The Instigator
elvroin_vonn_trazem
Pro (for)
Tied
0 Points
The Contender
Zaradi
Con (against)
Tied
0 Points

There is no such thing as "inherent value"

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Post Voting Period
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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 5/18/2012 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,583 times Debate No: 23626
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (7)
Votes (0)

 

elvroin_vonn_trazem

Pro

Introduction: Abortion opponents make various claims to support their overall case that abortion is bad. I'm not an abortion opponent because it is obvious to me that almost all of those foundation-claims are themselves bad (as in "false"), so, logically, any conclusion depending on those claims must be incorrect.

If an abortion argument includes any claim involving the concept of "inherent value", then that concept must itself first not be flawed. In this Debate I will take the stand that it is indeed flawed. My opponent must show that "inherent value" can exist despite my efforts.

To begin, the definitions presented below can be found at this web site:
ht......ww.dictionary.com
(NOTE: I modify web addresses here to survive manipulation by the debate.org site. After copying one to the address bar of a new browser page, replace the first few dots with standard web-address characters.)

"inherent": adjective: 1. Existing in someone or something as a permanent and inseparable element, quality, or attribute.

In more detail, such a property will exist regardless of anything else. For example, the chemical element "gold" inherently is associated with 79 protons in an atomic nucleus. Every atom of gold has that number of protons, and every non-gold atom has some other number of protons, in its nucleus. Gold had that property long before our Sun started to shine, and will continue to have that property long after the stars die. Human (and possibly other) beings may have *noticed* this particular property of gold, but the property itself exists regardless of any such notice. *That* is what "inherent" is all about.

Per the rules of the English Language, an adjective is something that describes a noun, so for "inherent value" to exist, a noun-definition of "value" is needed, and there are a number of such definitions:
1. the desirability of a thing, often in respect of some property such as usefulness or exchange-ability; worth, merit, or importance
2. an amount, esp a material or monetary one, considered to be a fair exchange in return for a thing; assigned valuation: the value of the picture is �10 000
3. reasonable or equivalent return; satisfaction: value for money
4. precise meaning or significance
5. (plural) the moral principles and beliefs or accepted standards of a person or social group: a person with old-fashioned values
6. (maths)
a. a particular magnitude, number, or amount: the value of the variable was 7
b. the particular quantity that is the result of applying a function or operation for some given argument: the value of the function for x=3 was 9
7. (music) short for time value
8. (painting, drawing, etc)
a. a gradation of tone from light to dark or of colour luminosity
b. the relation of one of these elements to another or to the whole picture
9. (phonetics) the quality or tone of the speech sound associated with a written character representing it: `g' has the value in English `gem'

Since the phrase "value of human life" frequently appears in abortion debates, and since the above definitions 6 through 9 are not directly associated with the concept of "being alive", they can be ignored.

Definition 5 is about something that is known to be different across different cultures. That means it logically *can't* be associated with the word "inherent", so we have to ignore this definition, also.

Definition 4 is redundant in the sense that, at the moment, we are seeking the most appropriate value or definition of "value" that would pertain to an abortion debate. Thus this definition isn't the one we want.

Definitions 2 and 3 are both closely associated with "money" or "trade", and human life is often claimed to be "priceless" and shouldn't be traded (it is why slavery was banned) --so these definitions must be ignored.

That leaves us with Definition 1 and the notion of "desirability", even though this definition also *can* be associated with money and trade. But it doesn't have to have that association. For example, someone might find value in a desire to do some "fish tickling":
ht......ww.bigsiteofamazingfacts.com/why-would-you-want-to-tickle-a-fish
The value might be associated with nothing more than the accomplishment of a challenge.

"desire": verb:
1. to wish or long for; crave; want.
2. to express a wish to obtain; ask for; request: The mayor desires your presence at the next meeting.

Definition 1 of "value" can certainly connect human life to desirability. There are vast numbers of stories about humans desiring to live in spite of various odds, or desiring others' lives (in any of several different ways).


I may now present my initial case:

[1]: "Desirability" is derived from the word "desire". Desire is a phenomenon typically associated with living things. For example, a cat may desire to catch a mouse, and the mouse may desire to avoid the cat --while a rock has no desires whatsoever.

