The Instigator
UchihaMadara
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
Raisor
Con (against)
Winning
9 Points

Utilitarianism is an unsound ethical system

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 5 votes the winner is...
Raisor
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 9/1/2014 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 4,161 times Debate No: 61031
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (47)
Votes (5)

 

UchihaMadara

Pro

1. First round for acceptance

2. No new arguments in Round 4

3. The debate should be impossible to accept. Finding a way to accept without permission will result in an automatic loss for Con. If you would like to accept, please say so in the comments section, and I will challenge you in a few days.

4. By accepting the debate, Con agrees to use the following definitions:

Utilitarianism- the doctrine that "the greatest happiness for the greatest number of people" should be the guiding principle of moral conduct.

Unsound- not based on sound evidence or reasoning, and therefore unreliable or unacceptable.

Good luck, Con.
Raisor

Con

I accept this debate.
Debate Round No. 1
UchihaMadara

Pro

Thanks, Raisor.
My case will consist of several independent objections to Utilitarianism's soundness as an ethical system.


C1) Interpersonal Comparisons

One of the most fundamental problems with utilitarianism is that it is impossible to objectively measure and make interpersonal comparisons of "utility" (i.e. pleasure or suffering). This means that there are many instances in which utilitarian logic is inapplicable, since the morality of an action is determined by the net suffering and the net pleasure caused by it. There is no way to calculate net pleasure/suffering, so that whole thought process meaningless!
Take the general example of thievery; from committing the act, the thief experiences happiness from the material goods that can be bought with the stolen money, and the victim experiences suffering from lamenting the loss of their money and the things they could have used it for. In this situation, one cannot objectively say that the suffering experienced by the victim outweighs the happiness felt by the thief; therefore, according to utilitarianism, thievery in general is not necessarily immoral. However, it is obvious that thievery IS immoral in most cases, as it violates a human's basic right to ownership of their own property. This is just one of many examples showing how utilitarianism fails as a result of our inability to make objective interpersonal comparisons of utility.

C2) Intent/Motivation

Utilitarianism is fundamentally a form of consequentialism, since it determines moral value solely by looking at the net pleasure/suffering that come from the consequences of an action. However, this is a flawed approach to looking at ethics because it completely overlooks the role that a person's intent/motivation plays in the moral value of their actions. Acts with similar consequences are not necessarily of similar morality.
Take the example of murder; it is intuitively obvious to us that someone who accidentally runs over a cyclist with his car is not nearly as despicable as someone who plans out the "accidental" murder of his relative to claim an inheritance. Yet according to utilitarianism, both of these acts are equally immoral, since one death and the emotional suffering of the deceased's loved ones is caused in both instances. If justice were served in accordance with utilitarian values, then both the unfortunate driver and the malicious plotter would receive the same punishment. Any doctrine which condones such an injustice cannot possibly be morally sound. It is clear that utilitarianism's consequentialist implications make it a flawed ethical system.

C3) Impracticality

Another thing to note with utilitarianism is that its application in deciding what to do during actual moral dilemmas relies on the assumption that the decision maker has an extensive knowledge of the consequences of all his options. Obviously, since this is generally not the case, utilitarianism has very limited practical application. This is highly unbecoming of an ethical system, to the point that it can hardly even be labeled as one anymore.

C4) Gang Rape

For an "ethical" system, utilitarianism certainly justifies some very unethical actions. One of the most well-known of those actions is gang rape. If a group of people are raping a single victim, then every member of that group is gaining immense lustful pleasure, while the single victim experiences great pain and humiliation. It seems reasonable to assume (based on the numbers) that with so many rapists experiencing pleasure, it would outweigh the suffering experienced by the single victim, thereby morally justifying gang rape from the utilitarian perspective.
One might argue, of course, that the suffering felt by the victim is of such magnitude that it outweighs the pleasure experienced all the rapists combined and renders gang rape immoral by utilitarian logic. However, going back to contention one, there is no way to objectively support that claim because pleasure and suffering are not quantifiable!
Utilitarianism does, indeed, condone gang rape, or at the very least, it places neutral moral value on it (by the reasoning from contention one). Either way, it is absolutely absurd; gang rape is a clear violation of a human's natural bodily rights and should be immoral by any ethical standard. Utilitarianism cannot be a sound ethical system if it does not even label actions as abhorrent as gang rape to be immoral.

C5) Hypothetical Utility Monster

Assuming that there IS a way to objectively measure and compare utility, suppose that a 'utility monster' exists who "receives much more utility from each unit of a resource he consumes than anyone else does. For instance, eating a cookie might bring only one unit of pleasure to an ordinary person but could bring 100 units of pleasure to a utility monster. If the utility monster can get so much pleasure from each unit of resources, it follows from utilitarianism that the distribution of resources should acknowledge this. If the utility monster existed, it would justify the mistreatment and perhaps annihilation of everyone else, according to the doctrine of utilitarianism." (http://en.wikipedia.org...)
This hypothetical, while implausible, shows how absurd it is for someone's pleasure to be the reason for others' suffering; it attacks the underlying premise of utilitarianism as an ethical system, showing it to be unsound.

C6) Third World Poverty

At any given time, there are millions of people experiencing much suffering from poverty and its related perils in third world counties; meanwhile, here we are sitting in the developed world enjoying all our basic necessities and plenty of luxuries extending far beyond what we need to survive. An impoverished person from the third world derives far, far more utility from consuming those excess resources (i.e. luxuries) than we do, since it is already much more than we really need. Therefore, according to utilitarianism, we are morally obligated to give away everything we do not need to the less fortunate.
Not only is this intuitively absurd (not even the most hardcore utilitarians would agree to it), but this is also violation of our basic human right to the ownership of our property. No one has the right to take our rightfully-acquired property just because someone else can benefit more from owning it. Utilitarianism condones a coercive, unethical redistribution of resources-- yet another display of utilitarianism's unsoundness.

==============

In conclusion, I have offered six compelling reasons to reject Utilitarianism. In order to win the debate, Raisor must successfully refute every one of them.
As of now, the resolution is affirmed.
Raisor

Con


FRAMEWORK:


1) Stable advocacy


For purposes of fairness and quality discourse, Pro should advocate a consistent and stable position. This mean’s Pro should not be allowed to change his advocacy mid-debate. Pro has already made arguments that Util yields immoral conclusions, i.e. that some moral criteria exists with which utilitarianism is incompatible. It would be a shift of advocacy for Pro to make the argument that morality does not exist in later rounds- don’t allow Pro to engage in contradictory positions.


2) Competing Ethical Systems


Many of Pro’s arguments are of the following format:


Util says X


X is morally wrong


Therefore Util is unsound.


