The Instigator
abstractposters
Pro (for)
Losing
3 Points
The Contender
MouthWash
Con (against)
Winning
10 Points

To hold the idea of zero as not sufficient in-itself to be called a number is immoral.

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 3 votes the winner is...
MouthWash
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 8/7/2012 Category: Science
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 929 times Debate No: 25041
Debate Rounds (2)
Comments (1)
Votes (3)

 

abstractposters

Pro

By the definition, every member of the domain of 0 IS a member of the posterity of the 1st term; hence the successor of a member of the domain of 0 must be a member of the posterity of the first term (because the posterity of a term always contains its own successors, by the general definition of posterity), and therefore a member of the domain of 0, because by the definition of posterity of the first term is the same as the domain. All numbers do not have the same successor.
MouthWash

Con

This is such a quality site.
Debate Round No. 1
abstractposters

Pro

Con IS being immoral---permitting another; thus 0 is good morale.
MouthWash

Con

All value systems are predicated necessarily on some fundamental value. In the general domain of logic--including the domain itself--particular systems are established by assuming at least one axiomatic statement, e.g., "Human life is a primary value", or "A is A". In any case in which something is asserted as axiomatic, one cannot argue, from within the system whose origin is that axiom, about the truth-value of that axiom, given that the originary function of that axiom is to permit the development of a system of deductions. To argue about the proposition "human life is valuable" in a system whose fundamental axiom is such is much like arguing over the logical status of "A is A" (one cannot argue against it, since one must assume it to be true to employ deduction). In other words: one cannot treat the axiom(s) of a given deductive system as a conclusion derived within that system. This explains how two individuals can be "logical" while at the same time reaching divergent conclusions: supposing I take "God exists" as axiomatic, I might reach different normative conclusions than someone who takes secular epistemic standards as axiomatic (since these kinds of standards are almost certain to produce athestic or otherwise skeptical belief-commitments). To adjudicate between two or more possible axioms, one may widen the circle by appealing to a larger external system; however, this system is itself subject to the criterion of agreement over axioms, lending the question of contingency a decisively Gļæ½delian tone.

Formulating more clearly the normative contingency thesis: all systems of ethics rely necessarily on an agreement (between the participants in discourse) over the axiom whose assumption permits valid normative deductions. The corollary to this, which is critical to the following stage of my argument, is: for any two participants in discourse, failure to agree on an axiom precludes the possibility of meaningful discourse between those participants.

In what manner does this thesis bear on our debate, then? Extrapolating from the criteria for meaningful discourse, it seems as though the only requirement for my victory is a refusal on my (or anyone else's) part to accept Pro's axiom claim. This is precisely my intention. When I assert, however, that it is "not logical" to prefer Pro's implicit axiom, which seems to be something like "Maximizing longevity is a primary value" (or, yet more generally, "One's own life is most valuable"), it is not to say that it is internally contradictory, or that it violates some rule of deduction; rather, I mean to say that there is nothing in the wider system of logic, in which Pro's axiom claim is situated, which implies that maximization of longevity is a necessarily true proposition. While it is difficult to contest the notion of identity (i.e., "A is A") without making communication impossible, I suspect Pro and I do not agree entirely that maximization of longevity should be a similar axiom, much less that a normative impetus to such could be deduced from any axiom to which I would agree.

In economics, the concept of tradeoffs/opportunity costs indicates that, in any case where an agent makes some choice X, that choice necessary gives up all other possible opportunities Y, Y', Y', etc. While we might think "The decision to smoke is irrational because it shortens life/is unhealthy", there really is not some objective way of arbitrating the dispute between smoking and the opportunity costs one incurs in pursuing recreation in that way. In other words: one cannot claim that smoking is "irrational" without an implicit, axiomatic claim to value from which such conclusion could be deduced.

