The Instigator
darnocs1
Pro (for)
Losing
3 Points
The Contender
Danielle
Con (against)
Winning
4 Points

The end result is superior to the process

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 2 votes the winner is...
Danielle
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 2/7/2011 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 6 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 5,029 times Debate No: 14699
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (3)
Votes (2)

 

darnocs1

Pro

Ever since the beginning of time, progress has been pursued, and through that progress, excellence has been achieved. However, some debate has arisen over whether the process is as good as or better than the end result. My stance is that the end result is superior to the process.

I'll start by defining the resolution, and the burdens:
End result: the final result or outcome of an activity or process
Superior: greater in quality or value
Process: a series of actions or steps taken in order to achieve a particular end
Debater Burdens: I must show how the end result is greater in quality/value than the process; my opponent must show how the process is either A. greater in quality/value than the end result, or B. the two are of equal quality/value.

Argument 1: Good goals should be pursued
Obviously anything can be used for good or for evil. A hammer can be used to do harm or to construct. Likewise, you can have an end result that is evil, such as a robbery, or a process is that is evil, such as shooting someone to get something. Thus, the focus of the debate ought to be on good goals, and examining the value of the end result and the process in light of that.

Argument 2: The process is only good to the extent that it achieves the end goal
You may love your grandma. You may want to visit your grandma. Your grandma is the end goal. There are many ways–many processes–of getting to your grandma's house. But even if you have a new Camero, the process–the car–is still only useful if it brings you to your goal. The car–albeit cool–has no intrinsic value, while your grandma does. In the same way, the end result–the purpose–has more value than does the process of getting to that end result. The very reason the process exists is to achieve the end result–and there are many processes. A process may offer construction during the time it takes, but unless that process is used to further the end goal, the process is worthless. The end goal, however, remains the same and still has inherent quality and value regardless of if the process exists.

Argument 3: The end result is superior to the process
As we can see, the end result is most assuredly superior to the process.
The end result is the purpose. The end result has more value than the process. The end result is the reason the process exists. The process, on the other hand, is only useful if it achieves the end goal. Otherwise, it lacks value and quality.
Thus, the end result is superior to the process.

I look forward to my opponent's response!
Danielle

Con

Many thanks to my opponent for beginning this debate.

Despite the ambiguous resolution, through reading I've come to understand that the topic is essentially equivalent or very similar to Niccol� Machiavelli's famous declaration that the ends justify the means.

I'll begin by looking at Pro's first argument: that good goals ought to be pursued. First and foremost, this is not an argument. It is a statement. Even if I were to agree with this declaration, it is not a contention in favor of the ends (goals) justifying the process that helps get them there. As such, this cannot be considered an argument in my opponent's favor. Moreover this statement becomes problematic when what makes a "good" goal is disputed.

Pro makes a similar mistake with his second "argument" which is not really an argument at all, but a repeat of the resolution. He states "The process is only good to the extent that it achieves the end goal." That is again not a contention in Pro's favor, but instead what he's trying to prove in the first place. Nevertheless I understand what he is getting at. Pro says the value of the process is entirely irrelevant; only the value of achieving the goal (or not) matters. For instance if he takes a Camaro to visit his grandma, it matters not how cool the car he drove was but the fact that he made it to his grandmother's house.

However suppose Pro had the car to get to his grandmother's house, but could not afford the gas. Now suppose Pro had the means to steal the gas money. Would visiting his grandmother be worth it and equally moral if he had to act immorally in the process to achieve that goal? Or did the fact that he stole somewhat diminish the integrity of the act?

We cannot ignore what one does to achieve their goal, for it is equally if not more important than achieving the goal itself. For example, if being elected president was the final goal and more important than everything that came before that, then why do we take such care in whom we elect? The point is to make sure candidates have gained the knowledge and life experience to be able to utilize the reward of that goal. This is only possible if they endured the process to get them to that level -- otherwise they wouldn't be prepared.

