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Sex with animals is ethically permissible

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/17/2012 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 924 times Debate No: 28340
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (3)
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First I would like to thank ANDYH for accepting this debate topic. I would like to additionally offer to all interested that I would be glad to debate this topic with other people. Finally, I would like to encourage ANDYH to collaborate with others n the assembly of his arguments, as per rule 8 below.

The topic of bestiality and zoophilia are questionable and oft sticky topics (pun intended), which generally produce a visceral reaction in the course of their discussion. Historically, sex with animals has been among the acts considered most obscene, an abomination above most -if not all- other things considered abominations. Despite this, there are in fact a great many things which human emotion arguably gets wrong about ethics: the human desire for revenge, forced heteronormativity, fear of change. In many people the list of emotional malfunction goes far deeper, into neuropathy, and psychopathy. Emotion is an approximation at best of "what is right", and as such, it becomes a valid question as to whether the visceral but none-the-less emotional animus against sex with animals is appropriate.

As such, this debate is to explore whether such an animus is philosophically justified, or whether that animus is something that we ought overcome.

1) First round is acceptance*, second round is argument, third round is rebuttal and additional supporting arguments, fourth round is pure rebuttal and final round is closing. Upon mutual agreement via comments or PM, round 5 may also include a final counter-rebuttal.
2) *CON may go first; if CON uses his first round for argument, CON agrees his last round shall be a blank post, and for the purposes of voting, rounds for CON shall be offset by one post.
3) Responses shall be directed towards the previous rounds(s) only. Round 2 "initial arguments" are to be independent.
4) No direct "vote pandering". An argument ought stand on its own, without appeals to emotion or ad hominem.
5) No "sneaky ****erism". This is defined as making declarations to win an argument rather than making an attempt to investigate whether a claim is actually valid or supported by reason. The winning argument here is to be determined as that argument which stands up to reason, not which argument/person people subjectively like more. In accepting, CON agrees that any votes which do not reflect an objective evaluation of the arguments (subjective votes) are invalid and to be ignored during final evaluation, retracted, or negated.
6) No extended arguments, except if mutually agreed upon.
7) Shared BoP; all positive claims must be defended, and all arguments must be supported with reasons; this is a philosophical debate, and first principles must be mutually accepted, if used as a basis of argument. Argument from authority, argument from tradition, and the naturalistic fallacy are all accepted as fallacies by CON.
8) Shared participation is encouraged; while there can only be one formal "PRO" and one formal "CON", any independently supported argument may be advanced and picked up by the formal debators.
9) First principles accepted in this debate must include that: "The universe exists"; "knowledge exists"; "all descriptive models have greater value than any non-descriptive model"; and that "equals OUGHT be treated equally".
10) Additional rules as presented by CON shall be discussed in comments before being accepted.


Thanks for the invite to what should make for an interesting debate. I accept the format of the debate as set out in your first post. I will be opening in round #2.
Debate Round No. 1


Thank you ANDYH for accepting this debate. In the pursuit of clarity, I’d like to detail that the “animals” of the resolution are specifically not “people”, and further that the ethical acceptability is applying to “sex with animals”, and not some other thing that is neither necessary for, nor necessarily caused by, said sex. QUESTIONS about these distinctions are to be addressed in comments or PM.

Additionally, any claim I have made to which there is some doubt or misunderstanding, I will gladly provide additional support or clarification in my next post; my opponent has merely to ask.



Applying to an activity performed on or with a entity: Lacking informed consent.

  1. Animals have pragmatic value to People, at best
    Ethical value is the value that PEOPLE have to other PEOPLE, and all other things need only be afforded pragmatic value; without ethical value, consent of any form need not be garnered in imposition upon animals.

    1. Game theory establishes that people are optimally a community apart from other entities.
      1. Darwinian evolution is optimal with competition between individual, species, pack, and family. The extent of value to animals to each other is that of pragmatism, and thus form tribes.
      2. Memetic evolution (the type of evolution People do) is best WITHOUT competition between individuals in the group of people; people have intrinsic value to other people and optimally form a society, or a community of all people, as any person’s adaptations can be passed to and thereby benefit any other person. However the extent of value for non-people remains that of pragmatism, as animals do not contribute useful adaptations in the form of ideas.
        1. Such a difference is seen between populations of bacteria, and multi-cellular organisms: all cells in the multicellular organism form a community or collective, at which point overt competition becomes detrimental to the body.

    2. People have ethical responsibilities from the basis of first principles, which animals cannot take part in.
      1. A definition of freedom:
        1. The freedom of a person to be is the extent of all things which do not themselves do insult to another person's freedom to be.
        2. That which does such insult is not a freedom.

      2. A definition of responsibilities:
        1. We have a responsibility to all other persons who claim freedom to defend that freedom from that which would do it insult.
        2. This by its nature includes a responsibility to NOT do that which is NOT a freedom.

      3. A definition of fairness:
        1. That which we claim for ourselves as freedom must be accepted as freedom for others, or denied among the freedoms of self.

      4. In order to claim freedom, one must consent to imposition of responsibility, an acceptance of the community of people and their ethical value.
        1. Animals are functionally unable to accept or understand freedom from first principles; they lack a theory of mind, and a concept of identity, and lack the ability to ever attain it.
        2. As understanding of freedom is necessary to claim freedom, animals need never be offered freedom.

