The Instigator
Pro (for)
0 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
3 Points


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Post Voting Period
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after 1 vote the winner is...
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 2/7/2016 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 9 months ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 425 times Debate No: 86213
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (14)
Votes (1)




I strongly believe that Utilitarianism (the greater good for the greater number) is the best philosophy that everyone should follow.

I know there is some issues between Act-Utilitarianism and Rule-Utilitarianism, but it can simply be summed up as the world first being under Rule-U., but slowly progressing towards Act-U. as we advance farther in technology and knowledge in foresight.


I am new at this and I am not aware of the formalities, so I apologize in advance for eventual discourtesies.

I believe this first round is just for acceptance, so I won't justify my arguments. However, I would like to notify my opponent that I am planning to ground my position on the impracticality of this philosophy and its disregard for justice and for the human subjectivity. I would also like to ask my opponent if I should present another philosophy as a better alternative? So I can effectively refute the "best philosophy" statement.
Debate Round No. 1


(Actually, I'm somewhat new to this as well, lol)

Though yes, when looked upon in our modern times, Rule-Utilitarianism, let alone Act-Utilitarianism, in general is quite impractical. Too many variables to keep track of despite our modern tech. Yet, if we now start to take the baby steps towards Act-Utilitarianism by, for instance, Rule-Utilitarianism, it can be achievable.

These baby steps can include enforcing selflessness, education, environmental awareness, technological advancements, equal opportunity/judgment, and so on, common aspirations for many.

If you have another philosophy you'd think is more ideal, then feel free to present such.


Utilitarianism is a purely logic philosophy that ignores in almost all extent the human nature.

We care about those that are close to us and we don't develop empathy towards people we don't know anything about. It's almost impossible to motivate our brains to protect the interests of people that we don't know, mainly if it is in sacrifice of those that we love.

Utilitarianism expects humans to be able to take in consideration all the results of their actions, deliberate upon these results and act according the greater good. Humans are simply incapable of such complex reasoning. You say that we could start slowly with Rule-Utilitarianism, with a set of basic rules to help people discern the complex, unpredictable results. I would like to see you try.. you would have limitless sub-rules with exceptions. But even if people managed to predict those results, or if you managed to write those rules, people would still lack the motivation to follow through. (not enough characters :p)
Debate Round No. 2


A well-reasoned counter. Human nature is a real pain at times when it comes to a better plan. It's what stops Socialism from being effective, Charity as a budget-piece, and Utilitarianism as a practicality.

Yet, from what I understand of humans is this: We are both extremely selfish and extremely social. And this may be the answer to how we can make Utilitarianism practical. The Internet. From the deaths of celebrities, to the arm-breaks of those oddball YouTubers you found interesting, humans connect more with each other online than anything else in the real world. With this connection, we could perhaps bend our human nature to an advantage, as we expand our life profiles and followers and bring empathy to virtually everyone.

If we can instill an Internet-esque collective consciousness into people at an early age (maybe even a baby level), Utilitarianism could be possible.

(I kept the characters low in order for us to keep to the point and not make a laundry list of responses.)


I understand and respect what you're aiming for, however it's too far-fetched. The theory is too impersonal, wide and complex to engage people the way you hope. I believe in simpler guidelines like the Golden Rule, "One should treat others as one would like others to treat oneself", or "You shall love your neighbor as you love yourself.".

Changing the world starts at home and in your community, with simple loving and caring actions. You don't need to wonder and deliberate much about the results in the big picture. Just put yourself in the other's shoes and be kind.

In regard of Utilitarianism, another big flaw is its blindness towards justice. If I am a father of 5 children and I have a really important job and I kill a lonely homeless, according to Utilitarianism I would be probably released.. or maybe not, but it simply makes things even more complicated. Other flaw is its disregard towards human subjectivity. What is happiness for me, may not be happiness for you..
Debate Round No. 3


In regards to Justice: For that scenario, albeit very complex to think of a solution in this short manner of time, the father would be released from prison (with some heavy discipline of sorts), only if he's psychologically proven that it will never happen again and/or the livelihoods of others would be drastically worsened over the course of his prison time.

