The Instigator
AGluttonousAscetic
Pro (for)
Winning
4 Points
The Contender
b.fields
Con (against)
Losing
0 Points

There is no objective basis for moralatiy

Do you like this debate?NoYes+1
Add this debate to Google Add this debate to Delicious Add this debate to FaceBook Add this debate to Digg  
Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 1 vote the winner is...
AGluttonousAscetic
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/17/2015 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 619 times Debate No: 84046
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (7)
Votes (1)

 

AGluttonousAscetic

Pro

My position is that there is not an objective basis for morality; that the act of judging or labeling something (and action, thought, etc.) as either moral or immoral is based on non-objective sources.

For this debate, the term "objective" will have the definition found in the Merriam-Webster dictionary: of, relating to, or being an object, phenomenon, or condition in the realm of sensible experience independent of individual thought and perceptible by all observers: having reality independent of the mind.

Since this topic could have a potentially wide range of discussion surrounding it, for clarity please limit this debate to one aspect: killing another person.

To restate my opening sentence, the act of killing another person is neither moral nor immoral, it is an act. If a person, or persons, wishes to attach a label (such as moral or immoral) to the action then, 1) it is a choice of the person or persons to attach a label, and 2) the choice of label will be made based on belief, or opinion, or preference, or wish, or hope, or some other non-objective source that does not have reality independent of the mind of the person or persons attaching the label.

Consider the following scenario:

I live completely alone on an island in the middle of the ocean. There is no one else on the island and there is no communication with any other people.

On this island, I live my life to the fullest of my ability given the circumstances in which I find myself.

One day, an unconscious man washes up on the beach. I walk up to this man and I kill him. The tide washes the body out to sea and I continue with my life.

My argument is that, objectively (i.e. having reality independent of the mind), the action of killing the man on the beach was an action of killing the man on the beach (the action was neither moral nor immoral). It is my argument that if one choses to label the action "murder and therefore immoral" or "self-defense and therefore moral", or anything else, that is 1) a choice made by the individual (or group), and 2) a matter of belief, or opinion, or preference, or wish, or hope, or some other non-objective source that does not have reality independent of the mind of the person (or group) attaching the label.

The burden of proof will be shared. If you (Con) think that the act of killing the man on the beach was moral or immoral or anything else, and you think that your conclusion is independent of individual thought and perceptible by all observers (i.e. objective), then please present your arguments.

I (Pro) will attempt to demonstrate that the arguments provided by Con are not independent of individual thought and are not perceptible by all observers (i.e. not objective).

The debate will consist of five rounds. Please provide your opening arguments in Round 1; Round 2 through 4 will be for rebuttals and additional arguments; and Round 5 will be for rebuttals and conclusions.

Thank you for your participation.
b.fields

Con

My position is that there is an objective basis for morality.

My argument is that morality is perceptible by all observers since mankind seems to have a general consensus on what is moral and immoral.

Opinions, ideas, beliefs, etc are thrown around all the time yet are rarely taken with overwhelming agreement. To get a group of people to agree with anything is a difficult task. Yet if you were to take a poll, overwhelming people would agree that killing a person is immoral.

Morality had to get it's start somewhere, and it has been a forefront of human behavior for centuries. If morality was based on individual thought, then it had to be agreed to by the masses, and then spread to other people groups. Although that could be easy to do now, it wouldn't be so easy centuries ago. We have sources, such as religious text, dating back centuries discusses the concept of morality. We have different religions that seem to have the basic premise of what is moral and immoral. Therefore multiple humans in multiple different places had the same idea of what is moral and immoral, and shared it with other humans, who agreed. Morality has to therefore be something ingrained in humans from the beginning.

Morality is a concept accepted by people no matter what race, religion, living circumstance, etc. Few things are generally accepted by the masses as morality is. If it was dependent on individual thought people would heavily disagree on the basic foundations on what morality is.

Generally people think before acting, commonly people think of what is the right thing to do in a situation. Therefore morality is an idea created by humans to define the thought process all have encountered before doing an action, such as killing a man.

Morality is therefore a definition. It cannot be objective or nonobjective since it is a description.

