual warrant as to why these obligations to be responsible exist. His "why we 'ought' to do it" section doesn't actually establish the moral obligations, but rather presumes that they exist. My opponent's only other argument is that of a semantical one that responsibility and obligation can be used interchangibly, but that doesn't actually prove they are the same as my opponent conceded.

My opponent also said that I don't have a case, but as I clarified in the comments, the contractarianism argument was my case, and I believe I made it fairly obvious that there was a difference in where I was responding to my opponent's case and where I was reading my own, specifically when I said "As such, there's no reason to affirm the resolution, as we possess no obligation to extend to animals these rights. With that's let's look at my opponent's case."

So because of this, the debate still breaks down simply:

1) I'm winning sufficient offense off of contractarianism to prove that it's true. And even if I'm not, my opponent has not provided an alternative theory to evaluate the round under, and thus this leaves the only option to be contractarianism. This means you look to the negative case.

2) If I'm proving contractarianism true (or if you're defaulting to it because there's no other way to evaluate the round), then you look to the dropped contentional arguments as to why we do not possess an obligation to recognize animal rights if contractarianism is true (which is the inability to use language and the mutual benefit argument). This means that under my case, you negate.

3) If you don't buy contractarianism, you look to the dropped a priori argument that says if contractarianism is false, then moral skepticism follows and then the resolution is automatically negated.

4) My opponent is not proving that obligations exist outside of contractarianism, much less that we have one to animals. Therefore, the affirmative case doesn't actually affirm the resolution.

Don't let him respond to the dropped arguments in the last round, as new arguments in the last round and inherently unfair to me.

The resolution is negated. I look forward to reading my opponent's final round.
Debate Round No. 3
larztheloser

Pro

I thank my opponent for a highly intelligent debate. We've been discussing whether there is a standard by which society's recognition of human rights is justified. I've been arguing that compassion is such a standard, and furthermore that the existance of human rights proves there must be such a standard, as humans cannot be justifiably distinguished from animals. My opponent argued that contracts are the only possible standard, and that they distinguish between humans and elements. I'm going to split his point into two like this, because I feel like he's going to whine at me (as he has done in the comments) unless I construe his case like it has some non-rebuttal material. I should point out, however, that in debating just because you SAY something is not rebuttal does not make that the case.

Contractarianism

My opponent needed to prove why contractarianism is the only possible form of moral obligation. My opponent asserts time and time again that all my obligations are irrelevant, and that only his standard counts. When I point out other obligations, he keeps claiming that they're rights or "permissable actions", not obligations. At some point he actually needs to back up those claims with some logic, or perhaps some evidence, given my significant amount of counter-analysis in the previous round. The only thing he says is that we have no reason to do anything other than follow contracts, which is absurd because I've given several reasons already throughout my case. The premise of his whole argument therefore fails.

My opponent accepts we owe a duty to the vulnerable in our society, although he also says they hold no duty to us (who my opponent confusingly calls "the state", even though contracts are by definition made between persons - "contracts" by the state are actually called "laws"). By his own logic this is therefore not a contract, because the consideration in the arrangement is not mutual. Otherwise we could form a contract we animals as vulnerable members of our society, just as we form a "contract" with babies. But if this isn't a contract, and we still afford them human rights, then contractarianism cannot be a sufficient standard to explain human rights, let alone animal ones. Therefore his argument fails logically.

My opponent accepts that contracts are not the reason for rights but a means of recognising rights. He argues that rights must be accepted by a third party to be true. A much simpler means of recognising rights would simply be to not kill animals, for instance. You don't NEED to ask anything of the animal in return. If the rights exist without contracts and contracts cannot be used to recognise them, then I suppose the only logical conclusion is that we should recognise them without contracts - not that we should abandon something we can reason exists. By this logic we might as well argue there are no rights at all, only the enforcement of rights that don't exist. This is illogical because human rights do exist.

