The Instigator
Pro (for)
The Contender
Con (against)

Can psychopaths be good people?

Do you like this debate?NoYes+1
Add this debate to Google Add this debate to Delicious Add this debate to FaceBook Add this debate to Digg  
Debate Round Forfeited
TheBiggleOne has forfeited round #3.
Our system has not yet updated this debate. Please check back in a few minutes for more options.
Time Remaining
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 5/10/2018 Category: Health
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Debating Period
Viewed: 639 times Debate No: 113724
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (4)
Votes (0)




First round is acceptance. Please be polite, offer credible sources, and be generally civil. The favor will be returned.


I would like to say that the term Psychopath is not very precise. When talking about a psycopath we are usually talking about a person with something called an "antisocial personality disorter".
Source: (The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition, the reference manual that defines the symptoms of mental disorders.)

When talking about an individual being diagnosed with "antisocial personality disorter" we usually refer to someone with at least three of the following traits,

-Regularly breaks or flouts the law
-Constantly lies and deceives others
-Is impulsive and doesn"t plan ahead
-Can be prone to fighting and aggressiveness
-Has little regard for the safety of others
-Irresponsible, can"t meet financial obligations
-Doesn"t feel remorse or guilt

People who have antisocial personality disorter tend to be split into two categories, sociopaths and psychopaths, the difference being that psycopaths are believed to have a genetic pre-disposition to antisocial personality disorter whereas sociopaths are believed to developp it. In this debate when I use the word psychopath I am referring to an individual with antisocial personality disorter.

Now that I have defined the terms of our debate which you forgot to do, I will now proceed to the debate.

Judging by the symptoms listed above (all from the The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition) we have a clear impression that individuals with antisocial personality disorter do not have any moral compass, thought to be because of "underdevelopped components of the brain thought to be responsible for emotion regulation and impulse control" ( I do not believe any of the characteristics to be desireable in today's society. To adress one of the arguments in the comments, the idea that psycopaths can deal with jobs others could not is not quite true, "normal" people (as in people without antisocial personality disorter) can easily acheive these goals (not everyone is scared of blood). Psychopaths are also not immune to fear as Hollywood portrays them to be, they are not all calm and calculating individuals, often they will show irrational and impulsive behavior.
Debate Round No. 1


First of all, I would like to apologize for not posting the terms of the argument. Thank you for taking the time to do so. Now, onto the debate.

The most basic symptom of psychopathy is a complete lack of empathy or remorse. As the first article states, psychopathic traits are like dials in a recording studio. Turning some of them down can lead to a completely normal life, just one without empathy. It is also said that surgeons are in the top ten list of jobs with the most psychopaths. Surgery is a hard job, yet one that serves a very good cause. It seems rather implausible that someone incapable of being good or acting out of something other than selfishness would study for eight years or more to have constant interruptions only for someone else's good.

From the second article, read at the end. "Someone who was pretty high on the psychopathic spectrum was Winston Churchill." Churchill was undoubtedly a good person. He fought for his country, including wars against Nazis, defended democracy, and severely impeded the spread of fascism. Churchill is a prime example of a psychopath who was simultaneously a good person.

I await your second argument.


Just because someone does good does not make them a good person. Take Adolf Hitler for example, he is what most people imagine when thinking about an evil person, and yet he did many good things for germany, such as anti smoking campaigns, he created the modern highway system (the autobahn), and he was an environmentalist. Despite these good causes he stood and acted for he is undoubtedly a bad person. This is why just because a psychopath who is a surgeon is not necesarily a good person. The psychopathic surgeon may be saving lives but he is not doing so to help others, he is doing so for his own benefit, for the high pay he recieves and the prestige awarded to him by society for saving lives.

Psychopaths are unable of intentionally doing good as the parts of their brains responsible for emotional reasoning are not functional. if they act in a way that seems good they are not doing so intentionally. If we observe brain scans of psychopaths and normal people we can notice the low levels of activity in the prefrontal cortex, responsible for emotion. So how could someone unable to feel emotion and empathy do something good intentionaly?
Debate Round No. 2


While Hitler was undoubtedly a horrible person, he had good intentions. He believed that Jews, people with disabilities, etc. were worse than others, and must be exterminated. Again, I'm not trying to say that he was a good person, (note: I'm Jewish,) but he still believed he was doing good.

Let's get a little more in-depth on the definition of empathy. Empathy isn't determined instinctively. It is determined by how you are raised. If you grow up around a community that believes and constantly tells you that sexually molesting children (apologies for the extreme example) is morally right, you will not feel bad if you do this. Empathy is not knowing right from wrong, it is merely a feeling. If you don't feel sadness, will you deliberately look up the worst global events to ever happen? I thought not. Psychopaths can't help the fact that they don't feel empathy, it's just how they are. Maybe people judging them for not using a part of their brain is the reason that some are bad. Maybe the connotation of psychopathy is just a false assumption, created by the rest of humanity to feel good about ourselves and to scapegoat others for our problems. Admit it-we all do that sometimes. Psychopaths are just people who are missing a small part that the rest of us possess. If we judge someone for that, then we're like Hitler. We see something in the person sitting next to us that's different than us, so we treat them worse. Humanity has always been like that. Just look at the debates concerning Islamophobia and homosexuality. A psychopath is just a little different than other people. Please, do not let this judgement and generalizing of a broad group of people continue.

I look forward to your closing argument. Thank you for this debate.
This round has not been posted yet.
Debate Round No. 3
4 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Posted by mosc 3 years ago

I feel tremendous empathy for you your family and friends to burn to death in Dresden. The fire bombing of the nazi sub humans in Dresden, Some 400, 000 Bar BQ'd nazis in about 2 days, Mmmmmmmmmm the smell of cooking nazi flesh yum yum so tasty. Food for the birds and dogs yea.
Posted by RominaBloomdahl 3 years ago
I got really excited about this debate, but than I saw the person was for pro. I think that psycopaths can be good people for sure. The ability to not have empathy may allow them to do certian jobs that other people can't handle like surgery, medicine, death analysor, accident photograper, etc.
Posted by FanboyMctroll 3 years ago
I think in their own mind they might think they are good people, but in reality they are narcissistic, non emotional psychos who only look out for themselves so NO they can't be good people
Posted by Masterful 3 years ago
No if they don't feel empathy.
This debate has 0 more rounds before the voting begins. If you want to receive email updates for this debate, click the Add to My Favorites link at the top of the page.

By using this site, you agree to our Privacy Policy and our Terms of Use.