EDEB8 - Ultimate Online Debating
About Us   Debate    Judge   Forum
Views:
1352

Human life should be driven by utility

(PRO)
WINNER!
4 points
(CON)
2 points
Bi0HazardBi0Hazard (PRO)
In this debate, I will be arguing that human life should be driven by utility(Utilitarianism).  
I am going to make this short. 

Definitions

Utility- the aggregate pleasure after deducting suffering of all involved in any action.*1
Human life- Life of Humans(people)

Arguments

1. Pleasure with minimal suffering is desirable
2. Striving for something that makes people unhappy and have no pleasure is pointless
3. Happiness and pleasure is usually assumed to be necessary. 


Pleasure with minimal suffering is desirable

People will strive for what makes them happy. Even if people choose to do a hard job that is not something to be happy about, they do it to make money or help someone which would make them happy(with pleasure). Doing what you desire is a natural thing for a human to do. People will always strive to minimize future pain or maximize pleasure(inherent pleasure in something). By utility, I mean pleasure for all people. Making someone happy at the expense of another(like stealing money from a person) is not utility since it makes a person involved in an action unhappy(not pleasant). People have always strived for some pleasure.   

Striving for something that makes people unhappy and have no pleasure is pointless

Now, you may possibly be thinking that my first argument wasn't an argument since it was circular. Pleasure with minimal suffering may be desirable(pleasure), but that is central to utility which is what I am trying to defend in the first place. However, an action that doesn't ever make someone happy is pointless since humans are driven by happiness. Humans are beings with choice, so they choose what they desire to choose. Everything a person does is what the human wants. This is why human life should be driven by utility, because it is a purely consistent and necessary way for humans to be. 

Happiness and pleasure is usually assumed to be necessary

Most people assume objective morality. People accept murder and harming others to be morally wrong. Any action that all humans have pleasure in is viewed as more positive. If anyone suffers, it is viewed as an immoral action. If someone finds pleasure in an action, it is mostly viewed as not immoral. Happiness and pleasure is viewed as moral, and suffering is viewed as immoral. Utility is assumed by people. Since utility is assumed, it is what drives(and should drive) human life(and morality).

Conclusion

This is a very short round, but I prefer short rounds(Pleasure with less suffering). 
Overall, human life should be driven by utility because pleasure with minimal suffering is desired by humans, striving for unhappiness and no pleasure is entirely pointless, and is assumed by humans. 

Thanks for reading!

I am looking forward to my opponents first round.

Sources

*1- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Utilitarianism

Note:

Approximately 2892 characters(counting these) were used in this debate draft. 

Return To Top | Posted:
2016-08-02 23:12:04
| Speak Round
adminadmin (CON)
I'd like to thank my opponent for engaging in this debate with me as part of Stag's awesome tournament. My opponent has started with a short case for utility, so I'm happy to open by rebutting that case. The burden of proof rests squarely on my opponent - he needs to demonstrate a persuasive reason why human life should be driven by utility. I intend to rebut all the reasons he puts forward.

It's desirable / natural
This justification does not hold up in the light of close philosophical scrutiny. Just because something is desirable does not mean human life should be driven by desires. For example, Buddha held that desire was the root of suffering, because in a world of detachment from desires, there was nothing that could create an obstacle for desires, or undesirable things. Therefore this drive for money or helping others is self-defeating - the lack of help given to others, or positive digits in one's bank account, is what causes unhappiness in the first place, not the other way round.

This is doubly problematic because these desires are often contradictory. Pro brought up two great ones - people desire money but also charity. In economics this is called the problem of scarcity - we have unlimited wants but only limited means to fulfill these wants, and therefore most of our wants are never fulfilled. As such a life driven by utility, where people's motivations are merely carnal desires, will ultimately lead to only disappointment, since those desires are inherently unattainable. This is a fundamental misunderstanding by my opponent of the human condition.

Usually assumed
People assume wrong things all the time. This is a logical fallacy, so common that it has a cool Latin name - "ad populum". Just because a belief is common does not make it true, because people may all be committing the same mistakes or have the same incorrect notions. For example, people once thought the world was flat. That millions of people lived and died before our time thinking the world was flat, and that this was plainly self-evident, did not make it so. The world is just as slightly-pear-shaped as it has been for a long time.

It should be noted that this notion also defeats the resolution. If people are currently already primarily driven by utility then we would expect to see people as maximally content with their lives as is possible, if all of pro's assumptions hold true. And yet most of society appears to be getting more unhappy! We're getting worse and pro's model does not account for that. If striving for utility paradoxically makes us unhappy then it doesn't sound like it achieves its aims very well.

Striving for other things is pointless
If pro wants to prove this then I can only assume they're going to tell us what the point of life is. The meaning of life is certainly a very debatable question but if pro wants to base their whole argument on it, then it's troubling that they don't want to take a stab at what it might be. So I'd like to reflect this question back to pro - what is the point? If pro answers the point is to try to make ourselves happy then that's tautological, as he himself pointed out. And if he answers that the point is something else then that doesn't support the resolution. Simply stating a point that pro knows is wrong, by his own admission, in the negative, does not inherently make it true.

Consistent with choices
The resolution assumes there are other ways a person could be. Even if people reliably chose what's in their best interests and did some complicated mathematical calculation of the relative pros and cons each and every time they made a decision - which, let's face it, people don't - then people might still not be choosing the option that human life should be driven by. This is just one standard of free will where we should let people do whatever they want to do insofar as they are able. That basis isn't some universal law, it assumes that's what people want. Reality is that some people don't want those choices, and don't necessarily want perfect control over their lives either. Pro never accounts for this in his model. It's also not like the alternatives to utility exclude choice - utility is just one means to making choices. Other options simply may provide other outcomes.

The resolution is negated.

