The Instigator
TUF
Pro (for)
Losing
6 Points
The Contender
arturo
Con (against)
Winning
14 Points

The subject of morality is subjective to society

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 1/8/2011 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 6 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 7,391 times Debate No: 14319
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (97)
Votes (5)

 

TUF

Pro


I would Like to challenge you to a debate, on an idea which I find most indefinitely profound. In debates, arguments, or attempts at provng points, I have found that most people like to bring up the concept of morality to back up the argument they are proposing.

This debate will be directed toward the issue of whether or not we can accurately say that something is moral, or whether morality is deemed by an individual or society.

So I would like to start off this round by thanking my opponent for respectfully accepting this debate, and wish him good luck with the proceedings of this debate.I would like to start by defining some words, and key terms of interest for this debate.

Morality
1. Conformity to the rules of right conduct; moral or virtuous conduct.
2. Moral quality or character.
Ethics
1. A system of moral principles: the ethics of a culture.
2. The rules of conduct recognized in respect to a particular class of human actions or a particular group, culture, etc.: medical ethics; Christian ethics.
Society
1. An organized group of persons associated together for religious, benevolent, cultural, scientific, political, patriotic, or other purposes. 2. A body of individuals living as members of a community; community.

All definitions taken from www.dictionary.com

Every nation ridicules other nations, and all are right.

This is a quote from Arthur Schopenhauer, That I firmly believe is true.

In our country with our politics, and the way we run our country, we feel superior to most governments and political fronts due to the fact that we have an (arguably) working governmernment. Most of us feel that the way we run things here in our country, are better then some of the way things are run in, say, a communistic government.

However, Most communistic governments have been that way for extremely long periods of time, and feel comfortable with the way they run things. In fact, some countries look at our country as inferior because of the way we run our country, and the democracy we have here.

The point Is, no matter how much we think the way we do things is right, another country, full of different seperate societies, believe the way they do things is right as well. That doesn't mean either side is wrong, just that both sides are right according to different perspectives.

 

Which leads me into my second point.

 

It is impossible to say that that something is right and wrong. Every human being has what I like to call, beleifs. Beliefs that determine the "why" for reasons we do things. If a serial killer has a belief or a perception that murdering innocents is wrong, there is probably an outlying number of citizens who either agree or dis-agree with him. While murder and killing is a more serious issue now, and more people have turned against the prospect, we cannot forget that in past centuries the killing of people was quite a popular (though sadistic) outlook for people. Most germans believed that by exterminating jewish people, they were ridding the world of infestation and creating good. And while there is an outbreak of opinion in the moral factor leaning towards that being "wrong", we cannot forget that their society deemed what they were doing as morally "right".

 

To conclude the round I will be saying that although Morality is Subjective, The fact that a standard code of ethics is used, that we can probably say a utalitarianism environment of people agree with, there will always be the opposing factor believing their prospect is more "right" per se.

 

I look forward toward my opponents response. Thankyou :)

arturo

Con

Thanks everyone this is a topic I'm delighted to debate about. For my purpose of the debate, I will be arguing that morality is objective and is not unique to each society.

What does this mean? This means that morality is a set of principles or truth claims regarding the actions of an individual. Morality is that by which we can recognize and judge whether or not what a person has done is right or wrong.

How is this different from subjective morality? When we consider that morality is objective, we recognize a standard. What is considered by my opponent as differences in moralities is actually differences in understanding and lacking in understanding of this single, common objective set of principles. So when we say that our government (as Schopenhaur does) feels it has the best moral principles, what we are actually saying is that we have the best understanding of moral principles, not the moral principles in and of themselves. This will be further clarified in the debate.

And so, introductions aside let's get to the debate. I will first examine my opponents definition,then I will make my case in the form of 2 arguments, and then I will rebut my opponents statements.

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DEFINITIONS
===========

One problem I have with my opponents definition is that they are taken from an arbitrary source likedictionary.com. The very essence of this debate is to define what morality is, and it is extremely crude and against the spirit of the debate to just spit out a layman and preconceived notion for the purposes of the argument. There are also some fallacies in the definitions themselves.

Dictionary.com's definition for morality is circular : morality is the "moral quality or character" - so we define morality in terms of morality. Great! The same with ethics, "The ethics of a culture."

For one, morality and ethics are not the same thing. Morality is from the Greek and Ethics is from the Latin. They are both referring to the same thing, the right and wrong acts of the individual. What we are asking in this debate is whether the individual/society makes up what's right and wrong or that they don't make it up but instead recognize it as an intrinsic part of reality that they recognize and that by which they judge whether or not something is right or wrong.

