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

There is no possibility of a human action without moral consequence

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 7/24/2013 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 314 times Debate No: 35973
Debate Rounds (4)
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I argue that the possibility of human action without moral consequence is not likely; for with every action of an individual it automatically follows that there will be a reaction. Though this may not be very blatantly obvious at all times, everything that we do triggers something else, whether it is physical, emotional or abstract it is nonetheless the consequence of that action. Therefore it does follow that every human action has some form of moral consequence. My argument supporting this goes as followed:

1.Every action inevitably creates a reaction.

2.For example, pleasure and pain, whenever someone does something it always has either a pleasurable or discomforting effect.

3.If the effects are following the action it is obvious that pain and pleasure are the moral consequences.

4.In confirming that either of these was achieved following a deed, a person has begun to identify cause and effect being moral consequence.

5.Hence, there is no possibility of a human action without moral consequence.


I accept the challenge and I will prove that not all human actions have moral consequences. Throughout history there has been honorable figures that have shown by their actions that one"s decision does not necessarily mean that moral consequences will follow. It will be ignorant of me to deny the fact that there are actions that may be seemingly small that can possibly effect someone in the future but to say that "there is no possibility of a human action without moral consequence" is a fallacies statement to imply.

I disagree that "there is no possibility of a human action without moral consequence" and these are my premises:
1.First of all, morality varies according to society, so what is viewed immoral for a certain culture it can easily be accepted in another.
2.There are situations where an individual may seek pleasure through painful acts. Meaning that the pleasure they are seeking may be seen as immoral for the individual. Not all of our actions affect those around us.
3.There are some situation where people are force to conduct certain acts that might be viewed as immoral but they don"t see it as such but as a consequence, and how the situation appears to be.
4.In many occasions seen in history, many people commit immoral acts because their act will bring happiness to others.
5.Therefore, there are instances where our action isn't in our control and doesn't necessarily imply moral consequence, so if not all human actions suggest moral consequence then the statement is false.
Debate Round No. 1


Indeed you are correct there is varying of beliefs in different cultures but at the core these cultures may shear values. For example the Eskimos practicing of infanticide as discussed in James Racheles paper "The Challenge of Cultural Relativism". They do it to save their infant from the suffering due to their nomadic lifestyle and the cold environment which possibly will result in their death regardless. Similarly in western culture abortions are practiced. Say for instance a mother found out that her fetus was developing very slowly and if it even made it to term it will have extreme medical issues a mother may opt to have an abortion to avoid her child from having to suffer. Hence, these cultures have very different beliefs but value the same things, the moral consequence which is their children not suffering up until their most likely untimely death. Thus these parents will gain either of the two bases consequences or both following their loss. Also even though the acts might seem immoral on the surface but bringing happiness to others there has been a moral consequence as an effect. They also show that they care for others feelings enough to act a certain way to bring out that emotion in the individual equaling to cause and effect.


In the James Rachel's paper he states how Eskimo mothers actually will actually nurture their infants for a longer period of time compared to our current culture.(James Racheles8.1.1)But they do have have practices which our society will consider immoral for example, how the husband in these communities would share his wife to any visitor as a sign of hospitality.(James Racheles2.1.2)James Rachel's also mention how when an elder is useless to contribute in a household they were left outside in the snow to die. We might see the sharing of wife and the disown of an elder immoral and label them as a society which is going "backwards" but I don't think the Eskimo community view their actions as having moral consequence.

Bentham also hits on this topic with he agrees that not all human actions can be seen as immoral because different societies have different norms that can be perceived as sinful.There are human actions that can be easily accepted in one society but denied in the others and even morally neutral motives. Bentham also shows us how the principle of utility allows us to challenge our moralities of causation and rightness to achieve happiness without in fact being a moral consequence. Bentham also provides something called Hedonistic Clause, which gives the understanding on how we should choose are own actions, because not all action necessarily imply a moral consequence.(Bentham 132.2.1-7) Giving a real life scenario, there are always people that try new things and break there moral belief to experience something they feel is going to bring them happiness. For example, when people go to prison and change their religion because they feel that this other religion will cleanse them from their sins and assist them through their struggles. By these people making this type of decision, there isn"t any moral consequence towards any moral belief.
Debate Round No. 2


