The Instigator
Pro (for)
3 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
0 Points

There is no possibility of a human action without moral consequence

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 7/12/2013 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,243 times Debate No: 35532
Debate Rounds (4)
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Votes (1)




I argue that there is no possibility of a human action that has no moral consequence. I conclude that actions all have moral consequences, even if they are not known or seen immediately. As the principle of utility states all actions are controlled through pain and pleasure and if the action is not causing pleasure to someone then it must be pain.
I argue the moral consequence of actions through the following:
1.We make decisions on our actions through pain and pleasure.
2.Our actions affect those around us through these same measures.
3.Men are disturbed by the ideas and notions that they form around things or actions.
4.Therefore, no matter how simple an action may be, once someone has formulated and idea about that action it produces a moral consequence.
5.Moral meaning pain and pleasure
6.Pain and pleasure have seven circumstances, its intensity, its duration, its certainty or uncertainty, its propinquity or remoteness, its fecundity, its purity, and its extent.
7.If by the slightest that one out weights the other, that action will have served as painful or pleasant.
8. Therefore, there is always moral consequence to any action.
In sum, even though an action may be seemingly small, it still has an effect on someone.


I accept your challenge and argue for the con; there are human actions which have no moral consequences. Using the principle of utility, I will show how certain actions do not have moral consequences and that sometimes we must endure pain to receive pleasure.
I will argue for con through the following premises:

We utilize pain and pleasure as guides to make us happy.
Not all of our actions affect those around us.
In order to be happy we should take others into consideration.
So, if someone conducts an action that makes them happy and that action does not affect someone else in anyway, then it will not be a moral consequence.
Morality does not necessarily have to be included in someone"s actions.
The hedonistic calculus shows how some actions do not have moral consequences.
Pain can bring pleasure.
Therefore, not every action has a moral consequence.

I am not denying the fact that there are actions that may be seemingly small that will possibly effect someone in the future, but whether that action produces will always produce a moral consequence is what I will be arguing against. To every cause there will be an effect.
Debate Round No. 1


I thank you for accepting
Disagree that there are actions that do not have any moral consequences. If we continue with the principle of utility, actions are considered moral through pain and pleasure. If some one has an effect of either pain or pleasure it is still moral.
I do not argue that of the Jainism, but that every action has an effect and it is moral.
Whether that action is big or small it affects someone, in a good or bad way. That is just how action works, the Good and bad, and cause and effect. So I argue no actions are without moral consequence


If we utilize pain and pleasure as our guides, then we will do whatever will make us happy. If what makes us happy will bring us pleasure then we will do that. If what makes us happy is through a temporary pain then we will do that as well. I am not saying that we should not take others into consideration and recklessly do whatever we want, but if we take others into consideration, an action that I conduct may not have a moral consequence on someone else. For example, if I go to eat at a restaurant and decide to help the waitress out with her dishes, it would be beneficial for her, and she would appreciate it. On the other hand, if I did not do anything to help her out, it would not matter because that is her job and she is used to doing things of that nature. My action of not doing anything has no moral consequence on her. What is a moral consequence? Is it solely when someone feels pain/pleasure through action? What is pain? A moral consequence to me would be similar to making an impact on someone that will be long lasting in such a manner that will either make someone a happier person or more upset. You are right, every action does have an effect on someone else, but it does not mean that it is a moral effect. So, due to the fact that I choose to not take action in helping the waitress, she is not harmed and there is no moral consequence in my action because she was already going to do her job. If I did decide to help her, she would be happy that someone took their time to be nice.
Debate Round No. 2


