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JOKE LD - Moral Obligation and the "Tickle Cream of Death"

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 1/3/2014 Category: Funny
Updated: 6 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,745 times Debate No: 43345
Debate Rounds (4)
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This debate is to follow the structure of an LD debate and is based off of the following scenario from the book "Sticky Situations" :

"This is Tricia's first big slumber party. She has had as many as three friends spend the night at her house, but she has never been to a party with a dozen girls all getting together. She's really looking forward to the party. All through the early part of the evening, a couple of the girls teasingly warned the other girls not to be the first one to fall asleep. Although Tricia asked why, no one would tell her. They only laughed and said, "You'll see!"

Try as she might to stay awake, Tricia was really tired, so she made the terrible mistake of being the first one to fall asleep. A few hours later she was awakened by a funny smell and a damp feeling on her head. Staggering into the bathroom, she discovered that her so-called friends had given her the "royal shampoo" - Vaseline, shaving cream, eggs, honey, and flour. She is beside herself. How will she ever get all of this junk out of her hair? As she fusses about the state of her head, she hears giggles and whispers coming from the direction of the living room. "Yeah," she mutters to herself, close to tears. "Laugh now. I'll get you all!"

Tricia is angry beyond words. She can't believe that the girls she considers her friends did this to her. It would serve them right if she were to stomp out of there, grab her sleeping bag, and go home. Of course, it's two o'clock in the morning, and her parents probably won't appreciate being awakened by the phone. What is she going to do?"

Regarding the above situation the resolution for this debate will be -
Resolved: Tricia is morally obligated to "Tickle Cream of Death" her friends.

For the purposes of today's debate the following definition applies -

Tickle Cream of Death: refers to a punishment where one applies whip cream to others' hands and tickles their noses.

"her friends" will be taken to refer to the friends who subjected Tricia to the "royal shampoo" treatment.

Both sides are expected to have a value and criterion and debate in a manner typical to LD debate. The character limit for each post is 10,000 characters, there is 72 hours for each post and the voting period is set for 1 month. There are four rounds following the format of -
1 - acceptance
2 - cases
3 - rebuttals
4 - summaries
No new evidence is allowed in summaries.

Judges please note this is to be a "joke" debate given the nature of the topic, while typical LD structure should be applied, the heart of this debate is ... well silly. Please include a detailed RFD when you vote and you might find this more enjoyable to read if you are familiar with how LD is structured and enjoy nonsense.

And with all of those beautiful serious aspects aside, I look forward to what should be a light-hearted debate with my opponent, though certainly a challenging one as well.


I accept the challenge of this utmost pressing moral dilemma.
Debate Round No. 1


My value in today’s debate will be knowledge, which is defined by Oxford Dictionary1 as, “facts, information, and skills acquired by a person through experience or education; the theoretical or practical understanding of a subject”. The reason we need to value knowledge is because of the importance to turn around negative situations; as is dictated by the intellectual giant Kelly Clarkson, “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”2 (reference time 1:49 for maximum impact). Her clear message is to take negative situations and learn from them to be stronger individual. This is achieved through today’s criterion, socialization of proper behavior. Socialization is a psychology term that refers to, “the process whereby an individual learns to adjust to a group (or society) and behave in a manner approved by the group (or society)”3.

Criterion Justification (CJ) 1 – This more realistically narrows our focus to knowledge as “knowing how”. There are many different kinds of knowledge that one can acquire; however, as socialization focuses on teaching behaviors this constricts our view of knowledge down to what was described by Gilbert Ryle as knowing-how4. Thus we see that through socialization we are upholding our value of knowledge by teaching new behaviors and encourage growth of “knowing-how knowledge”.

CJ 2 – Teaching Proper Behavior Saves us From Over Reaction. Since socialization strives to teach us the culturally-accepted behaviors and responses, encouraging this saves us from over reacting. This brings us to also an important observation on the resolution, while still a “prank move”, the Tickle Cream of Death has substantially less negative impact than the Royal Shampoo that Tricia originally encountered. This means by encouraging a socialized reaction, we are avoiding a 100% proportional reaction, saving us from encountering Gandhi’s great, “an eye for an eye leaves the whole world blind”.

CJ 3 – Socialization is the Best Way to Learn Cultural Behaviors. This is where we arrive most fundamentally at the moral obligation laid out in today’s resolution. The reason that Tricia has a moral obligation to respond to her friends with the Tickle Cream of Death is because it best allows for the propagation of culturally important behaviors. Since it is important the Tricia has the knowledge to properly engage in society, she has a moral obligation to respond in a way that teaches her needed skills.

Having now built approximately 2,435 characters of a mean framework, I shall now go on to establish my contentions for today’s debate.

1. The Laws of Physics

a) Newton’s Third Law Dictates that Tricia Must do Something

Newton’s Third Law clearly explains that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction5. Therefore, in any given situation, when one action is taken there must be a reaction. Thus, we see that Tricia must do something – though that something could be making the decision to not respond – and as such we must pick the action that will be most beneficial to her. Now, as stated in my CJ 2, Tricia’s friends’ use of the Royal Shampoo generates considerable negative energy. Since Newton’s Third Law dictates that the reaction must be equal and opposite, it may seem reasonable to conclude that Tricia must do something that generates the same amount of negative energy back towards them. This brings us to our next subpoint.

b) Conservation of Energy6

While all the energy from the original action of Tricia’s friends must be conserved, as energy (like matter) can neither be created or destroyed, it is important to consider that it can be converted. Therefore, Tricia can convert her friend’s negative energy that targeted her into positive social energy and so her reaction still abides by the laws of physics, and makes the best use of the original input of negative energy. The creation of positive social energy is outlined in the following contention.

