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

Water is wet

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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: 6/26/2013 Category: Science
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 3,892 times Debate No: 35094
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (13)
Votes (1)




I have seen two similar arguments about this topic and I find it too interesting to let trolls or jokers waste it. The first post will be confirmation followed up by the meat of the debate then the closing/rebuttal.


I accept your challenge.

I look forward to hearing how water is not wet.
Debate Round No. 1


First off I would like to thank you for taking on the debate. So far it doesn't seem like you are a troll and that is a plus.

I would like to put forward the idea that the feeling of water isn't necessarily wet. What we typically call the feeling or perception of wetness is actually multiple senses of our skin. There are three things that allow us to understand what is wet or not. The three senses are pressure, temperature, and lastly pain. So basing water's wetness of of this new definition of what qualifies as wetness, you can start to understand why water isn't wet. The reason why water isn't wet is because it is the compound of multiple sensations relative to ones experience. For example if there was someone who lived their entire life at an equatorial island their perception of wetness of water is much different than one who lives in Oregon.

Since the perception of water is specific you could actually touch water and not feel the sensation of it being wet. The way you can do this is simply alter the three variations of senses that you feel when you categorize water. Since water is relative to each and every person definitions can change, a person in a island may find that water gets cold and vice versa. You might be asking how does this hold up now though? People have expanded across the globe and soon beyond. I think that we probably have a decent understanding of how water feels. Yet again I raise the point that your perception of water is relative not absolute. You only know what you know about water because that is all you know.
If a person were to simply be introduced to something like oil their entire life their concept of wetness and the qualities of a liquid change drastically. The reason being is liquid/wetness will be synonymous with oil, if you put water into the equation water would not feel wet but instead something entirely different.

The fact of the matter water also has many different densities with materials and processes it has come about. For example water from a pond that is stagnant with many micro organisms will feel much different if you had the equivalent temperature and quantity of ocean water. Yet if you were to simplify this variety of water to something more pure like tap (not really, but close enough) the idea would change. The best example that I can think of in the English language would be the difference of dew and tap water. If the two were to be made of the same thing there would still be a distinction. The reason being though is because not only by the difference of process in which it came about but also the sensation felt.

Of course tap water will change based on where you are at that time, so I am going to put tap water temp as room temperature and with an amount of 2.2 gallons per minute. You can figure the Pa for your own faucet based on these variables if you want, but because your faucet is different from mine I will leave it to you. The perception of tap water is far different than dew because of of the temp., pressure, and maybe you will feel some pain if it is too hot/cold or the pressure is too high. So the sensation of the two will be vastly different.

In closing, wetness itself is a relative concept which we learn through experience. When we encounter something that has similar qualities we either expand current definitions or make a new category for them. For this reason you can easily see how water is not wet because from previous example you can see it is a relative understanding. Which of course is based on three senses, sadly enough we do not have a wet nerve sensor. So the argument of water is wet is false for that very reason that it is relative. Some may perceive it to be wet while others not, due to the definite argument that "Water is wet" all I would have to do is find one person who does not agree. Such people are easy to come by, there is such a thing as congenital insensitivity to pain. Where the person can discriminate against sensations but cannot feel pain and sometimes even temperature.

Proof:Basic understanding of sensations :
University worksheet w/ info on perception of water:
Congenital insensitivity to pain:

I look forward to your response.


Well, I'm certainly very happy that we are both so eager to read each other's ideas.

As I am in the 'pro' position, I shall first put forward my argument, in the form of a deductive syllogism.

1. That which is 'wet' is that which is "consisting of, containing, covered with, or soaked with liquid" [1][2][3]
2. Water is a liquid*
Conclusion: Water is wet.

(*I assume 'water' refers to the liquid form of H20 rather than simply H2O, as it is conventional to describe 'gaseous water' as 'water vapour / steam' and 'solid water' as 'ice'.)

I do not believe this argument can be shown to be false; however, in good spirit I shall discuss the points you made.

