The Instigator
wrichcirw
Pro (for)
Tied
0 Points
The Contender
mrsatan
Con (against)
Tied
0 Points

What is Undesirable May Very Well Be Appropriate

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Post Voting Period
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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 4/8/2014 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 7 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 4,257 times Debate No: 51615
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (38)
Votes (1)

 

wrichcirw

Pro

Background

Nothing specific, this is just something I've been mulling over recently. Many people consider what is undesirable to be wrong or immoral, and this debate aims to demonstrate otherwise.

This is a short debate that is impossible to accept in order to screen out people who forfeit or will troll. If you would like to accept this debate, either PM me or leave a comment in the comments section, thank you.

Personally, I do not see a CON position being possible, but I do see many, many instances in real life where others do. This debate is meant to challenge people who have notions to that effect.


Resolution

What is Undesirable May Very Well Be Appropriate.

(note, this resolution does not demand that PRO prove that ALL undesirable things are appropriate, only that they MAY VERY WELL BE appropriate.)


Definitions


By accepting this debate, you accept the below definitions as not debatable:

Desirable: having pleasing qualities or properties
http://www.merriam-webster.com...

(excluded from the definition: "worth seeking or doing as advantageous, beneficial, or wise" - I would attribute this quality much more to prudency than desirability)

Appropriate: especially suitable or compatible : fitting
http://www.merriam-webster.com...


Rules

As usual, this is a NO SCORING debate - non-scored RFDs and any form of feedback are most welcome. The only exception is in the matter of conduct, for which along with standard conduct issues (forfeiture, personal attacks, no trolling, etc), breaking the below rules (to include not proffering a case) would merit conduct against the offender.

Burden of proof (BoP) is shared.

5 rounds
1st round: acceptance
2/3/4 rounds argument and rebuttal
5th round: closing arguments, rebuttals are ok, but no new sources.

4,000 character rounds.
mrsatan

Con

I accept, and my thanks to wrichcirw for extending the challenge to me. It should prove to be an interesting debate.

I would like to add the agreed upon definition of undesirable.

Undesirable: not having pleasing qualities or properties.

And with that, I await Pros' opening arguments.
Debate Round No. 1
wrichcirw

Pro

Introduction


I thank CON for accepting and for provding a vigorous analysis on the terms of this resolution before accepting.

This resolution's aim (and why the definitions are so specific) is to isolate a specific aspect of desirability, that being any aspect of desirability that is imprudent, or undesirability that is prudent. Any talk about equating prudency to desirability, or undesirability to imprudence, would of course allow most people to reach an easy conclusion about the appropriateness of any desire or action.

That is not the goal of this debate.

What my opponent will probably aim to do, which I expected, would be to focus on how anything that is prudent is desirable. I fully agree with this, and I don't consider such a statement to be debatable. Furthermore, I may still fully agree with such an assertion, and still prove my position in this debate to be fully sound and valid on a logical basis.

I understand that quite a few people may have an objection to the exemption of prudency to this resolution...the bottom line is that "desirability" NEED NOT conform to BOTH "having pleasing qualities or properties" AND "worth seeking or doing as advantageous, beneficial, or wise"...it need only be one or the other for something to be desirable. I will focus only on the former, and proving the resolution with only this aspect of desirability will constitute my meeting of burden of proof given the specificity of this resolution.

That was the goal of the exemption, and I will stick to this form of argumentation.


Argument


I was going to lead with a symbolic deconstruction of this resolution because it's so specific and semantics-based, but I will refrain from doing so unless I sense fallacious reasoning, because I think I may lose more people doing so than not.

Instead, I will just proffer examples.

Can something be desirable and imprudent? Sure. Monica Lewinsky immediately comes to mind...apparently Bill Clinton indulged in her "pleasing qualities or properties" (whatever they may be) while having thoughts or experiencing consequences that most people agree would be anything but prudent. Another example would be having roses "au naturel" in a vase/pot with thorns and everything, which while desirable to a lot of naturalists, may be imprudent if you have children around that just like to grab things.