Additionally, my opponent has asserted that contracts can create ethical obligations as opposed to legal ones. I'm going to deny that ethical contractarianism is even a thing, let alone one that we all have to follow and adhere to. Remember my argument that what we should do is a function of what we want to become. If ethically we want to become one thing, then we should be that thing, regardless of what my opponent's made-up system demands. Ethics is, after all, about justifying actions, not agreeing to them, so the whole conception of ethics as a contract makes no sense whatsoever.

We are all the same

You'll note that the largest paragraph of my argument is dedicated to dealing with the idea that animals cannot contract. I did in fact deal with every aspect of this argument and it's amazing my opponent thinks I dropped it. You'll recall that I argued contracts are not agreed to explicitly but implicitly - so if a contract can be made with a newborn infant to give them instant human rights (despite their inability to talk etc) then it can with animals too.

You'll also note that I did not drop my opponent's other argument that no other system provides an obligation. Indeed I argued both that he has not proven contractarianism does create an obligation, nor has he proven that my alternative of rights based on responsibility and logic does not. I further extended this case by showing that contractarianism is premised on these, so if contractarianism provides an obligation, then my alternatives necessarily do too. You'll note that both of these claimed drops are simply attempts to ignore some of my best material, which interestingly enough was ACTUALLY dropped by my opponent.

My opponent has also dropped my analysis that contracts have equal consideration with animals as with other humans. I'm not really sure why my opponent wanted to break up his case like this, both because it makes no sense and because he's provided no justifiable criteria for discriminating between humans and animals other than contractarianism - and on that, he's dropped all the directly relevant rebuttal points by claiming I've dropped them when I quite evidently hadn't. I suspect what's happened is that my opponent doesn't understand that I completely reorganised his jumbled case so that I could rebut it with reference to the arguments it addresses. For this reason I have done my opponent a service and answered his points more or less in sequence in this round.

Human Responsibility

My opponent continues to maintain this is a case for permissability not obligation, without any reasons for that.

He adds that it's an emotional appeal. As much as I am glad my argument is emotionally touching, it isn't supposed to be. I've given several logical reasons for why we have an obligation to do things we are responsible for, because I've argued we have an obligation to make the world what we consider to be a better place, which is an evolved part of who we are. In the same way as we are obliged to eat food or drink water, we are obliged to be compassionate - that includes not just compassion for humans, but compassion for animals as well. I made this point two rounds ago and my opponent has never engaged with it. In addition to that, I also argued that wants are tied to obligations - for instance, if you want a better world, you have to become part of a better world. Since a compassionate world is better than a self-interested one, we ought to be compassionate in our awarding of rights. Again, my opponent seems to refuse to admit that I made these arguments when he says it's purely emotional. The latter argument he briefly mentions when he says that it presumes moral obligations exist, but of course we already know that they do - this is why we have human rights.

Summary

My opponent has tried to turn this debate into something it isn't, by claiming a particular moral framework is the one and only correct one, and that using that framework discriminates between humans and animals in awarding rights. Not only is contractarianism not true just because my opponent said so, I've also shown that animals can contract (implicitly) and that they can be given consideration (just as an infant can). Furthermore, I've provided alternative standards that I've shown to be better - first, we should be rational in our discrimination between humans and animals. No morally relevant standards have been proven in this debate for why we should discriminate between them at all. Second, we should act responsibly.

I'm absolutely serious in saying that this debate is about what you think you ought to do, as you are a member of society. Should you do as my opponent says, and live your life according to his ethical worldview that doesn't even stack up in opposing animal rights? Or should you be logical and compassionate. I hope I've convinced you as to what ethical view you ought to hold.

The resolution is affirmed.
Zaradi

Con

As this is the last round, I will not be making new attacks against my opponent's case, but rather summarizing the round and defending my statements.

While the debate may look muddled and confusing to people looking over the rounds or, heaven forbid, skimming the lengthy posts, there's a very clear and easy way to look at the round, and they all point to the negative winning this debate.