Initially, I notice that you discuss 'wetness' only in terms of the 'sensation of wetness', while 'wetness' is also verifiable by chemical experimentation, such as by adding anhydrous copper (II) sulfate, and by vision. One is usually able to tell that a wet bench is wet before sitting on it if one looks carefully, or failing that, place the aforementioned white copper compound on the bench and observe a colour change to blue. [4] I think that certainly is an objective way to verify 'wetness'.

I feel somewhat that we should be debating 'the Mona Lisa is beautiful', because I think 'X is beautiful' is certainly a subjective statement, which is what you have been trying to argue that 'water is wet' is. 'Is this wet?' is a question which I have argued can be answered objectively; however, a question concerning whether something is or is not beautiful can only be answered subjectively. So, if I, for the purpose of argument, grant you that 'Is this wet?' is a question which can only be answered subjectively, I nevertheless remain dissenting to your conclusion, which appears to be that subjective answers are wrong provided that a contrasting and equally subjective answer can be put forward in honesty. I propose that subjective statements need only be subjectively true to be considered 'true', i.e. a truthfully (honestly) expressed subjective statement is true. Does this mean that two conflicting statements can be true? Yes. Should someone tell me that Enigma produce ugly music, I will think this is not true, for if I thought it was true, I would agree. [5] As they are being honest, they will of course find their statement true. Some people are mature enough to consider that the appreciation of music is 'simply opinion', and I agree; it is absurd to apply objective standards of truth to subjective statements. The truth of a subjective statement is instead relative to the honesty, or truthfulness, of the person expressing the statement.

Should someone say 'Neutral Milk Hotel is the best band of all time, and no one can disagree', that would be an objective statement, and therefore subject to the laws of objective truth.

Thank you for reading; I enjoy that the debate appears to be centred on objectivity, subjectivity and truth immensely.

[1] (accessed 26/06/2013)
[2] (accessed ")
[3] (accessed ")
[4] (accessed ")

Reference [5] is the YouTube video - Enigma's 'Goodbye Milky Way'. Largely irrelevant, of course.
Debate Round No. 2
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Debate Round No. 3
13 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Wocambs 5 years ago
Well, thank you for voting. The change was rather sudden for me too.
Posted by bladerunner060 5 years ago
Whoa! You guys' debate was the one I was on as I clicked "submit" and then suddenly was presented with "DDO 2.0"! Quite a shocking difference clicking that button produced.
Posted by TheAlmightyBob 5 years ago
Okay real quick the post below me is the response to the post below him. We had a glitch/bug on the debate and it wouldn't allow us to post. So instead we wanted a full debate and therefore posted in the comment section. Sorry for the issues, and hopefully you see the ending before you make a conclusion on the debate.
Posted by Wocambs 5 years ago
This debate is simply over semantics, in fact, I feel slightly embarrassed.

"wetness is merely a sensation"

No, the 'sensation of wetness' is merely a sensation. The stimulus for the 'sensation which one may ascribe to wetness' is typically stimulated by actual, objective wetness. Our perception is not perfect, which leads you to argue endlessly as to how we might physically sense wetness differently, or not at all; however, our perceptions of reality are irrelevant to reality. A wet towel is wet because it is saturated with water, and nothing can alter the truth of that statement; wetness is not contingent upon the presence or the perception of a perceiver.

What you are attempting to do is to define 'wet' as 'the sensation of wetness', and then argue that wetness can be experienced differently, and therefore wetness is not an objective property of water; once put in these terms the sophistry of your argument becomes apparent.

A question for my opponent: when is something wet?
Posted by TheAlmightyBob 5 years ago
To start off the response I would like to take a look at your definition of wetness, which I might add is from the dictionary. The dictionary as you may have known began by Noah Webster when he began his pursuit of having a somewhat orderly English language in the America's. How he did it though is comparable to modern methods, which is pretty much asking or listening to the populous. So the definition holds no scientific ground-unless in the sociological and psychological fields trying to understand how people use words. Since this is in fact a scientific debate we need to be using scientific definitions like the ones I provided above. Furthermore your description of "wetness" is that of a liquid, wetness is merely a sensation that we feel based on nerve stimulation from the three variables that I have previously stated.