ARGUMENTS

1) The Consequences of Moral Relativism
Society cannot exist built upon relativism, there must be some form of absolute foundation for the subjective value of moral relativism. Certain immoral acts feel good on the surface but they have bad consequences. The classic example is that, although the majority of individuals in WW2 Germany valued anti-semitism, it had horrific consequences both on their society and the rest of the world. Where do we draw the line between a majority that values the good? And if and when we do, how can we ensure that it's even good unless there is some certain standard by which we recognize the good rather than some subjective meaning that we make up for ourselves.

So I say there must be some objective moral value that we hold as a foundation for relativism (however that's a contradiction and ultimately defeats the case on PRO's side). I anticipate and hope however, that my opponent will bring up some values for relativism.

2) Why Do We React in the Face of Immorality?
I'd like to also point to some realism within society. I think it's pretty clear to say that there is an automatic reaction to immorality with a proposed objective moral action. Try punching a relativist and say you believe punching is moral. Sure, the relativist can punch you back but notice that he does so out of spite because fundamentally some immorality has been committed and he has reason for revenge. The skeptic can say this is all spontaneous but that's not in the spirit of the debate (and further defeats the resolution because if it's spontaneous then it's not subjective at all but completely random). However going back to the original point, when we are faced with an immoral action, especially if it's unrecognized within society, there is an inherent capacity for reason within ourselves to fight about what's truly right & wrong. To pursue this is to look for a proper recognition of right and wrong rather than what taking what society or some individual has come up with themselves.

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REBUTTALS
=========

My opponent has said a lot of things but I will take the time now to address them in full. Let's begin.

1) "The point is, no matter how much we think the way we do things is right, another country, full of different separate societies, believe the way they do thinks is right as well. That doesn't mean either side is wrong, just that both sides are right according to different perspectives."

2) " It is impossible to say that that something is right and wrong. Every human being has what I like to call, beleifs. Beliefs that determine the "why" for reasons we do things...Most germans believed that by exterminating jewish people, they were ridding the world of infestation and creating good. And while there is an outbreak of opinion in the moral factor leaning towards that being "wrong", we cannot forget that their society deemed what they were doing as morally "right"."

Well, I was going to treat both his points in two but they honestly stem from one fundamental point which isn't really a point at all. My opponent really has just made a bunch of assertions with no really argumentation to support these. I acknowledge the fact that we see Germans exterminating Jews and that they believed that this was the right thing to do - but was their belief TRUE? Can their belief be recognized as reasonable, rational and moral behaviour? We've recognized pretty clearly after the fact that this is not the case. You can point to some people and say that oh, they say that the holocaust was wrong but they are hypocrites because they do X - yet this doesn't discredit the fact that the holocaust was wrong, and by the virtue of the fact that you name them as hypocrites you are inherently saying that what they are doing is immoral and therefore appealing to an objective standard.

Ultimately, my opponent can't recognize the difference between believing something is true and then recognizing whether it's true or not. The very purpose of this debate is to do just that, and hence why we argue and appeal to our capacity for reason in order to understand who is right or wrong. Likewise we do in justice and in our own moral pursuits - to recognize if something was moral or immoral, good or evil, right or wrong.

To give you an example - let's say two individuals were looking at a wine glass. One person says it looks purple, the other says it looks red. By my opponents standard, just because the two individuals believe in the perception that they experience, their individual beliefs are subjective and ultimately perception is subjective. However, we can appeal to reason and say, oh well perhaps the lighting is off, or their positioning in the objective space they are in is affecting the colour that they are experiencing - when we factor in these objective variables we make an objective conclusion and determine what belief was ultimately right or wrong. Likewise we do with morality.

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SUMMARY
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For this round, I've made two arguments for moral absolutism, that morals aren't subjective things that we believe in but rather objective truth principles by which we judge and recognize an action to be moral or immoral. I've rebutted my opponents assertions. At this point in the debate, it is very reasonable to conclude that morality is objective rather than subjective. Hence, I urge you to VOTE PRO!
Debate Round No. 1
TUF

Pro

Subjective V.S. Objective

Definitions

Subjective: of, affected by, or produced by the mind or particular state of mind; of or resulting from the feelings or temperament of the subject, or person thinking; not objective; personal subjective judgment.

Objective: Of or having to do with a known or perceived object as a distinguished from something existing only in the mind of the subject or person thinking.

Both definitions are taken from the Webster's new world dictionary (second college edition). Hopefully this source for definitions is more appeasing for my opponent. It is a dictionary after all :)


As I talk about society and how morality ties into the subjective matter of effect, we see that by definition, we have an exact application of how subjective it is for morality to be tied into the same standard as effected by society. Morality is, (as all things are), produced by the mind or particular state of mind. See definition. When Morality issues arise, it is society who is effected by judgements on the predicament. See definition. And last but not least, it is cause for those who are not moral (societal standards), who in fact feel the results from the feelings or temperament of the subject. See definition.

