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KVDebates
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The Contender
Ariesx
Con (against)
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Utilitarianism Is the most viable system of ethics.

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KVDebates
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 5/22/2015 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 505 times Debate No: 75687
Debate Rounds (5)
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Votes (1)

 

KVDebates

Pro

Salutations fellow debaters, in this debate I wish to argue that utilitarianism is the most viable system of ethics. The con side in his first round shall assert an opposing system he wishes to defend and accept.

Structure:
Round one: State position/ Accept
Round two: Constructive cases
Round three: Rebuttals
Round four: Further rebuttals
Round five: Final reflections and closing statements

Good luck to whomever decides to accept :).

Ariesx

Con

Even though, I use utilitarianism in my personal life, I do not feel as though it is an ethical system, and will prove that it is an immoral system,
Debate Round No. 1
KVDebates

Pro


Utilitarianism is the ethical system that states that the moral course of action, is the action which results in the most subsequent well being for the all. Utilitarianism is a consequential system, which differs from deontological systems in that the moral action is predicated on consequence.
In regards to consequences the Utilitarian the entirety of positive and negative effects resulting from an action, either during or after. A question that usually arises regards at which point does an act become moral or so what differential value between two acts constitutes a sufficient difference for the issue to be relevant.If the differential value between the act and alternative acts is not sufficient, some Utilitarians disregard the choice and denote it as morally irrelevant. According to Mill, actions should only be denoted as moral or immoral only if “the consequences are of such significance that a person would wish to see the agent compelled, not merely persuaded and exhorted, to act in the preferred manner.”In determining the value of consequences produced by an action, Utilitarianism the notion of inherent value in some degree (the idea that some ideal is held to be moral synthetic a priori, regardless of all other consequences, and all other values are believed to “derive their worth from their relation to this intrinsic good as a means to an end.”)

I believe utilitarianism is the best available ethical system because systemically, it coincides with how we think about things in general, which is to say it takes into account circumstance and encourage adaptation and also fulfills the main question ethics is concerned with: “What can we do to make the world a better place for everyone?” Well axiomatically just via semantic, utilitarianism is concerned with the everyone. The maxim may state “the most people”, however if everyone is concerned with the well being of the most people, everyone will be covered. As in regards to the way we think, utilitarianism is concerned with consequences and circumstances, and this is the way we think naturally. If I do x, what will happen and is this favorable? For example take the proposition "Should I burn my neighbors house down"?
To answer this, let's refer to the hedonistic caculus,

Hedonistic Calculus: The hedoistic calculus is a formula which theoretically can produce a numerical value for a course of action, the higher the more moral the action is. Bentham took into account seven factors, when constructing and utilizing the hedonistic calculus. The seven factors are intensity, duration, certainty, propinquity, fecundity, purity, and extent. Intensity is self explanatory for definition, and it is important to consider because the intensity of pain or pleasure felt is important in decision making. Duration refers to how long pain or pleasure is endured. Certainty is the extent to which one can be sure of the pain or pleasure of an outcome. Such a factor would relevant in deciding to play the lottery or invest in a treasury note. Propinquity is a more obscure notion, and refers to how close are far in the future the pain or pleasure will ensue. Fecundity is the measurement of how likely is it that the pleasure brought about by an event will lead to the pleasure of others, and this is especially important given the aforementioned possession and importance of altruism. Purity is the measurement of the likelihood that pain would lead to the pain of others, and by the same token as fecundity should be taken seriously. The final factor is extent which is the number of persons affected by an action, which is vital to fulfill the “most people” portion of utilitarianism’s maxim. The equation in its final form appears as { N [ C (I × D) ] + Nf [ Cf ( If × Df ) ] }.

Analysis Of The Aforementioned Propisition:
Should I burn my neighbors house down? Let's look at the factors.
Intensity? Well one can justly say that they will be very displeasured or endure great pain giving the psychological attachment to a home, the impact on their kids, the eradication of their possessions and the subsequent tedious encounters with insurance.
Fecundity- As the event will lead to pain, fecundity is negated.
Purity- Due to the empathetic nature of most humans, the pain of the neighbors will lead to the pain of all those close to them
Certainty- One can be relatively certain pain will ensue(substantiated by the discussion regarding intensity/).
Duration and propinquity will measure high due to the fact that a fire could take a long time to put out and it is such a stressful event, and will subsequently become a painful memory, inflicting pain whenever recalled.

