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Moral Realism vs Moral Relativism

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 10/25/2018 Category: Society
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 974 times Debate No: 118706
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (4)
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I will be for the moral realism. Rounds 2, 3, 4, And 5 I will give an arguments for moral realism.

I want to clarify. I claim it is highly probable for morality to be objective. I am not making an argument that I have concrete evidence but good probable evidence.

If you are a moral relativist, Let's have a debate.


I will be for moral relativism.

Just so we can be on the same page and not play semantics, I'd like establish the definitions for:
"Morality: [a] principles concerning the distinction between right and wrong or good and bad behavior. [b]a particular system of values and principles of conduct, Especially one held by a specified person or society.

"Objective Morality:?

"Subjective Morality: Morals are all subjective and definitive

"Moral Realism:?

If possible I'd appreciate it if you titled your paragraphs in a way I can directly reference (such as P. 1 or C. 1 or any other creative way you choose to title it) as well as your source material.
Debate Round No. 1


I want to begin by clarifying the meaning of moral realism or what I am standing on. Beyond our cognitive thinking there are moral facts we are discovering and learning about. We can learn about it through our cognitive sense. We can use these moral facts to better function in reality. Moral facts would still be true regardless if humans believed them. Now I will be making my arguments by stating the specific topic I will be discussing and going into detail. [NOTE: I am going to try to be as thorough as I possibly can so I apologize for the long response].

Epistemic Realism;

Premise 1: [If moral facts do not exist, Then epistemic facts do not exist] The moral relativist will claim there are no objective moral facts or epistemic facts. Ex: If a moral relativist argued with a moral realist (like you and I) then they assume epistemic duties are present during the debate like (no misrepresenting, No logical fallacies, No lying, And be honest). If the moral relativist worldview is true then why is it objectively wrong to lie, Be logically fallacious, Or misrepresent your opponent? Who said? Why does it matter if it's all relative? While they claim their worldview is true they prescribe epistemic duties such as no lying, No logical fallacies, And be honest. They assume they are objective and ought to be abided by in a philosophical or science discussion.
If you don't abide by these epistemic duties then you don't value reason and truth. If you are a moral relativist and you have ever claimed someone has done something objectively wrong in lying or misrepresenting your argument, Then you have assumed epistemic duties while arguing that those duties are either subjective or not real (This is self-defeating).

Premise 2: [Epistemic facts do exist] Even the moral relativist assumes epistemic duties in order to make their argument because they are objectively binding on humans regardless if you believe in them.

Conclusion: Moral facts do exist.


We discover the moral law by our reactions. All truth is discovered. Since all Truth is discovered then morality is discovered because it's absolute not relative. Our everyday experience demonstrates that absolute moral truths are objectively binding on humans. We take them for granted. Absolute moral truths are self-evident and are revealed through our experience. [NOTE: This is not absolute proof of objective morality just rationalizing].

Moral Disagreement;

We declare each other wrong in their actions, Saying they are wrong in their moral views and declare they abide by a different form of morality. We think that there are people in the world who are doing things we believe they should stop. Regardless of what they personally believe about the correctness of their behavior. If so, Then that must mean that we are appealing to some absolute moral standard that exists. That is not defined by humans that must be abided by.

If moral facts do not exist (if it's all relative) then there is no difference between equality for all vs female mutilation vs KKK values; If it's all relative then it's just a preference. If it's all relative you can't complain because it's their morality vs your morality. Our moral disagreements are not on the understanding of morality but the understanding of the facts;Some cultures believe that it is okay to kill women because they don't have a soul. They have a factual error. The factual error is the cause of them committing immoral actions. They don't have the factual validation to apply to the moral standard.

Moral Progress & Convergence:

If we consider any of our understanding of morality as progress it would only make sense if we were working towards an objective moral standard. If we think progress is being made, Then we imply that objective moral values & duties exist. Most of our moral progress are a result of our underlying factual errors.


The idea moral facts & duties are real is self-evident and is our intuitive starting point. The burden is on the skeptic to show that our intuitions are wrong.


--- Books
Truth in Ethics and Epistemology - Nathan Nobis
Moral Realism: A Defense - Russ Shafer-Landau
Moral Realism - Kevin DeLapp
--- Sites
http://tamilnation. Co/humanrights/sartre. Htm
https://www. Iep. Utm. Edu/eth-expr/

Thank you


INTRO: There is no need to apologize for long responses as long as it is substantial in content.