In all aspects of the definition of subjective, we find relative cause for it being subjective to society.

Now depending on which approach my opponent would take with the route of the question at hand being objective, it is still either supportive of my case, or absolutely non-relative. A perceived object distinguished only existing in the mind of the subject or person thinking is pretty much equal to society. Thus he is taking the objective approach supporting the subjective theme. Or the other approach that to be objective is to pursue something of subject matter that is only detrimental to morality.
In both cases, it is safe to say that Subjective is a far better word to place on the attachment to society.

Definitions

My opponent has a problem with the definitions I have provided. In order to better satisfy him as well as the readers, I attempted looking at other dictionary sources, however all led to the same if not the exact definition. In each there was a defining factor stating "moral quality, or character". Fallacy indeed, but must we correct the dictionary? Whether the definition has fallacies or not, I'm sure the basic understanding of morale and ethics, is well perceived by all individuals. If my opponent would like to offer a more prudent definition for the words, I would be more than happy to abide by them for the remainder of the debate. :)

I agree with my opponent that ethics and morality comes from two different cultures, both referring to the same thing. I also realise that this case is about society VS Individual. However I fail to see the how neither come into play seeing as it is the subject of debate.

Moral Relativism

I agree that each society is built upon different moral beliefs and that certain actions bring up certain consequences that for some individuals feel can be negative. This is a very good point, and I'm glad my opponent brought this up. When countries like Germany dictated their standards that the rest of the world thought were immoral, and then the country faced negative results from their actions, it changed their belief on morality the same. Before a child touches a hot oven without being told he would be burnt, did he know that touching the oven was wrong? Same scenario, variation of the theme. America is built on a democratic society, in which the people get the deciding vote on how everything is run in our country. China is a communistic government, and run things seperably. While china faces huge problems as any other country, they have their own ways of fixing things, which most Americans would argue as immoral. However, for the Chinese government, they believe the way they fix population increases, is beneficial. While some believe it is wrong, most would agree that the way they do it has worked, and the Chinese have not yet felt the detrimental effect letting their moralities know what they have done is wrong. Their societal standards are different from ours and tell us that what they do is right. The same can be said for people who choose to have abortions, or any other hot issue of morality, such as death penalty.

However, Moral relativism in actuality is different from my opponents proposed definition, and actually goes along with exactly what I am trying to prove.

" The term ‘moral relativism’ is understood in a variety of ways. Most often it is associated with an empirical thesis that there are deep and widespread moral disagreements and a Meta ethical thesis that the truth or justification of moral judgments is not absolute, but relative to some group of persons. Sometimes ‘moral relativism’ is connected with a normative position about how we ought to think about or act towards those with whom we morally disagree, most commonly that we should tolerate them."

http://plato.stanford.edu...

The line I have bolded submits to the fact that there are different groups of people who must belong to different societies with obvious differences of beliefs.
It is true that if I punch someone, I will probably feel an obvious reaction, to immorality. That is because I have been born and raised in a mostly Christian society, as have most Americans, that teaches us that hurting someone, or infringing on their rights is any way shape or form is wrong. My beliefs, go along with my societal beliefs, as I'm sure yours, and many others do as well. However, taking a completely different person, from a completely different society, (perhaps his society teaches that punching people is okay), we cannot say that they would feel the same immoral consequences. Members of Al quida and the Taliban are taught that by committing acts of terror, they will be rewarded in the afterlife. Our societal standards say that terrorism is evil. For there's, they are praised and held in the absolute highest regard.

Reactions to Immorality

In our society, if someone commits a crime or wrongs us, we often seek revenge, which is a leading factor concluding why we have one of the most controversial nations, and why people sue so much.
If someone steals my wallet, I am going to assume that person is of low moral quality. If I steal someone's wallet, and I have my set reasons why I did it, I may or may not feel those immoral actions. If I needed that wallet to feed my family, I may feel like it is a better impact I am serving by doing. In reality, and for realists, they may not say this is a plausible reaction. However this doesn't change the fact that those from different societies born and raised under different moral principles will feel arguably un-effected.


MY CASE

Societal moral differences

"
I acknowledge the fact that we see Germans exterminating Jews and that they believed that this was the right thing to do - but was their belief TRUE?"

Now that is the question this whole debate is essentially about. Was their belief true? According to yours, and my belief, no. They were absolutely horrible, in our opinions. But that's the key word, 'opinion'. In their opinions, or beliefs as I prefer to call them what they were doing was right. They were a completely separate society believing that killing and exterminating certain grou

arturo

Con

Hello everyone, before I begin I'd just like to mention that in my last round I urged you to vote CON. Haha, silly mistake, but let's go on with the debate.