This argument structure fails if Pro offers no justification for the second claim that “X is morally wrong.” Pro’s argument requires a competing ethical system to justify why “X” is wrong. A competing ethical system allows us to compare whether utilitarianism reliably yields moral conclusions. Without a competing ethical system, Pro’s arguments amount to arbitrarily asserting “I think X is wrong, so utilitarianism is wrong.”


Pro’s 2,4,5 and 6 all rely on this structure- these arguments fail if Pro can’t successfully provide a moral argument that “X” is wrong.


Without a competing ethical system, Pro has already lost this debate.


C1)


a) This argument is patently incorrect- it is possible to compare interpersonal utility. The comparison of torturing person A or giving person B a delicious meal is simple.


b) Pro’s argument is actually that epistemic uncertainty can make utility comparisons difficult or in practice impossible. This problem applies to any ethical system- there will always be uncertainty about relevant ethical factors. Uncertainty doesn’t invalidate the system- I may not know all the relevant physical factors involved in space flight but laws of physics still apply to space flight. Just because I can’t be certain which outcome will maximize utility doesn’t mean that there isn’t a utility maximizing option or that this option is morally superior.


c) The Happiness principle is an ethical criterion, not a decision making process. Utilitarianism lays out the criteria for which actions are good and bad, but does not prescribe the best way to approach ethical decisions. Rather than perform complex utility calculations for every decision, we adopt practical rules of thumb that guide our decisions. The uncertainty and variability inherent in the infinite ethical decisions individuals make means that broad decision-making rules are often the best way to maximize utility. In general thievery is contrary to the Happiness Principle, so we adopt the broad rule that theft is wrong. Even if a narrow range of theft cases results in positive utility, the aggregate case justifies treating theft as universally wrong.


d) Pro relies on the existence of moral “rights” but offers no justification for this assertion.


C2)


a) Pro offers no justification for why motivation must be morally relevant. The road to hell is paved with good intentions- I can have the best intentions but if these will not change the moral character of my action if I irresponsibly generate harm. Good actions can be the result of all sorts of motivation- saving a child from drowning is a good act even if I only did it to impress my hot date. Saving a child is saving a child no matter what.


b) Cross-apply my C1c. Pro is again confusing issues related to moral culpability and decision making parameters with the appropriate criterion for a good action. We judge intentional murder as worse because there are anti-utility decision making procedures in play.


c) Motivation IS morally relevant insofar as there are consequentialist impacts. It is better to give to charity for charitable reasons than for purposes of self-aggrandizement because the motivation is tied to the efficacy and reliability of the charitable contribution. The intention of a car driver to kill a cyclist has a bearing on the consequences of the action- people intending to do harm are more likely to bring about harm. Pro needs to show that motivation is morally relevant for reasons independent of utilitarianism.


C3)


a) Cross apply my C1b and C1c. Epistemic uncertainty is inherent in human action.


b) This argument is patently wrong- if you have ever decided against doing something because it would hurt someone else you have successfully implemented a utilitarian calculation in practice.


C4)


a) Is Pro really arguing that the temporary pleasure of a few rapists outweighs the immense suffering of the rape victim and the rape victim’s family and friends? Is his position actually that we simply have no way of knowing that a rape victim’s suffering is actually that bad? The harm caused by rape is well known and well documented. Rape victims are 3 times more likely to have major depressive episodes, 4 times more likely to commit suicide, and 6 times more likely to develop PTSD. [1] It is absurd for Pro to suggest not only that the rapist’s pleasure outweighs this suffering.


[1] http://www.ou.edu...


b) Pro’s argument only works if the net pleasure of the gang rape outweighs any alternate activity the rapists could have engaged in. For example- if the net utility of a gang rape (even if positive) is less than the net utility of, say, the gang sharing a delicious meal, then the gang rape fails to maximize utility. This further demonstrates the fact that the Happiness Principle is not a decision making process- we avoid gang rape because the massive negative utility of the victim means it is almost certain to contradict the happiness principle. There is always an activity other than gang rape that will yield more optimal utility.


c) This example is only the least bit convincing when considered as a hypothetical test case. A real world application of this principle clearly leads to massive negative utility. Imagine that we decide gang rape is ok- the rate of gang rape will increase as well as societal tension and anxiety will increase as fathers worry about their children away at college and women fear the streets.


The explosion of gang rape cases in India has resulted in exactly this. The issue has prompted often violent protests and has become such a hot political issue that even the Prime Minister spoke out to condemn the rise and gang rape and note that such actions were a mark of shame on the community. [2]


[2] http://www.bbc.com...


d) The reason we view gang rape as clearly wrong is because it clearly generates massive amounts of harm; Pro offers no competing moral justification for why gang rape is wrong.


C5)


a) Pro concedes that this hypothetical case is “implausible.” We don’t need to consider a utility monster because it couldn’t exist- odd moral features of fictional realities aren’t an issue for ethical systems.


b) The utility monster assumes happiness exists on an infinite scale. We have no reason to believe this to be true. It seems more likely that there exists some ceiling on possible happiness, whether due to biological limits of brain chemistry or for some metaphysical feature of “perfect happiness.” This argument is built on an assumption which is at best dubious and most likely incorrect.


d) Maybe if such a creature existed it WOULD best to give all resources to the monster. The state of bliss required to outweigh the suffering of billions of people and sentient animals is unimaginable- such a creature would be a happiness god. Maybe it would be right to sacrifice ourselves to a happiness god. This case falls well outside the realm of moral intuition and Pro gives no moral argument for why a utility monster is undesirable.


C6)


a) Pro is absolutely correct that utilitarianism demands that the vast resource inequality between first and third world be remedied. I don’t know of any ethical system that doesn’t find rampant poverty to be an ethical problem. Is Pro’s argument that we shouldn’t try to ameliorate suffering in third world countries?


b) Pro asserts without justification that “no one has a right to take our rightfully acquired property.” This nothing more than Pro’s asserted opinion without argumentative justification.


c) Exactly what action utilitarianism requires in the face of third world poverty is a topic worthy of a separate debate. However, the scenario Pro seems to be driving at, a coercive purge of all excess resources, certainly falls outside what utilitarians advocate. The prominent utilitarian Peter Singer argues that people should give 1% of annual income to charity- but maybe that is precisely the terrible conclusion Pro fears.


C7) Rights are Derivative of the Happiness Principle


a) Rights derive from considerations of utility, especially in the context of society and systemic utility calculations. Property rights and the right to free speech are justified by the consequential outcomes of upholding these rights. As an example, we can point to the special public good created by a right to free speech. This right guarantees that new ideas and criticisms will be heard, provides a mechanism for checking political corruption, and contributes to well-informed public governance. Utilitarianism provides sufficient justification for rights.


b) Pro must provide some non-utility justification for property rights and the other rights he has advocated in this debate. He needs to account for how and why humans have these rights, how we know what these rights are, and why this account is superior to the utilitarian account.



