The Instigator
FuzzyCatPotato
Pro (for)
Winning
7 Points
The Contender
NathanDuclos
Con (against)
Losing
0 Points

Utilitarianism is the Best Available Ethical Theory

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 2 votes the winner is...
FuzzyCatPotato
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 6/14/2014 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 917 times Debate No: 56415
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (11)
Votes (2)

 

FuzzyCatPotato

Pro

Rounds:
1st: Acceptance only.

2nd: New arguments and rebuttals.
3rd: New arguments and rebuttals.
4th: Rebuttals only.
5th: Summaries only.

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Furthermore, I ask that the Con not just attack Utilitarianism but provide another ethical theory that is purportedly superior to Utilitarianism.
NathanDuclos

Con

J'accepte
Debate Round No. 1
FuzzyCatPotato

Pro

Utilitarianism is the doctrine of providing the greatest amount of utility to the greatest number of people.



Utility, here, is on a quality-of-life basis: the longer you live, the fewer health problems you face, the more education you receive, the money you earn, etc., are all measurements of utility.



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2P1. Utilitarianism best handles moral uncertanity.



Humans are currently uncertain of what the "correct" ethical system is, if it exists.



While I believe that Utilitarianism is the best ethical system currently available to humans and my opponent believes than an alternate system is superior to Utilitarianism, neither of us can be certain that our ethical system is the best ethical system possible. As such, we currently do not know what end states, actions, or virtues are ethical except under our current ethical systems, which may be flawed.



So how should we act when we do not know what the ultimate goal(s) is/are, if there is/are one/any?



To get the best probability of eventually finding the best possible ethical system, we must attempt to keep humanity (and other intelligent life, if we find or create it) alive, because logic and observation can only be used if intelligent beings are alive. To further increase the probability of finding the ultimate value we must have the maximum number of intelligent beings with the maximum amount of education, time, and ability to reason, because fewer minds would be less likely to find the best ethical system possible, especially if they did not have the time or ability to consider the issue.



Utilitarianism best achieves this goal.



Under Utilitarianism life is the ultimate value because it is a prerequisite for utility, which would make extinction have to be avoided at all costs, as it must be if we wish to find the best ethical system possible. Furthermore, Utilitarianism values giving people generally good lives because that aids utility both for the person and for society in general. As such, Utilitarianism fulfills both of the values that must be promoted if we wish to find the best ethical system possible.



No other ethical system values both of these values as high as Utilitarianism does, and some value neither of the values, and thus fall short of the burdens of moral uncertainty.



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2P2. Utilitarianism best handles conflict between values.



Under many other systems, such as deontology, it is nearly impossible to make a decision that will not have internal value conflict. For example, should I remove the right to life of one person or remove the right of free speech of ten? This is especially true in public policy, which must benefit some groups at the expense of others.



Under action-based systems, there are two paths. The first is if rights and duties are absolute: there is effectively no way to resolve this problem. If rights and duties are pragmatic and situational, then you've already admitted that it's not an action-based system, and then you must weigh the consequences of your action and determine the better of the two worlds (ie, Util) -- leading back to consequentialism, and destroying an action-based system as being action-based.



Under virtue ethics systems, if one must choose between harming one virtue at the gain of another, one must weigh which value is worth more in the long run, and ultimately this become a form of Utilitarian weighing.



However, under Utilitarianism, one simply counts up the gains and costs of an action as opposed to an alternative, and chooses between the two. There is never unresolveable value conflict under Utilitarianism, because everything is quantifiable or at least rankable, and thus can be weighed against an alternative.



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2P3. Rule Utilitarianism Best Handles Public Policy.



Rule Utilitarianism avoids most of the problems that might result from Act Utilitarianism and also allows for a theory of rights to emerge. Rule Utilitarianism is also especially useful for government action, because it acknowledges that government policy is rarely a one-and-done single action but instead an ongoing policy.



Rule Utilitarianism takes a long-term look at maximizing utility and sets in place those rules that, if followed, would result in a greater total utility than if everyone always acted in their own favor. For example, in an Act Utilitarian world, it would be beneficial to steal from stores if it would make you better off than it would reduce the utility of the storekeeper. Rule Utilitarianism acknowledges that rules are necessary to maximize utility, as having a world in which shopkeepers can keep wares without having them get stolen gains more utility from this commerce than an Act one would get from stealing.



This also allows for easier obedience in everyday life, as we generally run out lives by societal rules. We don't steal, or insult others, or break traffic laws, because society has ingrained them into us and because they maximize utility, effectively preventing us from needing to perform a utility calculus for every action.



Moreover, under Rule Utilitarianism it may be recognized that allowing people autonomy in their own affairs generally allows a greater increase of utility than attempting to run everyone's lives from an Act perspective, and allows a larger than mere personal-life-running theory of rights to emerge. For example, even though it might be Act Utilitarian to silence dissenting press during a rough time, a Rule Utilitarian can look both to the general benefits of maintaining a free flow of information to the populace and to the long-term loss of trust of government that would result from such treatment.

