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Debate Score:14
Arguments:21
Total Votes:20
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 What is life worth? (12)

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Hypothetical(68) pic



What is life worth?

What is the value of a human life, in your own opinion? Is our life special in a way that makes it superior to other species'? Are all human lives valued equally? If not, when do they begin to differ, and what purpose should one's life being more "valuable" than another's serve?
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2 points

My stance on this is that a human life is worth a human life. I believe the life itself cannot be compared to any monetary value, but the value of its own and other species', rendering it a component in determining the "worth" of a living being. Intelligence, moral integrity, monetary worth, and physical or mental aptitude are all variables with (species' life) remaining constant, acting as a multiplier of sorts. A human life is worth a human life, and a cow life is worth a cow life; although one human can be more valuable than another, just the same as one cow can be more valuable than another. However, human life is more valuable than cow life, meaning most humans are more valuable than most cows. We have established ourselves as the apex species on Earth through our intelligence by means of possessing unrivaled mental aptitude, and in doing so we have claimed majority dominion over Earth with exception that, in my own opinion, we are obligated to preserve our land to the best of our ability sparing hinderance to our advancement as a species and make humane use of our planet's resources, as a species capable of thought outside of blind instinct should. The only use for human life is distinction that it is a human when considering their worth compared to another human or other living being, which I believe can differ.

1 point

There is also an argument like this. One says that " we value human life because we ourself is also a human, same to the eyes of other creature, if you are a frog of course you value frogs more than any creature" which is also true and the view that we should attain.

Yeah you are right, we should preserve our land and do our best to serve our own human race.

marcusmoon(578) Clarified
1 point

Hypothetical,

My stance on this is that a human life is worth a human life.

Fair enough, but that statement is less clear than it sounds. Are all human lives equally valuable?

There are fairly cogent arguments to be made that support the proposition that some lives are worth more than others.

- Argument 1 - Some people spend their lives protecting or adding to the quality of other lives. Arguably, such people's lives accrue the value of the contributions they make to the lives they positively impact or protect.

By the same token, other people live their lives in such a way that they reduce the quality of other lives, and even destroy other lives. In this case, the values of such people's lives are reduced to the extent that they negatively impact the lives of others or kill others.

This is how people come to the conclusion that Jonas Salk's life was worth more than Adolph Eichmann's .

- Argument 2 - There is a difference between life in the sense of merely being biologically alive, and life in the sense of having a dynamic existence including pleasure, purpose, contribution, love, etc.. The life of a person whose life is dominated by constant pain, loneliness, helplessness, a vegetative state, etc. is arguably less valuable TO THAT PERSON than is the life of someone with a high quality of life, vim and vigor, pleasure, and a sense of hope.

Obviously, different people will have different standards for quality of life (and different ways of measuring those standards,) so this argument necessarily leads to other arguments.

- Argument 3 - Value is based on potential as measured in expected time remaining. A healthy baby's life is worth more than an octogenarian's life because of the amount of life (in terms of time) the baby has is reasonably predicable to be greater than that of the octogenarian.

- Argument 4 - Value of a life is directly related to the proximity of the person ascribing value. My life is worth more to me, than yours, and the lives of people I know and love are worth more to me than the lives of strangers.

Obviously, this makes impossible any objective discussion of what a life is worth. However, this is where most people seem to fall on the issue, whether we want to admit it or not.

Hypothetical(68) Clarified
1 point

There may have been some confusion in my wording, but I agree with your points mostly. I believe every living thing has a variable which we can call "worth". Worth is the sum of different variables which are characteristics of the individual organism such as intelligence, physical or mental acuity, level of health and etc.; and each species holds a constant that represents their place among other species and their ranking as a species overall. Humanity's constant is the highest of all species on Earth, due to our level of advancement and intelligence surpassing all others on Earth by extreme margins; I've yet to take time to theoretically quantify the specific margins between each species, but humanity would take 1st place by an extraordinary difference to 2nd place, whatever it may be. This leads to every human being on the same average level of worth, while also lending room for variance between humans. So yes, one human can be worth more than another based on what they offer as an individual; however, based on humanity's species constant, you'll very rarely find a case where a human life is worth less than another species' life. Even for cases such as murderers, rapists, or the like; they are still lent basic human rights and protections under most developed nations. However, if a dog so much as bites an innocent human being, they face possible euthanization; on a more substantial level, most people don't bat an eye when a mosquito or fly is killed for merely being in the same room as a human and causing that human even the slightest burden by simply surviving in its presence.

-note; this is a very superficial explanation of my thoughts on this subject which only covers objective worth. Subjective worth is drastically complex in comparison; which you seemed to mention in your 4th argument. I, however, believe subjective worth is only useful in fields where it is necessary(which is rather rare), and objective worth useful for nearly every aspect of society; one prime example being in criminal trials by jury. In the US, an attempt is made at each juror getting an objective value of worth on the defendant by the court ensuring that they don't know the defendant in any way personally, are prone to any sort of bias on the case, etc. All in all it's very complex and I just appreciate getting others' opinions on these matters, so thank you.

1 point

What is life worth?

THIRTY BUCKS.

1 point

What is the value of a human life,

There is no objective value to anything. Value is relative to the one doing the valuing.

in your own opinion?