Return To Top | Posted:
2016-08-05 10:20:29
| Speak Round
Cross-Examination
admin: Do you stand by your claim that things that are usually assumed are true?
Zer0: No, I don't believe things that are assumed to be true are necessarily true, but humans have choice and choosing more pleasurable outcomes are desirable.
Zer0: Peoples lives can be driven by different motives, but utility is assumed to be necessary. There is nothing "true" about it, just what our choices in life are.
admin: So is it your contention then that we should have our lives driven by utility because it is typically assumed to be true, even if it would lead to what might be objectively considered an immoral outcome?
Zer0: That is an assumed standard of morality.
admin: How exactly does the resolution follow from that statement, when the resolution requires you to prove not only what people do choose but what they ideally should choose?
Zer0: What you just said, "even if it would lead to what might be objectively considered an immoral outcome?" Utility is assumed by people. It is what we are driven by.
admin: That's not the resolution though, is it?
Zer0: It has to do with it.
admin: Can you explain that relationship for me please? Particularly as pertains to what people should do, as opposed to what people may choose.
Zer0: Since humans are free, they choose the most desirable outcome and harming others interferes. People will choose what gives them pleasure(even in the long run), since we naturally desire it.
Zer0: It can answer why we should be driven by utility, since its because it is most consistent with our nature and life.
admin: Isn't that basically begging the question? Assuming that humans are free, why should humans freely choose the thing that they find most desirable?
Zer0: Because that is what free will is and what we do with it. Choose what we desire while figuring that it reduces the unpleasant.
admin: So are you saying people's free choices always correspond to the most moral choices since they are made freely?
admin: What I'm trying to work out is, why is this argument based on this assumption of how people's assumptions map to moral outcomes? Like are you saying that what we think about utility actually changes the future, or do we have precognition? How does it work?
Zer0: Free will leads to more desirable outcomes(utility).
admin: How?
admin: I mean, even if people always choose the utilitarian option, and they always think it's moral, surely you can see that people might still be wrong about that sometimes?
Zer0: Because people with free will choose what they want, can not be forced.
Zer0: They will if they harm another/interfere.
admin: Why is that desirable?
Zer0: because desire is what we humans have.
admin: So are you saying that what humans have is morally good just because humans have it?
admin: Is there any objective standard by which a commonly held assumption implies an objective moral truth?
Zer0: You have a small burden of proof since your assuming there is a moral standard above us that people may get wrong with utility and desires.
admin: How does that answer either of my questions?
Zer0: I will get to answering.
admin: Point of order: your statement about BOP was not a question or an answer. It should be taken to be out of order.
Zer0: "So are you saying that what humans have is morally good just because humans have it?" No, because they chose it without constraining someone else's will.
admin: So what people choose without constraining the choices of others is always morally good? If so, why?
Zer0: "Is there any objective standard by which a commonly held assumption implies an objective moral truth?" No, I am not assuming objective morality.
admin: So if utility is not objective, when is it false?
Zer0: "So what people choose without constraining the choices of others is always morally good? If so, why?" Because it is most consistent with our free will.
admin: But how does that prove that "consistency with our free will" always yields the best outcomes?
Zer0: "So if utility is not objective, when is it false?" Morality is a concept held by us, utility isn't some objective truth, just most consistent with us humans.
admin: So you don't think utilitarianism always provides the best course of action?
Zer0: "But how does that prove that "consistency with our free will" always yields the best outcomes?" Because we gravitate towards choosing what minimizes harm.
Zer0: "So you don't think utilitarianism always provides the best course of action?" It is the course of action we are driven by, and most consistent with our free will.
admin: But don't you need to prove that utilitarianism is always what lives should be driven by? If so, how is that defensible if it does not always provide the best course of action?
Zer0: I do, lives should be driven by utility because it is most consistent with our free will making it the only way to live. Humans are central to this, and choosing our actions inevitably leads to more desirable outcomes.
Zer0: "If so, how is that defensible if it does not always provide the best course of action?" It does, because the best course is our choices and choices lead to minimizing suffering and maximizing pleasure.
Zer0: Choices are central to us.
admin: Are they always central to us? If so, isn't that an objective standard?
Zer0: "Are they always central to us?" Yes. "If so, isn't that an objective standard?" Not an objective moral standard.
admin: If something is always the same, isn't that literally the definition of objective?
Zer0: Yes, but would you call free will morality?
admin: No, but would you agree it leads to moral outcomes?
Zer0: Yes, I could agree with that.
admin: So now we're back to my original question again. If utilitarianism is not objective but choices are, when is utilitarianism wrong?
Zer0: In this debate, I am assuming morality is a subjective concept. People choose morality, so choices are up to the person. I said it isn't an objective moral standard, but it can have moral implications.
Zer0: I will answer it, "If utilitarianism is not objective but choices are, when is utilitarianism wrong?" It is never wrong unless it interferes with someone else. Utility is objective.
admin: So then aren't you conflating an objective moral standard with objective moral values?
Zer0: Probably, all objective morality.
admin: Then surely you must defend your belief that utilitarianism is objective ie applies to everyone?
Zer0: Ok, to get this straight, I accept utility as objective, but not objective morality.
admin: If utilitarianism is a moral system, and utilitarianism is objective, doesn't objective morality follow logically?
Zer0: No, utilitarianism is objective(applies to everyone), but there is no objective moral standard. Only we are central(and our pleasures).
admin: So utilitarianism is not a moral standard? What is it then?
Zer0: Utility is pleasure and minimal suffering in an action. Life being driven by it need not mean that there is objective morality.
admin: Why not?
admin: I mean, being driven by something is morals, and it being the same drive for everyone is objectivity, right?
Zer0: Hmmm, interesting, I guess I will accept that then. If life being driven by utility is morals, and it applies to everyone, then you could call it objective morality. I viewed it as an objective moral standard.