2) The “Tickle Cream of Death” is a Socially Preferred Reaction

a) It’s an Appropriate Way to Assert Oneself

As a society we have become incredibly sensitive to teasing and are incredibly watchful for bullies; however, due to our sensitivity we are letting the potential positive effects of teasing fall to the way side. Teasing actually has many social benefits, as Boston College Professor, Dr. Peter Gray, outlines7. As Gray illustrates through the real world example of a girl who was teased for being on free lunch, responding in a way that shows people you are willing to engage them and that you don’t take their prior “tease” (or in Tricia’s case, their prior prank) seriously can actually elevate their social status. Therefore, for Tricia being willing to respond in a friendly prank would be a proper way to assert herself.

b) Keeps From Having Friendship Disintegrate

The use of the Tickle Cream of Death could actually be used to strengthen Tricia’s friendships. My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic is a children’s show that focuses on teaching crucial messages about friendship and how it operates. Looking to Season 1 Episode 5 “Griffon the Brush-Off”8, Pinkie Pie and Rainbow Dash illustrate how “pranking” can be used to help develop a stronger bond. Upon learning that Pinkie Pie likes pulling jokes on other people, Rainbow Dash is able to acknowledge that they have things in common. Later on in the episode (6:42) Pinkie Pie is able to prank Rainbow Dash, but she takes in good nature. However, Gilda the Griffon, Rainbow Dash’s old friend, is never able to take a prank in good nature. The show ends with Gilda and Rainbow Dash’s friendship falling apart as Rainbow Dash realizes Gilda can’t put up with a joke. However, Pinkie Pie and Rainbow Dash are able to still get along, and end up pranking each other at the same time and laughing about it. This episode illustrates how responding in the socially correct manner can allow you to deepen your friendship, whereas being oversensitive to pranks results in you loosing friendships.

Ultimately, we see that Tricia has a moral obligation to use the Tickle Cream of Death on her friends because it will strengthen her relationships by socializing her and teaching her the correct way to respond to a friendly prank. By doing this, Tricia will become better prepared for future interactions with her friends. Ultimately she will increase her “knowing how knowledge” of knowing how to react in such a situation, and that is why I see nothing but an affirmative ballot in today’s debate.


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Starting off, please note that I have accepted, as part of my burden, to restrict all sassy comments to obscure Star Wars references. With this in mind, I will establish my rebel base and then aim for the Aff’s thermal exhaust port.

Definitions (Oxford English Dictionary)

  1. 1. Moral - Concerned with the principles of right and wrong behaviour.
  2. 2. Obligation - An act or course of action to which a person is morally or legally bound; a duty or commitment.


  1. 1. It’s important to keep in mind for this debate that moral obligation is different from justification. Simply justifying Tricia’s act of Sith-like revenge isn’t enough to show a moral obligation exists.
  2. 2. All moral obligations require an origin. Much like all life connected to the Force, some kind of source (generally a context or reasoned principle) that mandates a particular moral outcome must exist.
  3. 3. Contextual/cultural origins promote inconsistencies (i.e. what is moral for Wookies might not be moral for Gungans). Therefore, a reasoned principle is required. A framework for assessing moral obligations and their origins is also required. Otherwise, we leave our morals as cloudy as C3PO’s rear end after a trip to Tatooine.

V/C Framework

Value: Moral Consistency - The value of morality free from contradiction. As Velasquez et. al explains, “Ethics requires consistency in the sense that our moral standards, actions, and values should not be contradictory.” Contradictions make our moral beliefs questionable. Here, the value of consistent morals is necessary to achieve any other moral outcome or value.

Criterion: Categorical Imperative (CI) -Immanuel Kant’s formulations of commands to exercise our rational wills in particular ways. The CI operates on the motivation of “good will” (the only good thing without qualification), which Kant sees as making moral choices based on reasoned moral laws. The CI offers a framework to assess moral actions and the ethical reasoning behind said actions. In this debate, I’ll use the CI to assess the morality of Tracia’s action, and the plausibility of this action being a moral obligation through Kant’s first and second formulations.

C1: TCD is an immoral act

  1. A. Step one is to determine whether Tricia’s action is morally permissible. Kant’s second formulation reasons that all moral actions treat autonomous beings as an ends unto themselves. Since all beings are autonomous (yes, even Gungans), treating others as a means to an end takes away this autonomy.
  2. B. In and of itself, TCD is an immoral act that infringes on the free will of others. As an act of revenge, TCD takes away the victim’s free will, and uses them as a means to an end (revenge). We can see that when this act is scrutinized by the second formulation, it fails as a morally permissible action. William Stephens explains, “Kantian objection to revenge is that using the suffering of a person to satisfy oneself is morally objectionable because it treats the person as a means only and fails to respect the person’s human dignity.”

C2: TCD is a retributive act based on emotion, not reason

  1. A. It’s important to see that any form of “an eye for an eye” type of retributive justice is only morally acceptable when the punishment is rationally equal to the crime (thus bring balance to the Force). Stuart Hopkins explains that, “Kant's concept of the law of retribution' emphasizes that, like is to be exchanged for like in matters of offence and penalty' and, it is important to note, that the actual punishment is not determined by the victim… 'neither the victim of crime, nor any angry neighbor, nor any diffuse 'society, has the authority to punish.” The absence of “extraneous considerations” is the only way that retributive actions can best achieve balance.
  2. B. Tricia’s act is hardly free from “extraneous considerations”. As the victim, this retributive act is being justified/committed without any impartiality. Emotion (desire for revenge) is the most likely explanation for Tricia’s act, and even if she were acting out of pure reason, she must face the immoral pitfalls of TCD I address in C1. Since the justification for this act relies on emotive justification, and she has no Anakin Skywalker-like prophecy to bring balance to the Force, we can’t accept Tricia’s act as a moral one.