NathanDuclos

Con

Dear Sir, lets boldly go where no debate has gone before. . . .

Utilitarianism is the Best Available Ethical Theory. I say no sir.

While growing up I watched reruns of Star Trek as a child, and though I did not know the name utilitarianism, I learnt it is wrong. So I will refute your elegantly wordy and obviously mistaken ascertain by examples obvious to anyone with a sense of furture history. . . I will defeat you not with phasers or photons, but the simple truth. Everything you need to learn about utilitarianimisimsmsms, other than how to spell it, you can learn by referencing Star Trek and it"s horribly wrong.

The most obvious mistake in Ult is the Bromance of Spock and Kirk, be Wrath of Khan and Search for Spock, or Into Darkness. Spock was the ultimate Utilitarianism, with his statement "The needs of the many out way the needs of the few or one." However that is not true all the time and even if you find an act that fits that description, such as Spook sacrificing himself to save the ship, it has nothing to say that act is based on utilitiariamsemthsn. Because as the sequel points out, "The needs of the few and sometimes the one outweigh the needs of the many" " Kirk.

2p1, utilitarianism best handles moral uncertainty.

Ult handles moral by not dealing with it or relegating it to a artificial point system. You could have an entire society based on the slavery of another or group and still follow the law of Ult. I will reference "Spock's Brain" the first episode of the third season, broadcast September 20, 1968. By Ult precepts, Spock who is forced into slave labor for the benefit of an entire species is not only moral, its required and justified. I would disagree, it is not just, it does not value personal rights or individual freedoms, consent is never given. Yet steal Spocks brain completely follows the core tenants of Ult; a majority of individuals happiness is more important then an individuals or smaller group suffering.

In "Second Skin" from TNG there is a creature who can feel more intense emotions and ranges then Humans, his enjoyment in torture others give him great pleasure. Again, pleasure derived from torture is not a moral precept, but valid for Ult. however as shown in the show, there is a minim value that when crossed does not justify the overwhelming advancement of another. this concept violates Ult rules.

You state - "So how should we act when we do not know what the ultimate goal(s) is/are, if there is/are one/any?"

You"re applying a nonsensical assumption to an invalid question. Your might as ask, which episode is the your personal favorite that you haven"t seen yet. The first episode and last in TNG, is that the quest for humanity is not out there, but inside the hearts and mind (metaphorically) of men. That is bolding going forward where no man has gone before, inside the self to discover "who am I". Something that is a not even a question to a Ult as it may cause distress or civil disobedience, and question of values and ult rule itself.

"Under Utilitarianism life is the ultimate value because it is a prerequisite for utility,"

In first contact, the borg, and subsequently the Enterprise go back in time, the enterprise briefly gets a view of the planet, that has billions of additional people on it, all borg. While the number of people, education (borg are far more advance) and life span and shear over whelming numbers has increased, I would argue going back and saving the less desirable future over the borg is the right thing to do.

2P2. Utilitarianism best handles conflict between values.

"Wisdom is the beginning of logic" " Spock this is during a debate in undiscovered country, where there is an argument between him and an fellow Vulcan. She states they ether attack or be attacked. However as he points out there are other options. Your arguing a if than or statement when multiple answer but only showing two, and then shift the burden of proof to a negative sum. Additionally, to logical people can arrive at vastly different answer as to validity of a specific act.

Additionally there is a question of minimum value and maximum values as shown in episode called "half a life" Seasons 4, episode 22 of TNG. The premise is that old people and the pain at the end of life is unwanted and an inconvenience to watch and financial burden, causing undue hardship. Which would fit the Utilitarian ideal, however if everyone arrived at different conclusions and were free to act on own interpretation you would have no rule at all..

In the TNG episode of called "Symbiosis", the episode is Ult arguments. In it Piccard is placed in the position of choosing "do I fix a ship so drug dealers can continue there easy life style at the expense of others who are feed drugs and kept happy, or Do I stop the drug trade an cause massive harm and pain to individuals for a short term, ruin an entire economy for a generation for the betterment of following generations." As he is not Omnipotent the argument for action can be put either way.

You may gain happiness from TNG, while I prefer Original series. We can both watch the shows, and perceive different inherit value, and we can both agree DS9 sucks. However we may be the minority, some peole do like DS9. How does you Utilitariansims best hand this conflict between values. Which is us acting for Utilitariiams?

2P3. Rule Utilitarianism Best Handles Public Policy.

There is also the fact that utilitarianism is impossible to fulfill, lacking knowledge, one would have to base choice on logic. Being logical does not correlate to omniscience. To shape decision, either by committee or individual would be required, in which case you have democracy, or dictatorship or republic. Either way, your rule of ULT then falls to arguing perspectives; you have government not based on Ult because omniscient is impossible and differing opinions are a bases for debate. No matter how you frame it, the initial assumption of Ult is invalid which is why you have these silly situation where your assumptions results are not something that is at all related to the betterment of the human condition.