Unfortunately, much of my opponents statement was riddled with definitions and there were no new arguments made. However, I will continue to address his remarks in full.

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INTRO
=====

I agree with my opponents definition, I don't think dictionaries would screw up objective/subjectivity. Though I'd like to note that there is the possibility of a subjective consensus.

What is a subjective consensus?
When there is a multiple number of people who agree on their opinions. Ultimately, this understanding is subjective because it's based on the subjects within the group. This is relevant to the debate because even if we have a majority that has a moral opinion, that opinion can still be objectively wrong even if a group subjectively agrees to it.

My opponent has a misunderstanding of moral relativism. While the above blurb should clear it up, I'd like to further explain. Moral relativism means the moral understanding of whether an action or human conduct is good or bad is completely subjective to the person or to the group of people. Please note, people can have opinions, but we have to recognize that when we talk about morality we are making judgments and therefore truth claims. Truth claims are objective claims to reality - to definitively conclude something about some matter.

It therefore follows, as my opponent concedes here : "in all aspects of the definition of subjective, we find relative cause for it being subjective to society" - that to have a moral code based on what society believes doesn't necessarily mean that the moral code is true. This lies in the fact that morality is inherently objective and whatever laws we have in society are recognitions of morality that aim to reflect it in practical applications.

=================
Definitions Response
=================

I think it was pretty odd of my opponent to recognize the fallacy in his definitions but then to make no effort to correct himself as it was OK for the debate. This is an example of poor conduct on his part. What I would like to say is that to define morality is to defeat the purpose of this debate, because this entire debate hinges on the definition of morality. I can certainly say:

Morality/Ethics is the set of objective truth principles regarding the judgment of the goodness or badness within human action or conduct.

But my opponent will certainly object to the "objectivity" of morality - this is the point of the debate. Moving on.

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Rebuilding
========
1) Moral relativism

My opponent gave us a very straightforward example that echoes pretty much the exact same arguments as in the previous round. We all face the same problems, but we all have our own little ways of fixing them. While America believes that population reduction is wrong (because it's basically the intent to mass murder) - China believe it's right. So where are we left with this? That morality is subjective.

I will repeat myself when I say that we should differentiate between facts and oughts. Morality is not a descriptive term, it's a prescriptive statement. Morality asks the question of what we ought to do. The answer is based upon a set of objective moral principles.

Sure, China is trying to fix their population problem by promoting mass genocide of their citizens. Is that the right thing to do? Certainly not as it goes against some of the most fundamental moral principles that man has come to know throughout civilization etc.

I like how my opponent says "hot" issue of morality. It seems as though, whenever we have a firm understanding on some of the most essential issues in our society, like is it good to be free - there is no problem. In fact, many moral relativist are proponents of relativism because it supports freedom. However, when things get grey and disputed, like in issues of abortion, euthanasia, etc. Morality all of a sudden becomes subjective, it becomes of an opinion of an individual or group of individual. To this I remark that subjectivism is a form of delusional cowardice.

2) Random stanford quote and then proceeding assertions
I'm glad that at least the Philosophy website hosted by Stanford EDU has a proper understanding of moral relativism. However, to try and rebut my arguments, my opponent continued to do nothing but make bare assertions. He has not made an argument for why moral arguments are descriptive but instead points to conflicts in actions and says that because there are conflicts in the way we behave, there is no proper way to behave. This isn't an argument, it's just an assertion I've rebutted before, for which no rebuilding has been made.

Also, about wallet stealing - I think I can give a very clear argument against this from Immanuel Kant. It's basically a definition of the golden rule in regards to morality. If you want an example of a very firm objective principle in regards to right and wrong it goes like this, "do what you would have had done to yourself." If you go pocketing wallets all day, "your set reasons" are BS. You can give whatever rationalizations you want for stealing, or killing, or lying, but at the end of the day there are a set of objective principles by which we recognize that these are things that you did wrong. If you think that pocketing wallets is good, then certainly you'd have no problems with someone stealing wallets from you. Or punching you in the face for that matter - but all of a sudden we get, "I will probably feel an obvious reaction, to immorality". My opponent has conceded the point.

========
Rebuttals
========
Societal differences

My opponent keeps making the same point over and over again. He refuses to acknowledge objective judgement in the immorality of the act, things that we can understand very clearly. Of course the Germans would think they're right because they're the ones doing what they are doing. A killer isn't going to recognize that what he's doing is immoral or wrong. An even more primitive example is that when you make mistakes on a math test you aren't going to realize those mistakes until after the fact.

