The Instigator
Pro (for)
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The Contender
Con (against)
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something you do not judge to be imoral is not illegal or imoral

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 6/21/2012 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 6 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,626 times Debate No: 24377
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (3)
Votes (2)




One must consider the facts of whether or not there is a common morality as there are so many different views, for example christians allow drink though don't promote it. And islam forbid it both of their views are right and therefore something one does not judge to be immoral is not under circumstances such as a man was killing in mass murder you knew he was guilty and so murdered him under the morality one life for hundreds this is and can be viewed as right and for the good of society of which laws protect laws are built to protect moral codes and rights of human if a man were killing many then the rights of those people are being crossed and the man who was killing he had left society by committing acts against it these are why i am for the argument


I accept this debate, I will present a few arguments in this round seeing how there are no rules placed against it. I am not sure as to what Pro is arguing in his opening statement so I will give a brief response to the topic of the debate. First, a few of definitions;

the ability to judge, make a decision, or form an opinion objectively, authoritatively, and wisely, especially in matters affecting action; good sense; discretion: a man of sound judgment.
conformity to the rules of right conduct; moral or virtuous conduct.

the principles and regulations established in a community by some authority and applicable to its people, whether in the form of legislation or of custom and policies recognized and enforced by judicial decision.

Pro suggests that if an individual does not judge that an act is immoral it would follow that it cannot be illegal or looked at as immoral. Unfortunately for Pro this is not how our legal system works seeing how an individual's judgment of morality does not dictate whether or not it is illegal. If it were the case than there could be no conviction and/or consequence for one person harming another or in Pro's example several others. Even if the individual suffers from a mental illness and is able to rationalize or justify that what they are doing is morally sound we would not deem them innocent for their actions or agree that they are morally justified. Laws are in place to prevent disorder. If acts of harm against others are not dealt with it tends to encourage feuding which could potentially lead to more killing and more harm against innocent people. If there is no truth, nothing has transcendent value, including human beings. The death of morality reduces people to the status of mere creatures. When persons are viewed as things, they begin to be treated as things. [1]

Moral statements are not preference claims. We do not treat our moral judgments like we do deciding what we want to eat for lunch that day. If we accept an individual's morality to be right because they feel it is so, than the legal system would have a difficult time convicting anyone. A statement made that human trafficking is wrong would instead be stated as; I personally don't care for human trafficking. As you can see this would cause more damage to society than the initial charge if dealt with. We acknowledge critical morality and relevant moral principles as an objective standing. [2]

[1] Francis Beckwith, "Relativism: Feet planted firm in thin air"
Debate Round No. 1


Unfortunately for con the debate is not meant to meen whether or not it is illegal it is more should it under the infact legal concept of mes rea it stipulates you must be able to judge between wrong and right and be able to have some forsight of concequnces if in your example somone was mentaly ill you say that they cant be viewed as innocent they can because they didnt necacarily do it under thier own doing or guilty conscience to commit a crime surely they must do it knowingly of the fact that its considerd in your states community a crime somtimes we must sacrifice for higher values this is why their are so many religious wars throughout history because people are prepared to fight the belief and sacrifice ethics and morale for rights and freedom sorry i must go and so cant complete argument teachers making us leave it suite


I will begin with the definition of mens rea, and then follow with my rebuttal to Con's argument.

Mens Rea:
Latin for a guilty mind, or criminal intent in committing the act.

Whispering in class:
During a lecture in class two students are whispering back and forth and passing notes as a means of communication to reduce the chances of getting caught by their teacher. Prior to passing the note or engaging further into conversation quick glances and shifting eyes scan the room to ensure that no one is listening or watching them. There are two consequences to this scenario.

1.The students are caught either by a fellow student or even worse the teacher.
2.They are not caught and all messages are passed to each other successfully.

No matter what the consequences the two students are aware of the rules and what they must do to avoid being caught breaking them. The same can be applied to those who commit crimes.