C3: The universal application of a TCD-based obligation leads to a negative world

  1. A. Kant’s Death Star for moral obligations is the universal application of such obligations. Kant argues that any moral obligation ought to be tested in a hypothetical world as a natural law. Is such a world even conceivable, or has it been erased from the Jedi archives? Can people rationally will to act on this natural law, or will they need a restraining bolt? Will Yoda or Palpatine feel more at home in the ultimate outcome?
  2. B. Any moral obligation involving TCD universally fails. First, as C1 demonstrates, TCD is immoral which logically concludes that no rational being can, in good will, act on a moral duty that utilizes such an act. Second, since this doesn’t bring balance (to the Force or otherwise), the universal application of this duty would lead to more darkness. Any sort of emotional wrongdoing would warrant TCD. This leads to a dark spiral that Yoda probably drones on and on about to younglings: Tricia’s friends emotionally wrong her; she must emotionally wrong them; they must respond in kind; etc, etc, etc. Therefore, TCD as a moral duty fails all accounts of Kant’s first formulation.

Moving forward, I will demonstrate why the Aff case is as wrong as Mace Windu in a toupee.

V/C Framework Clash: The Aff offers a value of “knowledge” and demonstrates the necessity of this value by citing Max Reebo’s uglier cousin, Kelly Clarkson, and her song “Stronger”. First, consider that Clarkson’s diverse musical philosophy would teach Tricia to accept her friend’s dark side. She refines this value to focus on “knowing how” through a criterion of “socialization of proper behavior”. The following arguments will demonstrate why the Aff’s V/C pair is like bring a vibroblade to a lightsaber duel: it just isn’t adequate.

  1. 1. The Aff’s value isn’t necessarily concerned with morality. Knowing how to “socialize to proper behavior” isn’t the same as knowing how to ethically reason between right and wrong. Moral obligations require consistency (O2 & O3), and even if the Aff wants to argue that knowledge must exist in order to obtain moral consistency, the type of epistemic Bantha poodoo the Aff is pushing won’t do. Critiquing CJ1: knowledge on how to morally reason, which the CI provides, is necessary over knowledge on turning negatives into positives.
  2. 2. The Aff argues that Tricia’s moral obligation is derived from socialization being the best way to learn cultural norms, but you can apply my O3 to this. It’s like fueling a hyperdrive with Jawa juice - the results will be inconsistent and probably smelly. Furthermore, my definition of “obligation” doesn’t allow for societal norms, unless expressed through legal dictation. If this is case, then perhaps the Aff would like to cite legal precedence or go back to herding nerfs.
  3. 3. Critiquing CJ2 & CJ3: these justifications can’t escape the relative, inconsistent nature of societal norms. Socializing to “proper behavior” would only fuel a moral obligation if the society finds it acceptable. This is completely separate from any ethical reasoning for the moral foundation. My criterion provides this ethical reasoning; Aff’s criterion just offers societal Bantha poodoo.

C1: The Aff is attempting to explain hyperspace travel with the Jedi Code.

  1. 1. Newton’s Three Laws regard the physics of motion, whereas philosophical matters are often concerned with metaphysics of moral properties. Unless the Aff is attempting to explain the actual physics of the TCD, we can’t use the third law or the conservation of energy to support this moral obligation.
  2. 2. As an analogy, these theories also fall short. As we see from all three of my contentions, any “negative energy” that’s created from a Royal Shampooing is only met with a dark spiral of continued negative energy created from immoral acts like TCD. Actions are met with the same negative actions. Nothing is conserved, but negatively propagated like a potato shoved down the Death Star’s tailpipe.
  3. 3. Jedi Clarkson’s philosophy also offers an alternative scientific analogy in the form of Einstein's theory of relativity. Here we can see that, like an individual’s perception of speed & motion, societal norms are relative. However, morality, like the speed of light, is a consistent force that must be accepted and understood through the capacity to reason.

C2: This contention demonstrates the differences between what is socially and morally acceptable.

  1. 1. Subpoint A shows that while something may be societally acceptable, it isn’t necessarily morally permissible. C1 and C2 on Neg demonstrate the inherent moral inconsistencies with TCD. Furthermore, the benefits that Aff cites don’t contribute to any sort of obligation, but mere justification. It’s a good try, but as Yoda says, “Oh snap! Did you did not!” (“Oh no you didn’t!”). Apply my O1 and see that “raising your status” because it’s socially proper doesn’t equate to a moral obligation.
  2. 2. The parable of My Little Pony in Subpoint B only demonstrates the allure of the dark side. The “lesson” that the Aff asserts is that if Gilda merely accepted the negative prank, a friendship would have been saved. With this logic, it’s okay when someone exclaims, “I have a bad feeling about this” as long as they turn their frown upside down. In other words, chopping off your son’s hand is okay if everyone has a good laugh.

The Aff’s “moral obligation” fits the mantra, “That’s no moon, that’s a [fake] space station.” Moral obligation is only societal justification for the Aff. With all this in mind, I urge a Neg vote with the words of a preeminent philosopher: R2D2… “Beep beep beep”.

Debate Round No. 2


To offer a brief road map for this post, I shall first evaluate the framework clash, then I shall rebuild my own points, then I shall attack my opponent’s.

Framework Clash

While the negative side values moral consistency with the criterion of the categorical imperative, I value knowledge with the criterion of socialization of proper behavior. I will both address the attacks my opponent used against my V/C and introduce some of my own.

1. Knowledge isn’t concerned with morality. The Neg claims that “Knowing how to “socialize to proper behavior” isn’t the same as knowing how to ethically reason between right and wrong.” Yet here, my opponent neglects the value of having a teacher, in this case in the form of society, to instruct you. While one can reach many conclusions by one’s self, there is a large value in receiving external input. For this, let’s turn to “Pirates of the Caribbean: the Curse of the Black Pearl” and see how Captain Jack Sparrow is able to help teach Will Turner by giving him new insight from an external perspective -

“When Sparrow outwits Will in a sword fight, Will claims Jack "cheated" by ignoring the "rules of engagement," and would have killed Sparrow in a fair fight. Sparrow retorts, "That's not much incentive for me to fight fair then, is it." He impresses upon the naïve young man that the only rules that matter are, "What a man can do, and what a man can't do." It is a lesson Will is unlikely to forget.”