Debate Round No. 2
UchihaMadara

Pro

FRAMEWORK: Con argues that I must utilize a competing ethical system in order to give a legitimate evaluation of utilitarianism's claims as being 'immoral' or 'unjust'. I agree with this assessment; however, I believe I have already been doing that, just without explicitly saying so: thus far, I have been evaluating utilitarianism's claims through the lens of the Non-Aggression Principle. This deontological, rights-based ethical system basically claims that all humans have natural rights such as life, personal liberty, and ownership of their property, and that any action which violates other people's natural rights is immoral. Since this idea of innate human rights is relatively uncontroversial and mostly intuitive, I will leave it up to Con to bring up objections to the NAP's soundness if he wishes to do so.

Without further ado, I shall proceed with counter-rebuttals.
I concede my Impracticality (C3) and Gang Rape (C4) contentions because Con has quite thoroughly dismantled both of them... (as expected from Raisor, what a guy)


R1) Interpersonal Comparisons

"This argument is patently incorrect- it is possible to compare interpersonal utility. The comparison of torturing person A or giving person B a delicious meal is simple."

I never claimed that it is *impossible* to make interpersonal comparisons of utility; there are, of course, some situations in which a valid comparison of utility can be made because it is clear that one option brings only suffering and the other option brings only pleasure. Such is the example which my opponent has presented. However, when there is both suffering *and* pleasure involved in the consequences of an action (i.e. most actions), then it becomes practically impossible to make objective interpersonal comparisons of utility because there is no way to measure pleasure and suffering and see if one 'outweighs' the other. This is clearly shown in the example of theft I presented.

"Pro"s argument is actually that epistemic uncertainty can make utility comparisons difficult or in practice impossible. This problem applies to any ethical system- there will always be uncertainty about relevant ethical factors"

This is patently false; ethical systems revolving around deontology, such as the NAP, do not suffer from this problem of uncertainty. And even if all ethical systems *do* suffer from this uncertainty, then perhaps all of them are unsound! There is nothing in the resolution prohibiting that; whether or not all ethical systems are unsound has nothing to do with whether or not utilitarianism, specifically, is unsound.

"Just because I can"t be certain which outcome will maximize utility doesn"t mean that there isn"t a utility maximizing option or that this option is morally superior."

My argument isn't that we as humans 'have no way of knowing' what the morally superior option is; rather, my argument is that according to utilitarianism, a morally superior option simply does not exist (in most cases) because there is no objective measure of utility.

"In general thievery is contrary to the Happiness Principle, so we adopt the broad rule that theft is wrong. Even if a narrow range of theft cases results in positive utility, the aggregate case justifies treating theft as universally wrong."

I have offered a fully elucidated analysis of how both pleasure (for the thief) and suffering (for the victim) are caused by the act of theft, which applies to almost all instances of it, whereas Con has done nothing more than assert that theft is contrary to the so-called "happiness principle". My analysis should clearly take precedence over Con's bare assertion, here, leading to the same conclusion that was arrived at last round: the lack of objective interpersonal utility comparisons makes it impossible for utilitarianism to definitively label clearly unethical acts like theft as such, thus rendering it to be an unsound ethical system.


R2) Motivation

"Pro offers no justification for why motivation must be morally relevant."

This sums up the entirety of Con's rebuttal, here. If I can show that motivation/intent is relevant to the morality of an action, then I will have effectively shown that utilitarianism's disregard for motivation when evaluating an action's moral value renders it to be an unsound ethical system.
It is necessary to take motivation into account for the same reason that we cannot consider the "actions" of inanimate objects to be immoral; it would be absolutely ridiculous to look upon a boulder falling on and killing a random pedestrian, and to then call the boulder's action 'immoral'. Why? It's because the boulder did not choose to do what it did, nor did it have any knowledge or control of what it was doing! In precisely the same way, a man accidentally running over a bicyclist with his car is not choosing to commit murder, nor does he have any knowledge or control of what he is doing, as it is a complete accident; thus, it is irrational to call his action "immoral".
While motivation/intent might make no difference in many cases (such as the saving-a-child analogy offered by Con), there are a substantial number of situations in which the acting agent is completely devoid of intent (i.e. accidents), and in those cases, the (lack of) motivation/intent must be taken into account.
Since utilitarianism fails to do this, it is an unsound ethical theory.


R5) Hypothetical Utility Monster

"Pro concedes that this hypothetical case is “implausible.” We don’t need to consider a utility monster because it couldn’t exist- odd moral features of fictional realities aren’t an issue for ethical systems."

Con seems to have missed the point of the hypothetical... it was merely meant to demonstrate the absurdity of the general utilitarian idea that the majority's pleasure should be a valid reason for the minority to have to sacrifice its own well-being. Blowing it up into the much arger proportions of the Utility Monster hypothetical simply makes it easier to see how unreasonable the entire notion is.

"Maybe if such a creature existed it WOULD best to give all resources to the monster. The state of bliss required to outweigh the suffering of billions of people and sentient animals is unimaginable- such a creature would be a happiness god."

But why should we concern ourselves at all with the happiness of some external entity whose happiness we will never experience? It doesn't benefit us individually at all to grant this Utility Monster its unimaginable bliss at our expense. Why should *anyone* have to sacrifice their own well-being for the sake of someone else's pleasure? There is no good answer, and it represents a gaping hole in utilitarianism's moral framework.


R6) Third World Poverty

"Is Pro’s argument that we shouldn’t try to ameliorate suffering in third world countries?"

No... my argument is that utilitarianism requires an unreasonable and unfeasible solution to the wealth disparity between first world and third world countries.

"...the scenario Pro seems to be driving at, a coercive purge of all excess resources, certainly falls outside what utilitarians advocate. The prominent utilitarian Peter Singer argues that people should give 1% of annual income to charity- but maybe that is precisely the terrible conclusion Pro fears."

Con doesn't really respond to the reasoning behind my claim that utilitarianism advocates a 'coercive purge of all excess resources' , instead just asserting that to be false and then providing an alternative solution backed up by nothing more than a fallacious appeal to authority (in fact, that just proves my point that not even the most hardcore utilitarians can support the true implications of their unsound ethical system).
My original reasoning still stands: since it is obvious that the impoverished would derive much more utility from consuming excess resources than we currently do, and the wealth disparity is an acknowledged moral dilemma, utilitarianism does, indeed, prescribe a coercive purge of all excess resources to the third world to generate maximum utility.
This contention remains standing.


