The Instigator
sylvie.utteriyn
Pro (for)
Winning
6 Points
The Contender
nicoleessig
Con (against)
Losing
0 Points

There is no possibility of a human action without moral consequence

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 2 votes the winner is...
sylvie.utteriyn
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 7/17/2013 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 448 times Debate No: 35673
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (0)
Votes (2)

 

sylvie.utteriyn

Pro

I will argue that there is no possibility for human action without moral consequence because it all go back to the relation of an act=an actor=a consequence. Now, we may be able to guarantee a consequence but we have the capacity to predict/foresee what the consequence of our action will be.
To emphasize this point I will use Bentham's reading about the Principle of Utility. In his essay he states that what we are control by two maters those two masters are pain and pleasure based on those two masters that will lead to actions we perform causes and effects. So the origin of all our action is based on those two feelings and nothing else otherwise why else would we do things or should I say how else can we perform our actions if not based on emothions or interest for what we desire/want and so on.
1. We are governed by two emotions(128.1)
2. Action are approved or disapproved based on person's happiness target (128.3)
3. When we perform an act we look to satisfy our happiness/desire (128.3)
4. Therefore, we think about the consequence of our action to see if they will increase or decrease our happiness (128.3-4)

Bentham writes about the principle of utility and give a relationship scale that is called the hedonistic calculus. The hedonistic calculus represent a person whose life is devoted to pursue pleasure and self gratification.
So again we do act in a way to seek a consequence do what we are looking to satisfy our emotions. The chart establishes seven stages that a person will go through or/and consider if some then not all but still the person will consider those stages in order to reach their ultimate pleasure or pain.

The chart goes in such order: 1- The intensity that one will experience,how intense will their action be 2- how does the pleasure or the pain will last 3- the certaintity meaning how certain will the pleasure or pain will occur 4- the remoteness of this pleasure or pain how far in the future is the pleasure or pain 5- the fecundity what is the certainty that this pleasure will lead to other desire pleasures 6- the purity meaning what is the probability that this pain will lead to other pain and lastly 7- the extent how many person will be affected by this pleasure.

So, based on this chart above by author Bentham if all our actions have a moral consequence whether we conciously know about it or unconciously do not know about it. Once an action take place a consequence will follow the question of right and wrong at this point is incorporated in the person's moral assessment either consciously or not but regardless that person will go through one or all if not some of the stages that Bentham explain in his essay. So therefore all human action have moral consequences.

To further explain this concept Bentham goes in the motives part of our action that lead to consequences that can be either right or wrong nonetheless they have moral consequences to them.

The interest of the person is what will lead the consequence to be either right or wrong but morality will be considered eventhough the person may not realize it. The first goal in human action is to satisy their own feelings and interest nothing else.

As an example that we discussed in class taking the case of abortion if a woman chooses to have an abortion whether she knows it or not she already made that an assessment of what will be the moral consequence whether right or wrong is not the question what is to be considered is that she already assess that ultimately there is a consequence to her action and that whether it is to happen right away or in the future once she perform that action of either keeping the baby or aborting the baby she morally made a decision that will lead to a consequence in the present or future whether she knows it or not at this time is not important what is important is that she performed that action and that is all. No longer can she take it back and reneg since she already performed it.
Another example that we discussed in class is that of a case relating to murder unlawful taking of another person life. A murderer will definitely go through Bentham stages of the hedonistic calculus whether that murderer knows it or not is not important what is important is that that murderer performed an action that is murder and then to that action there is a consequence. In the mind of a murder that consequence may be morally right but whether he/she thinks it is right or wrong is not our concern what we need to be concerned about is that that murderer the minute they took someone life made a moral decision to take someone's life to him/her at this time and place it was morally right to take someone's life but in no way shape and form did they perform the act of murder and did not consider their feelings and how to best satisfy their emotions because they did by murdering this person they satisfied their happiness/interest and whether it is right or wrong is not the concern the act itself
nicoleessig

Con

I will argue that there is possibility for human action without moral consequences. There are times that people may believe that there is a relation between an act you have which will lead to a consequence, but that is not always the case. People relate their pain and pleasure with moral consequences but sometimes we have to go through pain in order to get pleasure and there is no moral consequence for that.