While Will is a good technical sword fighter on his own from what he has taught himself, it is through the input of another external source that he excels. Clearly socialization is actually linked to learning to reason between right and wrong – think of how a parent teaches a baby the difference between right and wrong as they slowly teach them first what acts are and are not right (i.e. “no you can’t hit sally”) it is through this socialization that a child learns the rules that then later develops into a framework through which they can rationally think for themselves.

2. Cultural Norms are Inconsistent and therefore not Moral. This relates to the Neg’s O3 in which he states “contextual/cultural origins promote inconsistencies” and to his third attack on the value frame work where he addresses my CJ2 and CJ3; however, this is actually going to be addressed by my main attack against my opponent’s value.

3. Moral Consistency isn’t Attainable. Neg advocates for morality free from contradiction. Given his criterion of the categorical imperative it makes most sense to assume he means global consistency. There a couple of reasons why we can’t achieve global moral consistency. First, to be 100% morally consistent that require that humans always responded in the exact same manner to any situation, yet there is great human diversity in any situation. Therefore, we must see that we can’t achieve 100% moral consistency because people will never act in identical manners. Second, advocating for moral consistency implies that morality must have a consistent, determinable source and this isn’t attainable. Given that there is no discernable source for morality, this moral consistency has nothing to be based on. Therefore, given the lack of an official source this would require the creation of a source which, again to draw upon my opponent’s analogy, is akin to giving Emperor Palpatine sole control of the senate so that one person may decide what is right – it sends the galaxy spiraling into chaos.

4. Morality has Inherent Social Subjectivity. Given that morality cannot be 100% consistent, there is an element of cultural subjectivity. Returning to my source 7, cultures vary on how they respond to teasing – some see that it is necessary for a person to remain humble, others see that one should stand up for oneself. One reason that there is this variance is due to how some cultures are individualistic (value the individual) and others are collectivist (the good of the group comes first); therefore, in this different settings what is the “right and wrong behavior” (drawing upon my opponent’s definition of morality) does actually change to certain extent. Given this, socialization is the best way to learn the moral acts for one’s life as it teaches what your society values through interaction.

Having addressed the framework issues I shall now rebuild my own case.

1. Laws of Physics

a) Newton’s Third. By rejecting this principle as applying to life, my opponent rejects the idea of cause-and-effect chains. However, we need to see that for every action there is a reaction, it causes something to happen. Equate this to “Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King” when the beacons of Gondor are lit – the lighting of one beacon triggers a chain in which others are lit; however, each beacon represents a choice as each outpost must decide to respond to the call and pass along the message. Just as that, in life each action causes another, though we do have choices in what we ought to do. Given that this is an inherent aspect of life, see that this analogy stands.

b) Conservation of Energy. Here my opponent simply attacks this by calling the TCD a negative action; yet, he fails to acknowledge the potential positive effects. If you actually evaluate the TCD it involves placing whipped cream on someone’s hands (making it very easily accessible) and tickling their nose (which produces laughter) the worst possible effect would be that by tickling the nose, a person may smack their face – however, this simply places the whipped cream even closer to one’s face. Clearly the TCD is actually a positive act, unlike my opponent supposes.

- as a third attack on this my opponent brings up again the idea that societal norms are relative and morality is consistent; again see my attacks above as to how a consistent morality is impossible to achieve.

2. Socially Preferred Reaction

a) asserting oneself

My opponent claims this only proves justification not obligation; however, this will be something I address below when I start in on his framework.

b) strengthens friendships

The greatest tragedy of this point, is that my opponent completely rejects the valuable knowledge base that is My Little Pony – a television series designed to instruct on the key elements of friendship (which makes it a great authority for this point). Rather, my opponent attacks this with a severe hyperbole, equating pranking to chopping off your son’s hand. Given that this act physically and essentially irreversibly (as far as my knowledge goes, unless we’re actually living in the star wars universe) impairs the son.

Moving on to my opponent’s case.


1. Obligation vs. Justification. My opponent’s own definition of obligation is “an act or course of action to which a person is morally or legally bound; a duty or commitment”. The reason Tricia has an obligation to be socialized and obtain “knowing-how knowledge” is because she wants to participate in society, she demonstrates this through being excited about the sleepover. Here obligation can be related to that of Harry Potter in the latter half of the Harry Potter Series. After discovering the prophecy, Harry feels he is being forced to kill He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named (HWMNBN) because of what the prophecy says, yet the obligation exists there because of his own desires having witnessed the devastation that HWMNBN causes. Harry isn’t actually forced to kill him; however, his desires to end the suffering of the wizarding world and the unique connection he shares with HWMNBN all create contribute to Harry creating his own obligation. In the same way, Tricia’s desire to fit in with society gives her an obligation to learn how to abide by societal rules

2. All Obligations Require an Origin. See my earlier refutation as to how there is no consistent, equally accessible source of morality and thus societal subjectivity exists as each society, while agreeing on general principles of morality, dictates what is right within itself (i.e. whether tis right to be humble and place the group first or value individuality).

3. Addressed earlier in framework clash.


I have already heavily attacked the value and thus will only address the criterion. The use of Kant’s Categorical Imperative can be highly abusive if you fall to consider context when evaluating an action. For example if we were debating “Does Billy have a moral obligation to hit Sally’s arm?” we could evaluate this without any context and saying under the CI that we can’t allow him to because if everyone was allowed to hit Sally whenever they wanted, Sally would probably die (a slight exaggeration, but that is to prove the point); however, if in this context, Sally is holding a gun and by hitting her arm Billy would be able to knock down the gun and save say 10 lives, then we see that the action we are evaluating is if one can hit another’s arm to stop them from shooting 10 people. Essentially, we must evaluate context when assessing the morality of an action. Therefore, for this debate it is essential to keep in mind that the use of TCD is in response to a royal shampooing.