Firstly, my opponent has yet to adequetly refute my argument about if contractarianism is not true, then moral skepticism follows, as if moral theories do not actually obligate us, then it only begs the question of why be moral or, to apply it to the debate and my opponent's case, why be responsible and this leads to moral skepticism, meaning that nothing can be morally obligatory and the resolution is automatically negated. My opponent tries to get out of this by saying that there are obligations that can exist outside of contractarianism, but these are the very things that are what skepticism questions why we do it. That would be like me saying "Because it's good" to the question "Why be good?". This puts my opponent in the double bind of either conceding to the skepticism argument and the resolution is instantly negated, or admitting that contractarianism works and then we default to the dropped reasons why a contract between humans and animals is impossible (I know, my opponent said he didn't drop them, but he did and I will explain where and why in a minute).

Secondly, because of the word "Ought" in the resolution, we are talking about why society has a MORAL OBLIGATION to recognize these rights. Therefore, it is on the affirmative to prove why society has the moral obligation to recognize animal rights. To do this, you would think that the affirmative would provide some ethical framework to establish how recognizing their rights is morally obligatory, as that would be required to prove the "why be moral" or "why is it obligatory" questions. My opponent has not done this. I am the only one providing some sort of ethical theory, under contractarianism (http://plato.stanford.edu...). This means that even if you're buying all of my opponent's refutations to it and think that contractarianism stinks, you have to look to it simply on a lack of alternatives. There's literally no other way provided by either myself or my opponent to evaluate the round. My opponent's sole prayer of proving a moral obligation is his point about being responsible for other's wellbeing or something like that, but he never proves a) why this creates a moral obligation or b) why we have to be responsible. Insofar as he's failed to prove this, responsibility can be viewed, at best, as a system to prove why it is permissible to give animals rights. However, as the resolution is asking us to prove a moral obligation, not permissibility, my opponent cannot, I repeat CANNOT, affirm the resolution. This leaves the only option in the round is voting with the negative position, as I'm best upholding my burden of proof.

Thirdly, my opponent has yet to directly address my arguments as to why a contract between humans and animals is not possible. He's tried to dance around it by saying how it applies to infants, and should thusly apply to animals or that implicit consent can be given instead of explicit consent. Yet my opponent has NOT addressed the three points under my argument that contracts must be based off of mutual benefit, and the three points are as to why a contract between humans and animals would not be of mutual benefit. He never responded to this. The only part of contractarianism that he responded to was my first argument (implicit consent vs. explicit consent) and contracts in general (all of his other arguments). He never touched these arguments throughout the entire round. This means that if you're looking to contractarianism at all, for whatever reason, then you negate the resolution since a contract with humans and animals would not work and could not happen.

As such, the debate breaks down very easily for voters to vote con.

1) You can negate off of contractarianism since it's the only provided theory to justify what morality is and why we have to be moral or responsible and off of the reasons why a contract between humans and animals would not work and could not happen.

2) If you buy my opponent's arguments against contractarianism, though, then you negate off of the moral skepticism point that since there is no other ethical theory provided, that there is no reason to be moral and there's no reason why we should act in a moral, responsible manner, and thus leads to skepticism, where there can be no moral obligations, meaning the resolution is a priori negated.

3) At the bare minimum, though, you negate off of a risk of offense and a failure to uphold the pro's burden of proof since my opponent has yet to provide a criteria for establishing moral obligation. My opponent never established why being responsible means we have an obligation, nor why we have to be responsible in the first place, meaning he cannot garner an obligation off of the argument. This means you literally cannot affirm the resolution, and the only option left is to negate.

I'd like to thank larz for this entertaining debate and wish him luck with the rest of the tournament. However, the resolution is negated, and I urge you to vote con.
Debate Round No. 4
37 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by babyy 4 years ago
babyy
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Posted by larztheloser 4 years ago
larztheloser
Zaradi, at some point you're going to have to stop attacking every person who makes a vote for me. Believe me, I have compelling grounds to make a case against most of the votes for you too, but they were detailed enough that I feel the voters put some effort into their decision. The argument you just mentioned, for instance, was never backed up by you with any evidence in the debate despite me repeatedly calling for it, and providing several good reasons why we ought to be morally obliged ie because a compassionate world is a better one. I hate bad voting more than most people (for instance, I do wish Larry hadn't voted for me), but not only did DeFool tell you what you did wrong, he also gave you some advice for next time. He's made a serious effort to give you a reasoned and obviously very careful vote. If I didn't know better I'd say you're attacking him not because of how he voted but because of who he voted for.
Posted by Zaradi 4 years ago
Zaradi
Aaaaaand that's not what I just said at all. I never argued that society wasn't a part of societal cooperation. I said that compassion and responsibility do not give us a moral obligation to do anything.

