The Instigator
steelman
Pro (for)
Winning
48 Points
The Contender
SaintNick
Con (against)
Losing
26 Points

it is morally permissible to kill one innocent person to save the lives of more innocent persons.

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 12 votes the winner is...
steelman
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 2/12/2009 Category: Society
Updated: 8 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 9,159 times Debate No: 6896
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (20)
Votes (12)

 

steelman

Pro

It is morally permissible to kill one innocent person to save the lives of more innocent people. This is right because even though though you are killing one person you are giving life to more innocent persons. This is justified by consequentialism. If the concenquences of killing one person is saving the lives of more innocent persons then it is justified.
SaintNick

Con

The only argument Pro put forth for his case is consequentialism. Plain Consequentialism is - Of all the things a person might do at any given moment, the morally right action is the one with the best overall consequences (If there is no one best action because several actions are tied for best consequences, then of course any of those several actions would be right). So what is a consequence? In Consequentialism, the "consequences" of an action are everything the action brings about, including the action itself and everything that action causes. If I were to state that the consequence of killing one innocent person was death, and that if I didn't kill the innocent person to save others, that the result would still be death, then death is thereby the consequence of both actions and by the power of consequentialism would be morally equivalent. Therefore, I have defeated Pro's sole argument. There is also the issue that Consequentialism does not itself say what kinds of consequences are good. Hence people can agree on Consequentialism as a value while disagreeing about what kind of outcome is good or bad. That being said, I encourage that Pro either elaborate on his value or expand his argument up until this point. If need be, I will attack the very value of Consequentalism in the upcoming rounds ahead. Good luck!

(http://www.iep.utm.edu...)
Debate Round No. 1
steelman

Pro

Thank you for challenging me in this debate. This was the topic that got me hooked on debate even though I never got to actually debate it. Now, on the the debate. I'm sorry, but I forgot to mention my criterion, utilitarianism. please let me know if it is ok to post this information so late, if it isn't allowed, then please disregard the following part. Utilitarianism is the greatest good for the greatest number of people. If by killing one innocent person, you are saving more innocent persons, that achieves utilitarianism.
Now I will defend my case. my opponent said, " If I were to state that the consequence of killing one innocent person was death, and that if I didn't kill the innocent person to save others, that the result would still be death, then death is thereby the consequence of both actions and by the power of consequentialism would be morally equivalent."
I am not sure how he came to this observation. The concenquences will be death either way, that is true, but the resolution lets us decide how many deaths will happen. We get to choose between one, or many deaths. Do, the best possible concenquences, and outcome is to save more lives, which is also upheld by my criterion, utilitarianism, then it is good. Let me simplify that statement. The concenquences will be grater if we kill one person, because even though we kill one person, we save more than one persons life. If we allowed the other innocent people to die, that would not be justified by my value or criterion because the concenquences would be more deaths than lives saved, thus I have justified my value and criterion.
SaintNick

Con

Now that I have defeated the the Consequentialist value, my opponent offers Utilitarianism as a criterion. I can debate against this ideology in several ways. First, it is important to note the false dichotomy fallacy that choosing the lesser of two evils is still choosing evil. This can best be explained once there is an accepted notion that killing is inherently wrong and that live is inherently valuable. If you agree with these principles, you must agree that killing is wrong whether you kill one person or five. Therefore, simply because you may be saving more lives by killing one person, the act of killing is immoral within itself and therefore cannot be morally permissible.

Another argument against Utilitarianism is Kant's deontological ethics. He speaks about duty to the individual and autonomy of the will. Utilitarians do not allow for individuality and only think about what is best for the greatest number of people overall. It sounds good in theory, but can be quite cruel in a way. Why should one person die to save 5? That one person has just as much right to a life. So again, killing would not be morally permissible.

(http://answers.yahoo.com...)

