The Instigator
Viperx00
Pro (for)
Winning
17 Points
The Contender
lannan13
Con (against)
Losing
5 Points

Utilitarianism is Good

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 5 votes the winner is...
Viperx00
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 8/20/2012 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,708 times Debate No: 25197
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (16)
Votes (5)

 

Viperx00

Pro

Hello, first timer here I'm not quite sure how to start so I hope I'm doing it right, I'm used to informal debates but the whole structure thing is kinda new to me... I guess first round should be for acceptance, opening statements and perhaps some tips for the newbie :P

Then just exchange arguments from there until the conclusion.

I must confess I'm not big on research which is why I selected a topic that I thought would be more intellectual sparring and less scouring the Internet for evidence, but if the discussion ends up with requiring proof as logic alone is insufficient I am not adverse doing research as necessary.

I guess I'll begin by telling a little about my views then move on to cement my position as best as I can.

So I guess that ends introductions, to begin...

I consider myself to be both amoral and utilitarian, although I must admit that I do have some negative knee jerk responses towards certain actions that I have grown to perceive as distasteful such as the act of torture, so perhaps I'm not as amoral as I should be, I still however believe in it logically and that torture can be justified.

So I consider myself amoral because I do not logically see why any action is intrinsically good or bad, it is the resulting effect that I feel is relevant. Which in turn has led me down the path of utilitarianism.

In my view utilitarianism is a practical efficient approach to maximizing happiness which is ultimately the end goal for most if not all people. Every person may have different sets of desires but ultimately happiness is the end goal, since the reason people want to fulfill desires is to achieve happiness.

Thus because happiness the common goal of people it makes sense that aiming to maximize happiness would be ideal to any society.

I'm open for anyone to challenge my views and hope that we have an enjoyable debate. :)
lannan13

Con

I'll first define Utilitarianism. Utilitarianism- a theory that the aim of action should be the largest possible balance of pleasure over pain or the greatest happiness of the greatest number (http://www.merriam-webster.com...) Which means the needs of the many out way the needs of the few. Lets take a trip back in history to the U.S. in the 1800's the Europeans where the majority while the minority where the African Americans, the Africans where enslaved because people were trying to satisfy the needs of the south and adventualy we waged war do to the topic of slavery. Now that we're done with our trip in history lets look at the Middle East. There are more Muslums then Jews in the Middle East and they could use the topic of Utilitarianism to murder people they don't like.
Debate Round No. 1
Viperx00

Pro

I accept your definition of utilitarianism, first I would like to point out in that definition the term "greatest pleasure" suggests there exists varying degrees of pleasure/happiness or pain/unhappiness, and that the objective of utilitarianism is to balance these varying degrees of pain and pleasure with the greatest number of people.

So for example 5 people raping a single person while provides pleasure for the majority of people, does not fit with the goals of utilitarianism for the momentary sexual pleasure of 5 individuals does not outweigh a lifetime of psychological scarring and trauma inflicted upon the victim. This is on top of the fact that most people would not want to live in a society that advocates gang rape to begin with, thus such an environment would cause ultimately cause greater unhappiness.

Moving on to your points, slavery is no longer condoned in modern society, majority of people do not support it. Such an environment in this modern setting creates the high possibility of uprising due to unrest as well as the diminished productivity of forced labor, and the pain caused a lifetime of slavery the denial of freedom and basic rights outweighs the pleasure of convenience for the slave owners.

In the middle east murder causes great pain and unhappiness not only to the victim but his friends and families, vengeance seeking will undoubtedly further add to this. Also advocating another holocaust by killing Jews in the middle east may prompt predominately Jewish societies like Israel backed by the United States into war, war has always resulted in the greatest spread of pain and unhappiness not only due to the scale of violence but also the economic consequences, as wars are incredibly expensive, the resources of all participants are diverted to inflicting pain rather than used for creating happiness. Thus such practices serve contrary to utilitarian goals.
lannan13