And so I say, after having decades to reflect on the abhorrant genocide of the Jewish people by the Germans, I think it's safe to say that the world has recognized clearly that it's objectively immoral for anything like this to ever happen again. Can it still happen? Of course - genocides have happened a number of times in our history - does that mean they are morally good? Absolutely not.

Belief and skepticism

In the comments section of this debate, my opponent posted this part of his argument, Our recognition of any and all aspects sprouts from our beleifs. If I believe a red wine glass is red, then in my perception its red! If you believe the red wine glass is blue, then in your perception that red wine glass is blue! However what if your society you grew up in raised you to believe that the color red is really blue? How can I say that for you that glass is not blue? " - However, I'm not sure how to respond to extreme skepticism.

What do I mean by extreme skepticism? Well by his logic, if everything is just a matter of perception, then the voters can perceive that the words that we are typing can mean anything - and further by that logic, the resolution can mean anything because it's just our perception. Only when we make an appeal to objectivity and understand that perception and speech is a recognition of objective principles rather than subjective creations of our own minds - only then can we truly communicate.

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Conclusions
=========
For this round, I've made no additional arguments but instead took the chance to carefully examine everything my opponent has posted. Opps case has digressed from mere assertions to a profound skepticism while mine still stan
Debate Round No. 2
TUF

Pro

My opponent accuses no new arguments were made. True. Who said I needed to bring up new ones when the previous ones I have work just fine, as they have not successfully fallen yet? My arguments still stand, And my argument still supports the topic. My opponent has made no new arguments either, however, there was no need for me mentioning that. (?)

INTRO

What is morality in any given time or place? It is what the majority then and there happen to like, and immorality is what they dislike"

Quote by Alfred North Whitehead.

Please dis-regard my opponents spheal about subjective consensus, seeing as he has submitted to my dictionary definitions defining the debate as subjective rather than objective. Also it is impossible for him to back the statement "even if we have a majority that has a moral opinion, that opinion can still be objectively wrong even if a group subjectively agrees to it." As long as there is another group (or society) who believe in another standard, it dis-proves even the objective standard from being the more moral route.

MORAL RELATIVISM

Moral relativism is quite a supporting argument in my favor still. Moral understanding is a variable when it comes into a subjective society or individual. Truth claims? That's like me saying I don't believe in abortion because its immoral. There's my truth claim. You see the fallacy in trying to name a "truth" claim in a debate about morality? And how is it possible to definitively conclude anything about any matter of opinion? I enjoy the aspect of moral relativity, however, in this case it wouldn't be the best value to go by in negation to subjective morality.

" to have a moral code based on what society believes doesn't necessarily mean that the moral code is true"

Of course not. Never said nor implied that once in the entire debate, and gee, if I had, I would be contradicting everything I have said. That doesn't imply that it is objective in the slightest aspect though. The same would apply to both a subjective an objective analysis, yet still doesn't change the fact that we need a subjective ordeal if we are going to take a societal approach.

"objective and whatever laws we have in society are recognitions of morality that aim to reflect it in practical applications."

Still subjective to OUR society because other societies have very different laws from us. How is that objective?

DEFINITIONS

My opponent had a problem with definitions sourced from the dictionary itself, as well as dictionary.com. I'm sure we all have a basic understanding of what morality is, and if my opponent wanted to offer a relative definition the offer was made. However that doesn't propose changing meaning to morality in which he implies.

I'm going to leave the definitions arguments with the fact we all know what morality is, and the definition is not the issue at hand as is whether or not it is subjective to society or not.

BACK TO MORAL RELATIVITY

" While America believes that population reduction is wrong (because it's basically the intent to mass murder) - China believe it's right. So where are we left with this? That morality is subjective."

I guess my point has been understood. Thankyou.

You are right when you say morality asks the question of what we ought to do. The big question however, is what's the answer? Or is there an answer? That is the subject matter of this entire debate. Because the answer relies on the beliefs of the individuals belonging to each society.

"Sure, China is trying to fix their population problem by promoting mass genocide of their citizens. Is that the right thing to do? Certainly not as it goes against some of the most fundamental moral principles that man has come to know throughout civilization etc."

Fallacy. Is it the right thing to do? In yours and my belief system, no. In china's belief system, yes. Now here's the interesting part. The fundamental moral principles that man has come to know throughout civilization? This is extremely interesting that this exists because as far as I know Societies around the world have acted differently from the beginning of time. Now that assertion would only be safe to say about a certain one society, let's say, America.
Let's face it. There are no "fundamental" principles.