    3. People are existentially sustainable, animals are not.
      1. Evolution of memetic collectives is far faster than Darwinian evolution, which requires a new generation to imperfectly select for minute change.
      2. Such faster evolution means the ability to avoid or survive through planetary extinction events and solar reintegration, and potentially to identify such existential threats before they become imminent.
      3. As this life in this existence is all there definitely is (not to be read as “definitely all there is”), all observable meaning is tied up in the survival of life, and as survival is only likely for people and those things we retain as useful tools, it is the pragmatic value of animals which is most important, not just to us, but also to their own survival.

  2. Differences between Ethical and Pragmatic concerns

    1. This debate is not about pedophilia or the mentally disabled; such sex is questionable for ethical reasons, which are generalized for pragmatic reasons.

      1. Often in discussions such as this, attempts are made to draw connections between irrational children, and irrational adults, and irrational animals. I will gladly, at the conclusion of this debate, have an additional debate over the categorical acceptability of sex with children, but such a debate would be one-sided, in that we would be arguing between the logic which leads to “sex with children and/or the mentally disabled is unacceptable” rather than the validity of the resolution itself.

      2. My particular position on this aspect is rather threefold:
        1. Children are generally potentially future adults, with an entitlement to either a full measure of the activity required to make them free as possible from natural evil or imposition, OR a swift death. As such, the future person has the right to decide if and when they will have sex, and as such are ethically harmed by pedophiles.
        2. Children represent a devotion of resources spent to produce rational adults, and the effects of sex increase those costs, or cause them to be outright lost (through depression and suicide, for example). Even in the case of “doomed” children, there is the possibility of breakthrough preventing the doom, and thus reason to defend their rights.
        3. Sex with children is at best extremely difficult to find ethically justifiable, and thus demands the greatest amount of caution, to the extent it becomes pragmatic to treat it as if it were categorically unacceptable so as to prevent false-negatives AND false positives in identification of unethical cases.

      3. My position on the mentally disabled is similar:
        1. The “mentally disabled” may actually have all the necessary qualities of a person, and thus be a person, and it is difficult to ascertain the “edge cases”; giving them the benefit of the doubt with ethical treatment is preferable to violating the ethical rights of a person, and so necessitates requiring what seems as informed consent in such instances.
        2. The mentally disabled may have pragmatic value as independent operators in society (as “property” of society), and as such that value that society has is potentially damaged or destroyed through such activity. Such is made clear by the fact that the mentally deficient generally have legal guardians.
        3. Sex with such people-shaped-animals after accurate identification is generally allowed, when the legal guardian of such a person allows it to happen, though not with the legal guardian for rightful reasons of conflict-of-interest.

    2. Sex with animals is questionable for exclusively pragmatic concerns, and generally those are easily resolved.
      1. Differentiation by species is easily accomplished.
      2. Animals will never “grow up” into persons.
      3. IF it is ever the case that animal-shaped-people become a reality, then pragmatic concerns may arise; however it does not affect the ethical acceptability of sex with animals, merely the pragmatism of allowing it.

  3. Argument from Common Sense

    1. It is common sense that imposition on animals is generally allowed
      1. We allow clearly sexual imposition such as castration, molestation, masturbation, forced sexual coupling, and manual fertilization (with devices or with hands); nonconsensual sex with them for OUR gratification is no different.
      2. We allow much more grisly things like killing, breaking, knocking, tying down, trapping, keeping captive, and poisoning; mere sex is nothing next to that.

    2. Treating animals ethically produces an existential threat to people
      1. We need to be able to feed ourselves; imposition has been and continues to be necessary to do that.
      2. We need to be able to defend ourselves; imposition has been and continues to be necessary to do that.

  4. Conclusion
    1. Ethics are clearly for people, not animals.
    2. Pragmatic unacceptability is different from ethical unacceptability.
    3. Common sense dictates that imposition upon animals is acceptable and even necessary for existence of people.
    4. Therefore, having sex with animals is ethically permissible.



andyh forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 2


Con has forefeit. I will not offer additional argument at this time.


andyh forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3


Con has forefeit. I will not offer additional argument at this time.


andyh forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4


see above


andyh forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 5
3 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Posted by Jarhyn 5 years ago
Simply put, equals ought be treated equally. Because we expect for ourselves the freedom to be (well, all living things expect it for THEMSELVES), we must expect the same for others who are our equals in existence. If a person does not treat or accept another person as their ethical equal in such a way, then they are denying the most basic moral rule, and denying the community formed of all people. In such a way, if they deny the second ethical law of responsibility, they must also deny the logic that brought the first of freedom, and the third of fairness. In fact, they must either deny that the universe exists, or that equals ought be treated equally and denying either is just plain SILLY.
Posted by OneElephant 5 years ago
"In order to claim freedom, one must consent to imposition of responsibility, an acceptance of the community of people and their ethical value."

Could you clarify what this means, Jarhyn?
Posted by rosstheboss 5 years ago
wow I wanted to debate this one, but I couldn't.. Anyhow, good luck!
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