1.At times in order to get pleasure we must go through pain
2.The Hedonistic Clause is an example of the steps a person must go through
3.The things we do can sometimes affect those around us but also can not affect those around us.
4.While making of choices it is important to think about others around us, number seven in the Hedonistic Clause.
5.Making a choice about something is not always necessarily going to have a moral consequence.
6.Therefore, there are no moral consequences for human action.

Going with your statement about Betham and the principle of utility, he shows the relationship called the Hedonistic Clause. In this he does show that there is not always a moral consequence for human action. People do think about their happiness and think about what is going to cause them pain and pleasure but sometimes they have to go through pain to get to that pleasure, it is not always going to be a easy thing where they receive pleasure all the time. The stages in the Hedonistic Clause show what a person goes through when considering on how to get to their pain or pleasure but you stated that they do not think about others but number seven in this hedonistic clause is about how many other people will be affected by their pain or pleasure.

Also, if a person does not have any morals then it is impossible for their actions to have moral consequences. In the end we are going to do what makes us happy and do what brings us the most pleasure. The thing that we do can have an effect of others but it does not have to be a moral effect.
Debate Round No. 1
sylvie.utteriyn

Pro

You stated here: "Going with your statement about Bentham and the principle of utility, he shows the relationship called the Hedonistic Clause. In this he does show that there is not always a moral consequence for human action."I see that you also cited Bentham in your post to support your claim on this subject but nowhere from reading Bentham did I get the message he also thinks that there is no possibility for human action without moral consequences. I believe you must have mistaken this explanation of the hedonistic calculus for a support of it from his side.
So If human action as you stated does not necessarily need to follow by a moral consequence then what do we think about when we perform acts? Most of the time do acts and do not think about a moral consequence, we just do or at least if we do our brain process that stage so fast that we did not even realize it but whether we realize it or not we still do it. Every action we do has a moral consequence.

If we think about it this way for example in the reading John Stuart Mill titled " Utilitarianism" he states that (paraphrasing)rightness and wrongness depend on the results it produces so therefore, he states that the foundation to morality is happiness and that based on that a person perform an action because they want to obtain a result; now that result whether it is good or bad we do not know but the person themselves know because they made the assessment in their brain already.

For example let's talk about cigarettes/smoking, a person that smoke in a room filled with children. Let's analyze this hypothetical example, why would a person smoke cigarettes in a room fill with children knowing that cigarettes are harmful, detrimental to your health and cause all kind of health problems. That person obviously had to think about it someway somehow but still decided to go on and smoke the cigarettes why because to them after assessing the act they did not see anything wrong with doing so. Now you and I we see something wrong with it whether right or wrong that person does not care but that does not mean that there isn't a moral consequence to this act because in fact there is. Now we can even go further with this by saying that when that person saw the children coughing they felt obligated to stop smoking and the end result was that they stop smoking in the room as to harm the children because they realize that their action had a moral consequence to it.

Now, author John Stuart Mills states that happiness is the foundation to morality. Meaning that everything we do as to do with satisfying our happiness/interest and so on. so let's ask the question this way do we ever act in ways that would not satisfy our happiness/interest? If you respond yes, then I would like to know how. If you respond no, then you and I finally can agree on something.

Continuing with Mill's essay on Utilitarianism; there is another point that I would like to put forth that he mentions in his reading. He speaks about life experience being related to morality in a way where we learn from our experiences so that means by learning we develop we grow and that we still have a lot to learn however, that implies that morality was always a part of a person's actions it never left. People will do acts to satisfy their own happiness if there is that one person that do something for the interest of all even better however the first person to benefit from the act will the person himself and when they are about to perform an action they do think about what will happen next if I do that or this. That process never escape their mind because they know that an act needs an actor and following an act there is a consequence whether right or wrong is not the issue because what we concerned about is the fact that there is a moral consequence determining if it is right or wrong comes after.

Another point I want to mention that John Stuart Mills made in his essay:" ...all rational creatures go out upon the sea of life with their minds made up on the common questions of right and wrong...." that segment right there I take to mean that we all consider morality when we perform an act and we all know that with our action there will be a moral consequence and if we don't know we question ourselves to find out. In order words we investigate what we don't know so that we know in the future. Then, Mill goes on and say finishing his statement: "...as long as foresight is a human quality, it is to be presumed they will continue to do." I take this segment as human beings have the ability to provision for the future meaning that they think ahead into the future therefore, when they act they consider the question of what will happen if I do this or that? And this is related exactly to my point of there is no possibility of human action without moral consequence because human beings have the capacity to do something and think about the what if question and the what happens next questions. And so it is.
nicoleessig

Con

A moral consequence is something that a person chooses that will make them feel the satisfaction of happiness. They do it to feel happier instead of feeling sad. I do believe that every cause has an effect, but the effect is not necessarily always going to be a moral effect.