Can something be undesirable and prudent? Sure. Working out. Do it long enough, and I assure you that the constant and persistent soreness will wear on you and most certainly will make it undesirable. Prudent? Well, of course, right? Who wouldn't benefit from some body-chiseling? Who wouldn't find this appropriate? (this assumes you're working out safely...we're not talking about people who pull this-or-that muscle while benching 3 times their known max)

So, in the case of working out, we have a clear-cut case of something undesirable, prudent, and appropriate, which directly affirms the resolution. I remind audiences that as the resolution is phrased, I NEED NOT prove that ALL undesirable things are appropriate, only that they MAY BE appropriate. Working out easily meets burden of proof for such a position.

There's really not much to it other than this. I'm certain CON will proffer something quite convincing, as he has proven to do already in the comments section. The real question for this debate is whether or not his case will be relevant to the resolution.

I await CON's case and response.
mrsatan

Con

My thanks to Pro for his argument. It's refreshing to be in a debate where my opponent actually posts arguments (there's been way too much forfeitting in my most recent debates).

I wasn't planning on disputing the exempted portion of my opponents definition, as I am a firm believer that accepting a challenge is acceptance of that challenges framework. However, my opponent has, surprisingly, already conceded that it shouldn't be exempted.

"...the bottom line is that "desirability" NEED NOT conform to BOTH "having pleasing qualities or properties" AND "worth seeking or doing as advantageous, beneficial, or wise"...it need only be one or the other for something to be desirable."

As my opponent said in round one, the latter is a quality of prudence. And, as he says here, either the former or latter, not necessarily both, would mean something is desirable. So, if something is prudent, the latter is a quality of it, and so it is also desirable.

I don't equate the two... if something has the former but not the latter, it would be desirable, but not prudent. If it has the latter but not the former, it would be both desirable and prudent. So, while desirability does not necessitate prudence, prudence does necessitate desirability.

Therefore, to meet his BoP, Pro must show that something can be both undesirable and appropriate for someone while also being imprudent. Working out is prudent, so it does not meet Pro's BoP.


To meet my BoP, I need to show that something either needs to be prudent, or needs to pleasing in and of itself, not necessarily both, in order to be considered appropriate.

So, the question is, what makes something especially suitable/compatible to, or fitting for a person?

The only answer I can think of is that there is a reason for it. Unless that reason is simply that it's enjoyable, then it must be beneficial in some way. Otherwise, it's not really a reason. Perhaps it's to benefit someone else, but since knowing that you've helped someone is pleasing, it's desirable to do things that benefit others.

Perhaps my opponent has an alternative answer to what makes something appropriate, but if not, I'd say my BoP is fulfilled.
Debate Round No. 2
wrichcirw

Pro

Ok, I do sense a logical inconsistency in CON's arguments, so I hope people will be able to tolerate what I'm about to do.

CON makes an error in logic in the following statement: "As my opponent said in round one, the latter is a quality of prudence. And, as he says here, either the former or latter, not necessarily both, would mean something is desirable. So, if something is prudent, the latter is a quality of it, and so it is also desirable." As expected, CON equates prudence with desirability, which has been specifically excluded as a condition for accepting this debate.

A (very short) guide on the relevant symbolic logic used below: (http://www.math.csusb.edu...)

Logical Deconstruction



1) First and foremost, I want to re-emphasize that I need not prove that all things that are undesirable are appropriate.

There is a material difference between the following resolutions:

a) What is undesirable is appropriate.
b) What is undesirable may very well be appropriate.

The resolution for this debate is b), not a).

Conversely, this also means that CON must prove that "what is undesirable MUST BE inappropriate", i.e. CON must prove it in ALL cases.


2) The exclusion is absolutely necessary in order to convey the intended meaning of this resolution. Allow me to demonstrate.