(1) One of the problems with this entire argument is the lack of "moral facts" presented. Without that I won't be able to directly address any deeply held beliefs regarding morals directly instead of Just shoot in the dark of general morals. In order for there to be a moral fact we must be able to prove objectivity and its metrics. Morals are subjective and the evidence behind this can be found all over the world in how they run their government and societies. Some people treat women, Men, The young, The old, The poor, The rich and anyone with any identifiable or applicable difference in a negative way because they feel they are justified in doing so because they have the moral high ground.

(2) I'll provide 3 examples of variation in morals that a society interprets as a correct and just worldview. My first example is the american idea of freedom of speech. We have the liberty to say what we want with the exception of: [1]

  • To incite actions that would harm others (e. G. , “[S]hout[ing] ‘fire’ in a crowded theater. ”).
    Schenck v. United States, 249 U. S. 47 (1919).
  • To make or distribute obscene materials.
    Roth v. United States, 354 U. S. 476 (1957).
  • To burn draft cards as an anti-war protest.
    United States v. O’Brien, 391 U. S. 367 (1968).
  • To permit students to print articles in a school newspaper over the objections of the school administration.
    Hazelwood School District v. Kuhlmeier, 484 U. S. 260 (1988).
  • Of students to make an obscene speech at a school-sponsored event.
    Bethel School District #43 v. Fraser, 478 U. S. 675 (1986).
  • Of students to advocate illegal drug use at a school-sponsored event.
    Morse v. Frederick, __ U. S. __ (2007).
We can say all the racist, Sexist, And phobic speech we want about any type of person to our hearts content and the government is unable to do anything about it. The reason why this is a moral and not simply law is due to the founding fathers knowledge of the potential abuse of power by the government. Fast forward to today and most Americans will defend your right to say something that they wholeheartedly disagree with. This is why the ACLU has defended[2] the KKK, Westboro Baptist church and the LGBT community because they believe in the principle of free speech for all. In Germany after WWII they imposed laws to ban "unconstitutional organizations" which were composed of nazi like groups, Communists and far right groups. Most people in Germany wouldn't even defend the idea of letting them Express their opinions (not just because of the possible fines and incarceration) but because of their historical context. [3] [4]. Not to pick on Germany too much, But they recently rolled out laws that require tech companies to remove hate speech. The problem with this is that they have not defined hate speech which gives them absolute power to censor anything vaguely interpreted as hate. [5] Another example of rationalized hatred of a group of people is anti-Semitism. This is something that is observed in europe, Middle east, Muslim dominated cultures, Russia, And the American. Here's an in depth look at peoples reasons why jews are the root of all evil in the world [6] [7].

Premise 1

(1) then I guess epistemic facts don't exist then. You again failed to present an actual moral fact.

(2) Lying is not objectively wrong. Misrepresentations, Exaggerations, Errors, Omission, Denial and minimization occur in every day conversations and are an essential part of social interaction. Some of these are more serious than others but their impact is entirely dependent on the individuals involved. Lying to a scared child in a stressful situation is beneficial to both parties. Lying to a potential mate to gain an upper hand against competition by exaggerating attractive features is beneficial to both. Lying in a job resume in any way makes you a more viable candidate for your survival to the possible detriment or benefit of the company. Tell me again why lying is objectively wrong in the real world? You and I are guilty of some of these lies in our discussion already, So does this make everything we say invalid? No

(3) We are all guilty of making fallacious arguments. We are also proud supporters of some of these arguments in day to day life, Want to see how? Advertisements and brand preferences. Why does anyone pick a brand ir consider a brand above another? All the types of lies I listed in P. 2. One brand offers me happiness, Love and family while the other gives me luxury, Fun and meaning. Your black and white view of the world when it comes morals is a perfect example as well.

(4) It matters when its relative because it gives people something to believe in. Whether it's a belief in christianity (any of the thousands of denomination, Be it catholic or protestant), Sunni or Shia, Judaism, Hinduism etc. Same with politics, We fought a cold war for over 70 years with communism due to competing ideas on an economic ideology. It matters because we all have opinions and form our worldview based on those beliefs and any threats we encounter to said beliefs and interests, We will fight against them.

(5) I can have an issue with someone if they misrepresent my arguments because the point of a conversation is either a debate, Dialogue, Discourse and diatribe. If they are wasting my time by completely disregarding everything I have said then I have justification to dislike them based on that metric. Again, It's all relative.


(1) You have not provided any epistemic facts, So I will ignore this premise.


(1) Moral facts don't exist and have not provided evidence for this. Women are second class citizens and/or subjects of men in some cultures (middle east, Islamic societies, Catholic societies in Latin america) and equals of man in the western world and secular societies. One side uses their religious beliefs to justify their views and another uses a metric of human equality for theirs. Both are uniquely different in goals and purpose.