I believe that our actions do have consequences and every cause has an effect but it is not necessarily always going to be a moral consequence. There can be times when we do something and it does have a consequence to it but it is not a moral one. When you stated Mill and that a person makes an assessment in their brain as to whether the result they are going to obtain is good or bad I believe that there are often times that a person does not make an assessment in their brain about the action they are going to do, that they just do something without even assessing it. For example when a person is angry they may do something in the moment without even thinking about the consequence or result of what they are going to do, so this shows that Mill"s example that people already have made assessments in their brain before they do something is false.

When you ask the question, why do we ever act in ways that would not satisfy our happiness/interest, it is because there may be times where we have no choice but to be stuck with an option that does not make us happy or does not satisfy our interest. For example there are many times when we don"t want to do something but we have no choice but to do it such as going to school or taking a specific class that we don"t like. These things don"t satisfy our happiness and don"t satisfy our interest but in order to get a degree and graduate we must go to school and take classes that do not make us happy and are not interesting to us.

Continuing with Mill"s essay on Utilitarianism, one point you made was the process never escape their mind and whether right or wrong is not the issue, but it is the moral consequence that is determining if right or wrong comes after, who is to say what is right and what is wrong? If two people are in the same situation, one thing may be right for the one person but for the other person it may be wrong. Each person is different and each with have a different effect from their causes. There is no such thing as a moral consequence that is determining if something you do is right or wrong.
Debate Round No. 2
sylvie.utteriyn

Pro

Everything you have stated in your post below what do you base it on? as I quote:

"A moral consequence is something that a person chooses that will make them feel the satisfaction of happiness. They do it to feel happier instead of feeling sad. I do believe that every cause has an effect, but the effect is not necessarily always going to be a moral effect.

I believe that our actions do have consequences and every cause has an effect but it is not necessarily always going to be a moral consequence. There can be times when we do something and it does have a consequence to it but it is not a moral one. When you stated Mill and that a person makes an assessment in their brain as to whether the result they are going to obtain is good or bad I believe that there are often times that a person does not make an assessment in their brain about the action they are going to do, that they just do something without even assessing it. For example when a person is angry they may do something in the moment without even thinking about the consequence or result of what they are going to do, so this shows that Mill"s example that people already have made assessments in their brain before they do something is false.

When you ask the question, why do we ever act in ways that would not satisfy our happiness/interest, it is because there may be times where we have no choice but to be stuck with an option that does not make us happy or does not satisfy our interest. For example there are many times when we don"t want to do something but we have no choice but to do it such as going to school or taking a specific class that we don"t like. These things don"t satisfy our happiness and don"t satisfy our interest but in order to get a degree and graduate we must go to school and take classes that do not make us happy and are not interesting to us.

Continuing with Mill"s essay on Utilitarianism, one point you made was the process never escape their mind and whether right or wrong is not the issue, but it is the moral consequence that is determining if right or wrong comes after, who is to say what is right and what is wrong? If two people are in the same situation, one thing may be right for the one person but for the other person it may be wrong. Each person is different and each with have a different effect from their causes. There is no such thing as a moral consequence that is determining if something you do is right or wrong"

perfect example is your post that I am reading right now; by you posting those statements it is an action that you have taken to challenge my argument so then what follows next? I say moral consequences....
nicoleessig

Con

Yes I do post these arguments to challenge your arguments that there is no possibility of human action without moral consequences. I have given examples of how there is possibility of human action without moral consequences. Going back to your example of a person smoking in a room of children, you state that they think it is okay to smoke a cigarette in a room full of children. You stated that there is a moral consequence to this act, what is this moral consequence? This is an example of where someone doesn't think about what they do before they do it, and he started smoking around children.