Return To Top | Speak Round
Bi0HazardBi0Hazard (PRO)
I would first of all like to thank my opponent for engaging in this debate. Now I will jump right into my opponents arguments.

I am going to do this a bit differently.

Opponent: This justification does not hold up in the light of close philosophical scrutiny. Just because something is desirable does not mean human life should be driven by desires. For example, Buddha held that desire was the root of suffering, because in a world of detachment from desires, there was nothing that could create an obstacle for desires, or undesirable things. Therefore this drive for money or helping others is self-defeating - the lack of help given to others, or positive digits in one's bank account, is what causes unhappiness in the first place, not the other way round.

My response: Humans being free makes utility most consistent with us. Human life should be driven by desires because desires is the only way we operate. It would be nonsense for someone to choose the way of suffering with no benefit or pleasure gained in the long run, if they choose it, they must want it(meaning they get pleasure from it). People choose what they desire and people desire pleasure. If someone chose to get beaten to save someone else from getting beaten, that is what they desire and believes it is for the better(more pleasure). The lack of help is the absence of an action, so it is not self-defeating.

Opponent: This is doubly problematic because these desires are often contradictory. Pro brought up two great ones - people desire money but also charity. In economics this is called the problem of scarcity - we have unlimited wants but only limited means to fulfill these wants, and therefore most of our wants are never fulfilled. As such a life driven by utility, where people's motivations are merely carnal desires, will ultimately lead to only disappointment, since those desires are inherently unattainable. This is a fundamental misunderstanding by my opponent of the human condition.

My response: A life driven by utility would not lead to disappointment since utility is pleasure and deducting suffering. Pleasure in our choices are not based on unattainable desires, but what we choose in an action. Humans choose what they desire and wanting to minimize suffering. 
Life being driven by utility simply doesn't create this problem. It can be based on pleasure with what you have.

Opponent: People assume wrong things all the time. This is a logical fallacy, so common that it has a cool Latin name - "ad populum". Just because a belief is common does not make it true, because people may all be committing the same mistakes or have the same incorrect notions. For example, people once thought the world was flat. That millions of people lived and died before our time thinking the world was flat, and that this was plainly self-evident, did not make it so. The world is just as slightly-pear-shaped as it has been for a long time.

My response: How we are living our life is not based on facts of how we really should be living but how we choose to live. Utility is most consistent with our free will since our free will is based on how we want things to be. We choose what pleasures us(whether in the short or long run). How we humans live our lives is what is most consistent with us. Human life being driven by utility is not a fact or fiction kind of thing. Pleasure is what we desire and choose, making utility most consistent with us humans. Being most consistent with humans free will is what makes human life meaningful. Utility is best for all of us since it is what is most consistent and desired. 

Opponent: It should be noted that this notion also defeats the resolution. If people are currently already primarily driven by utility then we would expect to see people as maximally content with their lives as is possible, if all of pro's assumptions hold true. And yet most of society appears to be getting more unhappy! We're getting worse and pro's model does not account for that. If striving for utility paradoxically makes us unhappy then it doesn't sound like it achieves its aims very well.

My response: There is no being maximally content with your life. Utility is based on what pleasures you and minimizes suffering. Suffering is naturally undesired by humans, and pleasure is desired. People getting more unhappy in society is my opponents subjective reasoning. Basically the point he is making is that if human life is driven by utility, then why are there people not content with everything? The reason is because peoples desires may not lead to 100% pleasure. Suffering exists in this world and you can't get rid of it with utility, but can choose the more pleasurable way. People will face challenges and society will have its issues. Even if many get less satisfied with their lives, our lives still must be driven by utility since we always choose the way of pleasure and deducting suffering.

Opponent: If pro wants to prove this then I can only assume they're going to tell us what the point of life is. The meaning of life is certainly a very debatable question but if pro wants to base their whole argument on it, then it's troubling that they don't want to take a stab at what it might be. So I'd like to reflect this question back to pro - what is the point? If pro answers the point is to try to make ourselves happy then that's tautological, as he himself pointed out. And if he answers that the point is something else then that doesn't support the resolution. Simply stating a point that pro knows is wrong, by his own admission, in the negative, does not inherently make it true.

My response: The meaning of life is the meaning you give it. Without utility, suffering and pleasure are meaningless concepts. Our life becomes based on some inconsistent principle. Life must be driven by utility because it has to be that way. We always choose pleasure and deduct suffering. Our lives may be individually driven differently, but utility applies to all. 

Opponent: The resolution assumes there are other ways a person could be. Even if people reliably chose what's in their best interests and did some complicated mathematical calculation of the relative pros and cons each and every time they made a decision - which, let's face it, people don't - then people might still not be choosing the option that human life should be driven by. This is just one standard of free will where we should let people do whatever they want to do insofar as they are able. That basis isn't some universal law, it assumes that's what people want. Reality is that some people don't want those choices, and don't necessarily want perfect control over their lives either. Pro never accounts for this in his model. It's also not like the alternatives to utility exclude choice - utility is just one means to making choices. Other options simply may provide other outcomes.

My response: First of all, doing complicated mathematical calculations to determine the pros and cons of each action is not needed for utility. Most people wouldn't want to do that(and would consider that as the way of suffering) and would choose what gives them more pleasure. Utility isn't some universal law, it is just what is natural to our free will. If you don't want perfect control of your life, you are choosing the more pleasurable way(unless you want perfect control). Utility is the most consistent means to making choices(because free will is what we choose and what we choose is based on what we want and what we want is the more pleasurable route). 


