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

There is no such thing as an absolute right and wrong when speaking in terms of morality.

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Post Voting Period
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after 1 vote the winner is...
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 5/21/2015 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,485 times Debate No: 75636
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (13)
Votes (1)




I will be arguing for the Idea that right and wrong is a product of personal believe and that there is no "universal truth" that actually exists behind the concepts , thus I am pro. Con will be arguing the opposite. That right and wrong is a real tangible thing that is recognized as opposed to produced.

First Round: Con may present An argument.
Second round: I will present an argument and a rebuttal. Con will do the same.
Third round: I will present an argument and a rebuttal. Con will present a rebuttal only.
Fourth round: I will present a rebuttal only, con will pass to allow an even structure.

The reason I choose to lay out the debate in such a syncopated way is too allow the argument to center more on an opponents ability to understand information given by the other and to effectively refute what is being said. Instead of both presenting initial arguments followed by an exact structure. I want the argument to feel more organic, but extensive as well. good luck to any takers, I'm looking forward too it..


I accept. BOP is shared.
Debate Round No. 1


As con failed to understand my intended structure I am forced to change it. First round has now become acceptance only apparently so round two will now only be initial arguments from either side. The third round will be arguments and rebuttal, and the fourth round will be rebuttals only.

We've all heard of morality and we've all had issues that dealt with what we know as right or wrong. The fundamental problem with morality is that it is solely dependent on the mind. It doesn't exist outside of an intelligent, self awareness. That's because "right" and "wrong" are nothing more than concepts. It's the same thing as beauty, worth, or importance. Understanding of these things changes from each individual person to the next. Now you could argue that large numbers of people share the same values, but that only exists as a part of organized societies. Morality is sociologically understood as more than simply helping or harming others; it encompasses any way that individuals form understandings of what behaviors are better than others, what goals are most laudable, and what "proper" people believe, feel, and do. These things are completely dependent on what societies decide as a whole and are not fundamental truths to be witnessed by all. Morality involves the explicit and implicit sets of rules and shared understandings that keep human social groups intact. Morality includes both the "shoulds" and "should nots" of human activity, its proactive and inhibitive elements. These Ideas are formed, not found, and then learned unto other people. They are spread through human societies as teachings to children and so on and so forth. In conclusion, since concepts are nothing more than formed Idea's, they cannot exist as fundamental truths outside of the mind...


Thank you Pro for instigating this debate, I would like to apologize for my lack of attention on the rules of this debate and will in the future read through the rules with more focus.

So, here we have the idea of whether there is an "absolute" right or wrong. In this Pro is right, yet wrong. The definition of absolute is:

absolute: viewed or existing independently and not in relation to other things; not relative or comparative.

I believe Pro really meant to make the claim that there are is no objective right or wrong, and I think this debate should really be centered around if objective moral values exist. Why? Well, let's look at the opposites of "objective" and "absolute" moral values.

The opposite of "objective" is "subjective." The opposite of "absolute" is "relative." Now very little reflection is needed to see that "relative" does not mean "subjective." Just because one"s moral duties are relative to one"s circumstances doesn"t in any way imply that they are subjective, that there is not an objectively right or wrong thing to do in such a situation. So the distinction objective/subjective is not the same as absolute/relative.

"Absolute" means "regardless of the circumstances." "Relative" means "varying with the circumstances." We can agree, for example, that it is not absolutely wrong to kill another person. In some circumstances killing another person may be morally justified and even obligatory. To affirm that one"s moral duty varies with the circumstances is not to say that we have no objective moral duties to fulfill.

"Objective" means "independent of people"s (including one"s own) opinion." "Subjective" means "just a matter of personal opinion." If we do have objective moral duties, then in the various circumstances in which we find ourselves we are obligated or forbidden to do various actions, regardless of what we think.

I think we can both agree on the existence of Objective Moral Values, or at least a type of Moral Reality that is independent of Humans, and...intelligent. In a way, I am referencing God. Be it the Deist God, or the Christian God.

However Pro, if you disagree on the existence of a Moral Reality then will you answer a question of mine?

Is there any person/persons doing things in the World at this very moment who are doing things that YOU believe must be stopped. Despite what they personally believe about the correctness of their behavior?

I strongly believe you will say yes, because there are hundreds of things going on in the World right now that people consider to be immoral. Whether it be sexual trafficking, child slavery, etc. So if you say yes, wouldn't that mean that you do believe in a moral reality that is "there" that is not defined by us, and that which must be abided by at all times despite what a person thinks or feels?

However, if morality is truly subjective then what makes one groups morality any more "moral" than anothers? Actions like rape, terrorism, and genocide would all be considered morally neutral and not really "bad" because bad itself is just a made up concept.

These are some of the reasons why I am arguing for the existence of Objective Morality. These are things that are seen as wrong, there may be other societies that see differently on these topics however the same question must be asked, what makes our moral code any better than theirs?