~ Rights ~

"Pro must provide some non-utility justification for property rights and the other rights he has advocated in this debate. He needs to account for how and why humans have these rights, how we know what these rights are, and why this account is superior to the utilitarian account."

All ethical systems rest on a few core premises that cannot really be proven and must simply be assumed solely based on our ethical intuitions. For utilitarianism, this idea is reflected in its fundamental assumptions that pleasure is inherently good and ought to be maximized, whereas suffering is inherently bad and ought to be minimized. How can one prove these assumptions? The only way is to appeal to our ethical intuitions and "common sense".
For the NAP, that underlying premise is that people have natural rights by extension of their definitive human characteristics such as personal autonomy/dignity, consciousness, and rational faculties. This is a much firmer grounding for the concept of human rights to be based in than utilitarianism because, rather than being dependent on whether or not they result in a net gain for society, they are intertwined into our very existence as human beings.

================

In conclusion, I have successfully established the NAP as a valid competing ethical system with which I can evaluate utilitarianism's claims, and, more importantly, have fully defended four reasons to reject utilitarianism as an ethical system,
The resolution is affirmed.

Raisor

Con


FRAMEWORK:


1) Stable Advocacy


Pro did not contest this- Limit Pro to a stable and consistent advocacy, don’t allow him to defend contradictory positions.


Debate is not a forum thread or an exploration of infinite alternatives- it is a competition with a finite character limit. Debate therefore must be bracketed by constraints aimed at maintaining fair competition and quality discourse.


It is unfair to allow Pro to defend multiple contradictory positions while I must defend one position, yet Pro continues to keep open the option that ALL ethical systems are unsound AND that the NAP is a competing ethical theory. I clearly explained last round why this was unfair but Pro persisted - Now I have waste my speech time explaining why this is unfair. Vote Con on theoretical grounds of fairness and education.


2) Competing Ethical Theories


Pro agrees that this is a debate of competing ethical theories. The winner of this debate is whoever better defends their ethical theory.


NAP


P1) Utilitarianism justifies all the benefits of NAP without the drawbacks. As I explained in C7, rights can be derived from Util.


P2) The NAP has overwhelming massive moral blind spots. The NAP is only prohibitive of the violation of rights; it is totally silent on the moral character of all other moral interactions. Consider the case of the drowning child that an adult could easily save at no personal cost or risk- not only does the NAP not generate an obligation to help, the NAP is totally silent about any possible choice. Since the child’s rights are not being violated either way, watching a child drown to death and saving the child are morally equivalent.


P3) The NAP is massively impractical – it prohibits marginal infringements on property rights that yield massive benefits. The NAP is absolutist- any violation of rights is wrong. This means that any form of pollution that could impact the health or property of another is unjustifiable (Rothbard argued for tort-law in pollution cases). Extreme security cases become unresolvable- the NAP allows no room for civilian casualties in times of war, as ANY harm to a non-aggressor violates the NAP.


P4) Interaction of epistemic uncertainty in the form of risk of aggression is especially problematic for the NAP. Strict adherence to NAP would bar any incursion of risk of aggression- thus even driving your car would be immoral since you willingly risk the lives of those around you. NAP lacks any conceptual tools to rationalize what degree of risk is morally acceptable.


Intentionality offers Pro no safe harbor here- if Pro argues that only intentionally aggressive acts are wrong, then this means that wildly reckless acts like drunk driving in a school zone are ok. Again, NAP only speaks to the violation of rights, which is a binary state of affairs. Risk either does or doesn’t violate NAP- both options are paralyzing.


Utilitarianism is well-equipped to evaluate risk and uncertainty.


P5) The NAP assumes a massive amount of philosophical theory. It offers no justification of rights- it doesn’t explain why life, liberty, and property should be considered rights or why other things shouldn’t. It also assumes a well-developed theory of property to determine what property rights even are- is Pro defending the Lockean theory that property is derived from God’s gift of the earth to man? Is Pro willing to defend this particular concept of God and the attending theology? The sheer quantity of philosophical baggage the NAP carries is a reason to prefer utilitarianism.


Util


C1)


a) Pro responds that comparisons are only possible when comparing binary cases of one person suffering vs another not. Do I really need to give examples here? The choice of giving a starving man meal vs giving a satiated man a meal is simple.


Life experience gives us plenty of knowledge to make interpersonal comparisons- often people can relate their individual experiences quite effectively merely by opening their mouths and speaking! I don’t deny that comparisons can be difficult or infeasible due to epistemic barriers, but the same could be said about analyzing problems governed by physics.


b) Pro offers no argument that uncertainty invalidates a system and he ignores my argument that validity of a theory is independent of full knowledge of relevant parameters. This means he needs to win that interpersonal comparisons are intrinsically IMPOSSIBLE, not just practically impossible in SOME cases. Note this also means his unfair claim that no ethical system is sound fails, as he has no argument why uncertainty demonstrates unsoundness.


Pro has already conceded this by granting me C3- that utilitarian calculation IS POSSIBLE IN PRACTICE.


c) Pro ignores my distinction between criteria and decision making process.


A prohibition on thievery protects the institution of property, allowing for economic growth, individual security and ease of mind, and societal trust. Theft harms this institution, so it is almost always wrong. In light of societal considerations, micro-evaluations of utility are unnecessary. In this way consideration of utility yields practical decision-making procedures that need not consider local uncertainty.


C2)


a) Pro’s account of intention is absurd. Inanimate objects don’t make decisions- a boulder’s action is amoral because there is no “action” at all. I believe Pro is making the fallacy of equivocation. Psychological intention may be a pre-requisite for moral content insofar as simply having an intention is required for the capacity of decision-making. I think this sense of intention is more related to the psychology of action than the motivational aspect of action that Pro is arguing for.


b) Pro ignores the distinction between culpability and a moral criterion. We judge people based on how well they adhere to ethical decision making procedures, but those decision making procedures are justified by the moral criterion of utilitarianism. Utility is maximized by following utility maximizing decision procedures- so we judge people on this basis. If I follow these rules I am acting in accordance with utilitarianism, even if the result of my action was harmful.


c) Pro completely ignores my argument that any moral relevance intention has can be derived from consequentialist calculation; on this point alone I win C2. We judge accidents less harshly because intentional harm is more likely to result in actual harm. We also judge accidents that are the result of recklessness harshly not because of intentional factors but because of the high risk of actual harm. How intentions manifest in societal consequences makes intentions relevant.


C4)


Treat Pro’s concession as a test case for the efficacy of utilitarianism in evaluating moral scenarios.


C5)


a) Pro has effectively conceded this contention by reformulated his argument into “it is wrong to sacrifice for other people.” He conceded that we don’t need to consider fantasy objections to ethical systems and that happiness doesn’t exist on an infinite scale.