Before I continue, I'll point out that Pro makes the mistake again with his third "argument" considering it states merely that the end result is superior to the process. Once again, that's simply re-stating the resolution. Essentially Pro repeats that the end result is the purpose, so it must have more value than the process.

While it's true that the end result is the reason the process exists, it's not true that the process is only useful if it achieves the end goal. For instance suppose I went on a diet to lose weight. I started eating healthier and going to the gym. While I did lose fat, I simultaneously put on muscle so I did not in fact lose any weight. However in the process I became healthier, stronger, more lean and got in better shape. In that way the process didn't help me achieve the goal at all, but still proved to be useful in other ways.

Here's another example. The goal of an Olympic athlete is to prove to be the best in the world at their particular sport. Through hard work and dedication one can achieve this goal by winning at the games. However one can be severely helped in achieving this goal by taking steroids or other performance enhancing drugs to give them the edge. If that were the case, would achieving their goal really have the same merit as if they had persevered on their own? Obviously not. In this way the moment of "winning" or being awarded the medal isn't what makes the honor of winning great. That win is supposed to represent everything that came before that: all of the hard work and dedication that it took to get them to that point. The win/goal is about celebrating the process itself.

Thanks, Pro, and back to you.
Debate Round No. 1
darnocs1

Pro

My gratitude is extended to my opponent for courteously accepting this debate opportunity.

I'll be addressing all of the Con's arguments against my case, and then addressing the independent arguments that they brought up.

In defense of my first argument, Con simply makes a critique that this is a statement and not an argument.
I can clarify: the argument exists in the sense that it sets a practical limitation for the purposes of this debate round. Con claims that this isn't an argument, but that doesn't really refute the claim that I established: anything can be used for good or bad.
Con goes on to say that the argument of what is "good" is relative. However, my two responses are simply this: 1. we can both presumably agree on a rational level of "good," and 2. Con actually uses several examples talking about contrasts of "good" and "bad" when referencing "stealing gas money," and "taking steroids." We both agree that these actions are, for all practical purposes, unethical, things that we would not consider good. So Con's argument that "good" is relative is really contradicted by their own arguments.

Con again critiques the argument tag, but really doesn't adequately address the argument behind it. The process–the way you achieve your goal–is not as important as the goal itself. Con then makes the claim that you can act "immorally" (while, note previously, Con implied that what is "good" is somewhat uncertain), but we've already established that we should only look at examples of end goals and processes that are used in good ways–this argument was not disputed, and thus still stands in this debate. If I were to steal gas to go to my grandma's house, that would be a bad or "immoral" action by both Pro and Con standards, and as a result, is not good, and thus doesn't really go to prove anything in this debate (since we're looking at only good examples).
The argument still stands: driving to my grandma's house (the process) is still inferior to the end goal (my grandma). The example of the President is directly refuted by the tag of my argument: the process (in this case, elections) are only good to the extent that they achieve the end goal (a good President). The process–writing a person's name on a piece of paper–is part of the way to achieve the goal–a good President–but is not more valuable than the good President. There are other ways to achieve the same goal–many monarchies have good leaders without elections. The process really doesn't have intrinsic worth, while the end goal does. The process of building skills is only useful if those skills are used to further the good purpose of becoming an effective and capable leader. Otherwise, you can build up skills all you want, but if they aren't used for the end goal of making a good leader, those skills–that process–will essentially have little to no worth.

Precisely: the end result IS the purpose, therefore it must have more value than the process. As previously pointed out, the process is not inherently good of itself. Con admits that the process exists for the purpose of furthering the end goal. The diet is a somewhat poor example, because (assuming a person were overweight) you generally have to lose body fat in order to begin building muscle strength. Thus, the original end goal would be achieved, along with another benefit–another end goal, essentially: a stronger, healthier person.
The Olympic example again falls prey to the limitation we previously established: we both agree taking steroids would be "not good," so that doesn't apply. However, the end goal–winning a medal–would be better than the process–taking steroids–just like the end goal–a healthier person–would be better than the process–becoming a healthier person.