Forensic Psychiatrists are able to examine those accused to determine whether they understand what they did was right or wrong. Wearing gloves or a mask or giving a false alibi or name are all clear and obvious indicators of recognizing the criminal act being committed. Also suspects who flee the scene of a crime or make attempts to cover up evidence and even lie to the police appreciate that what they are doing is wrong. Criminals are even capable of being very manipulative and may feign mental illness think they will escape going to prison and find a cozy place an institution. [1]

Simply because one pleads insanity does not get them off the hook. If it had, several prolific murders and convicts would have been placed in an institution and possibly released back into society where they certainly do not belong. Individuals such as John Evander Couey who kidnapped, raped, murdered and buried a nine-year-old girl made this attempt. He lied and stated that he suffered years of mental abuse and stated he only had an IQ of 70. Couey however rated a 78 IQ which above the considered level of retarded. Ted Bundy made the insanity plea as well. He did suffer from acute "shyness" which presented itself socially awkward however he still did have many friends (was considered an attractive and smart individual) and suffered from no physical or mental abuse. He too made several attempts to evade authorities which added more weight to the fact that he knew very well what he was doing was wrong. [2]

It is still unclear what Con is actually arguing, I hope the his next response offers a more clear and concise rebuttal. I have given several reasons as to why murder is wrong regardless of an individuals moral code. I have also responded to the "insanity plea" which does not necessarily mean the individual is innocent.

Debate Round No. 2


You simply make examples of people who have feigned mental incapacity. What I'm arguing is that something you do not judge to immoral i.e sacrifice or not being able to determine moral right from morale wrong should not be illegal but on this society one can argueI nsanity Defense
"Well, the work offered by organized crime must hold an attraction to the insane."
—Dr. Jonathan Crane, Batman Begins
This is an affirmative defense in which it is claimed that the defendant in a criminal trial is or was unable to understand the nature or unlawfulness of their actions due to a mental defect or disorder, and thus not responsible for the consequences of those actions. "Insanity" here is a legal term, not a medical one, and the court decides whether it applies—though it will take the advice of medical professionals into account.
While the use of insanity as a defense has been known since ancient times, it was codified in English law by the M'Naghten Rules of 1843, and the United States adopted similar rules for its use shortly thereafter. Most countries in the modern world have some variation of the insanity defense available to criminal defendants. Some jurisdictions instead have "Guilty But Insane," where insanity cannot be a complete defense, but can be a mitigating factor.
In Real Life, the insanity plea is rare and difficult to succeed with. It is also a risky gamble, since it is an affirmative defense that requires the defendant to concede culpability in the crime in question and places the burden of proof on the defense to prove without a doubt their client was insane. Perhaps one percent of criminal cases even attempt an insanity defense, and only about a quarter of those are accepted, primarily if the defendant already has a history of mental illness. Furthermore, it requires expert testimony from a reputable psychiatric authority that the defendant was insane at the time they committed the crime, not just insane in general. Naturally, since the insanity defense is dramatic, it is used much more often in fiction.
A variant is "Temporary Insanity," in which the defendant is claimed to have been suffering from an "irresistible impulse" during the crime, but is now sane. Thus, they can be released immediately, rather than being incarcerated for psychiatric treatment. This defense was first used in the United States by U.S. Congressman Daniel Sickles of New York in 1859, after murdering his wife's lover. It was most prevalent as a defense during the 1940s and '50s.
Along similar lines, the "Extreme Emotional Disturbance" defense argues mitigating factors compromised the defendant's ability to think rationally. For instance, a man who shot his wife after catching her in bed with her lover could argue his emotional state at the time makes him guilty of the lesser crime of Manslaughter and not 2nd degree Murder.
Since someone who has been declared "Not Guilty By Reason of Insanity" is incarcerated for psychiatric treatment until they are deemed no long a threat to themselves or others, this can result in a longer loss of freedom than a normal jail sentence would have caused. Because of this, a defendant has the right to insist that this defense not be used in their case. This has not stopped some defendants — both in fiction and in Real Life — going for this defence under the mistaken belief that a plea of 'insanity' means a cushier time than a regular jail sentence. Also, in some jurisdictions, such as the District of Columbia, a person found not guilty of a sex crime by reason of insanity must register as a sex offender, as though that person had been convicted.
A "Catch-22" effect can be noticed with many juries—if the defendant is capable of understanding that an insanity plea would be a good idea, then perhaps they're not legally insane. (As insane people typically don't know they're insane - note emphasis on typically, since some actually do know there's something wrong with them.) This is in fact closely related to the original Catch-22, the dilemma discussed in that book that a serviceman who requests a discharge for insanity must be sane enough to think to do so.
Another use of this trope common in fiction is for a floundering attorney to switch to an insanity defense as a last resort, ignoring the real-life procedural steps needed for this action. It almost never works, just emphasizing how doomed the client is.
A related concept is fitness to stand trial. This is often confused with the insanity defense, particularly since they often apply to the same people, but fitness to stand trial says nothing about their mental state when they did the crime. It's about whether their current mental state allows them to understand the charges against them and conduct an appropriate defense. For example, there was one guy who was clearly responsible for the crime he did, but while awaiting trial, he got brain damage from a suicide attempt and became unfit to stand trial. Rather than going to jail, he went to a care facility, and if he ever recovers enough he will stand trial.
Another concept related to insanity, although rarely seen in media, is diminished capacity. Diminished capacity is a claim that the defendant was unable to form the mental state (intent, recklessness, negligence, etc.) required for their action to be a crime. Because diminished capacity is not an affirmative defense, but rather the negation of an element of the crime, the burden of proof remains on the prosecution. Additionally, a successful diminished capacity defense results in a verdict of "not guilty", rather than "not guilty by reason of insanity", so the defendant is not incarcerated for psychiatric treatment (unless the state begins civil commitment proceedings). As a result, diminished capacity tends to be preferred to the insanity defense in jurisdictions in which it is allowed (although the two can be, and often are, combined).
In the United States neither psychopathology or a personality disorder is generally accepted as grounds for an insanity plea, and most states will simply throw the perpetrator in jail like any other criminal if that is their mental illness, since though such persons may have the adequate Lack of Empathy that you can say they don't appreciate the moral reasons for why their crimes were wrong, in general they still understood that they were breaking the law, and having pathalogical justifications for doing so isn't good enough. However, other countries such as the United Kingdom do accept these as valid grounds, and many notorious British Serial Killers are locked up in mental institutions whereas in America they would be in jail, probably waiting for the Death Penalty. Such British prisoners, however, are usually not expected to ever be released and most of their appeals fail. In fiction, many cases of the Insanity Defence are often based on personality disorders, even if they are American. you see people condemn others for killing even if they and other for either sacrifice or insanity