'Morality is delusional cowardice'
I loved this part. If the world were all jolly and there were never moral disputes, there would be no point to neither a subjective nor objective morality. While your statement is true, you have only proved the obvious, and it holds no weight as far as being an argument in this debate.

STANFORD QUOTE

The stanford quote was not so random. It better defined your moral relativity, however, also proved that societal standards of morality are subjective. If you agree that the website had a proper understanding or moral relativism, then how can you say the argument made from your own mis-guided use of the word, were mere assertions? You've rebutted it before? How so? I have yet to see the argument produced showing how moral relativity is objective based on the quote defining the word itself.

IMMANUEL KANT ARGUMENT

I agree with you, that set reasons for stealing a wallet are "BS". Because, that is my belief system of morality. Try telling the thief who used the money to support his starving family, or used it for whatever reason he saw fit that it was wrong, if his belief system told him it was right. I'm sure he wouldn't give a care to the "do what you want done to yourself" logic if according to his moral he benefited from the proceedings and without moral consequence.

Also I have not conceded to any point by saying I have an obvious reaction to immorality. Me having an obvious reaction, is way off topics in regards to those whose beliefs would subtract that "obvious re-action" given that their moral standards are different.
So once again. Al Quida members are told they are rewarded in heaven for acts of terror on other humans. Their morals standards have been untarnished, and this is also a point you have dropped.

SOCIETAL DIFFERENCES

"A killer isn't going to recognize that what he's doing is immoral or wrong"

Which again serves the question if what he is doing is really wrong. Remember what this debate is about? In our society, he is evil. I could repeat he same thing over and over again using different words, like it seems I have been, however, it's not going to change the fact that there is a society that agrees with the serial killer thus making it impossible for us to say he is wrong and us that as fact, we will only ever be able to say that as our belief.

" I think it's safe to say that the world has recognized clearly that it's objectively immoral for anything like this to ever happen again" (referring to German genocide)

This is because they lost the war, and there society was taken over by societies with beliefs that genocide was bad. Had society continued to be dictated by those who had particular likings toward genocide, Societal tendencies in Germany would continue. Still does not deter the fact that that was a societal belief, and it is still impossible to say it's immoral.

EXTREME SKEPTICISM

Extreme Skepticism, or whatever, call it what you want. It still directly applies to morality. Sure if you want to go down that road, yes this debate can be a matter of pure perception as well. If the voters have a preference for either of our sides, then their societal beliefs match ours.

CONCLUSION

This has been a very controversial and intriguing debate, but in the end, I believe that I have proved that the only way morality can ever be a factor is if we strictly limit it to societal beliefs and perceptions. We can never say someone's outlook on morality is in-correct because it is different then our own perception.
Both my opponent and I have put a considerable amount of time into this debate, and hope that you, the readers enjoy it.
arturo

Con

Thanks everyone. For this round of the debate, I will attempt to rebuild my previous arguments, rebut my opponents statement and add one new argument to the debate. I won't be looking at the definitions anymore because this is not a semantics debate and I want to actually debate some real arguments rather than what dictionary.com posted.

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INTRO
====
Before I begin this debate, I'd like to seriously touch upon my opponents response in regards to his extreme skepticism. I don't think my opponent understands the gravity of what the conclusions of extreme skepticism entail. He says that in the end, he's only proved that any form of knowledge is just a matter of subjective perception. I'd like to say though, that's its pretty ridiculous that he says this. He attempts to communicate the subjectivity of knowledge through the objective communications of language. He's trying to tell you, the readers, that the only kind of certain knowledge you can have is that knowledge itself is uncertain. I hope that common sense, reason and logic, triggers you to realize the inherent contradictions in his statement.

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Argument : Why we need a standard.
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Knowledge then, is not a matter of perception but it also means that not everyone has knowledge. We all have beliefs and opinions, but when they are verified to be true - either by the methods of the sciences, logic, reason, etc - then we can say we have knowledge of the thing in question. What my opponent is saying is that since everything is a belief - then nothing is certain. Yet he completely disregards the possibility of any kind of knowledge in this regard - and so commits a gross contradiction. When we recognize this mistake, we have to then proceed to understand how this applies to morality. If knowledge is that by which we recognize and opinion to be true, then what is morality? Morality is properly defined as the study of actions (my opponent doesn't contest this) - the question is how do we make judgments about these actions? Well, if we make judgments on truth claims (opinions are unverified truth claims) we use knowledge to judge them, objective knowledge. It follows then that we use objective knowledge to judge moral claims. Hence, morality is objective rather than subjective.