1. Claims this immoral because it takes away one’s free will; however, Tricia is doing this to restore her own free will after having been violated by the royal shampoo – context. Plus it gives the “victims” free whipped cream.

2. Since the act is fueled by emotion it isn’t just. See that as everything is a reaction to a cause it will have an element of emotional bias and by this logic no act could be seen as moral.

3. States that TCD leads to a negative world, refuses to acknowledge its positive benefits and how it actually balances out the universe by stabilizing Tricia’s relationship with her friends and allowing her to assert herself.

Thank you to Neg for all of the Star Wars jokes and I look forward to round 3!



I must commend my opponent for submitting her arguments before the superlaser's kiss of death. Unfortunately, I must demonstrate why I find her lack of faith (in the CI) disturbing. I will begin this attack run with the overall V/C clash, then proceed to A. defend my case and B. attack hers. For full effect, I've included a Youtube link to John William's "Duel of the Fates" for you.

V/C Clash
To review, my opponent has offered a value of "knowledge" (specifically "knowing-how" knowledge) with a criterion of "socialization of proper behavior". I have countered her V/C framework with a value of "moral consistency" and a criterion of "Kant's Categorical Imperative". Like Emperor Palpatine and bad fashion, my opponent is adhering to a "cultural relativist" critique/defense in our clash. Four points must be addressed:
  1. Knowledge as a teacher - Responding to my attack involving the limited moral capacity of the Aff's version of "knowledge", the Aff claims that I'm ignoring the value of having a teacher (i.e. society). She offers the parable of "Captain Jack and Mr. Turner's Fun Times" to demonstrate this value, but I fear the dark allure of Orlando Bloom's "obvi gorgeous" eyes has clouded my opponent's conclusion. My attack doesn't ignore the value of having a teacher, but is concerned with the subject matter the teacher is teaching. The knowledge a teacher passes isn't limited to societal rules. If this were the case, then the philosophical theories of Plato, Aristotle, Kant, Yoda, R2D2, and Han Solo that have been passed down from generation to generation wouldn't exist. The point is, moral philosophies are taught just like anything else.
  2. The impossibility of moral consistency - My opponent seems to be taking a page from Luke Skywalker's biography, "Whine When You Can't Lift A X-Wing Out Of A Swamp" (working title). She assumes that I'm addressing some sort of "global moral consistency", and argues that people must act in the same way to be morally consistent/a consistent source isn't obtainable. Kant's CI is a normative framework regarding individual morality. While it attempts to address certain metaphysical properties, it's mainly concerned with how individuals should establish their moral judgments. Second, CI's principle is concerned with consistent reasoning for motivation over action. Moral consistency in this form allows for a variety of actions as long as the motivation to do good remains consistent. Finally, the Aff provides no warrant for why individuals can't live morally consistent lives, even when the bulk of society differs. If people achieve moral consistency, then we ought to reject any ideal of religious, philosophical, or societal consistency and "party like it's 4 ABY".
  3. Escaping social subjectivity - My opponent's claim that morality can't escape social subjectivity is the kind of tractor beam Obiwan Kenobi simply laughs at. Apply my defense as to why moral consistency is an individual value and recognize that people have choice over social subjectivity. People can certainly reject the allure of the cultural relativism my opponent adopts. Countless philosophies are shared among a variety of cultures, and it's up to individual choice and effort to adopt such philosophies.
  4. Moral obligations and consequences - Ultimately, what my opponent is resting this moral obligation for TCD on is a consequentialist version of cultural relativism. Basically, if society obligates the action based on positive effects, we have a moral obligation. This is problematic. A moral obligation is a call to "do right", which is difficult if you rest this "right" on a positive outcome. It's impossible to insure a positive outcome, and thus you risk doing the exact opposite of what the obligation mandates because of an uncertain future. This form of moral obligation demands action, even when negative consequences could do more harm than good.
To my case.

Criterion: My opponent critiques the CI when it doesn't account for context. Nothing about the CI naturally rejects context. My opponent once again confuses consistency with action vs. consistency with motivation. Billy would be morally correct in knocking the gun away provided his motivation was to save others. No one is being used a means to an end in this example. But, if Billy knocks the gun away because he wants to kill the ten lives, we can see whether justification through action/consequence alone isn't enough.

O1: My opponent doesn't necessarily disagree with my distinction between moral justification vs. moral obligation, but instead attempts to demonstrate why Tricia has an obligation to socialize to society's norms. First, note that the Aff never specifies that Tricia's obligation is a moral one. Feeling obligated to "fit in" is psychological, not necessarily moral. Furthermore, this doesn't provide any sort of moral grounding for Tricia's "moral obligation" to commit TCD. Recall my fourth critique regarding cultural relativism in the V/C clash and see that we can't use "because the empire says to" as reason alone for a moral obligation.

My opponent's critique on the impossibility of moral consistency doesn't dismiss this observation. Our moral obligations, if we are to follow them, require some sort of rhyme and reason, whether they are consistent or not. While I reject cultural relativism, this still acts as a source for moral obligations. My O3 demonstrates why categorical imperatives are more preferable.

Since my opponent attacks this in the V/C framework clash, cross apply my defense regarding the normative aspects of Kant's CI to here.

My opponent does nothing to reject the immorality of using another being as a means to an end, but instead argues that Tricia is restoring her own free will after a violation. We must see that it is this very sort of logic that creates the negative spiral I describe in my attack of her C1. If we rest this moral obligation to commit TCD on Tricia's need to restore her own free will, then this obligation must be satisfied whenever free will is violated. Hence, her friends must restore their free will after the TCD by committing TCD. She must then restore her free will by committing TCD. So on and so on. Eventually, too many hands will have been creamed, too many noses will have been tickled, and yet the Force will still be out of whack.

