The Instigator
Pro (for)
3 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
0 Points

Is there a right or wrong?

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Post Voting Period
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after 1 vote the winner is...
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 6/27/2014 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 7 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,086 times Debate No: 58235
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (2)
Votes (1)




Argument is to based solely on speculation/logic
No facts, statistics, quotes, sources
Acceptance in round 1.


I accept. I will be arguing that there is no reason to believe in morality as a corporeal idea, or more colloquially, that there is no right or wrong.
Debate Round No. 1


There is a right and wrong.
Right/wrong is determined based on emotions. An action is considered right or wrong based on how it makes an individual feel, and others that are affected by that action feel.


My opponent has stated that morality is based on emotions. My opponent has failed to provide any support for this claim.

Additionally, my opponent has provided no definition of morality or standard by which morality is determined. Until they do this they essentially forfeit the debate, because one cannot claim the existence of an undefined entity.

My main argument will be a simplified version of David Hume's Is/Ought Gap, presented as follows.

Premise One: All knowledge is obtained empirically.
Premise Two: All empirically gained knowledge is non-moral in nature.
Premise Three: Moral knowledge cannot be obtained purely from non-moral knowledge.
Conclusion: Moral knowledge cannot be obtained.

If Pro would like to challenge any of my premises, they may do so.
Debate Round No. 2


Argument: Morality exists as an idea and can be determined. What makes an action right and wrong is how it affects the individual in comparison to others emotionally.

1. This is about logic, so the support for my claim was that you had not yet disproved it.

2. Morality is a commonly understood word. There is no need for a definition, especially because you agreed that this argument was to be about logic. Arguing based on a definition is about words, not logic.

3. It was incorrect for you to say that I presented no standard by which morality was determined. I did. I said what makes an action right and wrong is how it affects the individual in comparison to others emotionally. Vague yes, but I do not need to be any more specific. My definition shows that there is a way to determine right and wrong, and because the idea can be determined the idea exists. I do not need to specify on exactly which actions are right or wrong.

4. All of your premises assume a lot, and your conclusion relies on all of your premises. Your second premise is incorrect in saying that, 'All knowledge based on experiences is non-moral in nature.' From experiences people learn how actions affect others emotionally. These experiences (in accordance to my definition) allow them to define which actions are right or wrong, (They mostly know which actions cause others to feel good or bad). Yes, there are exceptions whereas someone may feel differently, but saying that experiences are non-moral is clearly inaccurate. Experiences help people perceive the results of their actions, and have the foresight to define their action as right or wrong.
This is my last time to post on this debate so I would like to make a few points clear:
Morality does not exist because people cannot agree on exactly what is right or wrong.
- > Even if most people do not fully understand morality, that does not mean it does not exist.

You have not proven that morality exists.
- > I presented a definition that shows that morality can be determined. Obviously, the only way morality can exist is as an idea. And because it can be determined, it does exist as an idea.

Your definition is vague.
- > Right and wrong in any given situation is determined by context. Exactly where the line is does not matter, just that it can be determined.

Right and wrong is just an opinion because it differs from different people. It is not one solid idea.
- > Right and wrong is hard to define because it always relies on context in every situation. People that consider morality just an opinion either do not fully understand it, or change their beliefs to correspond with their actions. This does not disprove that morality is not one solid idea. The way I presented to determine morality is based on the result of the action, not the action itself. So to know if an action is right or wrong would involve foresight which is based on experiences, which are different among different people.

Your definition of right and wrong is incorrect.
- > For your statement to not be meaningless you would have to present a different way of determining right and wrong. But doing this would imply that there is a way of determining morality, that it exists as an idea and would contradict your argument.


1. Logic does not mean you do not have to provide evidence for your claims. That is an argumentum ad ignoratum.

2. It doesn't matter if you think a word is commonly understood. When you have a debate you must define your terms. Also, logic does not exclude definitions. Definitions are important in logic.

3. If your method is vague, it fails the purpose of definition. Definitions are supposed to provide a clear and unambiguous distinction between all ideas about which fit your concept and which do not. Your definition does not say what emotional change we're looking for or how we compare to others to determine morality. Emotions are not like a number line where a comparison is as easy as seeing which number is higher.

4. This rebuttal depends on your vague and useless definition . Also, even if your definition were correct, you'd still be wrong with this rebuttal, because we do not observe a person being sad. We observe them saying they are sad or crying and then we assume that they are sad. We don't actually empirically learn of their sadness. The second premise stands.


1. If we can't agree on what something is, then saying it exists is useless. We can't agree on what flibbertygibet is. That doesn't mean I have the authority to declare it exists.

2. You contradict yourself. "It doesn't matter where the line is do long as it can be determined." So that what can be determined? Where the line is, perhaps?

3. Consequentialism has been disproven by Hume's problem of Induction and the Infinite Ripple Effect for hundreds of years.

4. Providing a definition of morality does not mean I think it exists. One can define any entity X without believing in the existence of X.
Debate Round No. 3
2 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Posted by Mandelorean 7 years ago
I really wish i was able to debate this. It is such a good topic and makes for great arguments.
Posted by Mike_10-4 7 years ago
It would be interesting if Pro and Con build their "speculation/logic" on the following:
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Romanii 7 years ago
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Total points awarded:30 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro argued that morality exists as an idea, and championed a consequentialist approach to determining it. Con's only response to this was "Consequentialism has been disproven by Hume's problem of Induction and the Infinite Ripple Effect for hundreds of years."....however, it is not enough to simply say that "X philosopher has disproved this idea"; he has to demonstrate why consequentialism is not a viable ethical theory. Meanwhile, Con's syllogism consisted of completely unwarranted premises... he cannot simply leave it to Pro to refute them; he was to actually defend his premises in order for his argument to remain logically sound. Thus, Pro's argument stands and the resolution is affirmed.

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