Problems with Utilitarianism.

1) it is not a system is it a pronouncement. It has one rule, and everything is judge by it. Similar to religion, it relies on its own justification to justify itself,. Nor could there be a debate about it, because self critics would imply a flaw in the original assumption.

2) Ult does not account for variety of pleasure, intensity or comparative between two pleasures or circumstance by which it derived a total sum on a Spread sheet.

3) It is more centered on amount of pleasure vs pain, but more pleasure can justify more pain. Raping a women for the intention of getting her pregnant and removing the child from her care to a it a privileged life is better in the eyes of a Ult view if the a child is born, then not, rather then the actual rape.

3) Ult does not account for quality of life, only amount of life of intelligent creatures. The last 20 whales (whose species is doomed to extinction) killed to feed an elitist group who gain additional pleasure in the last blue whale because it amasses them pleasure is valid if no one found out about it or caused distress to the whole.

4) its definition of utility if vague and can be twisted to various misleading moral problems.

5) Happiness is not an end, nor sustainable nor does it necessarily lead to a qualitative life.

Secular humanist is better then Ult.
1.Secular humanisms prices human inquire and evidence based debate and values. So while we admit that we may not be best system possible, at least the possibility of finding it is possible, where ult is a dead end perspective.
2.Secular humanisms place trust in provable and demonstrable evidence and logic. It rejects ideas shows to be false or un-defendable. As such it is a system (not a pronouncement) and it grows and has a chance of self-correcting if found wrong.
3.Secular Humanists have a more realistic view of our strengths and limitations and because we are grounded in science and the results of experience and observation, we are much better equipped to make effective, positive changes that are more likely have a chance of success and greater achievability.
4.We value peer-reviewed research, to make accurate claims about how the universe actually functions rather then what it ough to be, which is silly, or should be which is wishful thinking or made up which is religion.
5.Secular Humanism allows for great flexibility and a wider, deeper understanding and appreciation of the world.
6.Secular humanism evolves over time as additional information is added to increase and grow with our understanding of the human condition.
7.Secular Humanism prefer Star Trek over star wars, because its far more engaging and the breath of philosphy and idea`s lead to a better understand and how ultimately ULT is flawed.
8.I can spell Secular Humanism without a spell check, your ultiamafarism is a pain to spell.

Round two, Once more unto the breach. . .
Debate Round No. 2
FuzzyCatPotato

Pro

Rebuttal Rebuttals:

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2CPA: "[A]s a child ... though I did not know the name utilitarianism, I learnt it is wrong. .... Everything you need to learn about utilitarianimisimsmsms (sic) ... you can learn by ... Star Trek[.]"

1: Star Trek is ficticious. Why can the lessons learnt by watching Star Trek can be applied to the real world?

2: Star Trek (and most fiction) generally parallels what society views as moral. Why should we accept what society views as moral to be the correct morality?

2CPB: " 'The needs of the few ... outweigh the needs of the many[.]' "

1: Please provide a reason why this could be ever be true.

---

2C1A: "Ult (sic) handles moral by ... relegating it to a (sic) artificial point system."

1: Please provide a reason that this is inherently wrong, regardless of the consequences.

2: I have proven that maximizing potential value through maximizing probability of determining value is the only currently valuable entity in 2P1. Given that maximizing this requires determining how much any given action changes this probability, isn't this point system justified?

2C1B: "You could have an entire society based on ... slavery ... and ... follow ... Ult (sic). .... [I]t ... does not value personal rights ... consent is never given ... [y]et ... follows ... Ult (sic) [.]"

1: Under utilitarianism, rights help maximize utility by allowing (a) greater trust in government and other members of society and (b) greater ability to run one's own life, which is usually done at better efficiency than when run by other sources.

2: Slavery is generally less lucrative than free labor [1], due to lost opportunity costs of stifling human capital and growth [1], slower technology adoption rates [1], and inhibition of trade [1]. Slavery was only profitable whatsoever in the South due to the cotton industry, which remains more profitable today than in the past. As such, it would be rejected in the vast majority of nonfictional circumstances, because it reduces utility.

3: Within this specific instance, using a technologically capable person to fuel a developing species's development is obviously quite a large utility gain. However, there is no reason why slavery would be required in this instance -- why not send economic developers, engineers, scientists, and teachers to help development, rather than a space explorer?

2C1C: "[P]leasure ... is not a moral precept, but valid for Ult."

1: I define utility not as pleasure but as quality of life, which makes pleasure generally unrelated and less important than other issues. For example, the lost opportunity potential of all the people being tortured. Why is pleasure the correct definition of utility?

2C1D: "You"re applying a nonsensical assumption to an invalid question. .... [T]he quest for humanity is ... inside the ... mind[.] .... [N]ot even a question to a Ult (sic) as it may cause distress or civil disobedience[.]"