Conclusion: I made three arguments in the beginning, Pleasure with minimal suffering is desirable, Striving for something that makes people unhappy and have no pleasure is pointless, and happiness and pleasure is usually assumed to be necessary. This all together is supported by a point I made a lot in this round, that utility is most consistent with our free choices and is natural to humans. Humans have free will which allows them to choose, and since we can experience suffering and pleasure, we will choose what gives us pleasure. Choosing otherwise is not consistent with our free will of choosing what we want. If you choose what you want, your choosing it because it gives you some pleasure even if there is some suffering in it.
 Humans hardly ever choose what is not pleasurable to them and instead choose what they believe will pleasure them with minimal suffering. 
So, human life should be driven by utility because it has to be that way(most consistent with free will).

Thanks for reading

I am looking forward to my opponents response.

Note: I requested a time extension but apparently didn't need it, I guess it is better to be safe anyways.


Return To Top | Posted:
2016-08-10 04:03:48
| Speak Round
adminadmin (CON)
My opponent's structure is rather confusing and I suspect it is because he had little to say, so he felt the need to quote my arguments at great length. Nonetheless I thank him for the round and will do my best to answer his case in a more general light.

Pro opens by reiterating this assumption that people choose what they desire and that people desire pleasure. He does not engage with my analysis that this is the root of suffering. I'd like to extend that by saying the other half of Buddha's argument, that choosing a non-utilitarian path would therefore lead to nirvana, a state of bliss. It is argued that bliss and contentedness is better than maximizing pleasure because just because you try to maximize pleasure, does not mean you attain maximal pleasure. Rather, by trying to detach oneself from such desires, one gets more pleasure than if one desired pleasure itself. Pro has not engaged with the substantive principle behind this material, rather assuming that attempts to maximize pleasure will always accomplish that, ie the utilitarian view.

I argued that human desires are contradictory. Pro argues that if you calculate pleasure deducting suffering you can do that. This is based on several false premises. First, humans don't make complicated cost-benefit calculations with every morally significant action. Pro considers this un-necsaary, but then earlier in the same case gives us this equation of pleasure - suffering. How do you calculate that? Weigh up every potential bit of pleasure etc? If so then that IS complicated. Pro doesn't have a mechanism for their own model. And second, even if they did, you don't know in advance what outcomes are pleasurable and which cause suffering. Indeed choosing the option of finding as much pleasure and as little suffering, that choice may in and of itself cause somebody to have cognitive dissonance, not only because of the point I raised before, but because moral options are generally both strategic and opposed. If I chose to take drugs for example, that can have long term consequences and the relative moral outcomes are difficult to predict vs not taking drugs. The same is true for the opposed option. Since our lives are short and miserable either way, the calculation becomes meaningless.

Free will means you are free to not choose a utilitarian path. Pro concedes this. There is no equivalency that human will always involves maximizing pleasure and minimizing suffering. For example, people keep traditions that give them personally little pleasure. And while that might be explained in a utilitarian framework, just like any action can be reduced to that, it's not like utilitarianism is some universal truth. That's why we're having this debate. There are many valid moral systems and people have a variety of motivations. Reducing them to personal pleasure does not take into account the rich variety in the human moral experience. So yes, human life being driven by utility is a fiction. Matter of fact most human life is driven by instinct, not utility.

Regardless there should also be no illusion that is = should. Even if all human life were driven by utility (I can disprove this by science but it's not relevant), that doesn't mean that's how it SHOULD be. Perhaps humans are wrong and there's a better moral system. It is my contention here that utilitarianism is not a good moral system.

I pointed out that my opponent's case is also inconsistent with social observation, since society is becoming sadder. So at this point he's agreeing that choosing a utilitarian path does not make life more pleasurable. It's odd to rest one's laurels on a moral case on the basis of happiness being good, and the moral system you defend reduces happiness. This is clear proof that what pro advocates is not itself moral by his own standards.

Pro claims the meaning of life is what you give it. I'm still waiting on his proof of that. Right now his whole case is still based on that assertion, and that there is no other purpose to life. At this point he hasn't even justified the existence of free will. Everything is a series of tenuous assertions that don't link well to either the resolution or even each other.

Let's talk about "the resolution is true because it has to be that way". If pro is interpreting the resolution as tautological, then he's cheating since that would make it self-proving. The point is to have a debate, not prove a statement. This should dismiss the argument out of hand. Regardless consistency with =/= should be, and the pro hasn't proven free will either.

The resolution is negated.

Return To Top | Posted:
2016-08-13 01:20:56
| Speak Round
Cross-Examination
admin: Can you explain for me again, please, this logical link you're trying to make between what we should do and what we do? I'm having real trouble understanding that
Zer0: Utility is necessary to us humans, we are driven by it, so it has to be that way.
admin: Are you saying it's not possible for the resolution to be false? If not, why does it have to be that way?
Zer0: Utility is necessary for current humans, that is how they live. It has to be that way because we humans always will choose what desires us.
Zer0: It has to be that way because we humans are incapable of choosing what we don't desire.
Zer0: Free will is based on what we desire, you can't freely choose to not be driven by utility. Your choices are driven by pleasure all the time.
Zer0: My argument is that life should be driven by utility because it has to be.
admin: Then how are you not arguing a tautology? Do you admit that this must be a squirrel since moots can't be proven (or else they would not be moot)?
Zer0: No, not a tautology, just happens to be our nature.

Return To Top | Speak Round
Bi0HazardBi0Hazard (PRO)
I would first of all like the usual, thank my opponent for engaging in round 2. 

Rebuttals

Before I restate my case, I am going to respond to my opponents points regarding my case. 
My opponent suspected that I had little to say, so I quoted him at great length. Actually, I did it because I thought it would be a little easier for me(and it was). 
My opponent begins by arguing that life driven by pleasure is the root of all suffering. This doesn't touch my central argument, I am not arguing that life should be driven by utility because striving for pleasure will give us more pleasure in our lives(assuming pleasure is good). I am also not assuming that a life driven by utility will lead to more pleasure either. My opponent believes pleasure to be a good thing, just that life being driven by utility doesn't attain maximal pleasure. As much as you would think that someone debating PRO on this would assume pleasure to be good and a life driven by utility would attain maximal pleasure, I don't. An interesting thing to point out is that my opponent says that by detaching yourself from desires, you get more pleasure than if you desire it without attempting to detach yourself. This would be being driven by utility, and would also be because if you choose to detach yourself, you do it because you gain pleasure by doing it. 

