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

Does My Theory of Ethics Work?

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 4/22/2018 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Debating Period
Viewed: 411 times Debate No: 113043
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (1)
Votes (0)

 

Nathaniel_Kampeas

Pro

Ethical rules have their basis in the community's common interests, and, when stated in general terms, are formulated from a common condition or set of conditions surrounding an action that make it unpalatable to a community by virtue of the general condition(s) itself (e.g. the condition of greed and selfishness being the motivation for a killing), and not all the details peculiar to each action (e.g. the particular resources stolen, the place of the incident, etc).

When a community of individuals formulate, whether they are cognizant of their practical situation or not, they have potential rules and conformities that, if followed, will benefit them as a whole. Even if they are all okay with being murdered, robbed, raped, etc., they must agree that each of their indifference to the occurrence of such acts must be made explicit before it is done to them, else one of them is violated against his will, and thereby excluded from his community's optimalization of mutual interests. If this happens, and each other individual the community accepts it as permissible the whole practical cohesion of the community crumbles, because although they were indifferent to that particular violation, each member of the community cannot trust the rest of his community to not violate him/her with regard to the same or a different offense. But what if every individual in the community is indifferent to any and every intrusion on their person, including the taking of their life? If this is the case, and some offense is committed against someone, the fact that the community is able to go on without any further conflict and in harmony of interests does not have any bearing on the fact that their communal cohesion and mutually practical foundation was destroyed.

For even if no other person in the community can have their personal interests violated, nobody can trust one another, which means that nobody has interpersonal assuredness that their personhood is safe. The purpose of ethics is communal harmony, peace, and agreement. If trust is gone, then an insurrection or rebellion is possible, and the community, unless they renounce their position and reform their system, will have no negotiable reason to remain intact as it is. Therefore, although when an offense happened a community may go on in peace and harmony till its end, its claim to practical favorability and cohesion is destroyed, because it has no ideological defense against a rebellion, which means that since they cannot ensure peace, the community can crumble due to anyone's slight change of mind. Having no basis for practical cohesion, the community cannot in theory safeguard any of its members' interests and property from harm, rendering it ethically and politically undesirable, and rendering any continuation of people's interests uninfringed accidental and irrelevant to its status of security of happiness and optimality.
RMTheSupreme

Con

I am going to quote you contradicting yourself in 2 different ways:

Contradiction 1:
"Ethical rules have their basis in the community's common interests"
"Even if they are all okay with being murdered, robbed, raped, etc., they must agree that each of their indifference to the occurrence of such acts must be made explicit before it is done to them, else one of them is violated against his will, and thereby excluded from his community's optimalization of mutual interests."

Here is where you contradict it:

"But what if every individual in the community is indifferent to any and every intrusion on their person, including the taking of their life? If this is the case, and some offense is committed against someone, the fact that the community is able to go on without any further conflict and in harmony of interests does not have any bearing on the fact that their communal cohesion and mutually practical foundation was destroyed."
"For even if no other person in the community can have their personal interests violated, nobody can trust one another, which means that nobody has interpersonal assuredness that their personhood is safe."

I will explain the contradiction now. You say that as long as the overall community is having its interests sufficiently met, any individual needs to 'suck it up' even if the overall community is okay with everyone in it being murdered, raped etc... You then say, in the latter quotes, that there are apparently situations where even though everyone can go on fine because of the misfortune of an individual here or there this is magically unacceptable because trust and every individual (not the overall community, individual) should feel that they can have faith in the community to keep them safe... This directly contradicts the ethos of the two former quotes.


Contradiction 2:
"Ethical rules have their basis in the community's common interests, and, when stated in general terms, are formulated from a common condition or set of conditions surrounding an action that make it unpalatable to a community by virtue of the general condition(s) itself (e.g. the condition of greed and selfishness being the motivation for a killing), and not all the details peculiar to each action (e.g. the particular resources stolen, the place of the incident, etc)."

Here is where you contradict it:
"When a community of individuals formulate, whether they are cognizant of their practical situation or not, they have potential rules and conformities that, if followed, will benefit them as a whole."