If we were to consider both definitions of "desirability" (the one for this debate as well as the excluded definition), we would necessarily reach the conclusion that desirability entails AT LEAST one OR the other and quite possibly both. The following truth table would apply:

Desirability = A or B
A = having pleasing qualities or properties
B = worth seeking or doing as advantageous, beneficial, or wise

Truth Table:



Without the exclusion, undesirability would necessarily have to be neither A nor B (the red portion).

---

With the exclusion, "desirability" becomes very simple:

Desirability = A

Truth Table:



Undesirability would thus be either of the highlighted portions (red or green). For this debate, I am talking about things that are undesirable yet prudent, i.e. ((not A) and B), the green portion of the truth table.

---

This is a valid semantical approach, further substantiated by looking at the definition of the word "sky" (http://www.merriam-webster.com...)



1. the upper atmosphere or expanse of space that constitutes an apparent great vault or arch over the earth
2. heaven
3. weather in the upper atmosphere
Let's look at just definitions #1 and #3. As you can see, it's not possible to intelligibly talk about "sky" as if it was both the weather and the expanse of space above our heads simultaneously...therefore, you can only talk about one or the other. If a debate was about "sky as weather" then if someone talked about the expanse of space above our heads, for the purposes of such a debate, they are not talking about the "sky".


3) To deconstruct this resolution, I proffer another truth table:

A = having pleasing qualities or properties
B = worth seeking or doing as advantageous, beneficial, or wise
C = especially suitable or compatible : fitting

A and B are the definitions of desirability and prudence, and C is the definition of appropriateness. Symbolically, including the exclusion, this resolution is the simple statement:

((not A) and B) -> C



All I am stating is the green portion of the truth table. As you can see, it essentially states, "if something is undesirable and prudent, then it may very well be appropriate". I only need to provide one case of this, and I did so via my working out example in round #2. CON must prove the red portion to uphold his burden, that if something is undesirable and prudent, it must be inappropriate. CON needs to prove this in ALL cases.


Conclusion


I have provided a logical proof to deconstruct the semantics of this debate and demonstrate how the exclusion is absolutely necessary to demonstrate the specific meaning of this particular resolution. The logic is valid, thus I have upheld my burden of proof.
mrsatan

Con

My apologies. I took Pros statement (the one I quoted last round) to mean that he agreed the exemption shouldn't be there. Since that seems to have been a misunderstanding, I will henceforth argue with the definition of desirable being nothing more than "having pleasing qualities or properties".

However, this doesn't have much of an impact on my position, so much of this round is going to be a rewording of my previous round, to better explain my position, but I will also be explaining why the exemption is unimportant to that position.

Specifically, at this point, my position is that it is impossible for anything to be both undesirable and prudent, and that this prevents anything undesirable from being appropriate.


If something is prudent, then prudence is a property of that thing. Furthermore, as prudence entails a desired result, prudence is a pleasing property. If something has a pleasing property, that thing is desirable. So for anything that is prudent, prudence itself is a pleasing property of that thing, which means that thing is also desirable.

As such, the exempted portion of the definition for desirable is simply a more targeted aspect of the accepted portion.

The first and third definitions my opponents presented for "sky" are very similar to this.
1. the upper atmosphere or expanse of space that constitutes an apparent great vault or arch over the earth.
3. weather in the upper atmosphere.

When talking specifically about #3, you're talking about a targeted aspect of the upper atmosphere, and so the rest of the upper atmosphere is likely irrelevant. In this regard, I agree with Pro.

However, the reverse is a different story. When talking about #1, you're talking about the upper atmosphere as a whole. This includes "the weather of the upper atmosphere", and so, in this case, the two can be discussed together.

So again, going back to the definitions of desirable, the accepted definition includes the exempted portion. So while we could exclude other pleasing properties, to talk about prudent things, we cannot exclude prudent things to talk about pleasing properties as a whole, because prudence IS a pleasing property.


Long story made short, the point is, something cannot be both undesirable and prudent.

By Pros final truth table, this would mean the green portion (that which he must prove possible) is impossible.
((not A) and B) will ALWAYS be false.