Therefore it is my conclusion that killing the man on the beach was immoral, I believe that the basic premise of morality is perceptible by all observers, since the concept of morality dates back centuries. I follow under the general, accepted, belief that killing a human is immoral.
Debate Round No. 1
AGluttonousAscetic

Pro

Thank you for accepting the debate.

I do not think that Con has proven that there is an objective basis for morality.

Just because "...mankind seems to have a general consensus on what is moral and immoral..." does not mean that morality is objective. At best it means that many people believe the same thing; that many people have come to an individual conclusion about morality that happens to be the same as other people who have each come to an individual conclusion about morality. Just because a group may have the same idea about morality does not mean that morality has reality independent of the minds of the people within that group.

I will provide two examples to illustrate. First, for many years "...multiple humans in multiple different places had the same idea of what is moral and immoral..." and decided that slavery was moral. Further, "[w]e have sources, such as religious text, dating back centuries discuss[ing] the concept..." of slavery and supporting slavery. But today, some people, but not all people, think that slavery is immoral. So which is it? Is slavery moral or immoral?

Second, to continue the topic of killing someone, when Con states, "I follow under the general, accepted, belief that killing a human is immoral", does that mean that killing a human is always immoral? I have met many people (and read about many more people) who would say that killing a man who was trying to kill you would not be immoral. Or that a solider killing another solider during the course of a war would not be immoral. So which is it? Is killing a man moral or immoral?

Since there could be different answers to the questions asked in both of my examples depending on who you ask and when you ask, it does not appear that "...mankind seems to have a general consensus on what is moral and immoral" and supports my conclusion that there is not objective basis for morality; that morality is based on belief, or opinion, or preference, or wish, or hope, or some other non-objective source.
b.fields

Con

b.fields forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 2
b.fields

Con

b.fields forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
b.fields

Con

b.fields forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
b.fields

Con

b.fields forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 5
7 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 7 records.
Posted by canis 1 year ago
canis
Well. No subject..No moralety...No subject. nothing...........................
Posted by gnomebookings 1 year ago
gnomebookings
The debate is very interesting within itself but I do not see the query (if one is suppose to exist) unless the debate is centered around whether killing another has no moral dilemma due to morality only being subjective which is paradoxical. If we agree that killing has no real moral dilemma and that it is an illusion due to morals having no objective basis, we are creating a moral standing within itself. I like to think that morality is the result of subjective and objective influence and transcends such intelligence altogether. Subjectivity forging objectivity. Morality still being something beyond our intelligence AT THIS TIME!

Sorry in advance if I misunderstood the topic.
Posted by AGluttonousAscetic 1 year ago
AGluttonousAscetic
AWSM0055,

What if a situation arose were there was a mass famine and food of all types, including potatoes, was scarce, would a higher price, even $1,000 or $1,000,000, be worth it to save your life?
Posted by AWSM0055 1 year ago
AWSM0055
Morality is like money. No one will exactly agree upon how much a potato is worth. 2 dollars? 3, maybe 4? Meh, it's up to debate.

But, if said a potato is worth 1,000,000 dollars, majority of people will agree that is overpriced (especially the Irish).

So even though there is no exact consensus as to how much a potato is worth, it is well understood that a potato isn't worth over 1000 dollars.

Morals are basically just like that. End of story.
Posted by canis 1 year ago
canis
I think it is one of these cases where the objective and subjective aspects cross over. The Limbic system is a physical, (objective) structure evolved in our brains. We can not NOT use it, (subject). Many years ago prefrontal lobotomy was used to cure "everything". Including "bad morality". The results were mostly "good". The side effects were often "the walking dead".
Posted by AGluttonousAscetic 1 year ago
AGluttonousAscetic
Canis,

That seems like it could be an interesting argument for an objective basis for morality. If you would like to debate it at some point, I would be willing.
Posted by canis 1 year ago
canis
Darwinism is the objective basis of moralety...
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by lannan13 1 year ago
lannan13
AGluttonousAsceticb.fieldsTied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:40 
Reasons for voting decision: Forfeiture