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4
2
Yes No
Debate Score:6
Arguments:6
Total Votes:6
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 Yes (3)
 
 No (2)

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Consequentialism: do the ends justify the means?

Is it possible to perform proximately evil acts in order to achieve an ultimate good? Are there any issues with adopting such a position?

Yes

Side Score: 4
VS.

No

Side Score: 2
1 point

Apparently they do. The A bombs dropped on Japan killed between 130,000 and 230,000 people, while saving an estimated 1,000,000 American lives.

Side: Yes
1 point

Apparently they do. The A bombs dropped on Japan killed between 130,000 and 230,000 people, while saving an estimated 1,000,000 American lives.

This is absurd revisionist tripe taught to you precisely so the rather ambiguous morality of wiping out 250,000 Japanese civilians does not affect your sense of national patriotism. It is nonsense for at least two reasons.

A) Nobody has the slightest idea how many lives the bombings saved or didn't save, because nobody has the power to see alternative futures. The only way your claim could be proven accurate is with the existence and application of a literal human superpower. Therefore, you (or someone you are relying upon as a source of information) have simply plucked the number 1,000,000 from the nearest dark sphincter.

B) Numerous historians have proven empirically that the bombings did not in fact influence the Japanese decision to surrender, but rather it was the rapidly developing threat of Stalin invading Japan. Stalin had previously taken a neutral stance as mediator, but once he became hostile to Japan the Japanese high command knew all was lost. At that time Soviet soldiers had a worldwide reputation for barbarity.

Side: No
daver(1772) Disputed
2 points

Get some history

http://www.history.com/topics/world-war-ii/battle-of-okinawa

With 2,000,000 Japanese troops on the home island of Japan, clearly the losses on Okinawa were accurately predictive to US military leaders. Hirohito surrendered to MacArthur not Stalin. Daaaaaa

Side: Yes
1 point

I believe it is indeed possible to morally commit evil acts in service of a good aim. For example, if killing a single innocent would save the lives of a million, the choice is obvious. The problem with this worldview is that things are never so simple. One might kill the single innocent and find they were misinformed, for example.

When one commits evil in service of good, usually the actor is almost-certain that the evil act will indeed have a good result. Given the fact that even our senses and perceptions are flawed certainty is impossible to achieve, however. As such, proper analysis of the relative probabilities of success and failure is necessary. Many people who adhere to consequential morality greatly overestimate their understanding of the situation and the relative probabilities of success and failure. This often leads to evil acts being committed in service of a benevolent goal without the benevolent goal ever being achieved.

Side: Yes
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