The Instigator
dairygirl4u2c
Pro (for)
Losing
10 Points
The Contender
beem0r
Con (against)
Winning
35 Points

existentialism is the preferred way

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 2/27/2008 Category: Religion
Updated: 8 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 1,516 times Debate No: 2969
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (4)
Votes (11)

 

dairygirl4u2c

Pro

The reason why I refuse to take existentialism as just another French fashion or historical curiosity is that I think it has something very important to offer us for the new century. I'm afraid we're losing the real virtues of living life passionately, sense of taking responsibility for who you are, the ability to make something of yourself and feeling good about life. Existentialism is often discussed as if it's a philosophy of despair. But I think the truth is just the opposite. Sartre once interviewed said he never really felt a day of despair in his life. But one thing that comes out from reading these guys is not a sense of anguish about life so much as a real kind of exuberance of feeling on top of it. It's like your life is yours to create. I've read the postmodernists with some interest, even admiration. But when I read them, I always have this awful nagging feeling that something absolutely essential is getting left out. The more that you talk about a person as a social construction or as a confluence of forces or as fragmented or marginalized, what you do is you open up a whole new world of excuses. And when Sartre talks about responsibility, he's not talking about something abstract. He's not talking about the kind of self or soul that theologians would argue about. It's something very concrete. It's you and me talking. Making decisions. Doing things and taking the consequences. It might be true that there are six billion people in the world and counting. Nevertheless, what you do makes a difference. It makes a difference, first of all, in material terms. Makes a difference to other people and it sets an example. In short, I think the message here is that we should never simply write ourselves off and see ourselves as the victim of various forces. It's always our decision who we are."
beem0r

Con

When I saw this debate, I was initially surprised. I thought that, for once, dairygirl4u2c had used proper capitalization while typing.

However, I then saw something else odd: a lone quotation mark at the end. I could not find where the quotation mark came from, so I then figured the entire content of my opponent's last post was plagiarized. I put part of it into Google, and my theory was proven correct.

There's a video I found with the exact paragraph, posted August of 2006.

Unfortunately for my opponent, I am not debating against Professor Robert Solomon from the University of Texas. I refuse to respond to a cut and paste, since the original speaker is not even debating. I ask my opponent not only to cease her plagiarism, but to present me with actual points to argue, not just some incoherent rambling that's not even hers.

In short: I expect a non-plagiarized argument in round 2. Also, don't expect me to know who you're talking about and what you're referring to when you say something like "Sartre once interviewed said he never really felt a day of despair in his life." I don't know who Sartre is, and neither do the voters. If you're going to reference him, please at least mention who he is and what you're even talking about, rather than putting it in a context where it makes no sense.
Debate Round No. 1
dairygirl4u2c

Pro

i'm just playing to see who'd argue against it. i don't expect anyone would believe it was me.

if you didn't want to argue against what was said, then you shouldn't have taken the debate.

if you don't know who sarte is, then you shouldn't have taken the debate. most philsophers know he's a giant philsopher in modern existentialism. second only to keierkegaard but probably really second to none, since kierk is only so high because he's the father of existentialism and laid the foundation. anyways, my point is these things you should know if you're going to take the debate.

you haven't made a counter argument, so i can't defend what he said yet.
beem0r

Con

First, I would like to say that the topic resolution is rather vague. Just what is meant by it is not clear after reading the content of round 1, probably due to the fact that my opponent simply took a passage that was not meant to be a debate and used it as her round 1.
Regardless, I will attempt to decipher the cryptic meaning. I ask my opponent to correct me if I am off course with this: my opponent is trying to argue that existentialism is the best philosophical outlook to have.
Unfortunately, the plagiarized passage does not clearly demonstrate this to be true. It makes no comparisons to other outlooks, and such comparison is necessary to make a comparative or superlative assertion like that. Regardless, I'll go through and disagree with some stuff. But before that, let me remind the voters of something very important. My opponent has presented information without regard to common knowledge on the topic. Chances are, many of the people reading this don't even know what existentialism is. It is common courtesy to explain what you're talking about in a debate, and my opponent overwhelmingly failed to do so in round 1, mostly by the fact that she simply plagiarized material that was aimed at an audience that already knows about existentialism - what it is, who its key players are, etc. Anyway, on to my response.