It looks like my opponent has plagiarized entire discussions from different websites. Not only that, he has given no credit to any of these sites. I will still respond to the arguments of others, however I do think those viewing should factor in that Pro has copy and pasted 90% of his final argument. I am also overlooking the fact that Pro decided to change his statement from "something you do not judge to be immoral is not illegal" to "something you do not judge to be immoral should not be illegal.

"What I'm arguing is that something you do not judge to immoral i.e sacrifice or not being able to determine moral right from morale wrong should not be illegal but on this society one can argueI nsanity Defense"

Pro fails to realize that individual morality does not have any impact on the legal system. A plea for insanity is not taken into account simply because the individual's morals differ from society. Differing viewpoints on morality is by no means evidence of a potential mental illness or insanity. If it can be proven that the defendant had criminal intent than it would follow that the individual was guilty and well aware of the crime they had committed. I have provided in my previous argument the types of actions made by those who fit the criteria. The majority of states, the burden is placed on the defendant, who must prove insanity by a preponderance of the evidence. Only in few minority states is the BOP placed on the prosecutor. Yes, the final decision is made by the jury however this is only after a mental health professional or psychologist has provided testimony. [1] This falls back on the motives of the defendant, the method of act, and then finally the reaction of the individual upon apprehension.

Even those diagnosed with a mental illness have some understanding of morality. I suggest that Pro takes the time to read the multiple tests done by Eric Mandelbaum, David Ripley, and Felipe De Brigard. To summarize the tests conducted. They gave several scenarios (to those suffering from neurological and psychological disorders) of people committing acts recognized by the DSM-lV to be attributed to mental illness. They did not need to be specific as to which type of mental illness in each scenario however the conclusions of the exam lead to the fact that each participant (who suffered from a mental illness) recognized that those individuals held some form of moral responsibility. [2] I have responded to all of Pro's significant statements and have made successful refutations to his case for innocence and insanity. I would like to thank those who take the time to view this debate.

Debate Round No. 3
3 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Posted by BINGE 6 years ago
No I'm saying that concept of morality differs of course there is a basic ,basic morality i.i unprovoked attack but should killing if you don't know its wrong or have no knowledge of whats basic basic right and wrong then should it be illegal? thank you for an interesting and philosophical debate ill try to be more clear int he future
Posted by Doulos1202 6 years ago
I accept if resolution is clarified.
Posted by Doulos1202 6 years ago
Requesting clarification:

Essentially what your saying is, If I (personally) do not judge something to be imoral it would then follow that it is also not illegal?
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by socialpinko 6 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Pro plagiarized his third round argument which was pretty much the only round with anything substantive anyways. Plagiarism equals loss of conduct and sources.
Vote Placed by wiploc 6 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Conduct: plagiarism. S&G: Incomprehensibility. Persuasion: Incomprehensibility. Sources: Plagiarism.