So again, Pro must show that something can be appropriate without having any pleasing properties. Because prudence is a pleasing property, anything prudent will not work to show this (including his example of working out).

Here's a simple syllogism to sum up the above argument.

P1: If something is prudent, then prudence is a property of it.
P2: Prudence is a pleasing property.
P3: If something has a pleasing property, then it is desirable.
C: If something is prudent, it has a pleasing property, and is therefore desirable.



Of course, the above is ONLY to prove that something prudent is also desirable. I still must show that something undesirable can't be appropriate. No amount of examples can do this, but since Pro did not respond to my argument for this from last round, I will restate it.

What makes something appropriate?

There must be a reason in order for something to be fitting. That reason could be simply that it is pleasing in and of itself, or it could be that it results in something pleasing (that it's prudent). Therefore, if something's appropriate, it's because it is desirable or because it's prudent. If prudence is the reason, then it also causes it to be desirable. As such, nothing undesirable is appropriate.

Again, if Pro has an alternative answer to this question, I'd be happy to hear it. Otherwise, I still consider my burden fulfilled.
Debate Round No. 3
wrichcirw

Pro

I thank CON for providing yet another clear and cogent deconstruction of this resolution.

The first half of CON's rebuttal deals with the statement:

"So again, going back to the definitions of desirable, the accepted definition includes the exempted portion. So while we could exclude other pleasing properties, to talk about prudent things, we cannot exclude prudent things to talk about pleasing properties as a whole, because prudence IS a pleasing property."

Again, this is where the exclusion comes into play. One can easily talk about desirability excluding one specific aspect of desirability, namely prudence. I mean, this occurs all the time in various research studies...you seek to control for one element or another in order to study the subject in question. In this case, the subject in question is essentially "all elements of desirability excluding prudence".

I agree with CON's logic, that absent the exclusion, all prudent things are "pleasing" and hence desirable, but as is crystal clear in the terms of acceptance of this debate, desirability simply is not about prudence in this debate. With the exclusion in mind, we simply need to ask two questions:

1) Is what is undesirable and imprudent inappropriate? Most people would easily say yes, and that's not the point of this debate.
2) Is what is undesirable and prudent inappropriate? IMHO the answer depends upon one's prioritization of prudence. To some, prudence has little to do with appropriateness, and those people would answer "yes" to the question. The purpose of this debate is to demonstrate why the answer is "no". I've already demonstrated this with my work-out example, which CON has yet to even begin to address.

When one talks about the upper atmosphere, sure, weather is a part of that atmosphere and would naturally be a subject of discussion. However, if one talks about the upper atmosphere EXCLUDING WEATHER, then any discussion about the weather would be irrelevant to the matter at hand. Then one would talk about other things about the atmosphere...maybe ionization, maybe the damned color...anything BUT the weather.

In this debate, I have discussed how the undesirability of working out is actually quite appropriate. I have thus already met burden of proof for my half of the resolution.

---

Perhaps the best way to demonstrate how the exclusion plays in this debate is to look at CON's syllogism:

P1: If something is prudent, then prudence is a property of it.
P2: Prudence is a pleasing property.
P3: If something has a pleasing property, then it is desirable.
C: If something is prudent, it has a pleasing property, and is therefore desirable.


This is most certainly valid without the exclusion. However, considering the exclusion, the syllogism is rendered thus:

P1: For the purposes of this debate, the property of prudence is outside the realm of what is desirable.
P2: If something is a pleasing property, then it is desirable.
C: If something is a pleasing property, then it is desirable UNLESS it is prudent, in which case it is outside the realm of what is desirable.

Essentially, if something is pleasing ONLY BECAUSE it is prudent, then for the purposes of this debate it is not necessarily desirable. This was clear in the stipulations in the debate, although admittedly neither of us saw exactly how this would play out during the course of the debate.

So, working out fits under this rubric. It is indeed pleasing ONLY BECAUSE it is prudent, and thus is not necessarily desirable. Is it appropriate? Yes.