So your statement that "Water is Wet" is false, since wetness is not a property that is intertwined with water. Instead it is simply a byproduct of us categorizing stimulation with specific physical behavior and nerve stimulation. The thought that liquids are wet, which you supplied by your definition is quite false. The best example of this would be liquid Mercury, which doesn't feel wet and is one of the two liquids on the periodic table.

There was also no need to assume that water is referring to the aqueous version. Ice is solid, water is liquid, and finally water vapor is gaseous. Moving onto your talk about anhydrous copper (II) sulfate proof, which doesn't prove much about wetness anymore about something being a liquid. The reaction that you talked about was a copper based chemical which was white introduced to water which turns blue. This is not a sign of it being wet or a liquid for that matter. What that shows it that there is H20 that it is reacting to. Which can be shown here :CuSO4.5H2O(s)(pale blue solid) V52; CuSO4(s)("dirty" white solid) + 5H2O(l). That is not to say though that there isn't ways to prove that it is in fact a l
Posted by TheAlmightyBob 5 years ago
d, which you can do by doing solubility tests. For example see how fast your copper chemical reacts with ice and the water. Water should have a faster rate in which it reacts compared to the ice.

Now this is where for me it got interesting. How do you think something that is biological, a reaction which can be seen by nerve signals compare to social influences? You are comparing apples to oranges here. If I were to take your Mona Lisa example and give the scope of it, it would not be about beauty. Yet it would be if the colors we actually see are really wavelengths of corresponding colors and if they are how do we know that colors are real. When in reality they are simply photons with varying wavelengths and our brains sorting them out and causing chemical reactions to occur. Which in turn would cause us to perceive something as red, blue, or purple.

When you talk about subjectivity and objectivity they are something for arts and not something that can be seen. Although if you are of the philosophical type I invite you to give this a go. The argument is not of truths, objectivity, or subjectivity. Wetness is by your definition and the topic of the debate wet, and you have proved your thoughts on this. What I have been attempting to articulate is that wetness is not a property of water, nor is it something that can be measured. Therefore water is not wet, for the feeling of wetness is a reproduction of both the substance physical properties and what we feel. If you were to stick someone's hand into one box and they felt cold, slight pressure, and nearly zero pain. They didn't move their hand to test for friction, just put it into the box and had to say what it was you would not have one uniform answer. The reason being is that the three senses that are used to identify water are used for many things, like cold air for example. It is only after they take their hand out and see a layer of liquid, or perhaps mover their hand in the box is when they know it was a l
Posted by TheAlmightyBob 5 years ago

This is not an opinion, these are real stimulation's which hopefully very soon we will be able to quantify even better. Now if you have two people go through the same experiment and the two contradicted that would be a bit different. Their past would have to deal with a lot and things that they have been exposed to, which will go into how they categorize what they are feeling. For example a third world kid may not know what jello is so he is at a disadvantage when it comes to guessing the stimulation.

My conclusion is that the latter half of your argument was misguided, opinions and the basic senses are completely different things.
Proof: -Showing that dictionary entries are by usage not by how correct they are -Copper sulphate reaction

I look forward to your rebuttal.
Posted by Wocambs 5 years ago
I had no idea that messages between 'strangers' were proscribed by default. I've changed it now, so feel free to message me.
Posted by TheAlmightyBob 5 years ago
So your security seems to be set to friends only when messaging. There are two ways we can go about this first being is to change the setting, the second is to do a friend request.
Posted by Wocambs 5 years ago
Thanks for working towards a fix, and yes, I would like to read your next argument.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by bladerunner060 5 years ago
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: Both debators did an excellent job considering the nature of this debate. However, Pro made the case that the subjective definition Con proposed was not a sufficient definition of wetness to account for things which are wet even if not felt as such (such as a wet towel). While I applaud Con's ingenuous argument, I find Pro's point regarding that more compelling. Sourcing seemed irrelevant here, and both debators managed to have spelling and grammar such that I don't feel the need to award a point over it. Conduct was likewise exemplary from both parties. Overall, a fine debate, particularly considering the challenge of not being able to post their respective final rounds!