Perhaps existentialism does have something very important to offer us in the new century. If nothing else, it provides us with another philosophical viewpoint, something that's incredibly useful in the minds of many. The author, however, has a different view on what it has to offer us in the new century. He states, "I'm afraid we're losing the real virtues of living life passionately, sense of taking responsibility for who you are, the ability to make something of yourself and feeling good about life." This is obviously a statement used to imply that these things are missing from life without existentialism, and that existentialism provides them. However, these things existed long before existentialism, and continue to exist independent of it.

So far I'm only 2 sentences in, for those following along in the original, plagiarized text.

Let's look at the next 3 sentences: "Existentialism is often discussed as if it's a philosophy of despair. But I think the truth is just the opposite. Sartre once interviewed said he never really felt a day of despair in his life." I'd like to point out that this author disagreeing does not constitute a defense against it actually being a philosophy of despair, nor does an existentialist claiming to have never felt a day of despair in his life (if indeed he ever did claim that, he was lying). As my opponent has presented, existentialism is normally viewed as a philosophy of despair. Perhaps there is a reason for this?

The next lines are as follows: "But one thing that comes out from reading these guys is not a sense of anguish about life so much as a real kind of exuberance of feeling on top of it. It's like your life is yours to create." However, this is not an existentialist idea. Existentialists only feel 'on top of it' as often as they actually are, which is probably about as often as any non-existentialist. Also, there's nothing in existentialism that makes it seem like we have more power over our lives than would otherwise be expected. The author is bringing up points that are completely unrelated to existentialism in any way.

After some more rambling that is irrelevant to this debate, the author closes with: "It might be true that there are six billion people in the world and counting. Nevertheless, what you do makes a difference. It makes a difference, first of all, in material terms. Makes a difference to other people and it sets an example. In short, I think the message here is that we should never simply write ourselves off and see ourselves as the victim of various forces. It's always our decision who we are."

However, this is hardly has anything to do with existentialism. Everyone, existentialist or not, knows that their decisions can affect others. No one, at least no one I know of, claims that we are solely the victim of outside forces, with no control over what happens. Also, no matter how you look at it, we ARE affected to a great extent by outside forces. Remember that part earlier about how you can affect others? Others can affect you as well. Yes, we do have a say in how our lives go. But we aren't the sole deciders of it. We can't live whatever life we choose, else we would be omnipotent. I'm not sure what point the author was trying to make here, and I'm not sure what my opponent thought was so striking about it. The only agreeable things the original author said are not exclusive to existentialism, nor are they defining traits thereof. I await some rebuttal and explanation from my opponent.
Debate Round No. 2
dairygirl4u2c

Pro

dairygirl4u2c forfeited this round.
beem0r

Con

My opponent has forfeited. Therefore, whether you agree with my points or not, they have not been contended and therefore carry on to this round. Since my opponent has failed to answer my points, there is not so much of a decision left for you, the voters, to make.
Debate Round No. 3
4 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Posted by Yraelz 8 years ago
Yraelz
Sartre dude.......! Jean-Paul Sartre! Everyone knows who he is. Thats like not knowing Descartes or Nietzsche or Plato! But I suppose I'm voting for you on lack of refutation. Can't really vote for someone who didn't debate.
Posted by beem0r 8 years ago
beem0r
Quite the compliment, Klep, thanks for that.

Also, I often look at my debates from the perspective of a voter. A voter should not have to do independent research to understand what you're talking about. In this context, it would really be proper to explain who Sartre is, otherwise sentences like "Sartre once interviewed said he never really felt a day of despair in his life" don't make any sense to the voters, and they can't be seen for the point they're supposed to be. Luckily, now the information is inside the debate, so all the voters will now understand, though not as soon in the debate as they should.

Anyway, I guess I'll respond to the plagiarized material and argue the resolution proper next round. Sigh.
Posted by Kleptin 8 years ago
Kleptin
@Dairy

That's not a good tactic. Beem0r is the contender, meaning he gets the last word. He dispelled the validity of your initial argument as plagiarized material, meaning you did not offer anything of substance.

Moreover, you wasted your round 2 attacking his credentials. While I admit a person who doesn't know who Sartre is shouldn't be arguing about existentialism x.x (bad beem0r) 3 minutes with wikipedia is really all he needs.

That being the case, this debate has been whittled down to a debate where beem0r gets to comment twice but you only get to comment once. And beem0r usually only needs to comment once to win a debate.
Posted by Kleptin 8 years ago
Kleptin
I actually caught the other one she made. Same thing. Except there was no little clue. I just had my suspicions...
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Vote Placed by dairygirl4u2c 8 years ago
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