One could, of course, propose all sorts of objections. One could say, for instance, that a smoker really is making suboptimal decisions, citing nicotine addiction, increased stress, risk of cancer, etc. Pro seems somewhat to have adopted this route; however, the reply is always the same: one cannot indict some choice framework in terms of some different choice framework, since the fundamental quibble merely reduces to "This axiom is better than that one", a claim which is itself contained in an axiomatic system external to the framework being advanced.

Another objection, which I think is stronger, is that the smoker himself may prefer a world in which he has quit to one in which he has not. The reply here is twofold: first, this is primarily an inductive claim which could be formulated as: "Since many smokers would probably regret smoking X years down the line, individuals ought not smoke." Intuitively, we may, given that this argument relies on the smoker's own choice framework, be inclined to agree; however, this argument seems to ignore outliers and counterexamples. The proper argument, I think, would be, "For any smoker who would regret smoking X years down the line, the same individual(s) ought not smoke." This seems to hold--somewhat, at least--for individual cases; it does not, however, hold as a universal normative principle. Nevertheless, even this claim runs into my second objection, that there are serious bounding issues. What are the boundaries, for instance, on the number of years (signified by X) before or after which a smoker must feel a general sense of regret to justify the individuated normative claim that he/she should not smoke? Further, supposing that a subject's regret is offset some by the desire to keep smoking, how do we draw boundaries on how much regret is required before the normative claim applies? If we try to make statistical, "51%" kinds of arguments, how do we quantify inherently qualititative experiences, e.g., regret vs. craving (not to mention the marginalized or excluded emotions which are likely to play a causal role in a subject's final decision).

One other interesting bounding issue comes up when considering the arguments about damage to a smoker's surroundings in the form of fires and (presumably) secondhand smoke. There seems not to be a method of determining the extent to which one ought to refrain from some action in light of its potential negative repercussions. The drawing of a threshold between someone smoking cigarettes and operating a vehicle seems, therefore, somewhat arbitrary. Surely, if individuals stopped driving cars, the quantity of car accidents (i.e., deaths) would decrease; yet, I suspect that Pro is unwilling to concede to juridical or ethical prohibitions on driving. This makes it difficult to articulate precisely the point at which it becomes impermissible to perform an action. Questions such as "How many deaths are permissible?", "How high does the risk of an accident have to be?", etc., spring immediately to mind. Even supposing that the bounding issue is solved, however, I may still recourse to normative contingency and the universality problem:

On the one hand, supposing that we agree to an axiom like "one ought never harm other individuals"—which seems to underlie Pro's claims about interpersonal safety—moral imperatives such as "Smokers ought to be more careful" or "Smokers ought only to smoke in designated areas" are the best arguments Pro will have to work with, particularly given the very technical sorts of solutions which would be required to solve the bounding issue without concluding that any potential hazard to others' safety ought to be banned.

On the other hand, given that not all smokers are guilty of starting fires, killing others with secondhand smoke, etc., it seems as though there are at least some cases in which Pro's factual claims are inapplicable, which implies further that the moral prohibition on smoking, insofar as it is predicated on interpersonal safety concerns, cannot be extended to individuals to whom these concerns do not apply.

Vote Con.
Debate Round No. 2
1 comment has been posted on this debate.
Posted by MouthWash 4 years ago
MouthWash
@Stephen_Hawkins, wtf? I was having a laugh at a troll's expense.
3 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Vote Placed by TUF 4 years ago
TUF
abstractpostersMouthWashTied
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: trololol
Vote Placed by Axiom 4 years ago
Axiom
abstractpostersMouthWashTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Abstract made the positive claim. He had the burden of proof. He failed miserably to fulfill it.
Vote Placed by Stephen_Hawkins 4 years ago
Stephen_Hawkins
abstractpostersMouthWashTied
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Total points awarded:30 
Reasons for voting decision: abstract was less than useless, but CON just stole from Cody's debate on smoking. http://www.debate.org/debates/People-Shoudnt-Smoke-Cigarettes/1/