Pro’s objection asserts that we should only care about our own happiness and no one has an obligation to sacrifice their own well-being.


This highlights the inflexibility of the NAP. Pro would claim that I have no obligation to donate one dollar to charity even if doing so could save thousands of lives at minimal expense to me.


Utilitarianism acknowledges that the well-being of all humans is equally valuable, that all our actions are motivated by the same psychological principles of pursuing desires. Intellectual honesty requires that if we find our own pleasure and pain to be of value, we must also value the pain and pleasure of others. The pain I feel is no different than the pain that others feel, so I should not create an artificial moral distinction between the two.


C6)


a) Pro concedes that we should try and relieve third world poverty. However, only utilitarianism justifies this conclusion. The NAP is silent on whether third world poverty is right or wrong.


b) Pro has offered no justification to the claim that it is universally wrong to seize property. Again, NAP is impractically rigid. Utilitarianism justifies limited property rights while acknowledging extreme circumstances can present a compelling reason to limit the protection of property rights.


c) Again, books have been written about the proper utilitarian response to poverty. What I am pointing out is that ACTUAL utilitarians do not support Pro’s thesis. Actual utilitarians advocate for reasonable and pragmatic solutions while Pro creates a straw man argument that utilitarianism will result in some Stalinist purge of wealth.


Utilitarians argue that the First World does have an obligation to aid the Third, but utility is best served by valuing the well-being of all people and protecting the wealth generating economies fueled by the First World. The NAP silently stares the suffering of the poor in the face.


C7)


a) Pro doesn’t dispute that utilitarianism can generate rights like liberty, free speech, and property. This means that utilitarianism captures all the benefits of NAP while avoiding all the pit-falls, including the unwieldy philosophical baggage of the NAP.


b) Utilitarianism is founded on basic observations about human psychology and what we value. All our actions center on considerations of pain and pleasure; the well-being of ourselves and others is the fundamental consideration of all decisions. From this we can conclude that utility is the fundamental factor in evaluating human activity.


Even Pro accepts this- Pro asks why we should sacrifice our own desires for others, implicitly acknowledging that our own desires of value. But the desires of others are no different from my own, all men bleed. It is inconsistent to say that my desires alone are important. More importantly, the NAP acknowledges that the suffering of others must be considered, as it prohibits harm to others.


Pro hasn’t even tried to explain any justification for the NAP and there are no new arguments allowed in the last round.


Debate Round No. 3
UchihaMadara

Pro

FRAMEWORK: Con's claim that the readers should "Vote Con on theoretical grounds of fairness and education" is completely unjustified and absurd... however, I will specifically address his concerns regarding what he perceives to be "multiple contradictory positions" in A1, since that is a more appropriate place to do so in terms of organization.

== NEG CASE ==

If I can successfully refute all of Con's objections to the Non-Aggression Principle, then I will have shown that the NAP is a sound ethical theory, and will be free to utilize it as a tool to evaluate utilitarianism's claims.

1. Con claims that "utilitarianism justifies all the benefits of NAP without the drawbacks." This is patently false. As I explained before, the NAP provides a much firmer grounding for the existence of natural rights than utilitarianism does, since those rights are always protected as an extension of our existence as human beings, rather than only when it results in the prosperity of the majority. The NAP is quite obviously preferable to utilitarianism, in this respect.

2. Con lists the example of a drowning child, criticizing the NAP for not generating a moral obligation to save the child. But Con never explains: why should there be a moral obligation to save the child? Because utilitarianism indicates that there should be? Con is essentially claiming that utilitarianism is superior to the NAP because the NAP is not utilitarian. This is a blatant case of circular logic.
Furthermore, Con claims that in this scenario, "watching a child drown to death and saving the child are morally equivalent." Another patently false claim. The NAP, while it wouldn't create a moral obligation to save the child, would certainly make it *morally desirable* to save the child, since by doing so, the savior would be protecting the child's right to life. It is obvious that such an act would be favored by a system based completely in the protection of human rights...

3. Cross-apply circular logic point from #2. Con makes no arguments for why civilian casualties and pollution *are* justified which do not already assume the soundness of utilitarianism.

4. Con's argument here seems to be nothing more than a reiteration of my conceded third contention... in both cases, it is argued that our lack of foreknowledge regaring our actions' consequences interferes with our ability to apply the opposing side's respective ethical system in practice. Therefore, I can simply cross-apply Con's rebuttal to C3, which states that such a degree of uncertainty is present in all ethical systems when applied in practice. If Con wants to argue that this practical uncertainty can make an ethical system unsound, then he concedes that all ethical systems are unsound, including utilitarianism, thus automatically affirming the resolution.

5. Here, Con is basically criticizing me for never making an extensive positive case supporting the NAP's soundness. However, I would like to point out that Con is just as guilty of this as I am, having never made an elucidated case in favor of utilitarianism. We both only provided a short justification of our respective ethical systems towards the end of our Round 3 arguments (in response to C7, in both cases). And it makes sense that we have avoided going too in-depth on the philosophical justifications, as doing so has allowed for the debate to stay on topic.

I have countered all of Con's objections to the NAP. Therefore, I can now use it as an objective basis by which we can evaluate the morality of utilitarianism's claims (at this point, it is only being used as such in C5...)

== AFF CASE ==

A1) Utility Comparisons

Con starts off by claiming that my concession of C3 equates to a concession of this contention. This is completely false... by conceding C3, I did no more than admit that whether or not people have full knowledge of their action's consequences has no bearing on the soundness of utilitarianism. This nothing to do with interpersonal utility comparisons.

"Life experience gives us plenty of knowledge to make interpersonal comparisons"

'Experience' is inherently subjective. For utilitarianism to provide objective ethical verdicts, it must be able to make *objective* interpersonal comparisons of utility, which don't exist (with one exception, addressed later). Pleasure and suffering cannot be objectively measured; the perceived amount of suffering or pleasure a person is experiencing changes radically depending on the perspective of the person who is judging that amount.

"Pro offers no argument that uncertainty invalidates a system"

Firstly, I would like to make a distinction, here. The "uncertainty" that was being referenced in both my C3 and Con's 4th objection to the NAP was of a different sort than what is being referenced here; that had to do with uncertainty relating to the practical application of ethical systems, whereas this "uncertainty" (a mis-nomer that was introduced by Con) refers to the inherent subjectivity involved in 'measuring' pleasure/suffering and the logical impossibility of comparing 'amounts' of an immeasurable, subjective concept. I doubt Con will contest the notion that logical impossibility invalidates a system

"Pro continues to keep open the option that ALL ethical systems are unsound"

[Regarding Con's concerns in the Framework section]. The proposition that all ethical systems could be unsound was nothing more than a secondary response to Con's claim that all ethical systems are centered around subjective, immeasurable factors, in case Con successfully refuted the primary response. In fact, Con never even addressed the primary response: that deontological ethical systems such as the NAP are not based in subjective factors at all, instead centered around objective principles such as the protection of human rights.
Therefore, I am not at all advocating for all ethical systems being unsound, since it is unnecessary to resort to such a tactic. There is nothing remotely unfair about what I have done here.