Utilitarianism provides a rational and comprehensive metric by which moral decisions can be analyzed and is an extension of natural thought.
Sorry if my argument seems brief, but the motion refers to utilitarianism as the most viable, as I see other systems as so much more detrimental that utilitarianism is the only viable one, so the bulk of my argumentation will come from refutation of critics and attacking the system con asserts.
Also note that in the acceptance round con did not state an opposing ethical system,
Without doing so con can not win, because even if utilitarianism can be shown to be flawed, it can still be the most viable, and defaulty is without being compared to another contending system.
http://www.iep.utm.edu...

http://philosophy.lander.edu...
Ariesx

Con

First let's start with some definitions:
Utilitarianism- The greatest benefit for the greater number of people
Viable-capable of working successfully
Ethics- is the branch of philosophy that involves systematizing, defending, and recommending concepts of right and wrong conduct

I am sorry that I did not list an alternative to utilitarianism. I would list the simple philosophy Morality as a better alternative. According to the definition you listed, you would have to get to the basis of right and wrong. Right and Wrong can be very difficult to define, but we subconsciously know what is right and wrong to us. Morality you can say is a sort of alternative to Utilitarianism. Utilitarianism can cloud itself with the definition(Greatest benefit for the greatest number of people). What Utilitarianism does is it ignores the minority, while morality wants what is fair for everybody. We do not know what will happen to the minority. Is that fair? Morality wants nobody left behind. Utilitarianism fails to do that ethically.
Utilitarianism Examples:
Nazi Germany-Nazi Germany used Utilitarianism to their own advantage. The Nazis as you know were a very racist ideology. They believed that the Aryan race was the best race, and that the Germans would eventually destroy the other races. As you would know, this is complete dogma. Now, they went as far as to kill anyone who disagreed with them. Put yourself in a Nazi's mind. Their are newspapers writing things that hurt your agenda. We should kill them because it is the greater benefit of the German people. There Jews, Blacks, Slavs, and Russians that own factories where our innocent Germans live. We should put them in camps for the greater benefit of the German people. They used Utilitarianism to justify genocide of 6 million people.

Communist Russia- When the Soviets came to power, they started trying to implement Karl Marx's communist manifesto. For years, the Russian people have been victim to Capitalism. The rich would enjoy life, while the poor starved. The poor worked in factories, while the rich owned the factories and collected all the profit. The rich would go to fancy private schools while the poor couldn't even afford education. Russia didn't even move beyond feudalism. People like Stalin stayed in little boot factories doing Child labor. When the Communists came to power, they wanted revenge. They wanted to kill the rich for a greater benefit.

Communist China-When the communists in China came to power, they also tried to do the same thing. Same story, same background. The Rich would benefit while the poor would fall. They used the Utilitarianism philosophy in killing the rich. But, Mao wanted something more. He wanted to start a cultural revolution. He wanted the rich to work the jobs of the poor. Utilitarianism-the greatest benefit for the greatest number of people. It would be in the greater benefit to make the rich work poor jobs, so they know how it feels. This resulted in 60 million people dying.

Capitalism-Capitalism is also a very utilitarian philosophy. It relies on people working with each other. The poor will work for the smart ones. Fair isn't it. It is for the greater benefit. It starts businesses, and made America the economic superpower that it is. But, the poor will still work. That is not fair.

I would want my opponent to answer this in the rebuttal, Do you think it is ethical that the minority is ignored in utilitarianism?
Debate Round No. 2
KVDebates

Pro

Con says: "According to the definition you listed, you would have to get to the basis of right and wrong. Right and Wrong can be very difficult to define, but we subconsciously know what is right and wrong to us. "
The basis of right I wrong I provided was pleasure and pain and this is just by virtue of an organism's biological predisposition to engage in pleasure permitting acts and refrain from pain permitting acts. And this wasn't challenged, con merely ignored it.

Con says: " Morality you can say is a sort of alternative to Utilitarianism." I don't even know what this means. Utilitarianism is a moral system so I'm not sure what he is saying.

All of con's counter examples are red herrings. I already stated that humans think naturally in a utilitarian manner. They do what they believe will be the best outcome for the most people. Con realizes they were attempting to act for the greater good, however they weren't. They clearly acted to the greater detriment. So con's examples are not really pertinent as the dictators and capitalism may have claimed to be acting in the interest of the greater good, however they failed and utilitarianism isn't to blame, it's them and the political/ sociological conditions they lived under which influenced their thought.

And by definition I think it's ethical for the well being of the minority to be ignored and con has not provided any reason why this is intrinsically immoral. I assert it is moral because this isn't a perfect world and most situations can't resul in well being for everyone. By acting in the interest of the majority pain is minimized and pleasure is maximized and con also has not provided any reasons for why this is intrinsically wrong, he has merely listed some misguided examples.

Ariesx

Con

Ariesx forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
KVDebates

Pro

KVDebates forfeited this round.
Ariesx

Con

Ariesx forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
KVDebates

Pro

KVDebates forfeited this round.
Ariesx

Con

Ariesx forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 5
No comments have been posted on this debate.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by CASmnl42 1 year ago
CASmnl42
KVDebatesAriesxTied
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Total points awarded:10 
Reasons for voting decision: Forfeit