All in all, my arguments still stand. Con has presented a few examples but hasn't presented any true arguments supporting her side. Even if the process is good, its the end goal that has value.

I look forward to Con's response.
Danielle

Con

Thanks, Pro.

Pro clarifies the point of his first argument: that anything can be used for good or bad. For instance a knife can be used to cut a slice of pie, or it could be used to cut someone's throat. While that's true, that is not an argument in favor of the resolution. It's merely a notation. Just because it's true that something can be used for good or bad doesn't establish why the end result is superior to the process. It merely states that processes can be used for different goals.

Nevertheless I agree with Pro's assertion that we can agree on semi-universal ethical standards of "good," however, my point was that these standards are not universal. For instance I think gay marriage is a good idea while Pro might think it's a bad idea. Just because we both agree that stealing is immoral doesn't mean we agree on a universal good and bad -- that was my only point. However throught this round Pro tries to make it appear as if I contradicted myself in pointing this out. That's ridiculous. Once again, we may have similar standards of right and wrong but that doesn't mean everyone agrees on what is right and wrong.

Moving on, Pro writes "Con again critiques the argument tag, but really doesn't adequately address the argument behind it. The process - the way you achieve your goal - is not as important as the goal itself." Once again we can see that my opponent's literally just repeating the resolution and presenting it as an argument in favor of the resolution. He simply re-stated the topic in a different way.

Pro continues, "We've already established that we should only look at examples of end goals and processes that are used in good ways - this argument was not disputed, and thus still stands in this debate." I'm not really sure what Pro is talking about here, but nevertheless I've argued from this perspective in the last round already. For example training to win an Olympic medal is an example of a good goal with good processes. In that case, I've already made the argument of why the process is more important (see: last round).

Pro writes, "The argument still stands: driving to my grandma's house (the process) is still inferior to the end goal (my grandma)." This is a loaded example. Obviously seeing his grandma is the highlight of his day and more pleasant than the journey. Likewise losing 10lbs is more meaningful than just the exercising and dieting to get there. However like my Olympic example, it's easy to find other comparisons where the process is equally or more valuable.

For instance, getting a diploma is the end result of attending college. However simply receiving your diploma is not as valuable as what you learned along the way to earn that diploma. If I handed Person X a degree in computer science on his first day of class and asked him to fix my computer, he would be ineffective. However someone whose endured some of the learning process but hasn't achieved their diploma (goal) yet might have the know-how and experience necessary to successfully fix the computer. Even if someone didn't achieve their goal of graduating with the degree, they would still have learned something valuable along the way.

Therefore, the process was superior to the end result in this and other examples. This translates to the resolution being equated/negated. In other words I have fulfilled my burden of proving the process can at least be equally important to the end result, whereas Pro has not proven that the end result is necessarily more important than the process. This successfully negates Pro's assertion that the process doesn't have intrinsic worth. If that were true, people wouldn't feel proud about coming in second place (for example) but that's not the case. At bes you can say it's subjective on a case-by-case basis.

I'm out of characters for now -- back to you, Pro.

Debate Round No. 2
darnocs1

Pro

darnocs1 forfeited this round.
Danielle

Con

Unfortunately my opponent was not able to post a final round in time. Please extend my arguments.

Thank you very much for the debate, Pro, and good luck.
Debate Round No. 3
3 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Posted by darnocs1 6 years ago
darnocs1
My apologies to Con for running out of time on my response. Thank you very much for the debate.
Posted by wolverine.ks 6 years ago
wolverine.ks
which debates aren't ambiguous?
Posted by MTGandP 6 years ago
MTGandP
This is a really ambiguous topic.
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by darnocs1 6 years ago
darnocs1
darnocs1DanielleTied
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Total points awarded:30 
Vote Placed by Danielle 6 years ago
Danielle
darnocs1DanielleTied
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Total points awarded:04