Debate Info

Ethics can be objective Ethics are always subjective
Debate Score:4
Total Votes:4
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 Ethics can be objective (3)

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Can ethical standards be objective?

Although the ability to empathize is an inherently subjective quality, there is potentially a very scientific reason to care about other people and life forms in general. Is it objectively logical for humans to co exist and co operate, rather than take advantage of each other or engage in conflict over resources? Is the idea that sentient beings should have rights and that people should not harm one another a subjective notion of horse pucky or is it based in the objective reality that it is mutually beneficial not to molest each other and murder each other, and that doing so is counter productive?

Ethics can be objective

Side Score: 4

Ethics are always subjective

Side Score: 0
2 points

(Note: I'm not sure I should be on this side of the debate, but I had to choose a side to write on)

I think it seems reasonable to think that ethical standards have evolved due to the mutual benefits of helping each other, as you said. I don't see where else they would have come from.

Are ethical standards the same as moral standards?

Ethical standards exist that are objectively the best at ensuring survival of the group, and of course the individuals within it, through mutual dependence / interdependence. This doesn't necessarily mean that things are objectively right or wrong, because you would need an objective reason for why survival of the group, or the individual, is a good thing.

You ask: "Is it objectively logical for humans to co exist and co operate, rather than take advantage of each other or engage in conflict over resources?"

I think it must depend on the circumstances. Sometimes the best way to survive is to work with one another, but sometimes it is to take what you need by force (war), usually because the others aren't willing to cooperate with you. Others may be unwilling to cooperate with you because you have nothing to offer them in return, in which case it may be logical to take from them what you need by any means necessary in order to survive - if they have what you need. Generally conflict with others will hurt your chances of survival, so it should be a last resort.

Side: Ethics can be objective
1 point

Standards by their definition are objective. You're taking a criteria and applying it.

You can argue against one standard in favor of a better standard.

You can argue the person applying the standard committed errors.

Side: Ethics can be objective

The left used to tell Christianity that morals and ethics were subjective. Now they keep telling us what is "moral and ethical".

Side: Ethics can be objective
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