---

Given the parameters of this debate, CON makes an erroneous assertion, that "Pro must show that something can be appropriate without having any pleasing properties." Something can easily lack pleasing properties yet still be prudent given the parameters of this debate.


Conclusion


Without the exclusion, I find CON's reasoning to be completely sound. With the exclusion, I find CON's reasoning to be irrelevant to this debate.
mrsatan

Con

Well, I still hold strong to my arguments, as prudence is very much not excluded from this debate, nor was it's exclusion part of the terms. It's just not a part of of the definition of desirable, and I have shown how it still applies using only the remaining definition. If prudence were excluded from this debate, my opponent would not be using prudence to justify his position.

Let's look back for a moment at what Pro says near the start of Round 2:

"What my opponent will probably aim to do, which I expected, would be to focus on how anything that is prudent is desirable. I fully agree with this, and I don't consider such a statement to be debatable. Furthermore, I may still fully agree with such an assertion, and still prove my position in this debate to be fully sound and valid on a logical basis."

The underlined statement is true, but ONLY by showing that something imprudent can be both undesirable and appropriate.

If Pro wants prudency excluded from this debate, then he must show why something can be undesirable yet appropriate, excluding any possible prudence. (Using prudence as justification IS NOT excluding prudence)
Debate Round No. 4
wrichcirw

Pro

I thank CON for engaging in a very constructive debate. I think it's been an excellent discussion on the resolution and how it was structured. In the end, perhaps what CON exposed more than anything else is the artificiality of this exercise, which is something I readily acknowledge. The artificiality is meant to isolate a specific aspect of desirability while excluding other aspects in order to analyze what is isolated.

For my final round I will do a line-by-line rebuttal and proffer closing comments.


Rebuttal


"Well, I still hold strong to my arguments, as prudence is very much not excluded from this debate, nor was it's exclusion part of the terms. It's just not a part of of the definition of desirable, and I have shown how it still applies using only the remaining definition. If prudence were excluded from this debate, my opponent would not be using prudence to justify his position."

1) Indeed prudence is not part of the definition of desirable, and because it is not, it cannot be applied to the remaining definition.

2) Prudence is NOT excluded from the entire debate, it is ONLY excluded from the definition of desirability.

---

"Let's look back for a moment at what Pro says near the start of Round 2:

""What my opponent will probably aim to do, which I expected, would be to focus on how anything that is prudent is desirable. I fully agree with this, and I don't consider such a statement to be debatable. Furthermore, I may still fully agree with such an assertion, and still prove my position in this debate to be fully sound and valid on a logical basis."

"The underlined statement is true, but ONLY by showing that something imprudent can be both undesirable and appropriate."



This is simply not true. I've proved that given the restrictions placed upon the definition of desirability (that prudence is excluded), that something can be undesirable, prudent, and appropriate, i.e. working out, which for 3 rounds now my opponent has failed to address or even acknowledge.


---

"If Pro wants prudency excluded from this debate, then he must show why something can be undesirable yet appropriate,excluding any possible prudence. (Using prudence as justification IS NOT excluding prudence)"

Prudency is not excluded from the debate...it is excluded from the definition of desirability.


Conclusion


Unfortunately, this debate was probably a bit too much of a tedious semantics exercise.

To sum up:

1) I fully agree that something cannot be undesirable, imprudent, and appropriate, nor can something be desirable, prudent, and inappropriate. I can agree to this and still fulfill BoP for this resolution, which I have through the working out example, which for this debate is undesirable, prudent, and appropriate.

2) I believe CON's main misinterpretation is thinking that prudence is completely excluded from this debate. No, it is simply excluded from any association with desirability.

3) I've repeatedly reminded audiences that my simple example of working out is enough to meet BoP, as it is indeed undesirable yet appropriate. CON never addressed this simple example, and thus I have thus upheld BoP unchallenged.