You don't seem to know whether you believe there is a source beyond what's convenient for most or not.


Contradictions aside, your system seems to completely devalue the idea that a community is made up of individuals and preaches very socialist ethos of one being a 'cell' in the organism that you term 'community' (communism) but socialism terms 'society' (socialism, yep that's why the two are often interchangebale outside of official usage of the terms).

You say basically whatever most want on a whim is fine but then say not if it makes individuals feel unsaf eor at anythign shor tof ease and protection from the wrath of maniacs who may or may not have influence over the norm of that community... The thing is you have no clear ethical system at all here because a system needs an input and output with a very clear set of steps in between.
Debate Round No. 1
Nathaniel_Kampeas

Pro

Response to your first objection based on a perceived contradiction:

First, I will clarify how I define "common interests" in the first quote you took from my argument. Now an interest, by definition, involves a goal which is wished to be followed through by the person who has the interest. Leaving the attainment of the goal of an interest up to chance implies that the possessor of the interest recognizes an inability or lack of desire to actually pursue it (as he's leaving the outcome up to forces beyond his control), which means he accepts a lack of interest in engaging in activity in the way of pursuing his goal. Any such interest that an individual wants but is not willing to actively pursue is irrelevant and extraneous to ethics, because ethics is a study of what to do to gain the best outcomes as a whole, and does not involve outcomes that are left to chance, because there cannot be a study of which actions best interact with goals which involves inaction, because indecision is necessarily divorced from any study relating to goals, because what relates to goals operates independently of and without regard to indecision due to indecision's lack of influence on anything. So, individuals who are inclined to make ethical considerations must, if they are truly inclined, desire to actively pursue the goals of their interests that relate to ethics. Hence, they must desire to reliably maximize their interests. If one has this desire in a community, one must abandon interests that harm the unharmful interests of others, because there is no way he can rationally convince another person to allow him to harm that person's interests for completely selfish reasons, and therefore there is no way he can proceed with interpersonal reliability. Now if he chooses to hang on to these harmful interests anyway, and he gains the outcome he wants, it cannot be said in any capacity that his efforts proved superior to an ethical system because they succeeded and invoke no idea that they would be pracitically impreferable with regard to anything, because his efforts did not reliably succeed, but rather by chance, so there is no plan of action, as it were, existing for consideration of being superior to and nullifying of an ethical system. Now, a community's common interest is not an interest in a certain outcome that is held by most or all of the members, nor an interest in a course of interaction that will benefit various particular interests of different people. It is rather an interest in establishing and maintaining rules that allow for everybody to reliably maximize their interests. So as to who this interest belongs to, it does not belong to the community as a whole or majority in any sense, but to every individual as a means to secure the attainment of their other interests. There is no interpersonal or shared element of this interest, but it functions communally because everyone can rely on the fact that everybody else has it in their own set of interests. Thus, the community interest is not collective, as you seem to understand, but individual, whose effect on collective cohesion arises not from its own content but from its consequences that deal with how people act accordingly to it. It is called communal not because it is binding but because everyone has it; those who do not have it and act unethically, although they have to be dealt with, are no longer participating as an agent in an ethical community.

Now, you say:

"You say that as long as the overall community is having its interests sufficiently met, any individual needs to 'suck it up'"

First of all, as I have demonstrated, the "overall" community's interest is that interest which every sensible and rule-abiding individual in the community has; no individual needs to "suck it up" if what they need to accept is in their own interest. If it is not, then they are individuals who are willing to break the rules, so sucking up cannot apply to them. You continue,

"even if the overall community is okay with everyone in it being murdered, raped etc..."

This seems to be a superficial misunderstanding. The person who wants to murder, rape, and all that doesn't have to suck up because it still absolutely isn't allowed, but rather he can do it to those who explicitly state they are okay with it, which nullifies your insinuation that he still wouldn't be allowed to do such things to anyone in the community.