I understand how the sharing of wives in our culture may not be a practice that we believe in or value but the fact that they do it as an act of hospitality to their guest shows that technically we do share the same value as they do because we take into consideration whether or not our guest are being treated in a welcoming manner during their visit or stay with us. Thus they do show the reaction of moral consequence just as we do. Also in our culture we put our elderly as well. We put them in nursing homes due to us not having the time to take care of them and we believe e that by putting them there they will be better off. That is the case with Eskimos as well, due to the constant moving they cannot care for the elderly. Either way these are examples of two societies that are totally different to the eye but shows examples of moral consequence as a reaction to their action. Thus whether it comes off as wrong it may still have moral consequence

although certain actions may be viewed differently by certain societies. The main socity to which they are doing the actions consider it to be a moral act in their culture, tribe, or town. though ones actions may be denied in one socity in the main society where the action is done it may be consider moral. in arstoles he speak of good tempered where acting quickly on your anger is good oppose to the bad tempered where keeping the anger in is bad. By acting on the anger right away those people view that action as moral. As you go on to say that not alll actions imply a moral consequence which may be true, but in the end the person committing the action must have a thought that what he/she are doing will cause a moral consequence thus ending in a positive action. Coming to an end you mention the switch of religion for convicts but if you notice they change of religion, their actions, is helping them stay away from doing a repeating crime thus ending in a moral consequence


No, you are still wrong because the human action that is being committed and is being considered a moral consequence, the decisions whether it is or not moral consequence still lies in the speakers moral beliefs and as we can agree that can be mutable. Going right into another example we have Martin Luther King who was an activist, and a leader in the African-American Civil Rights Movement, who strongly believed that if his people will just organize themselves, their dreams of one day being free will come true. He was a pacifist, which means he doesn't believe in violence and it will be foolish of me to state he didn't do it for moral reason but he mainly overlooked violence because he understood that if his people will retaliate violently then people will view them as aggressive uncivilized people and that was not Kings mission. According to Kant, the only thing of intrinsic value in morality is revenue for duty. So the actions the king took to help free his people from slavery can be debated towards if it"s moral or immoral and that will depends on the speakers moral beliefs. That"s why you can"t state that all the decisions a human makes will always lead to moral consequences or not. Moral consequence is a dependent towards who is approaching the actions; we can even consider this moral consequence as having extrinsic value which can fluctuate towards whose being asked.
Debate Round No. 3


I"m sorry to say but you are wrong MLK overlooked violence in an effort to expose the oppressors as the very thing the claimed African American were. He did this in hope that others will see and begin to think on the subject and consequently begin to force change, as he puts it in his "Letter from Birmingham Jail," "it was necessary to create a tension in the mind so that individuals". According to him this form of tension forces thinking and allows for growth. With that being said here we have yet another example of moral consequence.


Even Mill also argues that "the rightness or wrongness of an act depends not on any intrinsic worth, but on the results it produces or tends to produce." (Mill 512.1.8-10). By Mills stating this he infers that human actions whether it is moral or immoral it doesn't necessarily mean a moral consequence will fallow. Also how described in class Mill's uses his principle of utility which he explains that human actions something"s doesn"t necessarily mean a moral consequence but it will create happiness. (Mill 512.1.8-10). Mill"s principle on Utility also focuses on people desire for pain and pleasure. He explains the differences in the quality of pleasure into two categories. He differentiates the two into what someone will consider highly valuable or not but regardless of the value it is understood that the interest of the value doesn't necessarily mean moral consequence will fallow from the action to obtain the goal. (Mill 512.2.20-23)
Debate Round No. 4
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Vote Placed by rross 3 years ago
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: Maybe Pro would have done better if he had provided a careful definition of "moral consequence" in round 1. He said that pain and pleasure are moral consequences, but then seemed to accept Con's implied definition of morality as a subjective code of conduct. For this reason, Con's arguments were more convincing, I thought. BTW. Wives are not possessions. If a wife sleeps with a guest, it is not because her husband shares her, it's because she chooses to be hospitable. I would have taken conduct off for this, but you both said it.