The Instigator
Stephen_Hawkins
Con (against)
Tied
3 Points
The Contender
FourTrouble
Pro (for)
Tied
3 Points

This house believes in Utilitarianism over its rivals.

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 2 votes the winner is...
It's a Tie!
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 2/21/2013 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 734 times Debate No: 30464
Debate Rounds (1)
Comments (9)
Votes (2)

 

Stephen_Hawkins

Con

http://debate.org...

This is for voting on this debate. All relevant information is inside this. Thank you.
FourTrouble

Pro

Go to the link but vote here, thanks.
Debate Round No. 1
9 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 9 records.
Posted by wrichcirw 3 years ago
wrichcirw
(Note - PRO/CON are reversed here.)

This was an excellent debate on a topic on which I'm largely unfamiliar. What follows is my opinion on it.

I found PRO's arguments to be more convincing for the following reasons:

1) PRO steadfastly adhered to a priori logic, the "foundationalism" which makes statements that are irrefutable, such as all "bachelors are unmarried." CON doubted this foundation and questioned the logic on which it was based, which served to only question the logical basis of his own arguments.

2) I largely agree with CON that there is reason to question every assumption, but PRO rightly points out that utilitarianism already does this through conditional statements, his "consequentialism".

3) CON's argument has a prima facie false quality to it. By acknowledging that it's better to act than to not act, and by also conceding the fallibility of nearly every aspect of being, CON essentially concedes that what a pragmatist will do will be wrong to the pragmatist. I understand that science works on similar principles, and that science bases itself on "what works" like CON outlines, but "what works" is typically based upon what CON decries as the "complex calculations demanded by utilitarianism".

4) I found the examples utilized by both sides to be subject to too much variability. I could not pin down how each system worked in each example, and this weakened arguments on both sides in my mind.

5) CON: "The fixed point in any system can change producing a change in the system itself. Pro never addresses this."

PRO does address this via foundationalism. There are some points in any system that are not subject to change.

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That's all I could definitively conclude from reading this debate. It is understandably dense, and well argued by both sides. Kudos to PRO for taking the time to illustrate complex terms in a coherent fashion, a great improvement over prior debates that I've had the pleasure to read. Arguments PRO.
Posted by Beginner 3 years ago
Beginner
The Ring of Gyges 'problem' had me thinking for a bit. My final verdict was that moral pragmatists accepted the necessity of morality (a system of right and wrong). Moral pragmatists do not support 'do whatever you want/like', rather, they support 'do whatever is morally correct' based on situational analysis. Killing and stealing are not what is generally considered morally correct. I do not think it is safe to assume people will, in most practical/probable circumstances, arrive at a morally correct decision that commands murder, theft and an array of other actions generally considered immoral.
While reading, I also began applying Evolutionary theory (which is indeed hypothetical, but coherently probable based on, yes synthetic, empirical evidence). Humanity's abilities to coexist and work together toward human survival creates an impetus to work toward the greater good of humanity over that of personal pleasures. This keeps them working together, surviving in order to achieve sustained dominance over other species. Uncoordinated units are prone to solitude (unpredictable people with volatile, selfish potentials are not exactly safe to live with) and therefore have less potential for reproduction. Those who don't comply to this pro-humanity impetus are meted out by evolution. Hence our preference for attributes such as kindness. Many polls find that those looking for dates (not the fruit) find kindness a preferable attribute. I think this shows an evolutionary derivative.

I had no experience or knowledge in the field of ethics & meta-ethics prior to reading this debate. Thank you guys for introducing me to such an interesting subject matter. :D
Posted by Beginner 3 years ago
Beginner
By the way, the link Stephen provided doesn't work. This will:

http://www.debate.org...

The one by Stephen is
"http://debate.org...;
which results in an error page.
Posted by Stephen_Hawkins 3 years ago
Stephen_Hawkins
I hope you do... :p
Posted by phantom 3 years ago
phantom
No votes?

I might if no one else does and I find the time.
Posted by Stephen_Hawkins 3 years ago
Stephen_Hawkins
poo.
Posted by wrichcirw 3 years ago
wrichcirw
so, I just noticed that in the debate, PRO is CON and CON is PRO. Just saying.
Posted by Stephen_Hawkins 3 years ago
Stephen_Hawkins
but..?
Posted by Beginner 3 years ago
Beginner
I'd vote, but...............
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by wrichcirw 3 years ago
wrichcirw
Stephen_HawkinsFourTroubleTied
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Total points awarded:30 
Reasons for voting decision: CON = PRO in the debate. Thanks for posting this, see comments.
Vote Placed by Beginner 3 years ago
Beginner
Stephen_HawkinsFourTroubleTied
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: 1) Con's argument boils down to soft rule utilitarianism, the flexibility of which allows a conditional breach of rulings. This is essentially pragmatism as PRO proposes in R4. The argument against anti-foundationalism falls short as PRO presented pragmatism's ability to accept conditional truths. Its conditional state was not adequately proven to be ethically impractical or wrong and works in favor of PRO's argument on pragmatism's superior versatility. The existence of conditionality (not a word... contingency, who cares) in pragmatism AND soft-rule utilitarianism completely negates CON's ramblings against it (foundationalism and whatnot, which was a huge proportion of CON's argument and is exactly what I think Pro points to in R4's 'irony'). Pro wins in having a proportionally greater amount of 'winning' arguments. 2) Pro was simply more convincing... by R2, I was thoroughly in favor of pragmatism. Subsequent rounds did not effectively turn me in favor of utilitarianism.