And yeah, your RFD was kind of clear to you leaning his way because his argument was more "readable" and presentable.
Posted by DeFool 4 years ago
DeFool
As to the "insufficiency" arguments, I agree that compassion is insufficient as a basis for societal cooperation - but it is a necessary component. Necessary, but not sufficient. I can return to the debate at some point today, and ensure that this argument was present in the arguments, if you like. Without having them in front of me right now (I'm on my phone), I feel fairly certain that I remember the point correctly.
Posted by DeFool 4 years ago
DeFool
Zaradi, I am trying to say that I scored S&G points for readability.
Posted by Zaradi 4 years ago
Zaradi
@DeFool:

So you voted pro because his case was more readable. Is that what you're trying to say? Because if so, you missed entire paragraphs talking about how this compassion and responsibility were insufficient to form a moral obligation which refute his arguments.
Posted by DeFool 4 years ago
DeFool
Since this debate has seen allegations of poor RFD, I want to quickly elaborate on my own thinking. For me, the question of how worthwhile compassion should be in a given society was decisive. I was glad to have seen this argument presented by Pro:

"My claim is that compassion is a more responsible alternative to self-interest."

I was disappointed somewhat that this conclusion was not more forcefully supported, but I never saw any argument that could counter it, even partially. My own views, barely relevant, hold that self-interest is identical to compassion... and this argument would have served Con well. However, this was not the focus of his argument, which for too long centered on the "contract" argument.

I did not agree that this contract topic was "dropped," as much as simply barely relevant. Such arguments are often very useful - as feints. (In this case, I did not see "drops" as much as a refusal to be lured into a matador's red cape.)

I also found Pro's language to be simple, easy to follow, and concise. I was quickly attracted to his formatting, sentence structure, and could rapidly study his argument. Although Con made no unforgivable errors, I found myself giving more time to Pro's case - simply because of it's readability.
Posted by Zaradi 4 years ago
Zaradi
Impressive vote Larry. Doesn't have anything to do with the debate.
Posted by socialpinko 4 years ago
socialpinko
The debate came down to which ethical theory was better supported, Con's contractarianism or Pro's somewhat ambiguous compassion argument. However, accepting Pro's argument was absolutely necessary, given that even if one rejects both arguments, one will still default to moral skepticism and thus default to a Con vote.

On contractarianism, Pro offers a few excellent rebuttals, making its truth doubtful. The fact that we naturally give moral credence to people incapable of mutual consent i.e., children and infants disproves this. Con's response that animal contracts lack mutual benefit was shown false considering it undermines itself in relation to the protection of infants/children.

However, when it came down to it, Pro was unable to defend his moral argument, thus causing a default to skepticism. Neither debater upheld their respective standard particularly well, though Con's attempt to show that Pro's argument seems to also presuppose contractarianism held in his favor. Con wins simply due to his lesser BoP in the debate.
Posted by Chicken 4 years ago
Chicken
Pro, So i won't hold it against you con, just be careful with bare impacts, because they are easy turns with the right evidence. Your Voters are all good, so that actually does give me voting ground. Basically I'm going to compare both debaters impacts and see who ultimately outweighs who.

The RFD will be based like this.

PRO

First- Pro's only standing argument- Human Responsibility (Compassion)

Second- The Impact- Easy affirmative ground, untouched, impact gives emotional standard of care, no correlation with morality (Although it's easy to make one, Con fails to give one) Outweighs any Self-Interest Impacts (Benefiting contracts, etc.).