[2]: If the most appropriate definition of "value" involves "desirability", then it logically follows from [1] that value can only exist when living things exist.

[3]: Since the concept of "inherent" requires a property to exist independently of whether or not it is noticed (which only living things can do), it logically follows from [2] that the phrase "inherent value" is self-inconsistent and thus can't actually exist.

Q.E.D.
Zaradi

Con

BOP is on my opponent to prove that inherent value does not exist. So if I refute his arguments, you vote con. (as a sidenote, I verified the definitions to make sure he wasn't BSing this. Accept the definitions as legitimately sourced.) Without further adeiu, I'll jump right into this.

To begin with, I'd like to point out that inherent value is a concept that extends far beyond the bounds of abortion debates. It's a concept that affects nearly every situation and issue known to man today. As such, to restrict argumentation to be based around what one would say in an abortion debate is absolutely ridiculous, as it's a massive ground skew against me. Also, as the resolution has nothing to do with abortion, there's no justifiable reason to restrict the scope of the debate to abortion arguments. This poses a few problems specific to the examples he uses to explain a few of his definitions, but I'll get to that in a second.

I'll agree with his definition of inherent, but I disagree in which the way he is using it. Inherent value, in the way he is wanting to debate this, is a noun that talks about an aspect or characteristic of value that is always present in an object; it never changes, no matter what you do to it or what it does. Inherent value may have been placed in an object from it's very creation, or inherent value may have been placed in the object at a later time. But this inherent value cannot be taken away, as then it would not longer be inherent. For example, to use the gold example he brought up, an inherent value of gold is it's representation of wealth. This is an inherent value that was placed in it after it was created, as gold was just a metal before humans began to trade it and collect it in large quantities.

This does a number of things to the debate:

1) This frees us from the messy desirability debate, essentially making the rest of his case null and void. Because the BOP is on him, and a definition of inherent is insufficient to affirm, you can negate here.
2) This invalidates the syllogism given below, as it relies on inherent value being two seperately defined words, instead of one concept with one definition. As his syllogism is his only real argument, you can negate here.

But let's presume that his reasoning is valid, and that we end up considering 'inherent' and 'value' as two seperate words (even though I already disproved this). Let's go to the listed definitions for value. I disagree here that one is the only viable option, as four more accurately describes the concept of inherent value than one does, as well as removes the messy concept of desirability. You can prefer the fourth definition for this reason. All he says against this definition is that it doesn't really apply to abortion debates, but that's insanely abusive to limit me in scope to an abortion debate framing, as inherent value extends well beyond just abortion. As we're trying to determine if inherent value ITSELF, not inherent value in the case of abortion, exists, the restriction is unwarranted in the resolution, and his refutation falls.

This change in definitions means that this also gets us away from the messy desirability debate, which invalidates his second premise in the syllogism. Thus, as his syllogism is the only argument he makes, and all I have to do to refute a syllogism is defeat one premise (thus de-railing the logical flow of the syllogism and invalidating the conclusion), you can negate here.

But let's keep going down. Let's presume for a second that his definition of value holds, and that we need to consider desirability into this. Let's go down to his syllogism, specifically premise 1 to start with.

The main problem with this premise is that it presumes that non-living things cannot experience desire, but that's false, as we can DESIRE non-living objects, thus placing inherent value into non-living objects. While the money in my wallet does not exist, I desire it in the sense that I want more of it. This places an inherent value of monetary value into ordinary paper, thus GIVING it inherent value, and proving it's existence. Another example would be the American flag. While it's just a tapestry of cloths and silks, Americans have placed desire in it as it represents those who defend our borders and the freendom that his country provides it's citizens. As we have placed these characteristics in the flag, the concepts it symbolizes are something that we desire, thus giving it inherent value. This refutes his first premise, thus refuting the entire syllogism.

Also, just because something is typically associated with a certain thing, that doesn't mean it can ONLY be associated with that certain thing, but that's just me nit-picking.