My opponent then argues that human desires are contradictory, however, this doesn't stop people from being driven by pleasure. People can't attain everything they desire, but this doesn't prevent people from choosing what they desire. My opponent assumes I argued that we should calculate pleasure deducting suffering, which I didn't. Calculating pleasure deducting suffering is unnecessary to be driven by utility, my central argument debunks this. Humans are naturally driven by pleasure and desires, so calculation is not needed. 

My opponent stated that with free will, we are free to not choose a utilitarian path. My central argument debunks this by saying that we are incapable of not choosing pleasure. My argument is restated at the end. My opponent then argues that people keep traditions that give them little pleasure, but why do they do this? They do it because they choose to do it and choosing it because they desire it. Even if someone didn't like the tradition but followed it anyways because their father expected the person too and didn't want to disappoint him, that would be choosing it because they desire it and gives them pleasure and minimizes their possible suffering of denying what the person's father wants. Another example could be someone doing drugs because they desire it, they may regret it later, but never thought/knew about the consequences(still being driven by pleasure). My opponent states that utilitarianism is not a universal truth, and that is responded to by my central argument. All humans are driven by their pleasures, so it would count as universal. My opponent equated this with objective morality in cross-exam. 

My opponent argues that life being driven by utility doesn't mean life should be driven by utility, my argument states that since humans are naturally driven by pleasure, humans should be driven by it(I will make the point in restating my argument). Even if society is getting sadder, this doesn't touch my central argument either. I am not arguing that happiness is good in this debate. My opponent wants me to prove all of my assumptions 100% when he just states that life driven by pleasure leads to less pleasure without providing proof for his assumptions. My opponent is asking for proof on the meaning of life is the meaning you give it, here it is, all people may believe there is a different meaning in life, that is the meaning they are giving to their life. Even if some religion turns out to be true with objective meaning for all, you gave yourself constructed meaning, which is what I mean by "meaning" in life. My opponent then says I never even justified the existence of free will, that was an assumption I made, but nevertheless, my opponent wants it to be harder on me. 

My opponent accused me of possibly cheating since I made a statement on human nature, He then goes on to say that the point of this is a debate not proving a statement. However, my opponent earlier said that I failed to prove some of my statements like it is necessary for me in this debate. Providing proofs of statements are part of what debates are about.


My central argument

1. If human life is naturally driven by pleasure, then human life has to be driven by pleasure(utility).
2. If human life has to be driven by pleasure, than it should be driven by pleasure(utility). 
3. Human life is naturally driven by pleasure(utility).
4. Therefore, Human life should be driven by pleasure(utility). 

Premise one is justified if humans naturally being driven by pleasure means humans have to be driven by pleasure. Humans are trapped by their nature, for example, my opponent and many others turn out to agree that without the state, society would eventually result into chaos and other people trying to dominate a region. They believe the state is needed to ensure our freedom, equality, and being free from scarcity. This relies on the assumption that humans are trapped in their nature, and will naturally result in chaos without a state. Humans being trapped by their nature is a truth since humans are not infinitely flexible and will not handle everything but instead operate the same way. This means that if humans are naturally driven by pleasure, they are trapped into it. Making being driven by pleasure necessary to human life.

Premise two is true since anything that has to be a certain way cannot be any other way. If something cannot be any other way, then we have a necessary obligation to do it. The definition of should is, "used to indicate obligation, duty, or correctness, typically when criticizing someone's actions". Therefore, having a necessary obligation means we definitely should be driven by it. 

Now, the third is the main premise in my argument. Humans actually turn out to be naturally driven by pleasure. We humans have free will and utility is most consistent with our free will, since, free will, by definition, is choosing what we desire to choose at the moment. Desiring something means we got pleasure in it, since, by definition, pleasure is a feeling of satisfaction. Satisfaction is the fulfillment of ones desires at the moment. This means free will is naturally driven by utility, and since humans have free will, they are naturally driven by utility.

All of these logically conclude that Human life should be driven by utility(pleasure). 


Proof of free will 

Now, my opponent mentioned me not justifying humans having free will, so I will justify the existence of free will.
The minimal free will thesis holds that humans have more than one course of action that they can perform. This is true since people perform different courses of action, and it is always logically possible to have performed a different course of action. Like, for example, if I were to join one debate site and it was edeb8 or debate.org and I joined debate.org instead of edeb8, I certainly could have possibly joined edeb8 but simply didn't. This means, there was more than one possible course of action. Now, since there is more than one possible course of action that can occur, but we can only do one course of action at a given moment, there must be some way to perform one action instead of another. This way is what we call choice. We select through choice. Choice implies free will since choice would be based on our free decisions. 


Thanks for reading

I hope you vote PRO!

Return To Top | Posted:
2016-08-16 04:48:52
| Speak Round
adminadmin (CON)
Pro is cheating
At this point in the debate pro is literally saying that no other form of moral system is possible for humans to follow.

If that's not an automatic disqualification then I don't know what is. He can dress it up in all sorts of different models - every single one of them boils down to this one essential point.

The resolution is not there to prove that utilitarianism is true. It is to prove which one of several possible moral systems people should choose. That's the key difference between philosophical discussion and normal debate. Pro doesn't understand that his goal is not to shut off other possible models - that's not a legal debate tactic because then it's not a debate anymore. The moment an affirmative says "there's no other side to be argued", they shut out all competing moral frameworks, and therefore they're not debating, just self-justifying. Every major debate style bans this tactic for this reason.