Con

1. As the definition of utilitarianism (I'll now refurr to it as UTM) the needs of the majority outway the needs of the minority which means if 5 people are raping one single person that means the sexual needs of these 5 out way the resistance of the 1.
2. My opponet just goes on to say slavery is no longer an issue whhich makes my arguement irrelivent but that is irrelivent, because my point I've made is that slavery has had a big impact on American History and the World's. So my opponet just seems to conceede my arguement.
3. But as you see the Muslums hate Israel and the Jews, even the Iranian constitution states that it must destroy the big satan the U.S. and the Little Satan Israel. When you have something this powerful and you conect UTM to it then boom you get the second hollicost and WW3. Even Muslums are teaching their children to hate Jews with TV shows. , , , and 't be shy and take a look at some of the vidoes.
4. Lets take another history lession, back in the 1900s in Germany. Hitler commited the hollicost. By killing millions of Jews and it's been prooven that Christianity is the world's largest relgion, then it's Islam.
Debate Round No. 2
Viperx00

Pro

As the definition of utilitarianism (I'll now refurr to it as UTM) the needs of the majority outway the needs of the minority which means if 5 people are raping one single person that means the sexual needs of these 5 out way the resistance of the 1.

As I had already pointed out and my opponent has ignored, utilitarianism by my opponents own definition makes the distinction for varying degrees of pain/unhappiness and pleasure/happiness.

Quoting his definition :

Utilitarianism- a theory that the aim of action should be the largest possible balance of pleasure over pain or the greatest happiness of the greatest number.

The term "greatest happiness" used in the definition suggests there are lesser forms of happiness and thus varying degrees of happiness and unhappiness which must be balanced for the largest possible gain of happiness over unhappiness.

In the case of rape the pain caused by a lifetime of psychological damage on a single person by far outweighs the momentary sexual pleasure of 5 people. Furthermore an environment where gang rape is rampant would undoubtedly cause fear and unhappiness among the people.

My opponent's argument is the unfortunate result of his miscomprehension of the definition he himself provided.

My opponet just goes on to say slavery is no longer an issue whhich makes my arguement irrelivent but that is irrelivent, because my point I've made is that slavery has had a big impact on American History and the World's. So my opponet just seems to conceede my arguement.

I did indeed make a point that slavery today is no longer condoned by society, however I also pointed out that a person denied his freedom and rights is simply too much pain to justify the mere convenience of his owner, a point which again my opponent has ignored.

Furthermore my opponent goes on to point out that slavery had significant negative effects throughout American history which actually supports my cause that slavery is not a utilitarian ideal, because utilitarianism seeks happiness and not the unhappiness caused by the war my opponent claims resulted from slavery.

3. But as you see the Muslums hate Israel and the Jews, even the Iranian constitution states that it must destroy the big satan the U.S. and the Little Satan Israel. When you have something this powerful and you conect UTM to it then boom you get the second hollicost and WW3. Even Muslums are teaching their children to hate Jews with TV shows. , , , and 't be shy and take a look at some of the vidoes.

4. Lets take another history lession, back in the 1900s in Germany. Hitler commited the hollicost. By killing millions of Jews and it's been prooven that Christianity is the world's largest relgion, then it's Islam.

I'll tackle both these arguments at the same time since they appear to be related.

My opponent in these arguments appears to assume that killing a member of one religion (or perhaps just Jews…) makes every person of another religion happy. An assertion I can definitely say is false.

If it were true that killing Jews made Christians happy then why did America, a predominantly Christian nation, fight Nazi Germany and rescue Jews?

While extremist factions do exist, a majority of people are moderates. Evidence of this is that if extremists were the majority the world would be a less tolerant place for homosexuals whom are reviled by both major Christian [1] and Islamic [2] faiths, and yet the world has become more tolerant of homosexuality today than it has been in the past.[3]

Conclusion :

I have refuted all my opponents points, which were rather weak points due to my opponents unfortunate miscomprehension of what utilitarianism stands for, despite having defined it himself. Furthermore my opponent has simply ignored a couple of my points.

I have successfully defended my position and believe that I have soundly won this debate.

[1]http://en.wikipedia.org...
[2]http://en.wikipedia.org...
[3]http://www.pinknews.co.uk...

lannan13

Con


UTM- a theory that the aim of action should be the largest possible balance of pleasure over pain or the greatest happiness of the greatest number
My opponent apparently didn't read the bolded portion of the definition. 5/1 is a greater balance of pleasure over pain vs. 1/5 I know rape is morally wrong so I'll stop that train before it leaves the station. But the 5 people having pleasure vs. the 1 person having pain, so if I do my math right 5 is a better statistic than 20%. Then he goes on to criticize me when I know my stuff.