"...he needs to win that interpersonal comparisons are intrinsically IMPOSSIBLE, not just practically impossible in SOME cases."

I have, indeed, affirmed that. An exception is made for cases of clear-cut pleasure vs suffering, pleasure vs neutral utility, and suffering vs neutral utility because we are operating off the assumptions that pleasure is desirable and suffering is undesirable, which makes the 'desirable' choice in such scenarios obvious.
Pro attempts to show that there are more exceptions to be made by providing the following example: "The choice of giving a starving man meal vs giving a satiated man a meal is simple." However, this is example falls straight into the category of causing pleasure vs. causing neutral utility... Note that Pro cannot bring up any new examples in his last round argument, as I will not be able to respond to it.

A2) Intent

My account of intention's relevance to an action's morality is much more well-grounded than Con's. If we consider why we as humans tend to judge purposeful murder to be more immoral than accidental murder, we see that it is much more because of the difference in intent than the 'likelihood of actual harm' business that Con was speaking of. The only reason we are able to render negative moral judgments upon *anyone*, is because a person who has committed an immoral act was aware of the existence of moral standards yet still *chose* to violate those standards. In the case of accidental murder, there was little to no choice available to the actor, which is why we do not render nearly as negative moral judgments upon them, and why such actions cannot be considered immoral in the same sense that purposeful actions are. Since utilitarianism fails to properly take this into account (it still labels completely accidental actions as immoral), it cannot be considered a sound ethical system.

A5) Utility Monster

A couple reminders... the hypothetical itself is NOT the important part of this contention; the important part is the point it demonstrates-- that there is no rational reason given to us for us to sacrifice our own rights for the sake of others. Why are we obligated to suffer in order to give pleasure to an external entity whose happiness we get no benefit from? No answer...
Also, Con turns back again to attack the NAP, saying that "Pro would claim that I have no obligation to donate one dollar to charity even if doing so could save thousands of lives at minimal expense to me." Cross-apply my rebuttals to Con's second NAP objection.

"...the well-being of all humans is equally valuable... if we find our own pleasure and pain to be of value, we must also value the pain and pleasure of others."

This is the only relevant part of Con's rebuttal. However, pleasure and suffering are just emotions experienced by us-- a byproduct of our consciousness; meanwhile, rights are an extension of our *personhood*-- a part of our existence as human beings, derived directly from our possession of distinctly human characteristics such as personal autonomy and self-awareness. The protection of these rights ought to take precedence over the preservation of ephemeral sensations such as pain and pleasure; and per Con's own 'all-men-bleed' reasoning, we should value all humans' rights equally-- we cannot violate a person's right to life and personal liberty for the sake of "maximizing happiness."

A6) Poverty

Conceded due to a lack of space.

A7) Rights

All points addressed in A5.

===========================

In conclusion, I have given 3 compelling reasons to reject utilitarianism: the impossibility of making interpersonal utility comparisons (with a few reasonable exceptions), utilitarianism's labelling of completely accidental actions as immoral, and its irrational rights violations for the sake of 'maximizing pleasure'. Any one of these three points show that utilitarianism is an unsound ethical system.

The resolution is affirmed.
Vote Pro!
Raisor

Con


Overview:


This is a debate of competing ethical systems.


I have offered a number of ways to evaluate ethical systems:


Ea) Evaluate the fundamental philosophical assumptions and premises on which the theory is based.


Eb) Evaluate whether the system can reliably generate answers to ethical questions


Ec) Evaluate whether the system can adequately account for “common sense” moral conclusions.


These standards have been advocated by both sides of the debate – for example Pro appeals to b) in his original C3) and Pro says in R3:


How can one prove these assumptions? The only way is to appeal to our ethical intuitions and "common sense".


We can use these standards to compare Util to the NAP and see that Util is consistently the better system


NAP


P1) Pro has never refuted my claim that utilitarianism can generate rights. My entire argument describing how utility justifies rights to free speech and property were NEVER disputed.


Pro’s only response is that NAP generates “firmer” rights- a point I do not argue. I argue that these absolutist rights are a drawback. This means I capture a large amount of the benefits of NAP by providing some form of rights, while Pro must show that absolutist rights are required for an ethical system.


P1 shows the comparative superiority of Util. In evaluating which system better accounts for common sense moral judgments,Util yields the appropriate valuation of rights while avoiding the pitfalls of absolutist rights.


P2) The case of the drowning child shows how NAP fails to account for a very important common sense moral judgment- this is a standard Pro advocates in R3. P2 alone shows utilitarian is preferable since it better accounts for moral judgments.


Pro tries to shoehorn in language about “moral desirability” that is totally absent from the NAP. Prior to the final round Pro never argued it was “morally desirable” to protect rights. Pro’s language is incommensurate with the NAP conception of rights- if the right to life is only the right not to be killed by aggression, how does saving a child from drowning relate? If something is “morally desirable” why isnt not doing that thing “morally undesirable,” and why do we not have obligations to refrain from what is morally undesirable? Pro only raises a crop of NAP inconsistencies in his final round.


Pro is clear that ONLY acts that violate rights are wrong. The NAP is blind to the myriad of moral situations that do not involve a violation of rights.


P3) Pro concedes the examples I list. These are cases where common sense acknowledges that some rights infringement are necessary- an absolute prohibition on pollution would shut down the global economy but NAP prohibits absolutely any infringement of rights.


This contention shows the failure of the NAP to meet Ec. Strict adherence to the NAP would be restrictive of human interaction to the point of paralysis, also showing that the NAP fails to meet Eb. Trying to use the NAP to make security decisions would be catastrophic- wars always result in some innocent casualties so the NAP would bar even defensive military action.


Utilitarianism is capable of navigating these situations with ease.


P4) Pro misses my point- utilitarianism provides the tools to deal with uncertainty by evaluating probable cost/benefit. NAP absolutely prohibits rights violation which means it lacks the conceptual framework to evaluate uncertainty. This isn’t a case of “sometimes we don’t have all the facts,” this is a case where at an abstract level the NAP is incapable of yielding satisfactory conclusions in cases where action risks violation of rights.