Further, for Utilitarianism to be valid, you would need an objective observer according to Marx. The truth is, none exist. Marx notes that the theory of utility is true by definition and thus does not really add anything meaningful. For Marx, a productive inquiry would have to investigate what sorts of things are good for people; that is, what our nature (which he believes is alienated under capitalism) really is. Because some people obviously disagree (and feel that capitalism should prevail), this proves that opposing views exist in terms of deciding what is or isn't right, just or moral. Therefore Utilitarianism as a theory is flawed and is a weak argument for my opponent.

So far I have argued against both Utilitarianism and Consequentialism.

Back to ye.
Debate Round No. 2
steelman

Pro

Wow, I'm not really sure how to reply to that, but I'll try. My opponent has claimed that I have used the false dichotomy fallacy. This is incorrect. The false dichotomy fallacy states that the arguer claims that his decision is one out of only TWO choices. As far as I can discern, the resolution only gives two choices, so this is a null point. And second of all, we have to look at the way my opponent uses the word wrong. How can something be inherently wrong, when each persons of right and wrong are different. And then there is war. In a war, people kill and are killed, but is it deemed wrong when our soldiers kill a hostile militant, no it is not. The same goes for the death penalty. I'm not going to debate weather or not is is good, but if the state deems somebody for the death penalty, and it is not seen as wrong. So how can we use a word that is so inconsistent. And furthermore, my opponent has not defeated my value of consequentialism. I have upheld it with the fact that the resolution lets you pick from ONE, or MANY deaths. One, or MANY saved lives. If the means, which is killing one innocent person, are overpowered by the ends, which is many saved lives, then the death is justified.

And as for Utilitarianism, It might be a little cruel, that is true, however the life of one person dose not override the life of five, or even two. The act of killing one innocent person is overruled by the amount of lives it has saved. And according to both consequentialism, and Utilitarianism, the act is Justified.
SaintNick

Con

First, my opponent responds with, "The false dichotomy fallacy states that the arguer claims that his decision is one out of only TWO choices. As far as I can discern, the resolution only gives two choices." In other words, he agrees with me entirely (just read it!) and therefore my point regarding his fallacy is completely upheld. This point should go to me.

Next my opponent asks, "How can something be inherently wrong, when each persons of right and wrong are different?" This logic does not support his argument at all. If he is arguing that there is no such thing as definitive right and wrong, then he cannot argue that it would be wrong to let more people die instead of sacrificing one. So, I can easily turn his own logic against him here and again my point is upheld.

Then Pro argues that I did not defeat his value of consequentialism. This is completely wrong. Back in Round 1 I argued that the consequence (main issue of consequentialism, obviously) of either of our choices is death by choice. In other words, choosing either side would mean that we are choosing for people to die, and that is immoral. Moreover, I mentioned that consequentialism as a value does not hold because it does not define what kind of consequences are good. My opponent's own arguments explain that he agrees with this point.

Finally Pro writes, "And as for Utilitarianism, It might be a little cruel, that is true, however the life of one person dose not override the life of five, or even two." Sure tell that to the family of the person who has been "sacrificed." Pro provides no arguments for this claim and therefore there is no basis. I uphold that killing is inherently wrong as it would take away the life of another. My opponent never argued why killing isn't wrong, but given the fact that he clearly values life (as explained in his argument) then my ideology holds.

I feel that I have strongly presented my case and urge a Con vote, thank you.
Debate Round No. 3
20 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Bnesiba 8 years ago
Bnesiba
as to the reliability of sources, neither side actually used sources for anything other than definition and analytics. Honestly, you shouldnt need sources for analytical arguments, and although the aff probably should have provided a definition of consequentialism, this did not really impact the round.

Tie
Posted by Bnesiba 8 years ago
Bnesiba
Pro

RFD:

Conduct: Con, I agree with logical master, that the specification from broad consequentialism to util was probably somewhat unfair (although util is a consequentialist framework, and the arguments against consequentialism should apply to util as well)

Spelling and grammer: Tie. again, i agree with logical-master

Arguments:
Because util is a consequentialist framework, i don't think the switch was really bad enough to vote on, also, it was not made a voter.