I did indeed make a point that slavery today is no longer condoned by society, however I also pointed out that a person denied his freedom and rights is simply too much pain to justify the mere convenience of his owner, a point which again my opponent has ignored.

Furthermore my opponent goes on to point out that slavery had significant negative effects throughout American history which actually supports my cause that slavery is not a utilitarian ideal, because utilitarianism seeks happiness and not the unhappiness caused by the war my opponent claims resulted from slavery.


My opponent is lying through his teeth if he's telling you that slavery is no longer an issue, I see all the time on crime stoppers about sex slaves http://abcnews.go.com..., even on criagslist their are sex slaves. Then in Africa slavery is still an issue, except this time it's not Europeans in Africa it's Africans doing this themselves. http://www.massnews.com....


If it were true that killing Jews made Christians happy then why did America, a predominantly Christian nation, fight Nazi Germany and rescue Jews?

False, Hitler hated Christianity because Jesus was a Jew, so he made his own religion. http://nephiliman.com...


While extremist factions do exist, a majority of people are moderates. Evidence of this is that if extremists were the majority the world would be a less tolerant place for homosexuals whom are reviled by both major Christian [1] and Islamic [2] faiths, and yet the world has become more tolerant of homosexuality today than it has been in the past.[3]

Yet again this is false most of the people in Kansas are highly Conservative, we've voted Republican for every election except 2 and most of all I believe homosexuality is wrong, so yet again you're barking up the wrong tree as the squirrel gets away.

My opponent’s sources.
1st off I'd like to say wikapeadi isn't a creditable source; even I'm a person that changes things on there. Sorry my school computer won't let me see your 3rd source.

Conclusion.
I have rebutted all of my opponent’s arguments and more. He goes on to criticize me. All of my points have been defended, so therefore I believe this debate is in the bag, but that isn't my job it's the voters. So long and good night from Kansas.

Debate Round No. 3
16 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Man-is-good 4 years ago
Man-is-good
For some reason...my RFD gets cut...

Here is the whole RFD:

"An interesting debate. Con quickly shifted the burden, implicitly, through the task of defending his objections which were weak and easily explained under the context of utilitarianism where a balance between the varying gradations of pleasure and pain were to be achieved; Con's objections as a whole rested on a simplistic view of utilitarianism with the presentation of mass approval as a trait. Con's rounds were rife with s&g errors and were inconsistent in font size and presentation..."
Posted by phantom 4 years ago
phantom
Challenge sent http://www.debate.org...
Posted by Viperx00 4 years ago
Viperx00
Sure just bring up another challenge or let me know when you are available.
Posted by phantom 4 years ago
phantom
If you want a better debate than this one I'd debate you on it but I've got to go so I can't respond right now.
Posted by Viperx00 4 years ago
Viperx00
@Phantom : I find it difficult to conceptualize people not wanting to be happy, can you provide an example?

The only thing that comes to mind are Emos, but really these are people who want attention and fabricate or exaggerate problems so that they appear as unhappy as possible to gain the attention they crave, fulfilling this desire gives them satisfaction though they would not show it in an endless game of playing victim.

This is perhaps just my opinion but even if we were to assume this incredibly small minority truly does not want to be happy, the greater majority of people would still be better off leaving them to their misery and pursuing happiness for the rest of us.
Posted by Viperx00 4 years ago
Viperx00
@Phantom : I actually do think utilitarianism does stand up against your motive argument.

I skimmed some of your thoughts and the example of feeding a hungry man leading to unhappiness is actually one example that has manifested in reality. Some countries in Africa have had their agricultural industry crippled because of food donations, when free food is dropped into the market local farmers can do little to compete and effectively go extinct, ultimately forcing a state of food dependence.

In my own country I look at the Catholic Church taking in as much donations as possible and use it unsustainably to feed the poor only to run out of funds and request for more. I can't help but think... how wasteful if only they had invested it in sustainable industries these people would have jobs and gained the opportunity to help themselves rather than be at the mercy of benevolence of others.

