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

if you were alone with someone, n there no way to get food, u can morally kill an eat that person

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 7/12/2014 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 7 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 992 times Debate No: 58874
Debate Rounds (3)
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Votes (1)




if you were alone with someone, n there was no way 2 get food, u can morally kill an eat that person. consider a deserted island hypothetical or maybe stranded in the desert w no end in clear site, or something like that.

the normal rules of not being able to kill others at this point no longer applies.


Thank you for creating this discussion, I look forward to debating with you. Given the fact that you have not specified how the first round should be carried out, I will go ahead and jump into it.

I believe that it is highly immoral to kill an individual for the purpose of food without a clear cause. I will take this time to point out that I have no objections to the use of humans for food, I only object to the act of murder in this case. In other words, if one of the individuals died due to exposure or willingly allowed himself to be used as food, I would have no objection.

Pro has stated that in this extreme circumstance, the normal rules for killing a human being do not apply. I disagree, and assert that the rules for killing a non-combative human being still apply. Pro has stated that there is no way to obtain food, and that there is no clear end in sight. I will assume that access to clean water is questionable, given that the hypothetical takes place on a deserted island (surrounded by salt-water presumably) or in the desert (where water is scarce). I will assume that the average human being can survive for 3-6 days without water in average conditions. Therefore, water would be the limiting resource in these scenarios, and the need for water would outweigh the need for food significantly (humans can last several weeks without food in average conditions). In these conditions, killing another human being would not do much to alleviate the survivors need to access to water. It it true that eating the human would provide limited water, but this effect would be countered by the digestion and excretion processes.

Beyond the issue of water loss, killing a human brings with it several immediate deleterious effects. By killing the other person, the survivor has lost half the manpower that can be used to gather supplied. Another human being could allocate work towards attempting to fish (island), scavenging, building shelter, or trying to find additional resources. Moreover, putting two minds together increases the odds of survival, because of the above mentioned benefits.

The irrationality in killing another human being leads directly into the immorality of killing the other person. After all, if there is no clear benefit to be had from killing another human being, then that action is unnecessary.
Debate Round No. 1


con posits that it's only moral to eat another when they die of natural causes, or volunteers.

then con goes on to say that the other person shouldn't be killed, given the details do not necessarily lend itself to making a difference.

con almost seems to be rubbing against himself, in that if the situation lent itself to being able to survive by eating the other, it might seem to be legit to do it, but he first says you can't at all. perhaps he's saying "it wouldn't work anyway" is all he's trying to say.

i think the details are sufficient to say that perhaps the eating the other person might make a difference in survival. i could have structured the scenario as 'no end in clear sight.... but with food, there could be and perhaps probably would be'.

i think my lack of giving the extra detail is inconsequenctial, as it should be assumed it could make a difference, and at any rate, trying to survive longer is merit enough in and of itself.

con concludes by again almost acting as if the only real reason you souldn't kill, is because of practical concerns. i question whether con is against it intrinsically.

but, when it's die or kill, all rules no longer apply. why do we not kill? there's often no reason to. we want to propagate our species in general. in extreme cases, though, you have to propagate your own self first. it's the natural law. even animals are known to eat their young when they are starving. not because they are brutes, but because the natural order understands that there's no point letting another live when you both might die. i would guess this phenomonen happens even between species and not involving the young, who might be viewed as lost causes to begin with.


"u [sic] can morally kill an [sic] eat that person"

I think we may have gotten a bit off track in this debate and I believe this is why, morality is a nebulous term and the definition of it is paramount. Also, I will assume from here on out that dehydration would not be an issue as I feel adding such a caveat would be a red herring.

In order to move forward allow me to propose a working definition, to allow the least amount of harm.

Harm, of course, can be defined differently depending on the values and goals of each party defining it. This, however, is not an acceptable rationale for ignoring the subjective opinion of another person. Taking into account what others consider to be harmful is a necessary consideration in calculating "the least amount of harm". Put another way, what constitutes harm would necessarily include all definitions of harm, not just the definition of the person considering the course of action.

Pro asserts that my view on killing in this case is based on practicality. I assert practicality is fundamental to determining morality. Morality dictates the killing could not take place unless a rescue became sufficiently probable after I had killed and consumed the other person, as there must be sufficient benefit to counter the harm of killing them.

If, however, rescue was not sufficiently probable then the only moral act would be for both people to die of starvation, unless one person volunteered to be killed or both parties agreed to kill each other in order to reduce suffering.

In conclusion, there is not a simple yes or no answer, but a suite of potential scenarios which would sway the balance between benefit and harm. In the end a subjective consensus would need to be reached between both parties in order for any action to be considered a moral course of action.
Debate Round No. 2


so it sounds like we both agree, that killing and eating the other person would be permissible if it meant a firm probabbility of that person to be able to continue on and survive?

i would tend to think the person could merely extend his own life, at least as long as it is 'significant', even if it doesn't seem that it would afterwards be probable teywould survive. a whole human body to eat would almost surely allow one a significant amount of time to live.

but i can very much see that a person might just say 'go down with the boat' and not try to take others down sooner than necessary.

i think in terms of the heart of it all, con agrees with me, that it is not just inherently unjustifiable to ever kill and eat another person to survive.


"so it sounds like we both agree, that killing and eating the other person would be permissible if it meant a firm probabbility [sic] of that person to be able to continue on and survive?"

We do appear close to an agreement, but there is one important distinction, that of permission. It is the difference between consensual sex and rape or, in this case, assisted suicide and murder.

"as long as it is 'significant', even if it doesn't seem that it would afterwards be probable they would survive"

If neither person were to increase their probability of rescue then there would be no benefit from longer survival of either person. In fact, all that would result is either person would live out the remainder of their lives alone as opposed to with a companion.

Without probable rescue and permission pro asserts undue harm still results, therefore the intentional death of another person would continue to be immoral. Murder does not become okay simply because no punishment would be meted out from an outside party.
Debate Round No. 3
No comments have been posted on this debate.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Romanii 7 years ago
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Total points awarded:31 
Reasons for voting decision: Con conceded that there DO exist circumstances in which cannibalism is moral (when the cannibal has a significantly increased chance of survival by engaging in it), which by extension means that he has conceded the debate, since the resolution that Pro needed to affirm simply states that "you CAN morally kill someone" (i.e. that there is at least one scenario in which it is moral). Arguments to Pro. S&G to Con because of Pro's complete lack of capitalization...

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