(1) Our reactions to an event are dependent on our state of mind at the time, Worldview, Proximity and interests. I'm sure most people when seeing refugees fleeing in Africa or any war torn area, They react in disgust, Compassion and a number of other emotions, But this will only last as long as the media is covering it. 5min after watching a woman who was brutally beaten, Raped and had her kids killed in front of her, We are presented with another story that has nothing to do with the previous story, Or an advertisement that was strategically placed to encourage shopping and now your thinking about how much you enjoy a minty breath and a double quarter pounder with fries and coke she will forever be known as that Somali girl on TV. Now if we were a bit closer to the event and the Somali girl is no longer "that girl" but Ugbad Khadra and our sister, Our whole worldview and focus would be to save her. Does this make the foreigners watching them from a distance bad from not doing anything and the brother the most moral? Not really. It just means that his proximity and previous interactions with the victim puts him in its sphere of influence. If you want an example close to home, Let's take a look at the homeless in our cities. If moral facts were a thing then our first inclination would be to take that poor soul into our homes and provide reasonable assistance as if they were our own children. We obviously don't do this and anyone who doesn't isn't seen as evil or selfish, Meanwhile those who do are seen as stupid, Foolish and amazing.

Moral Disagreement

(1) Like i mentioned previously, We consider someone else's actions as "wrong" or "right" based entirely on our personal beliefs with the societies values as a foundational base. My opposition to some asians eating dogs isn't because I think eating animals is wrong, But because dogs in my society are seen as family members and co-workers. Is my side of the argument more factual than theirs? No. Much like how before the introduction of affordable transportation in the USA, Horses were seen as mans best friend and not dogs. Keeping "African slavery, As it exists in the United States, Is a moral, A social, And a political blessing. " - Jefferson Davis. And "Slavery, The very source of our existence, The greatest blessing both for Master & Slave that could have been bestowed upon us. " - Stephan Dodson Ramseur.

(2) If you view equality for all (an egalitarian notion that goes against certain political and religious ideologies), Female genital mutilation (a means to subjugate and control women and control their natural impulses) and the KKK (a white supremacy, Protestant american organization) as the same, Then you have more issues than just moral ones. I also want to point out that relativism is not the same as nihilism. Relativism has morals that apply to a specific group in a specific time period while nihilism is a belief that nothing matters (which is correct) which makes these two things incompatible. Why are you making fallacious arguments if you think they're objectively wrong? Unless of course you think that it's ok to deviate from absolute morals for certain occasions. Almost as if it's all relative. . .

(3) Facts are also not 100% absolute unless talking about mathematical proofs and referencing scientific findings in where facts can be observed. Interpretations are absolutely relative which means that your previous claim of experience being proof of moral facts is contradictory. Which is it? Relative or absolute?

(4) Morals are not evolving as a whole in the same direction. Saudia Arabia promotes wahhabism which is a radical form of Islam through its neighboring regions while iran is trying to spread its form of Shia which makes up roughly 10% of the muslim population. Both are theocratic and rule by religious texts and western nations tend to rule by enlightenment era philosophy that focuses more on the individual rather than the collective.
Debate Round No. 2


EJR925 forfeited this round.


kwbc forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3


EJR925 forfeited this round.


kwbc forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4


EJR925 forfeited this round.


kwbc forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 5
4 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Posted by omar2345 3 years ago

Are you having issues posting your argument?

My problem was that I was posting a link from a source. Instead of doing that post the heading of that link instead of the URL.

If that does not work post here your paragraphs one by one and see which one is not being allowed to post so that you can find out what paragraph is the problem.
Posted by kwbc 3 years ago
I am unable to see my rebuttal. Did it post?
Posted by omar2345 3 years ago
"Truth is discovered then morality is discovered because it's absolute not relative. "
Truth is in accordance with fact or reality.
Morality is the distinction between good and bad behaviour.
The behaviour is relative to the person judging them.
Saudi Arabia think it is good for women to have their whole body covered.
United States think it is good for women to choose what they want to wear.
If it was absolute shouldn't it be universal?

"Moral Progress & Convergence"
Wouldn't that be the law?
It is illegal to murder. In the West it is punishable by law so it is bad.

"underlying factual errors"
It is not the main reason. You forgot to mention religion has been around longer then logic and reason.
MGM still happens to this day even in the west. This is a bad thing.
It is not the facts are wrong it is because they believe in a religion which says its good.
There are no benefits in this reality but there are some negatives.
Immediate complications (Loss of penis)
Long-term complications (Sexual dysfunction)
Psycho sexual and psychological health (Psychological trauma)

https://www. Wikigender. Org/wiki/male-genital-mutilation-mgm/
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