Pro's case doesn't add up
Despite this, pro presented a relatively inconsistent and poor case. Every single round it has been slightly different, right to this final one.

He does not present a unique reason why human life should be driven by utility, he simply assumes that it is as a premise. That's circular reasoning. His round one case was that "pleasure with minimal suffering is desirable" was his major point, but in round 3 he explicitly denied that this was important to his case. That's contradiction and dropping arguments. He is using utility routinely as a descriptor and not a driver. That's mischaracterization in the context of the resolution. From a logical standpoint virtually nothing in pro's case makes sense.

Not to mention the fact that his rebuttals are just as invalid to my substantive case. Remember that pro has the burden of proof in this debate, so I don't need to prove my substantive. That most of his analysis focuses on my material shows whose case has had the stronger overall narrative in this debate as well. Regardless:
  • Pro concurs utility is not the best possible moral system even at achieving its own goals. He claims this is not important to his case, yet agrees that in principle utilitarianism is self-contradictory. This is absurd.
  • Pro claims calculation is not necessary because people do it naturally. "Do it naturally" is a meaningless phrase. That just means pro concurs people don't make such calculations, probably because as I demonstrated, doing so is impossible. Since people don't naturally do the impossible, utilitarianism is impossible too by pro's own standard.
  • Pro now claims free will is not important or relevant to his argument, despite his entire extension point being about free will. Somehow pro thinks this rebuts my material. Actually it rebuts his own.
  • Pro agrees utilitarianism is not morally good, and does not impact the "should" part of the resolution.
All this added together, and I think it's pretty clear who has won this debate.

The resolution is negated.

Return To Top | Posted:
2016-08-18 14:14:23
| Speak Round


View As PDF

Enjoyed this debate? Please share it!

You need to be logged in to be able to comment
Bi0HazardBi0Hazard
First time I used the time extension. Didn't think I would be able to finish in time.
Posted 2016-08-09 20:36:41
Bi0HazardBi0Hazard
This debate is more fun than I thought it would be.
Posted 2016-08-05 20:11:13
Bi0HazardBi0Hazard
@Crow
Does admin truly agree with the debate title?
"The oppositions argument in round one is not that the purpose of life is achieving maximum utility, but that human life should not actively pursue utility?"
Just rebutting my first round(figures that I have the burden of proof).
Posted 2016-08-05 18:49:16
CrowCrow
Okay, so somebody correct me if I am wrong.

The oppositions argument in round one is not that the purpose of life is achieving maximum utility, but that human life should not actively pursue utility?
Posted 2016-08-05 11:41:59
CrowCrow
It is funny to see people advocate things they argue against.

I personally do not like admin's past arguments on this subject, but of course I will not be making a judgement, since that would go against the integrity of the debate.
Posted 2016-08-05 03:04:50
Bi0HazardBi0Hazard
@Crow
"I was secretly hoping admin would of rolled Pro on this topic."
Why?
Posted 2016-08-05 02:49:00
CrowCrow
Just to note, this debate is for the Platonist Tournament of Philosophy.

I was secretly hoping admin would of rolled Pro on this topic.
Posted 2016-08-03 05:43:20
adminadmin
@DHS15608 you have the right of definition as pro. Anything close to the normal definition (something like "satisfaction";) is fine by me.
Posted 2016-08-01 23:45:18
Bi0HazardBi0Hazard
@admin How exactly are you defining utility in this debate?
Posted 2016-08-01 23:42:28
The judging period on this debate is over

Previous Judgments

2016-08-21 07:54:07
fire_wingsJudge: fire_wings
Win awarded to: admin
Reasoning:
Pro is cheating, therefore Con wins
3 users rated this judgement as a vote bomb
1 user rated this judgement as exceptional
1 comment on this judgement
Bi0HazardBi0Hazard
I never cheated, admin is making a stupid accusation to score points in this debate. I would call that cheating.
You wouldn't be saying this if admin didn't accuse me, so this is a clear biased vote bomb.
Posted 2017-03-14 19:49:23
2016-08-21 21:06:33
dsjpk5Judge: dsjpk5
Win awarded to: admin
2016-08-23 07:30:06
cooldudebroJudge: cooldudebro
Win awarded to: Bi0Hazard
Reasoning:
This debate was rather difficult to judge. This was a genuinely good debate. I felt as if this debate was shifting constantly. For many rounds, negative had the upper-hand. He made the affirmative back-track; and submit to him on some points. I thought the debate was as good as over until affirmative pulled out what I like to call the "Hidden Dagger".

The "Hidden Dagger" is a tactic in which a debater withholds one strong argument until near the end of the debate to catch his/her opponent argument off-guard. Affirmative's "Hidden Dagger" was definitely the argument concerning human nature. This was a strong point that needed refutation. This proved that since it is impossible to fight and would only lead to misery, it shouldn't be fought.

Normally, I wouldn't give the "Hidden Dagger" much validity since it was so close to the end of the debate; and would've scored this close debate in the favor of the negative. However, negative's accusation that the affirmative was cheating simply because he shifted his case and was only trying to "self-validate" his views was way below the belt. Therefore, I gave the "Hidden Dagger" as much validity as a normal argument.

Negative stumbled greatly in the final round; which led to the affirmative taking this debate in a debate that the negative dominated until then. Negative's inability to comprehend what was being presented before him was his ultimate downfall. With the point of human nature going without an adequate refutation, I have to score this debate in the affirmative's favor.

Feedback:
To The Affirmative:
If you're going to make an argument, make sure it is solid. Do not change it as much as you did. You are lucky your opponent claimed you were cheating; or else you would've lost due to your strongest point being a "Hidden Dagger".

Stop beating around the bush and actually clash with his arguments head-on. Admin is a very smart man. His arguments are very logical. If you beat around the bush, you're going to lose.