Now let's go to premise two, which says that value can only exist in living things. This is false, as we can place value into non-living objects. If this weren't true, then there would be no such thing as a monetary system, as all it is is placed value into bits of paper and metal. The fact that we have PLACED this inherent value into these objects, that AREN'T living, his second premise is refuted, thus making his entire syllogism refuted.

Now to visit his final premise, which is his conclusion. As I've already invalidated the first two premises, this one is automatically false. But he makes an interesting (yet warrantless) claim that I feel needs to be addressed. He claims that the concept of inherent requires it to exist independently of whether or not it is noticed, which I agree with, as it wouldn't be inherent if it could suddenly not exist. But then he claims that this is something that only living things can do, which is incredibly false and entirely unwarranted (also looking past the fact that this claim follows from NO WHERE in his syllogism). Paper that we have deemed money does not notice the value we have placed in it, as it cannot notice (since it isn't alive). But because he can't notice, this does not change the value placed in it, as it is independent of whether or not it can notice. This means that even if he wins the first two premises, his conclusion is false in itself, thus de-railing the syllogism.

As that's all of the arguments he made, I'll end here and turn the floor over to my opponent. So far, his case has proved nothing and has been refuted in it's entirety. I await my opponent's next argument.

Now let's go to premise two
Debate Round No. 1
elvroin_vonn_trazem

Pro

I would like to thank Zaradi for participating in this Debate.

Next, just because someone claims something exists, that does not mean that if someone else claims it doesn't, all the burden-of-proof falls upon the second person. Suppose someone claimed to have discovered a triangle possessing _four_ internal angles. Where would the BOP really fall? It is "by definition" that a triangle only has three internal angles. And, as I showed in my first argument, it is by the definitions of "inherent" and "value" that they cannot connect with logical consistency, at least when "value" is defined in terms of "desirability".

Please note: I started off this Debate talking about the abortion issue _specifically_ because I want to talk about a particular meaning of the phrase "inherent value". It is that specific meaning which does not exist, and all abortion debaters need to understand _why_. The result will preclude that false thing from ever again being part of an anti-abortion argument --or if it gets included anyway, then it will also be immediately ridiculed by those who know better.

Other types of inherent value can certainly exist, when "value" has a different meaning than the one I'm refuting in this Debate. For example, a "ground-state" protium-hydrogen nucleus has an inherent value of mass-magnitude which is always a specific fraction of the mass-magnitude of a ground-state deuterium-hydrogen nucleus. But meanings like that are not what I want this Debate to be about, and if I failed to indicate that clearly in my opening statements, I apologize.

Now, as Con indicated, the type of "inherent value" referenced in abortion debates is also referenced in many other situations. That's simply because "desirability" can apply to far more things than only life.

Nevertheless, my refutation of the actual existence of that type of "inherent value", _however_ it is applied, still holds. Desire cannot exist without something that is doing the desiring, and non-living things never do any desiring.

As a specific example, look again at what Con wrote: "... an inherent value of gold is it's representation of wealth." But since when are non-living things interested in "wealth"?

There is also the fact that the perceived magnitude of the value of gold is not fixed. The following quote is from a "Charles Schwab" page: ht..../chuck.hubpages.com/hub/What-is-Inflation-How-it-is-calculated-How-it-affects-a-nations-Economy_
"While inflation rarely occurs with a gold standard, there is at least one major instance of inflation under a gold standard and this was the inflation that swept Europe in the sixteenth century following the Spanish conquest of the Aztec and Inca Empires in the New World and the subsequent transport of boatloads of the massive gold holdings of these empires to Europe."

Now see this information:
ht..../en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Law_of_supply_and_demand

The Law of Supply and Demand can affect even the value of gold --as has actually happened. Well, if the definition of "inherent" requires a property to be "permanent", then how does the varying value of gold qualify as an "inherent" property of gold?

Even today traders will buy gold when they think it is less valuable than other things, or when they think its value will be more stable than the values of other things. And they sell gold when they think it is more valuable than other things, especially if they think those other things will increase in value. Gold then just becomes a tool for fulfilling various living humans' desires for wealth --and the form that wealth takes matters little.