"my opponent has not defeated my value of consequentialism. I have upheld it with the fact that the resolution lets you pick from ONE, or MANY deaths. One, or MANY saved lives."
This argument, from the pro's rebuttal was not argued. more death on the con.

also, in the rebuttal, the con immoralized both sides: "In other words, choosing either side would mean that we are choosing for people to die, and that is immoral."
both sides are immoral (doing nothing results in more death, even kant agrees that inaction is an action), still more death on con.

i would have liked to see an actual definition of utilitarianism come up, not everyone knows what it is.

finally, you have 2 days to write arguments... there shouldnt be dropped points.
Posted by Logical-Master 8 years ago
Logical-Master
As do I. :D
Posted by Danielle 8 years ago
Danielle
I'm a non-official cleaner. In other words, I vote fairly on my own time ;D
Posted by Logical-Master 8 years ago
Logical-Master
"Finally Pro writes, "And as for Utilitarianism, It might be a little cruel, that is true, however the life of one person dose not override the life of five, or even two." Sure tell that to the family of the person who has been "sacrificed."

I'm pretty sure you'd rather tell that to one family who has been sacrificed rather than have to tell that to 5 families or even 10. ;)
Posted by Logical-Master 8 years ago
Logical-Master
As a cleaner (one who is interested in reviewing debates), I shall provide a brief RFD:

CONDUCT: I gave this to CON simply on the basis that PRO didn't mention his Criterion until the second round. Thus, he unintentionally "moved the goal post" by changing the conditions needed for CON to win the argument. In the future, I'd advise PRO to proof read his first round so that mistakes like these can be avoided.

SPELLING/GRAMMAR: Both need to work on their comma usage. Also, I would suggest that both debaters proof read more often. Tie.

CONVINCING ARGUMENTS: I gave this to CON. 1) PRO didn't really ever challenge CON on his own rendering of consequentialism when applied to this topic (that both actions resulted in death, thus were morally equivalent). CON's argument was that the consequences are morally equivalent since the morals are infringed upon regardless, hence making it irrelevant as to the QUANTITY at which this immoral act is committed. 2) PRo seems to agree that the false dichotomy fallacy is initiated when there are two choices at hand and that the resolution offered two choices. Hence, we have but no choice but to conclude that PRO committed false dichotomy. 3) PRO attempted to argue in favor of subjective morality, but as CON shows, this is not beneficial to his stance provided that PRO is the only one obligated to argue in favor of moral objectivism (well, technically, no, but I understand what he is trying to say) 4) PRO drops CON's argument concerning individuality as well as his argument concerning the idea that utilitarianism needs an objective observer to be feasible.

REALIABLE SOURCES: CON provided two sources to support his claims whereas PRO provided zero. Thus, I give this to CON.
Posted by steelysdad 8 years ago
steelysdad
Steelman, I enjoyed the little subtleties and the thought out way you presented your debate. I look foward to reading more of you work.
Posted by Danielle 8 years ago
Danielle
Whiterook, that doesn't necessarily make you a good or better debater (in fact, some might argue that your ignorance to outside information is inhibitory to producing your best arguments). It's also certainly within debating guidelines and not a reason to down-vote somebody.
Posted by whiterook 8 years ago
whiterook
actually i dont use any other source of info except for what i can come up with on my own honest truth
Posted by Danielle 8 years ago
Danielle
Con actually did a much better job of debating this. Pro as the instigator did absolutely nothing beneficial towards his position, and Con beat all of Pro's arguments. I also like how he turned his own arguments against him. Nice one, Con. And as far as using Yahoo, it's silly of people to hold that against him. It's something that probably all of you do, and yet because Con was honest enough to cite his info, people are going to down-vote him. Stoopid.
12 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Vote Placed by Bnesiba 8 years ago
Bnesiba
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Vote Placed by whiterook 8 years ago
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