Being amoral I don't necessarily define these good intentions bad results as immoral and needs to be punished, but I do see that they do more harm than good and that utilitarian ideals in practiced in these situations would create better lives for the people in the long run.
Posted by phantom 4 years ago
phantom
It also violates the principle of self-ownership and rights in absurd ways.
Posted by phantom 4 years ago
phantom
Perhaps the main flaw of utilitarianism is that it subscribes to consequence theory. That the moral worth of the action is based solely on consequence and thus motive or deontology is irrelevant. The definition provided in the debate wasn't accurate. That's a revised version at the least. Both Bentham and Mill believed in consequentialism. My reasons for my extreme disregard for consequence theory can be found here. http://www.debate.org...

The second biggest flaw in my opinion is that it assumes happiness to be an objective value. Believe it or not, there are plenty of people who don't want to be happy and many cases in which a person would rather lose happiness than gain. There are hundreds of ethical theories. They all posit different goals. Goals are subjective not objective. Some people believe in the attainment of righteousness by toil and isolation. That's what they want so whose to say they should have happiness instead? The only way utilitarianism could be plausible is if we established the objectivity of happiness but that is impossible to do.

More of my thoughts on utilitarianism here. http://www.debate.org...
Posted by Viperx00 4 years ago
Viperx00
@THEBOMB : I have to admit this wasn't the way I expecting things turn out when I opened to have my utilitarian views challenged.

I was expecting to have to defend myself against philosophical arguments more along the lines of torture the death penalty or perhaps scenarios such as holding a Terrorist's family hostage to obtain vital information to prevent disaster and other things of that nature.

Using historical events as references was perhaps a... different way to attack my views. I guess though that part of the appeal of these debates is one cannot always anticipate an opponents arguments, a valid tactic but I felt it strayed a bit towards the end.
Posted by THEBOMB 4 years ago
THEBOMB
@lannan13

Yes, but utilitarianism is a philosophical concept, this was under philosophy, thus we can assume this was meant to be a philosophical debate, which...it really was not.
5 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Vote Placed by Man-is-good 4 years ago
Man-is-good
Viperx00lannan13Tied
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Total points awarded:40 
Reasons for voting decision: An interesting debate. Con quickly shifted the burden, implicitly, through the task of defending his objections which were weak and easily explained under the context of utilitarianism where a balance between the varying gradations of pleasure and pain were to be achieved; Con's objections as a whole rested on a simplistic view of utilitarianism with the presentation of mass approval as a trait. Con's rounds were rife with s
Vote Placed by phantom 4 years ago
phantom
Viperx00lannan13Tied
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Reasons for voting decision: I suppose the debate was on whether the goods of utilitarianism outweighed the bad. Con had poor arguments. First off pro was completely right when he stated 5 raping 1person would not be favored by utilitarianism because the negative effects for the victim would outweigh the pleasure gained by the 5. Con focused on the contention that utilitarianism was a majority theory but didn't offer any convincing arguments. Also bad spelling and grammar.
Vote Placed by OMGJustinBieber 4 years ago
OMGJustinBieber
Viperx00lannan13Tied
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Reasons for voting decision: Pro rightly stated numerous times that utilitarianism is not some form of moral majoritarianism which was Con's may criticism. IMO this was his strongest counter-argument but there were better ones out there.
Vote Placed by Stephen_Hawkins 4 years ago
Stephen_Hawkins
Viperx00lannan13Tied
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Reasons for voting decision: To put it quickly, "hollicaust" means lannan loses spelling, and to be blunt, viper's arguments were more convincing. There was a large number of gaps between the resolution and what lannan said: by the last round, 3/4 of the post didn't even link back to the resolution, Utilitarianism seemed to be barely mentioned, and the argument as a whole was just lacking.
Vote Placed by ScottyDouglas 4 years ago
ScottyDouglas
Viperx00lannan13Tied
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Reasons for voting decision: This was decent debate. Not my cup of tea, a tough read. I thought both had good arguments. Point distribution: I thought both had good conduct, I gave grammer and spelling to Pro for two reasons, He deserves points for his argument and His text was easier to read. The arguments go to Con, He had the best overall argument and also had alot of historical value. I also gave resources to Con because He used alot more.