Please note that the only time morality becomes seemingly subjective is during "hot" moral issues as my opponent stated in rounds prior. If we have the capacity to definitively say that something is right or wrong on "cold"(?) moral issues, then that logic should carry over to "hot" moral issues. The only reason why they are "hot" moral issues is because there hasn't been a reasonable, logical and definitively certain case made to judge the "hot" moral issue. Nevertheless, the principles by which we judge the moral issue stands to be objective - otherwise these aren't moral issues at all - but rather subjective perceptions for which we should have no interest to argue. Why should I argue with you about morality if at the end of the day I'm the be all end all in regards to my moral understanding.

With this in mind, let's look at what my opponent said.

1) "Fallacy. Is it the right thing to do? In yours and my belief system, no. In china's belief system, yes. "

Please stop using words like "fallacy" if you aren't going to use any argument to back them up. If you want to look at a real fallacy have a look here: http://en.wikipedia.org.... Hopefully this will motivate you to write some arguments rather than saying "yes, no - morality is subjective." It continues further here, "as far as I know Societies around the world have acted differently from the beginning of time.". "As far as I know" - sorry, but it turns out you know very little on the development of human conduct over man's history.

2) "While your statement is true, you have only proved the obvious, and it holds no weight as far as being an argument in this debate." My quote has been taken out of context. I am saying that if morality is subjective, then it becomes a delusional cowardice. In fact, it only becomes a delusional cowardice when you start giving moral issues descriptions like "hot" or "disputed" - because then you don't really care to know the answer but rather to end it with the fact that it's really disputed, that's why " there would be no point to neither a subjective nor objective morality" this statement is false. There is no point to subjective morality ever.

3) "however, also proved that societal standards of morality are subjective." Precisely right, which means that even if it's a collective group of individuals that base their moral code on some subjective opinion it doesn't necessarily follow 1) that they are objectively right 2) that the differences in the opinion between two societies means that there is no objective moral code. In fact, the very fact that we have to make a distinction between the subjective and objective moral code means that the objective moral code exists. There has to be a standard by which you make the statement, "morality is my opinion" as opposed to who's? Some other subject? That's redundant.

4) "I'm sure he wouldn't give a care to the "do what you want done to yourself" logic if according to his moral he benefited from the proceedings and without moral consequence." This is non-sequitur - you say that he would use this logic - but then all of a sudden you flip the switch and you say that he won't use this logic. Then you follow from this and say that there are no objective moral codes for determining this logic - let's break this down.

1) Humans have a capacity to recognize objective moral logic
2) Humans have the capacity to deny their recognition of objective moral logic
3) Therefore, objective moral logic doesn't exist.

There is a difference between the fact that there is no objective moral logic and the fact that there is a denial or tolerance of good/bad morality.

5) ""A killer isn't going to recognize that what he's doing is immoral or wrong"

Which again serves the question if what he is doing is really wrong. " - This is again invoking the idea of extreme skepticism and I'm not going to keep arguing this. There can't be order in a society of killers, thieves and liars. My opponent will just continue his skepticism and say "well why not?" and continue to beg the question in order to support his arguments.

6) "This is because they lost the war" - you are making this statement as if even Germans, by the end of the war, agreed to persecute the Germans. This is a grossly uneducated conclusion and it would be wise of you not to make such a generalization.

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CONCLUSIONS
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And so, having rebutted my opponents points - I think it's pretty clear that his arguments for subjective morality are riddled with fallacies and assertions. One the one hand, we look at the logic and use it for our advantage (but this doesn't deny the logic) on the other hand, we look at moral differences and we move away from objective moral conduct but when there are moral similarities, we see possible objective moral code. My opponent refuses to acknowledge this basic fact of human civilization.

Furthermore, my opponent hasn't made any arguments as to why morality is subjective to society but rather that it is. "How do we know that the Holocaust was really the wrong thing to do? How do we know that murder is really wrong? How do we know anything?" this is how my opponents case has devolved in this debate. I hope readers recognize this and make the appropriate vote.

I agree with my opponent on one thing though, we've definitely put a lot of our efforts into the debate and I hope it's turning out to be good so far!
Debate Round No. 3
97 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by askbob 6 years ago
askbob
Posted by daniel_t 6 years ago
daniel_t
First you make the rhetorical question: "My question is how can we say a society isn't working based on their morals, if for them, those morals work?" but despite that you talk of "un-realistic societies." Don't you see that you cannot have it both ways? If you claim that no society can be judged based on how realistic it is, then *no* society conceivable can be considered unrealistic.

I presented a specific example of a society that *did* fail precisely because its moral compass was askew, yet you continue to claim that such a thing is impossible.

You keep insisting that all swans are white despite my black swan. You keep insisting that all possible moral systems are effective despite my examples of ones that cannot possibly be effective. My response is "big deal" because your position has apparently devolved to "all white swans are white." Again, I grant you that all effective moral systems are effective. Why on earth would you ever think that anybody would debate against such a position?