Pro, either you must agree that you believe none of these actions to be wrong or you must agree that there is a "moral reality" out there that isn't defined by us.

I don't entirely agree on your statement:

"That's because "right" and "wrong" are nothing more than concepts. It's the same thing as beauty, worth, or importance. Understanding of these things changes from each individual person to the next."

You're partially right, what we view as beautiful, filled with worth, or importance is subjective. Every individual has their own definition of what is beautiful, or important. Yet, I still don't think that holds true for objective morality. There would be no sense in being "good" or "bad" I mean, if we are all equal who is man to impose rules on other men? Who is to say their morality is better than another's if we are all human beings? Morality could only hold true if it comes from something higher than mankind. There would be no sense in not killing others to get what you want (It's a lot more quicker and easier than working and saving up money), along with other easier (but morally wrong) ways to get things done.

I also believe Pro is right when he says that Morality does hold groups together. However, we must not confuse what is efficient and what is ethical. There is a very big difference. Islamic Societies can argue that what they do is efficient, just as much as Western Societies can. However, both cultures have different ideas on what is "ethical". If morality isn't a fundamental truth to be held up by mankind then there simply is no sense in being either a Stalin or a Saint. All actions are considered morally equal (rape, love, theft, giving)
Debate Round No. 2


I appreciate the attempt by con to redirect the argument into what he feels is a more accurate direction, however, I fully intend to center this debate around the concept of absolute morality, not "objective morality". Although I will refute both if it makes any difference at all.

Now they are close to the same thing and while I am fully aware of this, I do believe that my original intent works best for the stance I'm trying to make.

Absolute does, in fact, have the definition stated as: "Viewed or existing independently and not in relation to other things; not relative or comparative".

This being said, it also has the definition: "a value or principle that is regarded as universally valid or that may be viewed without relation to other things". Particularly in regards to concepts of "good" and "evil" which are viewed as absolutes. Both of these definition work perfectly fine in relation to what I'm trying to prove. Anything beyond that is an unnecessary nitpick of semantics that isn't needed to make any of our points valid.

But if only to satisfy con, the Definition of Objective is as follows: "(of a person or their judgment) not influenced by personal feelings or opinions in considering and representing facts".
Some Synonyms include,impartial, unbiased, unprejudiced, nonpartisan, disinterested, neutral, uninvolved, even-handed, equitable, fair, fair-minded, just, and open-minded,

This belongs more in a courtroom or in an historians notebook and less in an argument that is attempting to justify how there can be no full or "absolute" truth inside of the concept that is Morality. Just to hammer my point in a little bit more, synonyms of Absolute include, complete, total, utter, out-and-out, outright, entire, perfect, pure, and decided.

Now I do understand where con is coming from in this regard as in a specific circumstance it may sound better to say something like "Well in this situation the objectively right thing to do is....." However, the words are pretty much interchangeable and absolute doesn't mean that circumstance is irrelevant.

I also noticed that con decided to borrow a large section of his argument from one Doctor Craig on and copy paste his words verbatim. Now I wouldn't even say anything if con had quoted or even given credit to the man. He did not. His paragraph, and the two that follow, that starts off saying "The opposite of Objective is subjective" is directly taken from a response the good doctor had to a question he received about morality. I will leave the link to this here in order for anyone to cross check it, as con neglected to do so himself.

Now con's first actual argument is stated as, "I think we can both agree on the existence of Objective Moral Values, or at least a type of Moral Reality that is independent of Humans, and...intelligent. In a way, I am referencing God. Be it the Deist God, or the Christian God."

If we could both agree than this debate wouldn't be happening at all. Aside from one's personal belief in a deity or a god, which is not the topic of this debate, there is no real argument that can be made for the existence of an absolute or objective morality. And considering that the existence of such a deity has yet to be proven beyond the shadow of a doubt, using this as your fundamental argument is a very weak one, if it can even be considered one at all.

So pro I will answer your question. There are, indeed, many things in this world that happen in divergence of my own personal beliefs but the key words here are "My own personal beliefs" These are not truths. They are nothing more than opinions formed in accordance with the things I was told to understand and the direction of the society I grew up in. Not "things I just knew" or "things God told me" or even "things I could just feel" And yes I did form some of these myself but only after my understanding of the world was influenced very heavily by the very society itself.

In any given society, morals can be considered to fall under the category of "norms" or "expected norms" and in Sociology the description for this is "norms are regarded to exist as collective representations of acceptable group conduct as well as individual perceptions of particular group conduct." or "Norms are cultural products (including values, customs, and traditions) which represent individuals' basic knowledge of what others do and what others think that they should do."
These things are brought from one person to the next and vary widely from culture to culture. None of them can be said to originate from some higher understanding because we can't even prove the existence of a higher understanding. The only intelligent life that has ever been observed exists on this planet. Observably then, it's only logical to ascertain that all levels of understanding, all concepts, moral codes, social values, ect ect ect, originate from this planet and the intelligent life on it.