1: If 2P1's logic is invalid, please do show the problem with it.

2: Introspection is likely to increase the ability to run one's own life and the chance of determining ultimate value. It might also cause civil disobedience, but that's not extremely likely, and would likely only occur if a government isn't maximizing utility anyways.

2C1E: "[T]he [Borg] planet ... has billions of additional people on it ... education ... and life span ... increased[.] I ... argue ... the less desirable ... is the right thing to do."

1: Why?

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2C2A: "Your ... only showing two, and ... shift the burden of proof to a negative sum."

1: I've asked you to provide a better system, one that would do better in this problem, to solve any problems with the limitation of available choices. We'll see how it fares.

2: I shift the burden of proof to a what? I've only heard this in game theory, what does it mean here?

2C2B: "[T]o (sic) logical people can arrive at vastly different answer as to validity of a specific act. .... [I]f everyone arrived at different conclusions and were free to act on own interpretation you would have no rule at all."

1: In theory, if provided an infinite amount of time, all logical people should arrive at the same answer, making it applicable to all people.

2: Why does this matter?

2C2C: "[O]ld people ... pain at the end of life is unwanted ... and financial burden[.]"

1: Are you talking about euthanasia? What's wrong with letting old people off themselves, or offing people who are so infirm that they can't possibly add anything to society but hardship?

2C2D: " '[F]ix a ship so ... drugs ... or ... stop the drug trade an (sic) cause ... pain to individuals for a short term ... for the betterment of following generations.' "

1: See 2C1C.1.

2: Drugs here probably are reducing utility, and should be stopped.

2C2E: "How does you Utilitariansims best hand this conflict between values."

1: What conflict between values? How do we determine which show to watch? Whoever can grab the remote and keep hold of it, as per standard family procedure.

2: Choose whichever show most maximizes utility.

2C3A: "[U]tilitarianism is impossible to fulfill, lacking knowledge[.]"

1: If you know nothing, then you can't make any ethically informed decision in any ethical system anyways.

2: If you know something (which you ALWAYS will), then you can estimate the probabilities of certain occurrences occurring and their magnitude. (Like how policy is actually done.)

2C3B: "To shape decision, either by committee or individual would be required, in which case you have democracy, or dictatorship or republic."

1: What? This is true, but how does this matter?

2C3C: "ULT (sic) ... falls to arguing perspectives ... omniscient is impossible and differing opinions are a bases for debate."

1: See 2C3A.2.

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2C4A: "Utilitarianism ... has one rule, and everything is judge by it."

1: Yes. And?

2C4B: "Similar to religion, it relies on its own justification to justify itself,. Nor could there be a debate about it, because ... critics would imply a flaw in the original assumption."

1: Please pinpoint the circular logic of Utilitarianism.

2: We're debating about it now, aren't we? And I've defended the "original assumption" of maximizing potential value, which is definitionally true. What alternative do you have?

2C4C: "Ult (sic) does not account for variety of pleasure, intensity or comparative ... it derived a total sum on a Spread sheet."

1: See 2C1C.1.

2: Utilitarianism does account for differences in duration and magnitude of effect. A law that saves $5 billion is better than $4 billion; a cure that works for 5 years is better than 4 years.

2C4D: "[P]leasure can justify ... pain. Raping a women for ... removing the child ... to ... a privileged life is better in the eyes of a Ult view[.]"

1: See 2C1C.1.

2: See 2P3. A society where anyone can get raped will have a breakdown of order and loss of utility. Further, the mental and physical trauma of the woman is certain to outweigh any pleasure of the rapist. The increase of number of lives is insignificant if there's no real society for them to be born into, which destroys any utilitarian gain from rape.

2C4E: "Ult (sic) does not account for quality of life, only amount of life of intelligent creatures."

1: See 2C4C.2.

2: World A has 10 people and 10 per capita utility (quality of life). World B has 100 people and 1 per capita utility (quality of life). World B is far less likely to determine ultimate value, and World A would be preferred. (A world of scientists and industrialists is more likely to determine ultimate value than subsistence farmers or industrial workers.)

2C4F: "[D]efinition of utility if vague and can be twisted to various misleading moral problems."

1: ... Such as?

2C4G: "Happiness is not an end[.]"

1: See 2C1C.1.

---

Note: My opponent doesn't really define what "secular humanism" is, or what it states is ethical. It's hard to argue against something so vague.

2C5A: "Secular humanisms (sic) prices human inquire (sic) and evidence[.] ... [W]e admit ... we may not be best system possible, at least the possibility of finding it is possible, where ult is a dead end perspective."

1: "[W]e admit ... we may not be best system possible[.]"

2: I've proven in 2P1 that utilitarianism maximizes the chance to find the best system possible. Why would we choose one that merely allows it to happen when there are better ones available?

3: Util values inquiry, science, and evidence. How else would one make decisions but to be informed?