So, Con made a serious mistake when later writing: "This frees us from the messy desirability debate". All Con has actually done is mix one desirable thing with another. And _both_ are only desirable because living things are doing the desiring.

It should be noted that humans aren't the only living things to pursue "wealth". The male bowerbird is an animal that constructs a special nest-like thing (a bower) and decorates it and its vicinity with a variety of collected items. The purpose of the collection is to convince a female to mate with him --and items that are blue in color are more desired/valued than other items. It happens that solid blue objects are relatively rare in nature, and thus are more difficult to obtain. So a wealthy bowerbird is one that has gathered up a bunch of blue items, while a poor bowerbird has none.

ht......ww.pbs.org/wnet/nature/episodes/bower-bird-blues/introduction/2109/
ht..../en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Satin_Bowerbird

Today male bowerbirds have a much easier time finding blue stuff than, say, a hundred years ago. That's because humans generate a lot of trash, and some of it consists of pieces of blue plastic. The bowerbirds don't care. To _them_ blue things have value. Well, if it was "inherent value", why did the stupid humans fail to recognize it, and throw that blue stuff away???

Because _all_ valuations associated with desirability are actually relative, affected by the Law of Supply and Demand, and _none_ are inherent!

Next, there is this that I originally wrote: "... a rock has no desires whatsoever." Con interpreted it as: "... non-living things cannot experience desire." Then Con presented some examples of how non-living things can be on the receiving end of a desire, by a living thing. So? That has nothing to do with what I actually wrote. It remains completely true that a non-living thing _has_ no desires whatsoever.

Next, I originally wrote: "... value can only exist when living things exist." After all, only living things do the _assigning_ of value (which should be obvious since non-living things have no desires, and so cannot express desires in terms of valuations of other things). But Con interpreted what I wrote as: "... value can only exist in living things." Well, I don't mind if Con refutes what _he_ wrote, since it has nothing to do with what _I_ was writing about.

Finally, because Con misinterpreted the first two statements I quoted, he also misunderstood the conclusion of my argument. That conclusion appears to still stand.
Zaradi

Con

Zaradi forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 2
elvroin_vonn_trazem

Pro

The evidence suggests that I have made a very strong case. Without feedback from Con, I can't shore up any holes that might yet remain in my argument. I welcome comments of any relevance. Thank you.
Zaradi

Con

I appologize for the forfeit last round. I underestimated the time I had left to complete it, and was unable to meet the time limit. Feel free to deduct conduct, but I'm going to get back into things.

"Next, just because someone claims something exists, that does not mean that if someone else claims it doesn't, all the burden-of-proof falls upon the second person"

No, but as you are the one making a claim, inherent value does not exist, you must prove that what you are saying is true. That's, like, the basic definition of a burden of proof. So you still have BOP.

Also, I don't see the point of you arguing you don't when you're not trying to shift BOP onto anyone else. Is there a point to this?

" And, as I showed in my first argument, it is by the definitions of "inherent" and "value" that they cannot connect with logical consistency, at least when "value" is defined in terms of "desirability"."

And, as you so amazingly dropped the point of my arguments were I refute this, I argued that a) Inherent value is one concept, not two words, and thus should not be defined as two words and b) your definition of value is inconsistant with the way inherent value really works, and that definition four applies better. This gets us out of desirability, but I'll get to that later.

"Please note: I started off this Debate talking about the abortion issue _specifically_ because I want to talk about a particular meaning of the phrase "inherent value"."

Sure, but that doesn't mean you have to limit the entire debate to talking about abortion-related arguments, as that insanely restricts the ground of arguments I can make. Moreover, it would also invalidate half of your examples about gold and molecules and birds, so I don't see how you're really fitting in with your own argument.

"For example, a "ground-state" protium-hydrogen nucleus has an inherent value of mass-magnitude which is always a specific fraction of the mass-magnitude of a ground-state deuterium-hydrogen nucleus."

The awkward thing is this isn't an inherent value of protium-hydrogen. It's a measurement. Inherent value is, as I gave an example, a different concept entirely. Example would be the value of wealth in gold (gold has always stood for wealth throughout history, and still does, as it is it's inherent value).