Many times humans do things without keeping other in mind and only thinking or pain or pleasure. They weigh the pros and cons of their actions for them, but with that there is always someone else on the other side.
Whether we take government actions, to community actions straight own to individual actions they have a moral consequence.
Let"s take for example a governance of a certain nation decides to be a dictatorship that will have a moral consequence on the people of that nation for generations to come.
Let"s take a look at the current events for a moment with the Trayvon Martin case and that community"s decision to have a community watchman group. The actions of that community played a part in the moral consequences of Zimmerman"s actions with Martin. There are moral than one consequences in this case.
And an individuals decision to help a waitress with her dishes produces a moral consequence of pleasure for that waitress. If that individual chooses not to help that waitress with those dishes it would still have a moral consequence even if cleaning up those dishes was her job. In order to see that an action produces pain or pleasure, we need to weigh the seven circumstances I provided earlier in my round 1 argument. if the weight of the actions lean more to pain than pleasure, or less pleasurable than pleasurable it still is a moral consequence. Now that individuals decision to not help just left the situation at where it would be they just ate there food and left. Now it is not that persons job to worry about if this decision that they have just made will be pleasurable or painful, but none the less the action will have a moral consequence.


Yes, you are absolutely right with that certain situation. Although, the argument is whether or not there are any type of actions that have no effect on someone else, not whether there are actions that do have an effect. We all know that every cause has an effect. It is extremely unfortunate that we live in a world in which some actions do have more of an effect on others than the other. As far as the government goes, as of right now you and I have no control over that. The people that are experiencing that are the ones that must act on what the government is doing, just as the people of Egypt and Turkey have done.

Back to my prior example with the waitress, I had multiple options on what I could have done, I could have not only done nothing, but I could have made a mess and been a belligerent customer. What would have produced more pleasure, pain or made the waitress neutral? The decision of not doing anything would have made her neutral, as opposed to making her happy, or making her upset. Yes, we do need to weigh the seven circumstances, and in doing so, I have determined that by not producing a moral consequence in her life would be by not doing anything.

Morality to me is doing good or bad. Is it bad for me not to do anything, or is it good? It is neutral and it is not going to affect her in that manner. If I do good, then she will benefit from it, if I do bad then she will suffer from it. If I do nothing, she will do her job and not be affected by my choice of doing something or nothing.
Debate Round No. 3


I would not be neutral, and that is what I am arguing for, that even if you do nothing there will still be a moral consequence. It cannot not have an affect on someone. If the outcomes of the actions weigh more to pain than pleasure it still has an outcome.

If someone sees a homeless person on the street and doesn't give them anything that has a outcome. If they see the homeless person and gives them something that has a outcome, and they can both be painful to that individual. The fact would be that it is still a moral consequence.

Aside from the two people involved in the cause and effect those actions can have a moral consequence to someone else.
Back to the waitress. If the individual decided not to help the waitress and continued on their way, it can still have a moral consequence, yes even for things that they had no idea about, but it still produced a moral consequence.
Take for example if that waitress has to go pick he child up from day care, and the decision of that individual to help with the dishes would have made her get to her child that much sooner, it would be pleasurable than if that person decided to just eat and leave, and she is maybe late to getting her child because she had to clean up those dishes, possibly miss a train or something uncounted for, it would still be a moral consequence.


That is the case, not every action will have a moral consequence. Just because that may be the case then, does not mean it is the case every time. Yes, she may have things going on that day, but what about when she does not? Not every action has a moral consequence. What if the waitress does not have anything going on, she does not have a child and she is single? The individual helping her would be solely doing that, helping her. The individual doing nothing, would do nothing but having her do her job, and the individual making a mess would make her life more difficult. We do not know what is going on in others lives, which is why we should take others into consideration. By taking others into consideration, we can make determinations on whether it can affect someone positively, negatively or be neutral.

On your topic on the homeless person, sometimes actions have only moral consequences. In that specific case, we cannot determine what exactly is going on in that person"s life. We would not know if it is a moral consequence or not. Based on the Hedonistic Calculus, if the amount of people affected are more than just you then it may be morally consequential. Intensity, duration, certainty, propinquity, fecundity, purity and extent have a big part in it. If we base our actions off these factors then we can determine whether or not something will have a moral impact on someone"s life. Something that will forever change their life in such a way that they will always remember that and affect more people.

Therefore, not every action that we make has a moral consequential effect on someone else. Just because if may effect them in one way, does not mean that it is a morally right or wrong effect.
Debate Round No. 4
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1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by MrJosh 5 years ago
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Total points awarded:30 
Reasons for voting decision: Both PRO and CON accepted a BOP; CON did not meet his.