2C5B: "Secular humanisms place trust in provable and demonstrable evidence and logic. It rejects ideas shows to be false or un-defendable. As such it is a system (not a pronouncement) and it grows and has a chance of self-correcting if found wrong."

1: See 2C4A.3.

2: Why wouldn't Util reject false ideas? They don't maximize utility.

2C5C: "Secular Humanists have a more realistic view of ... strengths and limitations and ... are grounded in science ... are much better equipped to make effective ... changes[.]"

1: See 2C4A.3.

2: Why does utilitarianism over- or underestimate human strengths and limitations?

3: Since I don't know what SH proscribes, I can't compare its effectiveness to Util.

2C5D: "We value peer-reviewed research, to make accurate claims about how the universe actually functions rather then what it ough to be, which is silly, or should be which is wishful thinking or made up which is religion."

1: See 2C4A.3.

2C5E: "Secular Humanism allows for great flexibility and a ... deeper understanding ... of the world."

1: Unlike Util how?

2C5F: "Secular humanism evolves over time as additional information is added[.]"

1: See 2C4A.3.

2: Unlike Util how?

2C5G: "Secular Humanism prefer Star Trek over [S]tar [W]ars ... philosphy (sic) ... ULT (sic)."

1: Unlike Utilitarians how?

2C5H: "[U]ltiamafarism (sic) is a pain to spell."

1: No comment.

---

References:

[1] http://www.economist.com...

NathanDuclos

Con

NathanDuclos forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
FuzzyCatPotato

Pro

Passing.

Don't penalize Con.
NathanDuclos

Con

Thank you pro. . . . . . . . .

AS to Missed round

Star Trek is a fictitious TV show (and other media formats) that shows a variety of situation and stories for public consumption. In the context of this debate, it is wide enough subject that enough people can reference it to make sense of opposition to Utilitarian as the best system, and why Secular Humanism is better. Also Star Trek is cool.
Star Trek may parallel some of society views, however it also challenges and raises ideas, the first interracial Kiss, it show cased Secular humanism and how it works vs a variety of other system (including Utilitarian’s), cell phones and automatic doors. It spawn a technological revolution and inter-racial harmony that all people should be treated equal by law and could work together, Secular humanism principles. Hence why Spock Brain, & the phage show how Utilitarianism is false, in its pronouncement and application.

As for your response. Thank you for the argument and I am thoroughly enjoying it. However we seem at a literal impasse with a few things you seem to avoid or ignore.

I accepted

Utilitarianism is the Best Available Ethical Theory

In your opening remarks you then stated (before marking our points)

Utilitarianism is the doctrine of providing the greatest amount of utility to the greatest number of people.

Utility, here, is on a quality-of-life basis: the longer you live, the fewer health problems you face, the more education you receive, the money you earn, etc., are all measurements of utility.

I believe, Spock would say “fascinating”. You provide a well-established theory that John Stuart Mill’s lays out in the Self-Descriptive book called Utilitarianism. However you present an Argument by Definition, in which you redefine the term Utility, to such a vague and open ended definition to suit your needs that it no longer what it originally meant and can be shifted to many anything. I reject your custom definition. It is acknowledge as maximizing total benefit and reducing suffering or the negatives, Or as Spock says “the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few (or one)

In Addition, your entire argument is a deontological argument by “utility’ . A deontological explanation lacks a why. You may say that Utility is a great to strive for, and it may serve an end, but you fail to justify why is that over say, equality or love, or education or even truth. Several things that UTILITY is not. Secular Humanism, starts with multiple lines of reason to reach an answer, and truth is an ideal to be followed. We use a number of lines of inquiry, not just one like Utility. Like science more lines of research and testable proof from various points is better then just one.

My opponent's arguments, summed up:

Utilitarianism is the best system

1a – Human are uncertain of correct system
1b – unable to judge what system is best, under current system
1c – more number of Int Beings is best finding result, because less people likely to find better ethical system

None of this is proof that Utilitarianism is the best system.

2d.1 – Under Unitarianism life is the ultimate value (sic).
2d.2 – No other ethical system values both of these values as high as util.

Even if point 1 was true, which it is not, point 2 is false. Utilitarianism does not value life, or the `value of life`, it values Utility, again off point. It’s like arguing how great star trek is, by referencing luke skywalker on the bridge of Galactic, firing on Klingons. Utility and Life are not the determining factors in my life, nor should they be as meaning is subjective, I may value life and beauty, or truth and porn. If my value diff, you still haven`t present an argument of why Utility is better then my values. Except by `fascinatingly` changing the definition.

3 Utilitarianism Handles conflict between values
3a – It in nearly impossible to make a decision that will not have an internal value conflict
3b –deontological

Again, if you redefine the term, you make the meaning and your argument useless. Utilitarianism does not handle values, it handles utility. It ignores notions of justice or ethics by focusing entirely on utility and deontology. Also deontological arguments are a red hearing, you can say Utility is the best ideal, and it’s a rule to be followed, but you haven’t answered why?

To say, there is no way to judge anything, because all judgments maybe false.