CON

First- Contractarionism-

Second- Impact- Rights based off of Contracts, or need to be binded by contract (Shifting format throughout debate). Conceded completely, A Priori argument

RFD-

I Vote Con, although Pro would normally win off of his Contention Two, which wipes out half of Con's arguments on humans only creating contracts to benefit (Because Compassion outweighs self-interest, which goes conceded by Con) Con still has the massive A Priori argument on obligations, and the inability to successfully create any sort of contract with animals. Also, Contracts are conceded by Pro, so that's the weighing mechanism in the round now, which is a bit overbearing for Pro, because now Pro has to have multiple advocacies to backup both the resolution and a contract. Pro locked himself up as soon as he let the contractarionism theory stand (Attacking bits and pieces does not substantiate attacking a theory). Good debate by both sides, was enjoyable, I would however like to see evidence to backup alot of both sides claims (Debate isn't pure analytics, and although you both did give sources to backup bigger arguments, there were plenty of arguments on both sides that called for evidence to increase the weight of the argument in the round.)
8 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 8 records.
Vote Placed by DeFool 4 years ago
DeFool
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Reasons for voting decision: In R2, Pro makes a compelling case: "Will we live in a compassionate society or not?" He argues that if the answer is yes, then animal rights must be a part of that society - and this logic seems airtight to me. Pro also argues that inconsistencies in the application of this compassion should not negate its worth in all cases. ("there must be justifiable, relevant limits" to our actions) I felt that the discussion became a bit muddled in the center, with arguments that were diversionary - this could have been intentional, feints in debate are common. For me, the 'compassion' argument required a very strong rebuttal, which can not have been fielded without arguing that society ought not to value compassion. I always try and score for S&G, and felt that Pro made fewer errors here. Both sides were respectful and measured. Important: the argument that animal rights ought to be valued is required by the argument that compassion ought to be valued in a society.
Vote Placed by AlwaysMoreThanYou 4 years ago
AlwaysMoreThanYou
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Reasons for voting decision: What the hell, larry.
Vote Placed by LarryLemon1 4 years ago
LarryLemon1
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Reasons for voting decision: I believe giving the definition of society in the beginning of the pro case gave him the advantage. If you are going to point out all of the "abusive" arguements, you are wasting characters. Pro did have a bad start, but his definition brought it up again. Victory goes to the pro.
Vote Placed by socialpinko 4 years ago
socialpinko
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Reasons for voting decision: RFD in comments.
Vote Placed by Chicken 4 years ago
Chicken
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Reasons for voting decision: So I'm typing my RFD as I read (Due to the new 1,000 Word limit yay!) So both debaters can see what I see (I am a Lincoln Douglas Debater.) Right off the bat- Con you took the words right out of my mouth on that definition, but why let it stand? Abusive argumentation can still stand if that definition goes conceded. Pro, your case started out extremely weak, but upon reading the Compassion Segment, (Human Responsibility) I am quite intrigued by the path that you have taken. Con, Contractual obligation theory, better to run a moral agency theory against society, but sufficient. Con, your second point on Con 2 is very dangerous, and an easy turn (Considering I've seen that exact argument turned plenty of times with sufficient evidence). A war or mass extinction impact turn would ruin that case. Side note- Your entire contention is still based around point 2 (1 and 3 are far too specific for a theory), all the more reason it is dangerous. IMPORTANT NOTE: REST OF RFD IN COMMENTS SECTION.
Vote Placed by RationalMadman 4 years ago
RationalMadman
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Reasons for voting decision: The feasibility issues as well as lack of need for it was only emotionally appealed against by pro.
Vote Placed by DeeZeeQuinn 4 years ago
DeeZeeQuinn
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Reasons for voting decision: You guys went too far with a simple debate....we are heathens if we can't see that animals have rights, especially the right to live. We choose them, they do not choose us.
Vote Placed by OMGJustinBieber 4 years ago
OMGJustinBieber
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Reasons for voting decision: Well done on both sides, Pro was able to sufficiently uphold the BoP. I felt Con's case was a little confused at times, and Pro points this out in R4. More in comments.