The Aff only attacks the emotion component of this contention, and ignores the "victims shouldn't dictate retributive justice" component. First, apply my critiques in the V/C clash. Second, she argues that any reaction to a cause will have an emotional component, which would explain why a rock gets mad when it gets wet, or the number 4 goes on a murderous rampage whenever a 2 and a 2 cozy up to each other. Lightsabers probably get a little too frisky whenever they're turned on. Heck, I'm rather annoyed that the floor beneath my feet has the audacity to resist my relationship with gravity. The point is, the presence of a cause & effect sort of relationship doesn't require an emotional bias. Kant explains the necessity of having retributive justice without "extraneous considerations", which is a principle many societal and legal systems strive for.

The Aff critiques this contention by stating I ignore any positive benefits of TCD. Keep in mind that with my C1 & C2 rebuilt, we have to see how regardless of positive or negative effects, TCD is an immoral act worthy of any budding Sith warrior. Resting any moral obligation on an immoral act is problematic, regardless of positive or negative effects. This obligation requires one individual to restore their autonomy by subverting another's autonomy. As I show in my critique of the Aff's C2, any positive effect requires the victim to see the act in a positive light. Otherwise, the victim is to blame when this moral obligation goes wrong.

Moving onto my opponent's case.

C1: My opponent dances around my critique of her use of scientific theory to explain moral obligation with the grace of a drunken Rancor. She suggests A. denying Newton's Third Law denies cause & effect, and B. ignoring potential positive effects of TCD regarding the Conservation of Energy. First, let's stay on target with what my critique is actually attacking. The use of scientific theory to explain moral obligation fails as a direct explanation of what makes things moral, and is an inadequate analogy due to a vicious circle of immoral acts. This doesn't ignore the existence of cause & effect. In fact, Kant's CI is heavily concerned with cause and effect. Knowing that our causes can produce undesirable consequences is one of the primary reasons to live by any moral code.
  • Regarding the positive effects of TCD, recognize that the benefit of my criterion is that we don't hedge our moral obligations on "possible benefits" of an action. A moral obligation comes before the knowledge of actual effects. Just because an action "may end up good or bad" doesn't provide any consistent foundation to lay these obligations on.

C2: My opponent is saddened by the fact that I reject the philosophy of My Little Pony, which I believe I can live with. Since her defense of Sub A relies on her rejection of my O1, cross apply my defense here. More importantly, she claims I simply counter her Sub B. with the example of Vader chopping off Luke's hand. Once again, this misses the actual target of my argument. The point is, any "friendship strengthening benefits" in the story only comes if Gilda compromises autonomy with an attitude adjustment. This offers no source for a moral obligation, and hedges the positive or negative consequences on Gilda's attitude. Whether it's My Little Pony, Luke and his father's weird relationship, or any other example, we must recognize that we can't morally justify actions by demanding that those who are affected should simply adjust their attitudes.

For these reasons, I urge for a vote of "no confidence" regarding the Aff's position.

Debate Round No. 3


FINAL SUMMARY ROUND ( Basically I’m going to use this to reiterate exactly everything that has been said thus far in this debate and put in a pretty rose-colored spotlight so that you realize why you’re must inner subconscious desire is to vote for Pro and by bringing this to the forefront of your consciousness you may purposefully and deliberately act upon it. Of course, I shall honor and abide by the holy summary rules “thou shalt refrain from introducing new evidence to smite thine opponent” and “thou shalt use no new arguments before theeeee judges”.

V/C Clash

1. Knowledge as a teacher

My opponent does acknowledge that things can be taught from teachers, but worries about the subject matter, claiming, “The point is, moral philosophies are taught just like anything else.” And that’s true, but the knowledge about morals needs a teacher – tying into situations like the one I illustrated of parents teaching a child morality (no you can’t hit Sally) because teaching rules leads to one developing an understanding of morality. Basically, you need the “knowing-how knowledge” gained through socialization to learn the social rules for right and wrong.

2. Impossibility of Moral Consistency

My opponent clarified he is centered on, “how individuals should establish their moral judgments” and “consistent reasoning for motivation over action”. This clarifies one of the central points of clash in this debate – the issue of motivation as my opponent continually attacks the affirmative under the false premise that using the TCD would be fueled by negative motivation. As this is a major point of clash I shall now clarify why the TCD is a positively motivated act. My opponent sees it as a purely retributive act whereby Tricia punishes her friends; however, the point of using TCD is not to punish them as it is not a vengeful act. As I previously showed – it produces laughter and equips one’s “victims” with the opportunity to eat delish whipped cream. The goal is to establish oneself in a positive way that preserves one’s friendships, and the motivation at its core relies on Tricia’s desire to became a member of society, thus she must learn the rules of that society. Her moral obligation is that as someone who longs to fit into society, she must know what society’s moral rules are and learn how to abide by them.

3. Social Subjectivity

My opponent claims that “moral consistency is an individual value and recognize that people have choice over social subjectivity”. True people are not “forced” to comply by societal standards for morality, but if they want to fit in then they must decide that as societal belonging is something they value they want to learn and conform to the rules of society to best achieve their personal goals. Con claimed, “Countless philosophies are shared among a variety of cultures, and it’s up to individual choice and effort to adopt such philosophies.” Perhaps I misunderstand, but it seems to me like my opponent is claiming that people ought to adopt the moral standards that are most popular between cultures, which would reject “minority” societies. Again, for a person if they desire to fit into a society they must abide by that society’s customs – the choice is up to the individual on if they want to conform, but upon deciding they do (as Tricia did) they line up their own obligations.