May I point out this is also a judgment that you came to by some standard. You also say Utilitarianism is best, which is also a Judgement, which means it claims and ideas can also be tested. So you can test and judge ideas, systems, ethics and ultimately Utilitarianism vs Secular Humanism. Again deontological statements are based on some standard, which can be judged. Slavery is permissible as is forced organ donation, as a secular humanist, this would not be permissible. This mean that your ULT is not the best ethical system unless you change our wording, in which case you’re not utilitarian or you’re not being intellectually honest. You have to prove it, spooks brain counts against you. You can in the name of UTILITY commit genocide, or forced sterilization or even let an individual go to jail innocent if it was for the sake of utility, al lof which are STAR TREK episodes, not of which would be permissible as a human secularist point of view.

Your assumption that more people thinking on a problem make it more likely to answer it. If an idea is false, an infinit number of people working on an unprovable or wrong conclusion will never get there work done. Also an argument from popularity is not a valid argument, and arguing for a future argument of popularity does not mean you’re going to be any more right later. 10,000 people thinking that DS9 is a good show will never make it so.


You fail to answer any of my question based on a Utilitarian’s approach if anything, you switched to different lines of thought and philosophy, a very humanist way to accomplish your goal. Secular Humanism allows you to question things, and formulate understanding based on multiple lines of reasoning, and while we hold truth as an ideal. The fact this debate is a secular humanist approach to discover what its true matters, again a secular humanist view, which is why I took on this debate.

While you may have a hard time contrasting, it might be because you keep changing your definition and not the `vagueness of mine`` Just like you say you don’t understand BOP, but you used it several other debates. You have asked `` I've asked you to provide a better system, one that would do better in this problem, to solve any problems with the limitation of available choices. We'll see how it fares. ``

Secular humanism – Slavery is a no starter, stealing organs is a no starter, following a rule blindly is a no starter for secular humanism. Any system that would permit it, and allow it by its own definition is less then a system that is against it.

A - The needs of the many out weight the needs of the few.
B - The needs of the few outweigh the needs of the many or one.

Pro is arguing that A is true, it’s always true, regardless of the motive or justice, or minimum standards it crosses, as long as utility is served. I say, sometimes A, like in Star Trek II, sometimes B like in Star Trek III, as a secular humanist it depends, and the debate over finding out is part of it, which is a principle of secular humanism.



Debate Round No. 4
FuzzyCatPotato

Pro

4C1: On Star Trek



4C1A: "Star Trek is a fictitious TV show .... that ... people can reference[.]"



1: Star Trek is like a thought experiment; it can be referenced to add to real-world discussion, but is not inherently true.



4C1B: "Star Trek is cool."



1: Yes, but this doesn't make its morality accurate.



4C1C: "Star Trek ... raises ... ideas ... first interracial Kiss ... Secular humanism ... cell phones ... automatic doors. It spawn a technological revolution and inter-racial harmony[.]"



1: Raising ideas is not the same as philosophically defending them. See 4C1A.1.



2: The Industrial Revolution began in the 1700s, the Information Revolution in the 1930s, and Star Trek in 1966. Which spawed which?



3: The "first" interracial kiss is kind of correct, kind of not [1].



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4C2: Definitions



4C2A: "[Y]ou present an Argument by Definition, in which you redefine ... Utility ... vague ... no longer ... originally meant and can ... many (sic) anything. .... [Utility] is ... 'the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few'[.]"



1: As far as I can tell, an "Argument by Definition" (there are many and varied uses of this term) is here "an argument in which one or more terms are defined in such a way as to effectively be an argument for the speaker's position," [2]. Seeing as my definition of utility isn't geared to make people believe me, I don't think this applies.



2: While I have defined utility and utilitarianism, let me remind everyone that Con has not yet defined what "secular humanism" is whatsoever. In terms of vagueness, Con outweighs.



3: Utilitarianism is "the greatest good for the greatest number". How do we measure "good"? Via utility. I have provided a reason why my definition of utility best maximizes value in 2P1, and thus should be preferred as the best definition of "good".



4C3: Against 2P1



4C3A: "[Y]our ... deontological argument by 'utility' ... lacks a why. You ... say ... Utility ... may serve an end, but ... fail to justify ... that over ... equality or love, or education or ... truth."



1: I provided a reason to support maximizing utility in 2P1, where I proved that it maximizes potential value. Inherently, value must be maximized, and hence by extension so should utility.



2: Why does Con give me the burden of comparing Utilitarianism with EVERY other possible value, when this is an impossible burden and one that I don't need to fulfill? Con needs to prove other entities to be valuable in order for me to need to compare them.



4C3B: "Secular Humanism, starts with multiple lines of reason ... and truth is an ideal[.] ... Like science more lines of research ... is better then (sic) ... one."



1: Since we still don't know what secular humanism is, we don't know if this is true.



2: Further, Utilitarianism encourages scientific and philosophical research on all issues from all perspectives, to encourage better decisionmaking. Why would it stifle this research?