You conclude this objection by saying that my so-called self contradiction consists of on the one hand me implying community interests trump individual interests, and on the other implying vice versa. What I actually meant in the first set of quotes was that the fact that people's interests can possibly allow for what we usually consider unethical does not mean that my ethical theory fails to protect everyone in the community, because I also state that they must make clear themselves that they are okay with such actions being done against them. So the reason why the actions can't completely permissibly be done has nothing to do with interests of the community as a whole, as you state I was saying, but with the acceptance of each particular individual. In the second set of quotes, even though what I meant was not that this ethical reality relates to individual interests directly, but more to the durability of the ethicality of the community as a whole, even it I did mean the former, there would be no contradiction, because your idea of what I meant by the first set of quotes has been disproven. But it is not, so there is no contradiction also simply because neither of the positions which you say I posit are ones I actually posit.

Response to your second objection based on a perceived contradiction:

Your second perceived contradiction in my writing seems to consist of the disagreement of the idea that, on the one hand, ethical rules are generated from harmful conditions, and the idea on the other, that ethical rules are rationally implicit in any community. I assume you posit this doesn't make sense because how can ethical rules that arise from conditions of an act be implicit, when for rules to exist implicitly they must be understood by virtue of the individual's intentions themselves (for example, certain rules in market interactions are implicit in that they are necessitated by the very decision to enter in upon a market interaction; they can be not followed, but this would imply a contradiction of intention in the interactor who doesn't follow them), and therefore implicit rules cannot derive from conditions, because they are rules implicit in intentions, and intentions cannot imply rules that involve conditions as a basis, because such rules must be understood by virtue of themselves and not by virtue of and subsidiary to an intent, because they necessitate the conscious consideration of conditions; rules implied by intent don't have to be consciously recognized. This is true, but I did not mean the same kind of "rule" in the first quotation you gave as in the second. The rule in the second quotation is the important one; it is the cohesive rule ethical societies should be founded upon. The type of rule I describe in the first quotation merely treats of restrictions implicit in the aforementioned foundational rule; they do not form the ideological basics of an ethics, but are merely reminders of particular restrictions made by the fundamental rule, given to the people as a pragmatic tool to explicitly forbid certain acts, as to ensure the refraining of people from committing them by not leaving it up to the people to interpret for themselves whether a certain act is restricted by the fundamental rule, and thereby allowing for human error in thinking. I think both these types of rules can ethically coexist in a society, as one is necessarily subsidiary to, and not conflictory with, the other.

Response to your concluding remarks:

I will ignore your apparently unsubstantiated condemnation of socialist and communist political and economic systems, and respond to your first criticism by referring to my argumentation in response to your first objection based on perceived contradiction that makes clear that my ethics, at least as so far laid out, is not collectivist in any capacity, but actually derives from the reality of interests individuals (who are considered distinctly from each other) have. To your second criticism: I never say that "whatever most want on a whim is fine" unqualifiably, but that whims, or other desires (it really doesn't matter) are fine as long as they are blessed by the consent of those acted upon, which is not chaotic or anarchic at all. You go on to reinforce your misunderstanding by saying that it allows for subjugation based on subjective and arbitrary desires, which apparently follows from your previous arguments, which I feel I have debunked and shown the contrary of by effectively defending the rational and objective status of my theory of ethics. Your last sentence seems to be an ultimate conclusion drawn from the gist of your preceding arguments, which all, if true, would point towards it. But as they are not true as I have shown, and as your assertion relies on at least some of them being true to be credible, it is clear that this last argumentative offering of yours is unsubstantiated and unproven. Thank you, and I look forward to engaging in the next rounds of debate.
RMTheSupreme

Con

How on Earth can you rape someone who says it's okay? Do you know the difference between BDSM and rape?

Murder? You say we shouldn't treat or help people so mentally ill they ask to be murderered?

Jesus... You need some help... Your theory of ethics is no ethics at all.
Debate Round No. 2
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Debate Round No. 3
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Debate Round No. 4
1 comment has been posted on this debate.
Posted by Overhead 3 years ago
Overhead
It seems like you meant to take the Con position rather than Pro. May want to remake this debate.
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