4. Moral Obligations

This ties in to all of my arguments, particularly in the prior two points of value clash, about how you have an obligation to learn the rules of the society you wish to belong to. Furthermore, my opponent seems to think that this is purely a consequentialist idea where society bases its morals on the outcomes of individual actions; however, as the collectivist vs individualistic society example showed, different societies value different attitudes and base the behaviors they value upon those attitudes.

Moving on from the value clash to Con’s case.

CI and Context

My opponent conceded that moral motivation (an aspect of the context of the action) is important. Thus for him, the burden of his case rests upon the idea that the TCD is a negatively motivated action, if this falls, so does the premise of his case.

O1: Return to my earlier point under VC 2 as to how the desire to belong leads to a moral obligation.

O2: He acknowledges cultural relativism can be a source for moral obligations, and then claims O3 demonstrates the benefits of using CI.

O3: He ties this into the value clash, as I’ve addressed this already as well see this point as flowing with the value clash.

C1: His chain of TCD-ing in this point rests only on the unsubstantiated belief that the TCD negatively violates ones free will – return to the tickling and easy-to-eat whipped cream arguments to see why this isn’t so.

C2: Here again Con upholds that we need to have retributive justice without “extraneous considerations” – again in the cause/effect chain of life this simply isn’t practical when given how people react. Ultimately, while it might not uphold the “Kantian ideal” – doing something that is practical, reasonably motivated and has positive outcomes is still a good act. The “Kantian ideal” is simply to lofty to achieve realistically.

C3: This touches on the consequentialism point I already built up and also that of motivation. Here again, Con claims, “TCD is an immoral act worthy of any budding Sith warrior.” Which, while this claim sounds powerful, doesn’t uphold why it’s immoral. My opponent then claims, “any positive effect requires the victim to see the act in a positive light” – let me just beat this argument down again – TICKLES MAKE THEM GIGGLE AND WHIPPED CREAM GIVES THEM A SUGAR HIGH = YAY.

To my own case:

C1: Con still protests my use of Newton and other scientific theories to uphold morality. However, looking beyond the big and beautiful ethos of Sir Isaac Newton, which ought to bolster this point to the death star and back, let’s evaluate a key aspect of his life – the apple falling on his head. It is completely upheld that Newton discovered gravity because an apple, realizing the significant lack of education in the field of science, sacrificed itself for the good of mankind and gently attacked Netwon’s head. The apple had an obligation to fall on his head to spread knowing-how knowledge of physics. Boom. Case-in-point.

C2: Subpoint a is linked with O1 by my opponent so yay for having already attacked that. Subpoint b is My Little Pony. My opponent claims the story proves Gilda has to compromise her autonomy to get an attitude adjustment – Gilda isn’t forced to do this if she doesn’t want to remain friends with Rainbow Dash. Again, the societal obligation relies on if you want to belong. Since Gilda doesn’t she isn’t obligated to do anything, and she consequentially loses a friend. Your desires dictate your societal obligations.

Overall, everything my opponent ever said in this debate falls and all of my own statements shine with glory and knowledge, thus you must see nothing but a firm affirmative ballot.




Since I started refuting the opponent's case in my constructive, I'm only going to focus on defense and limited SW references in this last round. In my final attack run, I will be focusing on the summary points of my case, and final voting issues.

Value Clash
I will focus on the four central arguments in this clash:
  1. Knowledge as a teacher - The Aff claims that the knowledge of morals needs a teacher, but once again she fails to provide any line of reasoning that demonstrates how society A. teaches absolute consequential or rule-based morals, and B. society is the only source of knowledge on morals. My point remains: society as a teacher won't necessarily teach a consistent moral foundation that's necessary to build any moral obligation on.
  2. Impossibility of moral consistency - The Aff accepted my point on the consistency of motivations over action, and moved on to demonstrate how Tricia's use of TCD is a positively motivated act through the supposed positive effects of TCD, and Tricia's motivation to fit into society. First, it's important to recall that my framework views Tricia's use of TCD as a retributive act based on emotion. Such an act would have to be "free of extraneous considerations" which in any positive or negative light, it isn't. Second, the Aff is resting this claim on an unqualified assumption on Tricia's motives. Is Tricia really going to react to a Royal Shampooing by seeing an opportunity to "social to society's norms", or act on the desire of revenge and/or justice? Even the Aff has been contradictory on Tricia's motivations: in her summary, Tricia is motivated via socialization. Yet, in her critique of my C1 in the previous round, Tricia is "doing this to restore her own free will after having been violated by the royal shampoo – context." Her motivation is uncertain, but with the CI we have certainty. Any motivation to use another human being as a means to an end is immoral. Regardless of whether Tricia is seeking to do good or evil, her motivated act to use her friends to accomplish her goals establishes the immorality of this case. You can't use TCD without the motivation to use others for your own benefits.
  3. Escaping Social Subjectivity - My opponent is firmly upholding the ideal of cultural relativism by arguing that if people want to belong to a society, they must adopt the society's norms. This is the very pitfall of basing our morals on society's standards. Look to Emperor Palpatine's society where human supremacy was the standard: if people simply based their morals on "fitting in", the Rebellion would never have been born. Or look to slavery abolition and the civil rights movementsif everyone based their notions of right and wrong on what society deemed, we would be robbed of the moral and social milestones we've reached by outlawing slavery and ending legal segregation.
    • My point about philosophies existing among many cultural wasn't claiming that we must adopt the "in-between philosophies". It's merely demonstrating that philosophies can exist despite different societal influences.
  4. Moral obligations and consequences - Cross apply my critiques to the Aff's argument regarding the obligation to socialize. Second, return to my defense of my O1: an obligation to socialize to norms isn't necessarily a moral obligation to use TCD. The Aff has argued for the morality of TCD due to positive effects, therefore my critique of consequential morals remains unrefuted. Just because some societies have different values from others doesn't demonstrate why Tricia has a moral obligation to use TCD in order to fulfill her societal obligation to socialize to society's norms. Supposed positive benefits (which I've critiqued) and a societal obligation to socialize (which I've also critiqued) don't automatically mandate a moral obligation to commit TCD.
Criterion Clash: My opponent argues that I concede the point about moral motivation being important. This isn't necessarily a concession as it is a core component of my whole case (and the CI in particular). Look to my C1 & C2 to see why the use of TCD is immoral because of the intention to use someone else as a means to an end. There is no way this act can escape this motivation: any goal the TCD is meant to achieve must be done at the sake of another's autonomy. This demonstrates how any use of TCD is an immoral act: the user of TCD must willingly wish to accomplish their goals at the expense of someone else.