Now con brings up some examples of why he thinks objective morality exists. These things include rape, sex trafficking, child slavery. and a few others. I will attempt to address this very carefully as to not get the wrong point across as I'm sure many of you are very passionate about your "beliefs" when it comes to topics such as these.

Now I personally believe these things are wrong and I'm sure the huge majority of you do as well. But to say that we believe these things because they are objective, or absolute is completely unwarranted. I believe these things to be wrong because I was taught that these things are wrong. Not because the universe or some higher power decided that they are "objectively wrong" and then told me or someone else. If I was raised in a society that taught me the opposite than I would believe the opposite.

Proof of this can be found all throughout history. Spartan warriors were known to have homosexual relationships with a younger male. In this it was the older male's job to mentor or guide the younger into becoming a man or warrior. These younger males started at the age of 12 and 13... This was considered completely normal and accepted by the standards held within spartan society. Today we would call that "child molestation" "rape" "Solicitation".

In 1600's America slavery was a cultural and societal norm. Slaves were tortured, raped, beaten, killed, and whatever else slave owners decided to do because they were considered property. These things were legal and accepted and these values were taught and passed as norms.

Cannibalism is probably one of the most horrific concepts most people can think of. However human flesh is a dish central to the culture of the Korowai tribe from Indonesian New Guinea. They see nothing wrong with it because they were never told too see anything wrong with it.

Elementary S3E4 Sherlock too Artificial intelligence Bella " Love. Surely it's a human construct. A hedge against the terror of mortality. I believe that. That doesn't account for the times I felt it myself. My mother. Irene. Even after a fashion, Watson. It vexes. Love is either a human construct or it's a real thing, right? I know you need more information."

Bella in response "The question cannot be answered. The concept of love exists. Therefore it is useful even if it is a human construct. It exists because it serves a need. A question that can be answered might be 'why is love needed'?"

Morality should be seen this very way. It's "Useful because it serves a need" However, it is still a human Construct.


tschuk forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3


Well I suppose the forfeit gives me the win......Vote pro


tschuk forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
13 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by 1Mustadio1 2 years ago
Well that's very simple Verita, Your insistence on the misuse of the word "Objective" is where your confusion lies. These "rules" they are not "objective" They are subjective in that I "chose" to set them and my contender "chose" not to adhere to them. If you notice, I didn't end the debate when my rules were broken, I simply adapted and moved on. Having personal beliefs has nothing to do with objective or absolute morals. But I already covered this very handily in my debate as I'm sure you'd know if you actually took the time to read it. That or you did read it, and completely failed to understand my words. Also, website rules are NOT objective in any way shape or form. Not even close. The fact that I "choose" to follow them in no way undermines my original position. Regardless, I refuse to rehash my entire debate in the comment section of it. If you would like to debate for yourself, feel free to challenge me.
Posted by Verita 2 years ago
I noticed you outlined some rules for this debate. Don't you think that is a little ironic that you are imposing parameters that you expect the Contender to also follow? If morality is relative, then how can you sincerely expect anyone other than yourself to adhere to an objective set of rules that you created for this debate? According to your stance, no one's behavior can be labeled or judged as wrong by another. I bet if the Contender typed insults, profanity, racial slurs, and hate wouldn't hesitate to judge that behavior wrong. You would then be judging his beliefs and morals by imposing your morals on him when you eventually reported the behavior to the website administrators. In fact, there are several objective parameters and rules that we all have agreed to abide by to even debate on this website (that's what the "report this debate" flag is used to enforce). Subjective morality when applied in real life will always self-destruct.
Posted by tschuk 2 years ago
Sorry that I forfeited. I am a Senior and am about to graduate within a day. My entire week has been rather rushed and I haven't had enough time to accurately form a good argument and respond.
Posted by 1Mustadio1 2 years ago
Who? Him or me? :D And nnuuuu why did you forfeit? it was cool that you quoted him, explaining how you accidentally missed it would have been no problem.... :'(
Posted by AlarisaTran 2 years ago
I am totally on your side and I have read your argument. I was feeling like "Yes this is gold". Really admire how you brought up the whole debate and how you organized the ideas, actually, everything. lol.
Posted by tschuk 2 years ago
When typing my argument on Google Docs I had thought I had underlined the portion I had used from For that I will take full responsibility, it was an accident. Due mainly to my lack of focus towards detail
Posted by 1Mustadio1 2 years ago
Lol Im all good man. I was mildly salty but I didn't mean any harm :D
Posted by 1Mustadio1 2 years ago
Lol Im all good man. I was mildly salty but I didn't mean any harm :D
Posted by 1Mustadio1 2 years ago
Lol Im all good man. I was mildly salty but I didn't mean any harm :D
Posted by tschuk 2 years ago
It was an accident, no need to be a a*shole about it.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Chaosism 2 years ago
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Total points awarded:40 
Reasons for voting decision: Forfeit and concession of misunderstanding by Con.