My defensive arguments don’t apply. Pro’s C1 argument was that imperfect knowledge means we can’t know what is right; my argument is that uncertainty is unavoidable and an ethical system must be able to account for it. My C1b said that uncertainty doesn’t invalidate a system, but I’m arguing that it is NAP’s inability to yield conclusions about how to handle uncertainty that invalidates the system.


To clarify, I am NOT making the argument that sometimes we don’t know if rights will be violated and this means the NAP is invalid. What I am arguing is that the NAP is fundamentally unable to make satisfactory moral evaluations of cases with any risk of rights violation, which is almost every human action. Either risking the violation of rights is ok, or it isn’t. The fundamental question of the NAP is “does this act violate a right?” and if the answer is “possibly,” strict adherence to the NAP bars that act. The NAP contains no justification for risking the violation of rights because of its absolutist nature. Thus even mundane activities like driving a car become immoral under the NAP.


My C1c outlined exactly how utilitarianism IS able to yield decision making procedures in the face of uncertainty by generating rules that are likely to yield utility maximizing outcomes. We can justify a risk of harm by appealing to an overall maximization of utility. Pro has offered no explanation of how the NAP can deal with risk of rights violation.


On this point alone I have shown that the NAP fails, it is a broken system that cannot reliably generate answers to ethical questions.


P5) Pro ignores my criticism, saying I haven’t provided a good justification either. But even if that is the case, my argument has another level- the sheer size of the philosophical baggage the NAP carries makes it unreliable. A failure to justify the existence of rights, the specific rights NAP defends, a theory of property, etc. causes the whole project to collapse. Util is preferable just by virtue of simplicity alone.


But I DID provide an explanation of the premises of util while Pro has NEVER justified the claim that rights exist despite my explicit demand in R2 that he do so. Pro vaguely talks about personhood and autonomy, but gives no explanation of how those yield an absolute right to property. I’m feeling generous, so here’s the justification for rights: they fall out of utilitarian principles of general welfare. At least one of our theories can explain why rights exist!


On this point I provide two reasons why Utilitarianism better satisfies criteria Ec.


Util


C1) This argument is crazy. Experience is subjective- but we make all sorts of reliable conclusions based on experience. Any 5 year old can tell you which experiences people tend to enjoy more or less. My example of the satiated man is not pleasure neutral: a satiated man nibbling at a delicious meal will still have SOME pleasure, but it won’t be near as much pleasure as someone who is starving. Would anyone in the real world respond to this dilemma with the claim “well it’s just impossible to tell who will enjoy this meal more?”


Pro’s strategy here is just moving the goal posts- every example I provide manages to fit into Pro’s special categories where comparisons are possible. But the bottom line is even if only these special cases are possible for comparison, it still means utilitarian calculations are possible! I have outlined again and again how utilitarianism justifies practical decision-making factors, demonstrating that interpersonal comparisons ARE possible.


Pro provides no explanation why subjective factors are inherently problematic- I have explained why they are morally relevant and how they don’t make decisions impossible.


Pro clearly states he is not contending that all ethical systems are unsound- this means he MUST win that NAP is superior to win this debate.


C2) Pro never refuted my account of motivation through its relation to consequences- thus utilitarianism successfully accounts for the moral relevance of motivation.


Pro’s argument about people choosing to act wrong just plays into my C2b and C2c. People who choose to cause harm will cause more harm than those who don’t.


C5) Again, Pro has completely conceded the Utility Monster as he doesn’t refute that happiness isn’t infinite so such a monster is impossible even as a hypothetical.


This argument is really about whether individuals ever have an obligation to sacrifice for others.


Again, Pro’s position doesn’t mesh with common sense- if I can save 1000 lives by donating one dollar to charity it is unequivocally wrong for me to keep the dollar. We would certainly condemn this in the real world. Pro explicitly says the ONLY way an act is wrong is if it is a knowing violation of rights.


Pro’s justification for this extreme position is fluff- he just appeals to our “personhood” without explaining why or how this generates absolute rights. My justification for utilitarianism draws a clear line from what humans care about, what parameters are fundamental to all human decisions, to the ethical criteria of utilitarianism. I have clearly explained how utilitarianism treats all as equal. Pro would have you believe that pain and suffering are “just emotions,” but I would ask Pro to look the drowning child and his parents in the eye and say “Your suffering is just an emotion, and to say that I had an obligation to save this child would not value my rights fairly.”


Moreover, I have explained how rights are generated by utilitarianism- utilitarianism provides a much clearer justification for why we should value property rights than Pro’s vague reference to human autonomy.


The well-being of all people is of fundamental ethical value- only by valuing the suffering of other as equal to my own suffering do I respect the equal value of all humans. Pro never refutes my argument that if we value our own well being we must value others as well. This is an independent argument for obligations to others that Pro simply ignores. Such an obligation disproves the NAP.


C6)


Pro concedes this contention but fails to acknowledge that my C6a shows that the NAP fails to account even for Pro’s own claims!


Pro also concedes that the obligations of sacrifice are moderate- utilitarianism is best able to generate protection of property rights while acknowledging that we cannot simply ignore the suffering of others.


C7)


Addressed in C5.


Vote Con.


Debate Round No. 4
47 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Raisor 2 years ago
Raisor
You could do as whiteflame suggested and just say "all ethical systems are unsound" but then you void any moralistic grounds to critique util (which is most of your case).

Or you say that failure to account for a substantial portion of common sense moral judgments is grounds for rejections, no competing system is needed. There are counterarguments I was prepared to make, but its a win-null argument for you. The only risk you run is that you spend too much space on it, detracting from your other arguments. It isn't a knock down position but I think its better than letting me dictate the terms of the debate.
Posted by UchihaMadara 2 years ago
UchihaMadara
Haha I had a feeling I should try contesting the framework. It felt weird to turn a debate on util's soundness into a debate on whether the NAP is better than util..... I just wasn't sure how to ._.
Posted by Raisor 2 years ago
Raisor
I agree with white flame that pro should have contested my framework. I think it's a debate worth having whether a competing ethical system is needed to proclaim until failed- if we are accepting that common sense moral judgments need are a standard to evaluate ethical systems, why can't we just use these to directly evaluate util? There is definitely ground for pro to claim all he needs to do is prove util untenable without providing a competing system.

This argument can be made on top of the existing NAP arguments, meaning it is a no risk framin argument that offers a chance that the judge will evaluate the debate under a paradigm more favorable to pro.
Posted by UchihaMadara 2 years ago
UchihaMadara
thanks for the vote, whiteflame!
i appreciate all the feedback :)
i will surely do better the next time i do a debate of this nature
Posted by whiteflame 2 years ago
whiteflame
RFD (Pt. 1):

There's a lot going on in this debate, and therefore a lot I could cover here, but by the end of it, this debate really comes down to a single issue: which is preferable, a utilitarian ethical system, or one that utilizes the Non-Aggression Principle? I'm not sure that Pro ever fully grasped what that change in focus meant to the debate, especially since it's no longer solely about whether there are unsound applications of utilitarianism. By Pro taking on an advocacy of his own, he now had to show that his ethical system was more sound, which meant defending it against a slew of objections from Con, not to mention continuing his own positive case.