I thank CON for a constructive and vigorous (if not semantically tedious) debate, and for audiences that are able to make it through this exercise without annoyance, lol.
mrsatan

Con

"The artificiality is meant to isolate a specific aspect of desirability while excluding other aspects in order to analyze what is isolated."

While this may have been Pros intention, it is not achieved by the framework of this debate. One cannot analyze an aspect of something by pretending it's not an aspect of that thing.

I accepted this debate based on the definitions of round one, and (aside from my initial misunderstanding of Pros statements) I have shown how prudence is still an aspect of desirability based on those definitions.

If Pro wanted prudence to be excluded as a desirable trait, he should have said so in round one. He excluded part of a definition, because he felt it applied more to prudence. He did not say prudence could not be a reason for desirability.

Furthermore, I have addressed Pros argument for working out by showing that it is not undesirable.

Ultimately, I'm not really sure what Pro is trying to prove here, because pretending something isn't what it is does not prove anything.
Debate Round No. 5
38 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 21 through 30 records.
Posted by Ragnar 7 years ago
Ragnar
Some fudge-bag spammed me so much that I no longer get DDO notifications via email, someone please send me a PM when this debate goes into the voting period.
Posted by Juan_Pablo 7 years ago
Juan_Pablo
This looks like it's going to be a good debate. I don't necessarily disagree with Pro here as I think what can be undesirable in the short-term can be desirable in the long-term, for numerous and diverse groups forced to live with each other.

I'm keeping my eye on this debate.
Posted by wrichcirw 7 years ago
wrichcirw
Well, the idea behind this debate was that there are certainly things that are inappropriate yet desirable...even if those things are imprudent. That was what I was attempting to isolate with the exclusion.

However, if you equate prudency to desirability, there's nothing to debate, really.
Posted by mrsatan 7 years ago
mrsatan
It's hard to say, really. Desire is a very subjective thing. What's pleasing to some may be displeasing to others, or it may be pleasing to others, but for completely different reasons. So what some may see as desirable, others may see as undesirable.

I would certainly agree that something can be undesirable in one persons eyes, yet still be appropriate for another person. But, I honestly cannot think of a scenario in which a person would do something undesirable (in their own eyes) without at least the hope of something pleasing resulting from it. I'd even go as far as to say prudence is nothing more than weighing the desirable against the undesirable.

So, I suppose I simply don't agree with the exemption. But it would be inconsiderate of me to accept the debate and then challenge it, so I'll have to decline if you choose to keep it.
Posted by The_Scapegoat_bleats 7 years ago
The_Scapegoat_bleats
As I told you on your previous attempt to debate this.
Posted by wrichcirw 7 years ago
wrichcirw
Hmmm...you ask an excellent question. It makes me wonder if we ever do something that is both undesirable and imprudent (as stated in this debate)...

If we take your consideration into account, then invariably what is prudent is synonymous with what is desirable, which negates the exemption...
Posted by mrsatan 7 years ago
mrsatan
Excellent, in that case I am interested. Although I have one more question before I accept, this one concerning the omitted portion of your definition for desirable.

Personally, I would consider the result of an action to be a quality of that action. Would you consider that as violating your definition? For instance, my job is far from desirable as far as the work itself goes, however I consider it a desirable job as it results in a higher paycheck than other jobs I could get in my area.

Certainly, it is prudent for me to continue doing my job, but I would say that anyone being prudent has some desired outcome in mind.
Posted by wrichcirw 7 years ago
wrichcirw
@mrsatan:

I suppose to be logically consistent, it would be precisely "not having pleasing qualities or properties".

Tell me if you're interested, I'll send you the challenge. =)
Posted by mrsatan 7 years ago
mrsatan
Tempted to take this, but would you define undesirable as "not having pleasing qualities or properties", or as "having displeasing properties or qualities"?
Posted by wrichcirw 7 years ago
wrichcirw
Thank you for providing a salient example of why I screen for opponents.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Wylted 7 years ago
Wylted
wrichcirwmrsatanTied
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