"Nevertheless, my refutation of the actual existence of that type of "inherent value", _however_ it is applied, still holds."

No it doesn't.

" Desire cannot exist without something that is doing the desiring, and non-living things never do any desiring."

This assumes two things:
1) That desirability plays into this debate (which it doesn't in multiple places)
2) That without desire, inherent value suddenly drops off the face of the earth. This is false, as inherent value exist, regardless of whether or not we notice this. I believe that this is even something you said ("Since the concept of "inherent" requires a property to exist independently of whether or not it is noticed"). I may not desire gold, but I still recognize it's inherent value exists.

Thus, this is false as well.

"As a specific example, look again at what Con wrote: "... an inherent value of gold is it's representation of wealth." But since when are non-living things interested in "wealth"?"

When did I say that non-living things were interested in wealth? I said that it was an inherent value placed in it by humanity.

Also, just to glaze over your stats about the price in gold is fluxuating, how does any of this hold any relevance? While the PRICE of gold may fluxuate, it's representation of wealth does not change, and has always been there since the metal was discovered. The price of something does not affect it's inherent value.

I also fail to see how the bowerbird factors into the debate, as:
a) You've pointed out that these arguments are supposed to be abortion related. I fail to see how this is relevant to abortion.
b) Even if relevant, I fail to see any sort of point or imapct.

"Because _all_ valuations associated with desirability are actually relative, affected by the Law of Supply and Demand"

False. Even outside of supply and demand, gold still has the inherent value of weath, as that is what it represents. Even if an ounce of gold was worth a dollar, it still would not change it's inherent value.

" I originally wrote: "... a rock has no desires whatsoever." Con interpreted it as: "... non-living things cannot experience desire." ... That has nothing to do with what I actually wrote."

False, it has everything to do with what you wrote. Right before you wrote that, you also wrote this:

"Desire is a phenomenon typically associated with living things"

And then right after you said my point had no relevance, you wrote this:

" non-living things have no desires"

This is exactly where I derrived my argument from. Don't let him be a moving target and edit his arguments mid-way through the round. My refutations are still valid, and thus his first premise is invalid. Since his syllogism is thus de-railed, you negate.

He drops the arguments against his second premise, so extend those.

Now, let's go ahead and tally up what he dropped.

1. Arguments against second premise.
2. Refutation against defining inherent and value as two seperate words (precludes desirability)
3. That we should prefer definition four for value instead of one (precludes desirability)
4. The arguments against the third premise of the syllogism.

So we can see that dropped arguments 1 and 4 invalidate the syllogism itself in two different places. So two reasons to negate there. Then dropped arguments 2 and 3 preclude the debate from desirability, which make the entire syllogism as a whole invalid, so we're at four reasons to negate. Factor in refutations and all, and it should be fairly simple to see who won this debate.

Feel free to give conduct to my opponent for the forfeit, that one was my bad. But do not simply JUST vote on FF, read the debate and decide on a winner. But with this, I conclude the debate, having invalidated my opponent's arguments and proven his stance wholely false. Inherent value does exist.
Debate Round No. 3
7 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 7 records.
Posted by Zaradi 5 years ago
Zaradi
Oh sh*t. Didn't realize there wasn't enough time left -.-
Posted by Zaradi 5 years ago
Zaradi
Err, no it didn't. It just had a random "Let's go to premise two at the bottom" xD I have no idea how it got there.
Posted by Zaradi 5 years ago
Zaradi
Wow, it cut off halfway through -.-
Posted by Zaradi 5 years ago
Zaradi
He doesn't have to. I got dis :D
Posted by elvroin_vonn_trazem 5 years ago
elvroin_vonn_trazem
Stephen, I did not see your comment before Zaradi had already accepted the Challenge. If you were willing to recuse yourself from voting, I would not mind if you worked with Zaradi on the Con arguments.
Posted by Stephen_Hawkins 5 years ago
Stephen_Hawkins
Do you mind holding this debate for myself? Got to do some timechecking before accepting.
Posted by KeytarHero 5 years ago
KeytarHero
I'm going to go ahead and decline the challenge. I've decided not to do any more debates on this site.
No votes have been placed for this debate.