As for Subjectivity: For the vast majority of the human being, it can be influenced by many things, variables, numbers. Starting even before conception, the upbringing of a human will perform dramatic effect and their subjectiveness and personality. Now, this may take many decades, but in time, we could influence these numbers to produce an ideal personality range that does not cause conflict of interests.

This could sound quite invasive towards freedom, but remember:
We use freedom as a *means* to happiness, not that freedom *is* happiness.


In regards to justice, according to Utilitarianism, people with different lives will be judged in completely different ways. A father with 5 children and a good job, committing the same crime as a homeless person, will have a much less severe sentence in comparison.

As you said, your upbringing and genetics influence greatly who you become as an adult, which makes life unfair by default. If we add Utilitarianism to the equation, the poor and disadvantage layers of the society are going to be crushed in the courts, while the rich, influential people, will become even more immune to the system.

Even though I agree that freedom is a path to happiness, I don't believe that programming humans into selfless, uniform, coordinated entities is a good solution, and I hope you don't believe in it either.

But if happiness is all you want, let's just mass produce ecstasy and hand it out it to the populations.
Debate Round No. 4


That is not necessarily the case.

It is not immunity for the rich, rather, it is their power regulated by the government. And this depends of the economy in which Utilitarianism will be applied in.

And it isn't "programming" that's being applied to humans, rather, it is eugenics and manipulated upbringing that stops physical disorders, retardation, insanity, violent outlooks on life, and so on. It isn't "programming" and is simply forming a somewhat different human nature overall, one that better benefits the majority and oneself.

It may seem very romanticized and impractical, but there is a chance that Utilitarianism can be applied, and used to make almost everyone happy. Will it take time? Oh yes. But, just like the invention of the light bulb, it can be done. Some efforts may fail, some may get close, and one will succeed if we let it happen. It is all a matter of time, persuasion, and dedication for a better tomorrow.


I am not going to discuss eugenics or genetic engineering, that's a completely different topic, but it comes to show how far-fetched Utilitarianism is.

One of the biggest problems with political philosophy is its thrive for perfection and its ideological character. Totalitarianism, Democracy, Communism, Capitalism.. all these systems had failed because their premises, though theoretically valid, never took in much consideration the flaws and limitations of the human nature.

If you have a flock of sheep, you won't try to win a horse race with them, the same way you shouldn't consider to genetic manipulate them to make them faster! ;)

We have to be pragmatic and "down-to-earth". We have to acknowledged the limitations of our world and ourselves and set a political system that embraces our flaws and tries to overcome them with realistic, "followable" guidelines.

Living in a global village, we simply need to care for our neighbors to achieve the better world you're looking for.
Debate Round No. 5
14 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Sincerely_Millenial 9 months ago
Dear Pro....have you ever read the book "Brave New World" I think if you read it, it will change your mind on this subject...
Posted by canis 9 months ago
"The greater good for the greater number" Is how any goverment should think and act. But we do not always know "the greater good...." A good example could bee the xxx wars since 1945.
Posted by NeoMachine 9 months ago
Makes sense.
Posted by uroboros 9 months ago
I am from Macedonia, i do not know Spanish
Posted by NeoMachine 9 months ago
"que se joda" means "f#ck it"
Posted by uroboros 9 months ago
what crude message?
Posted by NeoMachine 9 months ago
+uroboros Sorry, your Spanish quote gave off a rather, crude message.
Posted by uroboros 9 months ago
first, is uroboros, UROBOROS! remember. Second, i never insult you. If you have that kind of behavior, i can not see a way to talk with you
Posted by uroboros 10 months ago
"que se joda" the mayority. do you really think that most cares about your assumption?
perhaps I'll make problem always happens in China if I do something wrong here? just no one would care
Posted by NeoMachine 10 months ago

But that would most likely result in a negative accumulation, ergo, not the greater good for the greater number.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by 9spaceking 9 months ago
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: this was a difficult debate for con to win since utilitarianism is one of the closest philosophies to define morality, but her suggestions that people's different subjective viewpoints may clash together worked out in the end. Pro's point that "It is all a matter of time, persuasion, and dedication" was never asserted and thus con wins. Very tough debate.