Many times we have no choice but to go through pain in order to get to the ultimate pleasure we want. There will not always be moral consequences to what a person choses because a person is not always going to be happy and satisfied. Therefore, it is possible for human action without moral consequences.
Debate Round No. 3
sylvie.utteriyn

Pro

I will use the Jainism reading that we did to show my argument about there is no possibility for human actions without moral consideration.

The reading itself focuses on ethics in the philosophical traditions of India where anyone practicing this way should commit to the value of life and should reach a high personal moral/spiritual state. Now taking into consideration that statement what does it all means, well it means that if to be a Jain monks you have to work on obtaining this state of highest good then that means that whatever you do you have to represent your commitment to this practice thus, it means that every action you take you will have to consider the value of life and its consequences and since this practice teaches all that follow that every action taken you have to value life thus you also have to consider the moral consequences to it.
It all ties in. why else should an action have moral consequence to it if in the first place no one value life? Let's think about it from this perspective. If neither of us or for that matter if no one value life itself than why have moral consequences isn't a consequence the result of an action taken, thus if every day we perform an act and never think about the consequence than image what kind of world it would be. We have to someway somehow think about unconsciously or consciously think about the consequence to this action that we are performing.

Jain states
1-Jains is committed to the value of life(31.1)
2-Suffering is painful (32.6)
3-A creature that feels pain has the right to moral consideration (32.7)
4-therefore, respect others as you would like to be respected (32.6-7)

With this in mind, we can see that if there was no moral consequence that would follow human action we would not have to respect others or to morally consider our actions. Jainism would not need to exist since we would not consider our actions to be harmful to anyone or anything (animals...)
Going back on my example of smoking in a room full of children the person smoking considered the result of their action whether they felt it right or wrong that is not the point here but the fact that they even consider is what we need to focus on. They thought about it and they decided to please themselves as opposed to others. Now, to others that is morally wrong, but you see in this sentence I said morally wrong. So what's next is moral consequence. if you have the word moral in a sentence then what follow is also going to be morally something regardless of how we think the action may not have anything moral to it but it does.

No matter what we do there is a consequence that follows our actions, for example I eat breakfast every morning the consequence is that my body gets the nourishment it needs so there is a consequence/ a result that comes from eating my breakfast every morning. The same goes with if I run everyday I will loose weight or I will be fit or I will be tired... whatever the end result just know that there is one. If I go to class everyday the result of me going to class everyday should at least one possibility is that I pass the class so the end result is there.

Why should we separate the action from the result when the relationship is actor=act=consequence. We should not have to do that. Moral consequence have to do with the moral consideration; let's look at it this way taking back my example about eating breakfast every day when I do that I consciously morally consider my body and I obviously value my life and my thoughts are that it is right to eat breakfast every morning that way my body gets its nourishment so if I perform the action of eating every morning the moral consequence is that I am doing the right thing by eating so that my body gets nourish, the same goes if I was not to eat every morning as a consequence I would starve and that would be a morally wrong consequence. It works both ways once you have taking a step to perform an action you committed to that action the consequence follows and that's it.
nicoleessig

Con

Jainism is one way of life that people can practice. With the Jains every action they take they consider life and its consequences and its moral consequences, just because the Jains do this does not mean that everyone practices their way of life this way. I agree that every action does have a consequence, but that consequence is not always going to be a moral consequence.

Why else should an action have moral consequence to it if in the first place no one values life? To go with this, just because an action does not have a moral consequence does not mean the person doesn't value life. Many people go through times that are not pleasurable to them but they have to go through that pain to get to their ultimate pleasure. Just because they are going through a painful experience does not mean that they don"t value life. Valuing life and moral consequences are two different things.

You give the example of eating breakfast in the morning and it is a morally wrong consequence if you do not eat breakfast to nourish yourself. That is not necessarily the case, what happens if a person is in a rush and they do not have the time to eat breakfast because they need to be somewhere else? Or if they just choose not to eat breakfast, they do not have a moral consequence to this situation.

Every act has a consequence to it, but the consequence is not a moral consequence, there are no moral consequences for human actions.
Debate Round No. 4
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Vote Placed by Chapule 3 years ago
Chapule
sylvie.utteriynnicoleessigTied
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Total points awarded:30 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro just made more sense to me and I like how he broke his discussion down
Vote Placed by Chapule 3 years ago
Chapule
sylvie.utteriynnicoleessigTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Pro just made more sense to me and I like how he broke his discussion down