To The Negative:
Even if you don't think a claim will hold much relevance, refute it to the best of your ability. In the last round, you simply didn't put much effort into understanding the argument that Zer0 brought forward.

Never...EVER... claim someone is cheating due to your own philosophy about how debating is supposed to go. Unless he completely plagiarized his argument; or, hacked you in some way, he isn't cheating. If his arguments are indeed as you say, the voters will see that for themselves. Don't lose steam in the last round.
1 user rated this judgement as biased
1 user rated this judgement as good
1 user rated this judgement as exceptional
30 comments on this judgement
adminadmin
Can I ask for additional feedback regarding the cheating point please. If somebody is arguing a tautology, in a real debate, I would raise a point of order and call it a squirrel, calling for the arbiter. How do you think it is appropriate to handle that case in an online debate?
Posted 2016-08-23 10:28:41
cooldudebrocooldudebro
@admin
I ask that after I explain to you why I have a problem with how you handled it, you change it to at least a "good" judgement; as I wasn't biased in my decision. If I would set aside both your cheating claim and him getting less points for his best argument being a hidden dagger, you still would've lost as his human nature argument was strong.

I have a problem with how you handled it. You posted it in bold at the very beginning of the last round and used it as a reason why they should vote for you. Naturally, if people just scrolled through the debate and skimmed it, they would vote for you. This is what FireWings did (since he didn't explain his RFD any further). If he presents a tautology, point it out. However, don't claim he as cheating in the debate because in your own words "he's only trying to argue for self-justification rather than debate". If you don't agree with how he's doing things, it's likely that the voters will see. Since he used the hidden dagger, you would've won if you didn't resort to that low move.
Posted 2016-08-23 15:20:40
adminadmin
Isn't all that premised on his definition of the topic though? I mean all that you just said would be true if he made a tautological argument, but I felt like he was literally arguing a non-debatable topic, so essentially I found myself with no possible arguments. I understand your decision fully, and I'm not asking about the judgment - I'm just curious as to how you'd have handled it.
Posted 2016-08-23 15:31:18
cooldudebrocooldudebro
@admin
I ask that after I explain to you why I have a problem with how you handled it, you change it to at least a "good" judgement; as I wasn't biased in my decision. If I would set aside both your cheating claim and him getting less points for his best argument being a hidden dagger, you still would've lost as his human nature argument was strong.

I have a problem with how you handled it. You posted it in bold at the very beginning of the last round and used it as a reason why they should vote for you. Naturally, if people just scrolled through the debate and skimmed it, they would vote for you. This is what FireWings did (since he didn't explain his RFD any further). If he presents a tautology, point it out. However, don't claim he as cheating in the debate because in your own words "he's only trying to argue for self-justification rather than debate". If you don't agree with how he's doing things, it's likely that the voters will see. Since he used the hidden dagger, you would've won if you didn't resort to that low move.
Posted 2016-08-23 17:46:07
cooldudebrocooldudebro
@admin
He argued it perfectly. His point goes as the following:
Human nature is driven by utility
Denying human nature results in misery all around.
We shouldn't deny human nature as it would lead to misery
Therefore, we should lead our life based on utility

You could not prove to me that utility was not deep-rooted in human nature. Therefore, you lost the debate.

You just didn't know how to take the argument. I ask you to change your "bias" vote to at least good. Also for some reason my comment re posted
Posted 2016-08-23 17:51:13
adminadmin
Obviously we have a disagreement on that; that is beside the point. What I'm asking is how you would expect me to handle a case where the affirmative declines to interpret the resolution in a way that is literally possible to debate.

Clearly you feel this was not the case in this debate - that's my fault for not communicating that better. But I'm still very unsure about what you would have expected instead, given the premise that the affirmative actually had interpreted the resolution in such a way. I even did an "even if" case ignoring the tautology pro had built into the topic, but of course this didn't actually rebut pro's material because pro was, in my honest view, not arguing a debatable topic.

I'm not asking you to change your judgment, I just want clarification on what I should have done, not on what I should have avoided.
Posted 2016-08-23 18:28:23
Bi0HazardBi0Hazard
@cooldudebro
Thanks for the judgement, you made some great points.
So, your saying that the negative blaming me for cheating is why you gave me instead of the negative the four points?
Posted 2017-03-14 19:49:23
cooldudebrocooldudebro
@admin
You're simply not getting the point
@Zer0
I voted for you since you had the better case. I wasn't going to vote for you because of your hidden dagger. I score it half off if it's a hidden dagger. However, Pro accused you of cheating when you didn't which was equally low. This means that I could score the argument as if it was normal and not a hidden dagger. That gave you enough points for the win.
Posted 2016-08-23 19:51:23
cooldudebrocooldudebro
@admin
You are doing exactly what you claimed Zer0 was. You're not understanding the point and are trying to self-validate your claims. I'll repeat once more.

Your refutation to the human nature argument was not sufficient enough to prove that it was incorrect; which made you lose.
Posted 2016-08-23 19:56:44
adminadmin
@cooldudebro it doesn't really matter what you think the point is - it would be nice to get an answer to my question. What would the appropriate response be, in your view, in a debate where the affirmative did define the resolution in a way that is tautological or otherwise not debatable?

I don't care why I lost - I care about debate procedure and etiquette. The formal process of debate is one of my favorite subjects to research so I'm interested in what you might have expected. The actual judgement itself, I don't really care.
Posted 2016-08-23 19:59:15
cooldudebrocooldudebro
@admin
Again, you don't understand. He did not word the debate to be tautological; as the resolution itself can not be altered. If he did and you went along with it, that's your fault. He simply showed why utility should drive human life. In my honest opinion, Pro did not make the topic not debatable. I would gladly challenge pro to this debate as I can see clear points in which his arguments are debatable. You not knowing how to refute the arguments do not mean it is unfair or cheating.
Posted 2016-08-23 20:06:27
adminadmin
That wasn't my question though.