Community and morality are tools that humans use to accomplish particular ends, and like *any* tool, they can be rated on how well they succeed in helping us accomplish those ends.
Posted by TUF 6 years ago
TUF
Now if all you are saying is that all working societal rules work, then of course I agree with you,"
My question is how can we say a society isn't working based on their morals, if for them, those morals work? Of course a society such as Germany fell, because of other societies that disproved of that society. Does that make it a non-working society? No, it makes it a society shot down by other societies with different moral beliefs. Right and Wrong will always be conceptual, and that's my argument, always has been. You agree with me on that count. Thus, my main goal of this debate has been achieved, has it not?

Now to the bread hammer analogy.

With this analogy, you prove to me that you are arguing irrelevant things to the goal of this debate. We don't know a society of serial killers, which is why we would assume (based on our moral beliefs) that a society with serial killers simply wouldn't work. Besides the point that there is so such society, even if their was such a society, how would we know it wouldn't work? Especially if that society believed that they were working because they were accomplishing the desired effects given from their morals.

This is an argument that I find quite ludicrous actually, and it is what I would define as semantics. Based on everything you have told me, I have to conclude that you agree with me.
1. You have said that you believe that societies have different moral beliefs, and can function properly.
2.Given the first, we must assume that you agree that in order for societies to work with different beliefs, they must be subjective to the society.
3. When proposed with the fact that a society of serial killers doesn't exist, so obviously we have no proof of how they wouldn't work and your response is "big deal" (based on your previous statement), it shows you agree with me. Big deal, isn't an argument, and shows that there is no logical explanation to bringing up un-realistic societies and we can say this is semantics.
Posted by arturo 6 years ago
arturo
Wow TUF you are actually thick.
Posted by daniel_t 6 years ago
daniel_t
to conclude my previous post...

TUF, no matter how many white swans you find, you cannot prove that all swans are white when I have a black swan sitting in my lap.
Posted by daniel_t 6 years ago
daniel_t
TUF: "Especially while it's obvious that both you and daniel have admitted to the ffact that societies differentiate from each other in moral beliefs. The main examples I have given, untouched." I'd like to especially address this...

As an analogy, the discussion so far has gone like this:
you: What makes a good hammer is subjective.
me: That's wrong, some things make lousy hammers.
you: But this steel hammer and that iron hammer are both good hammers.
me: Sure, but if someone made a hammer out of a loaf of bread it would make a lousy hammer.
you: Ah, you agree with me that both steel hammers and iron hammers are good hammers, so I must be right that what makes a good hammer is subjective.
me: Nonsense, bread hammers don't work.
you: Nobody would ever make a bread hammer though, so every hammer that people actually use as a hammer makes a good hammer.
me: big deal.
Posted by daniel_t 6 years ago
daniel_t
TUF: The problem is that by saying that morality is subjective, you *are* saying that any set of societal rules could work. When I present you with a theoretical set of societal rules that obviously couldn't work, you ignore them and continue to claim that any set of societal rules would work. Now if all you are saying is that all working societal rules work, then of course I agree with you, but you aren't really saying anything at that point.
Posted by TUF 6 years ago
TUF
Subjective: of, affected by, or produced by the mind or particular state of mind; of or resulting from the feelings or temperament of the subject, or person thinking; not objective; personal subjective judgment.

Read that last part. Know what your talking about as well :)

Everything I have said has supported society being subjective. And whether you want to play with semantics or not, it still doesn't change the fact that your objective argument is bogus, and does not prove anything. Especially while it's obvious that both you and daniel have admitted to the ffact that societies differentiate from each other in moral beliefs. The main examples I have given, untouched. You continue arguing out of ignorance art. Daniel, based on what he has told me, agrees with what I have said, however continues arguing irrelevant points. I have offered enough proof to properly stand by the quite obvious statement that society is subjective to a society.
Posted by arturo 6 years ago
arturo
"you are just arguing from a very unrealistic point of view. "

That's seems odd, by talking about realism it's as if your applying some sort of objective, un-opinionated standard.
Posted by TUF 6 years ago
TUF
Daniel you seem to miss the point entirely.
Morality is a concept as I've explained. And while you continue to argue that "bad is bad no matter what", china still believes its morals values are morally correct while we don't. Of course you go to the extreme side and say that the societies that I am talking about consist of serial killers etc. Seriously what society of serial killers do you know of? Let's be practical here. I'm not saying that the society couldn't work, you are just arguing from a very unrealistic point of view. I believe you know what I am talking about. However, again, the opinion is yours.
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