O1: Cross apply my defense against the Aff's attacks on moral consistency argument. The Aff's argument that "TCD is a positively motivated act" only seeks to establish the morality of the action (which my C1 counters), but doesn't establish a moral obligation. Second, look at my previous defense of my O1: societal obligations to socialize to societal norms aren't the same as moral obligations.

My argument has never been that cultural relativism can't be a source of moral obligation. The important component to this however, is A. all my arguments that demonstrate my criterion of CI is the best source for moral obligation in this round, and B. the Aff is only establishing a societal obligation to socialize through her CI; using TCD to "fit in" doesn't establish a moral obligation to use it.

O3: Since I have negated the Aff's original arguments she drew from the V/C clash to attack my observation, see that this observation still stands. My argument about the normative aspects of CI have been accepted by the Aff, and in fact are being utilized in her attempt to establish TCD as a "positively motivated" act.

I offer no "unsubstantiated belief that TCD negatively violates free will". Suggesting so ignores the actual premise of this contention. TCD is immoral because it actively violates free will. Apply my arguments in the rebuttal round and see that this act requires the recognition to violate free will. Whether this violation produces positive or negative outcomes is beside the point. This contention provides the moral reasoning for the immorality of TCD, and is preferable to the assumed positive consequences that the Aff attempt's to justify TCD with.

Once again, my original defense of this contention demonstrates that not all cause/effect relationships require the emotional component my opponent is claiming we can't escape from. This "ideal" is something many legal systems are founded on (i.e. justice is blind). Second, the Aff's own argument once again confuses Tricia's motivations: is she acting out of emotional revenge or a sense of obligation to "fit in"? Finally, return to my critiques on her justification of TCD to see why Tricia's use isn't practical, reasonably motivated with positive outcomes.

Apply my critique of TCD's morality once again. TCD as an immoral act is established in my C1, and my critiques of the Aff's justification of TCD are in the V/C clash & my attacks of her case. Furthermore, my opponent seems to accept my "positive effect requires positive outlook" point I made in relation to the My Little Pony Parable. Finally, much like Tricia's motivations, the Aff is merely assuming that the prank will be positively accepted by her friends. Whether it is or isn't, the full weight of this contention stands: the use of TCD perpetuates a negative situation of immorality that people must participate in inorder to fulfill a moral obligation whenever they're pranked.

Finally, I shall conclude with the voting issues of the debate:
  1. Moral consistency - Regarding the value clash, see that A. I've upheld the concept of moral consistency, and B. have shown why it's preferable to the Aff's value of knowledge in this debate. An individual has the ability to pursue a morally consistent life. More importantly, moral consistency is necessary to achieve any moral understanding free from the types of contradictions societal influence promote. The aff's value of knowledge only pertains to societal knowledge, which I have demonstrated neither creates a moral obligation to use TCD, nor concerns itself with the proper moral framework needed to establish and critique a moral obligation.
  2. Categorical Imperative - Once again, weigh my criterion of CI over the Aff's "socialization of proper behavior". Throughout this debate, I've shown how the Aff's criterion doesn't establish a moral obligation, nor the moral justification of using TCD. Ultimately, what is right in society isn't necessarily moral. The CI provides the ethical reasoning and moral framework for A. an individual to pursue a morally consistent life, and B. us to judge what motivated acts are moral/immoral.
  3. TCD immorality - From the original premise, and my defense of my C1, see that the use of TCD is immoral. Using anyone as a means to an end violates free will, and resting a moral obligation on this only leads to a negative spiral of immorality. Furthermore, my opponent's justification of TCD as having positive outcomes still remains problematic. My opponent simply dismissed my critique of consequential-based justification made in the value clash: moral obligations based on the justification from consequences can obligate negative acts. If someone doesn't know whether an outcome will be positive or not, a moral obligation might mandate an immoral act. Therefore, we can't obligate the use of TCD when the positive outcomes that justify it use *might* happen.
  4. Lack of moral obligation - Finally, on my side I have demonstrated how we can't create a moral obligation to use TCD without perpetuating immoral motivations that violate free will. The Aff has argued for an obligation to socialize to society's norms, which my critiques demonstrate that this doesn't equal a moral obligation. Ultimately, my V/C framework is the only framework that offers a look at the moral obligation addressed in the resolution, and concludes that no TCD-based moral obligation can exist to promote morality.
From these issues, I urge a vote for Neg. Thank's the Jopo for a great and crazy debate. May the Force be with her and the rest of DDO.
Debate Round No. 4
3 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Posted by jopo 6 years ago
I might take you up on that sometime :)
Posted by bsh1 6 years ago
Remind me to judge this someone...

@Con - I'm loving your Star Wars references. If either of you ever want to do an LD debate with me, just PM me.
Posted by Concade 6 years ago
Hmm, apparently the site didn't include my in-text hyperlinks. I'll fix this in the future. For now, here's a reference list:

Anything CI:

Moral Consistency:

William Stephens:

Stuart Hopkins:

Kelly Clarkson's "Dark Side":

Kelly Clarkson's "Einstein":
No votes have been placed for this debate.

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