My question was IF an affirmative team ever did that, what WOULD be the appropriate response?
Posted 2016-08-23 20:08:30
cooldudebrocooldudebro
@admin
I would show why my arguments are the best and why his are not logical and skewed. I would not accuse him of cheating.
Posted 2016-08-23 20:10:53
cooldudebrocooldudebro
@admin

If you put the "biased" opinion on my vote, I ask your at least change it to constructive; as you clearly have admitted my judgement is adequate.
Posted 2016-08-23 20:13:12
cooldudebrocooldudebro
@admin
Minimum exceptional or good
Posted 2016-08-23 20:13:37
adminadmin
My comments here have nothing to do with my opinion of the judgement, which I stand by. I don't change feedback unless the judgement changes, as a rule. To give you some feedback as well, in general I didn't feel like all the points in the debate were addressed and I had limited understanding of what the key questions were, if you deemed the topic substantive. I also wasn't sure that you weighted the turn, esp. in calling me out about what you thought was laziness in my final round, given the illegality of constructive. The narrative framing of the debate was therefore poorly defined and gives the impression of a protest vote.

How can you show any arguments at all on a topic that is not debatable? On either side? For example, suppose an affirmative team defined a resolution as "this sentence is true"... what kind of things would you expect?
Posted 2016-08-23 20:34:29
cooldudebrocooldudebro
@admin
If you don't change the rating then I have no need to respond to your questions.

Good day.
Posted 2016-08-23 21:27:08
adminadmin
See in general I'd consider that attitude to be problematic - since you never answered my original question and try to blackmail members for giving feedback. Kinda like how members are asked to refrain from asking judges to change, I wish I knew how to incentivize judges to engage with debaters and in doing so learn more about debate.
Posted 2016-08-23 21:35:44
cooldudebrocooldudebro
@admin
I didn't try to blackmail you. I explained my vote properly. Before, you agreed you have nothing against the judgement there fore I expected you to change it. I'm not obligated to answer every question you ask. So, I choose not to.
Posted 2016-08-23 21:38:45
cooldudebrocooldudebro
@admin
If you simply can't get my answer, it's your own fault. You're not going to change my vote and you're not changing yours. You simply can't get what I'm saying. Therefore, there is no need to further this.
Posted 2016-08-23 21:40:33
cooldudebrocooldudebro
@admin
To be honest, I view your behavior rather sour myself.
Posted 2016-08-23 21:41:39
adminadmin
Not having a problem with it is different from viewing it as good. This has nothing to do with the judgment or this debate.

The only reason I commented at all was because I'm actually curious, given your comments, about how you would hypothetically handle that situation. Not in the context of this debate.

Of course you are not obliged to ... it's hard to communicate that value though. I'm a bit of a debate purist so this kind of thing probably matters more to me, while the actual decision probably matters more to you. That's fine.
Posted 2016-08-23 22:16:34
cooldudebrocooldudebro
@admin
IF you didn't have a problem, then that deserves a "good" rating; since there isn't any bias. Therefore, i would like to question your vote yet again.

I recommend you work on your questioning skills.

What I like in debate is kinda complicated actually.
Posted 2016-08-23 22:48:41
adminadmin
I certainly see bias in the judgement, as I explained before - and that's not a problem, that just means it's biased, I don't mind. That's not why I'm asking the question. I'm asking the question because it's a fascinating footnote.
Posted 2016-08-24 03:39:30
cooldudebrocooldudebro
@admin

May I ask why you think it's biased? I still don't get it.
Posted 2016-08-24 03:52:35
adminadmin
Yes you may, but please also respond to my question.

As indicated before, I felt like the turn was unweighted, and that some of the key arguments in the debate were not analyzed. You didn't explain, for example, why my refutation was not adequate, why his argument was so strong, and how this fitted in with the overall narrative of the debate. I didn't read any analysis on my key substantive points either. As I said, this reads like a protest vote - it genuinely feels like you were upset by the final round only, as opposed to the actual arguments, overall manner etc presented in the debate. You've basically said that you expected me to prove a negative, and in the final round, neither of which I'm allowed to do in a debate. That's all even if I accept that con wasn't cheating, and it seems like you don't accept any form of squirreling at all based on your reasoning, which is itself a form of bias (automatically dismissing an argument). I can understand me not being convincing enough but the judgement as presented does not explain HOW or WHY I was not convincing enough.
Posted 2016-08-24 04:04:19
adminadmin
Other than assertions that his argument was better in the final round of course, which in and of itself doesn't mean anything.
Posted 2016-08-24 04:05:09
cooldudebrocooldudebro
@admin

You didn't have many arguments of your own. You guys basically matched each other in almost every other argument; so I didn't think it really mattered in my RFD.

The only argument that wasn't notably refuted fully was the human nature argument.
Posted 2016-08-26 09:53:17
adminadmin
That's not an analysis either. What were the arguments you thought I raised, why didn't you think they were substantive? Why wasn't his argument refuted? Etc. It's incomplete.

I've been given poor feedback as a judge in RL over much, much, much less, trust me.
Posted 2016-08-26 09:57:40
cooldudebrocooldudebro
@admin

I refuse to write a novel, bro.

XDDD
Posted 2016-09-07 10:04:02

Rules of the debate

  • Text debate
  • Individual debate
  • 3 rounds
  • 15000 characters per round
  • No reply speeches
  • Uses cross-examination
  • Permissive Judging Standard (notes)
  • Forfeiting rounds means forfeiting the debate
  • Images allowed
  • HTML formatting allowed
  • Rated debate
  • Time to post: 3 days
  • Time to vote: 2 weeks
  • Time to prepare: None
  • Time for cross-examination: 2 days
For the "Platonist Tournament of Philosophy" tournament.

http://www.edeb8.com/debatetournament/4/