I understand the reasoning behind the shift " Con tells me that there needs to be a sound ethical system in order to establish that another one is unsound, or Pro would have to take the stance that all ethical systems are unsound " but in doing so, we do seem to shift away from the topic at hand somewhat. I think Pro's arguments would have been better served by going for broke and saying that all ethical systems are unsound, and then exploring the unsoundness of this particular ethical system in order to prove that even one of the most lauded structures is still deeply faulted. I think that would have been better for placing Con on the defensive throughout, rather than allowing him to dictate the flow of the debate as it moved forward.

So before I get to the main question, I'm going to go through the three remaining points and give some feedback on how I see them by the end of the debate.
Posted by whiteflame 2 years ago
whiteflame
(Pt. 2)

A1) Interpersonal comparisons

By the end, I'm just not buying this. I need to see some firm demarcation between objective and subjective in order to understand what utilitarianism covers and what it does not. By the end, I'm even seeing Pro yielding a bit on this, stating that there are some things that utility can decide upon, but that there are a mess of other instances in which net utility is more difficult to determine. I understand that that is, at least partially, based in subjective experience. But Con gives me enough to go on here to believe that subjective experiences can be interpreted objectively based on how all humans tend to experience them. Hunger is broadly felt more deeply than enjoyment of a given taste. What Pro reveals here that is important (at least to some extent) is that it doesn't provide a clear-cut answer to a comparison of those experiences that either don't have a broad objective interpretation, or cases where those objective interpretations cannot be easily weighed against one another. I buy that much, and I buy that NAP manages to deal with these problems. On the other hand, I also buy from Con that those are hard and fast, absolute views that don't allow for any moral evaluation of impact. So while I buy that utilitarianism leads to uncertainty, I also buy that that uncertainty isn't necessarily a bad thing, nor does it make the system more unsound than NAP.
Posted by whiteflame 2 years ago
whiteflame
(Pt. 3)

A2) Intent/Motivation

This is probably Pro's strongest point because it reveals a glaring defect in utilitarianism which is oft cited " it's incapable of assessing anything deontological. This probably could have been an incredibly important point in the debate if Pro had spent more time here, but too little response is placed on Con's C2c, which I think is deadly to this argument. The idea that we can assess motivation on the basis of its consequences to society at large seemed like an intriguing way to get around this, but there are some good responses that could have come up here. Lacking those, I'm getting the distinct impression that utilitarianism actually covers for this major deficit, and as such this doesn't present any problem.

A5) Hypothetical Utility Monster

This was an interesting idea, but I think it opens Pro up to more criticism than it actually benefits him. At best, it shows a theoretical problem that may or may not affect the theory's soundness. What it does in the process is lead to Con's points about the selfishness of being unwilling to sacrifice for other people, and in the process open NAP up to some larger criticisms of what it doesn't allow. This position ends up doing Pro more harm than good, showcasing only the most unlikely theoretical concerns from Con's case while presenting Pro's with a distinctly difficult real world problem.

So what this leaves is the question of whether NAP is a better system. Even though Con has answered back all of these criticisms, it's still possible that Pro's case supersedes Con's.
Posted by whiteflame 2 years ago
whiteflame
(Pt. 4)

NAP:

Con presents a number of concerns with this ethical system that simply can't be shaken by the end of the debate. The comparison of rights structures is a problematic one for Pro, as he needs to provide substantive reasons why absolutism is better than a more uncertain yet better applied system. Since both systems generate rights, it's really a question of which system does a better job at that, and without a direct response to Con's arguments that those "firmer" rights are actually more harmful, it stands as a major problem.

Beyond that, to the end, I retain concerns about two other major portions of this. I, like Con, have trouble understanding how moral desirability works its way into the NAP, and as such, I have concerns with regards to how the NAP would respond to situations where a loss of some property or the other rights NAP so firmly defends for the sake of someone else's survival.

Lastly, I can't seem to find any explanation of why I should prefer NAP to a great extent. We all assume that rights to life, liberty and property are important, and I think there's a lot of good reasons why they should be, but if this is going to be your advocacy, you need to detail its basis. You both pretty thoroughly assumed the basis for utilitarianism, which is at the very least functioning on a more basic level that doesn't require knowledge of why these specific rights are good and necessary. This could have also helped deal with the absolute rights issue by establishing why these are so important. Lacking that, it's difficult to prefer NAP.

Conclusion:

As I lack any substantial reasoning for why NAP is a better system than utilitarianism, I vote Con.
Posted by 9spaceking 2 years ago
9spaceking
Well, this concludes yet another episode of "Jack's RFD!" Come back next week for more.
(Note: I do not own this song, or the show, obviously)
Posted by 9spaceking 2 years ago
9spaceking
RFD part 5
I perfectly understand Thett3's reason to vote. I excuse him for interrupting our show. We needed a little break any ways.
So, round 3, Raisor's turn. He shows how pro does not contest his arguments and that he "wasted his speech time" (which is ridiculous, because Raisor does not simply "Waste time"), and then attacks the NAP, giving all its flaws, impractality, moral blind spots, etc, and says that util. is much better compared to the NAP. He then talks about the wellness and the difference between comparisons, talking about how, yet again, pro give nothing against his own arguments, by conceding. He then complains further about pro's ignorance, ignorance, and ignorance while providing arguments where pro gave loads of concessions to, and basically sums up everything and concludes with the fact that no new arguments for the last round.

Last round is pretty easy to see. While pro gives back certain strength into his arguments, he concedes A6, yet another very important point, and Raisor stresses pro's failures within defending the NAP moral systems, and that C1 is crazy (YOU ONLY JUST REALIZED THIS??) And ends with a bunch of statements of "pro does not make sense" while supporting it with logical reasoning and how pro was incorrect in his interpretation within util.
Overal, good try for Mr. Uchi, and very good battling. But, you failed to beat the amazing, mighty, one and only Raisor.
5 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Vote Placed by whiteflame 2 years ago
whiteflame
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Reasons for voting decision: Given in comments. Good debate, guys.
Vote Placed by 9spaceking 2 years ago
9spaceking
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Vote Placed by thett3 2 years ago
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Vote Placed by Ajabi 2 years ago
Ajabi
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Reasons for voting decision: Will vote on this within three days.