4C3C: "[M]ore ... Int[elligent] Beings is best ... because less people [are less] likely to find ... ethical system[.] None of this is proof ... Utilitarianism is the best system."



1: I have proven that utilitarianism maximizes potential value, which is all that we know is valuable. No other system comes as close to maximizing potential value as utilitarianism, proof that utilitarianism best increases value, and thus is the best system.



4C3D: "Under Unitarianism (sic) life is the ultimate value (sic). .... Utilitarianism does not value life ... it values Utility[.]



1: I didn't actually add the second "(sic)" there, Con did. I'm not sure why.



2: Utility is that which maximizes potential value, primarily through quantity and quality of life. Life is required to maximize potential value, and thus for utility, which is why utilitarianism values it.



4C3E: "Utility and Life are not ... factors in my life ... meaning is subjective[.] ... [Y]ou still haven't present (sic) ... why Utility is better then (sic) my values."



1: Subjective opinions do not matter in a debate over objective values.



2: I have objectively proven in 2P1 that utilitarianism objectively increases potential for value, whereas Con has not proven that Con's opinions maximize value whatsoever. Hence, utiliarianism IS more valuable than Con's values.



4C3F: "Except by ... changing the definition. .... [I]f you redefine the term, you make ... your argument useless."



1: When have I changed the definition? I have used the definition of utility that I have provided for the entirety of this debate, I have backed up why it is the best definition, and it is not significantly different from other definitions of utility.



4C3G: "Utilitarianism does not handle values, it handles utility. It ignores notions of justice or ethics[.] ... [Deontological arguments are a red hearing (sic) ... but you haven’t answered why[.]"



1: Utility is what is valuable in utilitarianism, hence it is a value, hence it handles values.



2: Note that I cannot compare Con's system to my own in this area, because I still don't know what it espouses.



3: Justice and ethics are just ways of determining value, so it IS a system of justice and/or ethics.



4: Further, "notions" of justice and ethics are subjective and unimportant.



5: I have answered why. See above.



4C3H: "[T]his is ... a judgment ... you came to by some standard."



1: The fact that knowledge is uncertain doesn't really require proof, IMHO.



4C3I: "You ... say Utilitarianism is best, ... which ... can also be tested. So you can test ... ideas[.]"



1: Yes. This is what we are doing now, and Utilitarianism is holding up quite well.



4C3J: "Slavery is permissible as is forced organ donation, as a secular humanist, this would not be permissible. You can in the name of UTILITY commit genocide, or forced sterilization or even let an individual go to jail innocent if it was for the sake of utility,"



1: I have answered slavery earlier, pointing out its inefficiency and that Spock could easily have just given them his knowledge.



2: Forced organ donation, as I think we have addressed in this debate, would lead to nobody ever going to a hospital and a massive health loss.



3: Why would a theory that attempts to keep people alive ever support the mass killing of people? The ONLY instance in which genocide would be acceptable is if it was in order to prevent greater genocide, which is rather unlikely to ever occur.



4: Why would you sterilize people?



5: Having flawed court systems would lead to people not trusting the courts and making them effectively useless. See how African Americans views and are treated by the American justice system.



4C3K: "Your assumption ... more people thinking on a problem ... more likely to answer it. .... [A]rgument from popularity is not a valid argument[.]"



1: If the likelihood of solving the problem is related to the available mental processing power, then having more people and more thinking DOES aid the ability to solve difficult problems. Science has worked quite well on this principle.



2: An argumentum ad populum is "a fallacious argument that concludes a proposition to be true because many or most people believe it," [3]. I'm not arguing that Utilitarianism is true because people think it is true; I am arguing that it is true because I have objectively proven it to maximize value. Similarly, I am not arguing that, if many people agree on what is valuable, that they are correct, merely that they have more available mental power to find problems in their own approach and expand available knowledge.



4C3L: "You fail to answer any of my question ... you switched to different lines of thought ... a ... humanist way to accomplish your goal. ... [T]his debate is a secular humanist approach to discover what its (sic) true matters[.]"



1: Every round I have answered ALL of Con's questions. Perhaps Con should use examples instead of just asserting that I have not?



2: Con still hasn't defined Secular Humanism, so we still don't know whether it actually uses different lines of approach.



3: Further, as I have proven earlier, Utilitarianism is not opposed to using reasoning and multiple lines of thought, making this non-unique and thus not a secular humanistic debate.



4C3M: "[Y]ou may have a hard time contrasting ... because you keep changing your definition and not the `vagueness of mine``[.]"



1: Again, WHEN have I changed my definition? It's remained constant through this debate.



2: Seeing as Con hasn't defined Con's philosophy in this entire debate (or even told of how it comes to ethical conclusions), it's quite hard to contrast it.



4C3N: "[Y]ou say you don’t understand BOP, but ... used it [in] ... other debates. You have asked ... to provide a better system[.]"



1: When did I say that I didn't understand BOP?



2: The "better system" requirement wasn't a BOP argument. I was asking that Con provide another ethical system, so that we aren't just attacking utilitarianism but comparing two systems, because I prefer that kind of debate.



4C3O: "Slavery ... stealing organs ... following a rule blindly ... no starter for secular humanism. Any system that would permit it ... by its own definition is less then a system that is against it."



1: Again, we still don't actually know what secular humanism states, so we don't actually know that these actions are prohibited.



2: Con STILL hasn’t proven that any of these actions are good OR bad, and so it can't make a system less or more than another.



---



Summary:


I have proven that utilitarianism best maximizes potential value, that it best avoids internal value conflict, and that it best works in public policy.


Con has not substantially attacked any of these.


Con has provided an undefined philosophy that appears to mimic current Western societal values (and purportedly includes even basic logical discourse, an unfair and baseless claim), without providing substantial, objective reasons to prefer it.


Vote Pro.



---



References:


[1] http://www.neatorama.com...


[2] http://issuepedia.org...


[3] http://en.wikipedia.org...





NathanDuclos

Con

Utilitarianism is the Best Available Ethical Theory

To which I say no.

As PRO keeps asking how can i show the needs of the few outweigh the needs of the man - SPOCKS BRAIN. Utility can allow slavery, Utility can have forced organ donation and a number of other things which are ethically unsound.

How does Pro get around this? He redefines utility to a number of things it is not. At which point, utility becomes a meaning panacea. When you redefine a word that can be anything, it’s stand for nothing. This is why Pro has to redefining the word and the meaning because the real word and meaning of utilities it unsound. The needs of the many outweigh the needs o the few. Always, forever, without exception. That means, slavery, forced organ donation, forced action without consent for utility as not only acceptable its required. All those things which are abhorrent are allowed, and not only permissible but required.

As for secular humanism, is a methodology of understanding what is ethical and how to go about it. It does not permit, slavery, forced labour, forced organ donation, and while we use different lines of reasoning, we also acknowledge that we can get something wrong, and will accept new evidence, unlike UTILITY, which is only right if you accept Pro`s redefined Utility.

http://en.wikipedia.org....


Debate Round No. 5
11 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by NathanDuclos 2 years ago
NathanDuclos
Thank you. . . .
Posted by phantom 2 years ago
phantom
RFD

This debate was extremely messy. Please make it easier on the judges next time. Everyone will benefit.

Con relied allot on prima facie or appeal to emotion arguments (e.g. slavery, genocide). To summarize Con, we must take it self-evidently that secular humanism is sound since it condemns these from the start, and the utilitarianism is false since it allows for their possibility. The situations in which utilitarianism would allow such acts to take place seem far-fetched, but, regardless, Con doesn't really make an argument; he just appeals to emotion. Genocide to prevent greater genocide would be acceptable according to Pro. Con's argument doesn't give us reason to deny this.

Con's claims that Pro is arguing by definitions didn't really make sense.

Con says the needs of the few sometimes outweigh the needs of the many. Unfortunately, Star Trek examples don"t exactly prove that point.

Many of Con's arguments for secular humanism were not exclusive to utilitarianism.

The crux of my decision, however, is this: Con never even defined secular humanism, so there"s really no way he can have proven its soundness in this debate. This debate was about one theory over another. Pro had a theory that all his arguments pointed towards. Con didn't spend allot of time on his theory, nor ever even remotely explained what it was about. By the end, he either had stopped trying or something else go in the way.
Posted by NathanDuclos 2 years ago
NathanDuclos
Thank you
Posted by FuzzyCatPotato 2 years ago
FuzzyCatPotato
k, ill pass
Posted by NathanDuclos 2 years ago
NathanDuclos
Sorry, for lack of round in debate, job got in way, I do have a response.,,
Posted by NathanDuclos 2 years ago
NathanDuclos
TWO DAYS, really I have to wait that long. This was fun and I`m really awaiting your response.
Posted by FuzzyCatPotato 2 years ago
FuzzyCatPotato
It's from another debate that someone forfeited against me. :P
Still good args tho.
Posted by NathanDuclos 2 years ago
NathanDuclos
Holy Toys-r-us bat man, that was fast responce.
Posted by FuzzyCatPotato 2 years ago
FuzzyCatPotato
72 hr.
Posted by alyfish126 2 years ago
alyfish126
What is the allotted time for responses
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by phantom 2 years ago
phantom
FuzzyCatPotatoNathanDuclosTied
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Total points awarded:30 
Reasons for voting decision: RFD in comments (Comment 10)
Vote Placed by Wylted 2 years ago
Wylted
FuzzyCatPotatoNathanDuclosTied
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Total points awarded:40 
Reasons for voting decision: on had horrible spelling and grammar which was extremely obvious. Con didn't provide a competing ethical theory, otherwise arguments may have been tied due to pro using such an odd definition of utilitarianism, among other problems.