I don't have opinions.

Is our life special in a way that makes it superior to other species'?

Not inherently.

Are all human lives valued equally?

No.

If not, when do they begin to differ,

When they are stupid and/or a detriment to the progress of civilization.

and what purpose should one's life being more "valuable" than another's serve?

There's no objective answer to that.

Hypothetical(68) Clarified
1 point

You're seemingly contradicting yourself in your arguments here.

"When they are stupid and/or a detriment to the progress of civilization." seems to contradict "There is no objective value to anything. Value is relative to the one doing the valuing." in the sense that you're claiming stupidity or having negative effects on the progress of civilization objectively changes your worth as a human being. If you are to claim humans have value at all, there must be something in comparison to relate that value to. If it's your principle that says intelligence and progression as a civilization are the ideal, and stupidity and regression as a civilization are the non-ideals, then you can objectively determine a human's (or any organism's) worth based on their contribution to either side.

1 point

What is the value of a human life, in your own opinion?

Of all things, it holds the greatest value.

Is our life special in a way that makes it superior to other species'?

Our lives are special, and of greater value than other species. Not because we are superior, but because our lives are ours. Other species will value their own lives or their own kind more greatly, in accordance with their own nature.

Are all human lives valued equally?

It is imperative that humans afford a basic level of value to the life of another human. But it is irrational to attempt to value all other life equally. Our valuation is necessarily individuated and relative. If we valued all humans equally, we would not be humans as you recognize them today.

If not, when do they begin to differ, and what purpose should one's life being more "valuable" than another's serve?

The value you give to a human life will differ depending on the relationship between you and the humans in question. The societal rules and norms we have for the valuation of human life depends on the impact that life has on other human lives, with the respect for the fact that each human life (or the quality thereof) is of it's own greatest concern.

EvilNom(98) Disputed
1 point

Of all things, it holds the greatest value.

There's no real basis for that. It's simply what you want to think because you are a human. In real life you are just spewing meaningless self important crap.

Our lives are special, and of greater value than other species. Not because we are superior, but because our lives are ours.

In other words, meaningless self important crap. There's no such thing as value, nothing has value. It is you that values things, not things that have value. It may as well be considered imaginary and there is no objective or factual basis for anything you're saying,

The value you give to a human life will differ depending on the relationship between you and the humans in question. The societal rules and norms we have for the valuation of human life depends on the impact that life has on other human lives

In other words it's a social construct and nothing you're saying is true technically. Reality doesn't care what you think has "value".

-1 points

As subjective as the value of everything else. Is my own life worth a great deal of monetary investment to preserve and live well? Of course it is, otherwise I wouldn't work. That said, if I ever end up in a vegetative state my life will then, to me, be worth a DNR order. To some, life is worth the necessary investment to obtain a bathtub to climb in and a shotgun to fire in their mouth. This is no different from any other good or service; people buy $300 shoes that they might wear once, while the rest of us find this ridiculous. Everything has a different value to everyone. This is the fundamental reason that auctions work.

Likewise subjective is how much another person's life might be worth. You want to be worth tens of millions of dollars? Give the US military a reason to kill you; they'll happily spend that money on the people and the vehicles and the guns and the bombs and the bullets and the support equipment and the training and everything else to get the job done. On the other end of the scale, what is your life worth to your CEO when he ships your job overseas, knowing that some of his former employees might go home and commit suicide? This is the same reason that pro-life and pro-choice people rarely see eye-to-eye: differences in how much any particular individual values a fetus (some as equal to or even greater than a human, others less than, and good luck convincing one side or the other).

In the end, human life has no set-in-stone value. In fact, on a grand scale, it has very little value at all. Out of 103 billion people that have existed over the course of history, about half of them have died from malaria. Most of the rest died by the teeth and claws of something hungrier, or by infant mortality, or war, or childbirth, or famine. You are a cosmic speck of nothing and your life has no significance to those who will be around after you're dead, gone, and forgotten. The only value to your life is what you decide to give it, and that can be as little or as much as you want for as little time as you have.

1 point

D,

Is my own life worth a great deal of monetary investment to preserve and live well? Of course it is, otherwise I wouldn't work.

Very well put. You bypassed philosophy and went straight to where we live.

Thank you.

Mingiwuwu(1737) Clarified
1 point

You probably think the Earth is round and you're a worthless hyperevolved monkey in the middle of nowhere. I get it. Then realise it's a lie and you do matter and maybe even can live forever if you get to a kingdom in the North Pole.

Hootie(821) Clarified
1 point

You probably think the Earth is round

Have a conversation with either Bronto or Amarel and they will try to convince you it's square. In fact, Amarel will work hard to evidence the assertion by writing 10,000 words about how it definitely isn't triangular.

Hootie(821) Disputed
1 point

Is my own life worth a great deal of monetary investment to preserve and live well? Of course it is, otherwise I wouldn't work.

Is my own life worth a great deal of hardship and suffering to preserve and live well? Of course it is, otherwise I wouldn't be a slave.

You don't choose to work. You choose not to starve and/or live like a tramp. That's a choice in the same way that asking someone whether they want to be shot in the head or the leg is a choice.

Bronto(2005) Disputed
1 point

Is my own life worth a great deal of hardship and suffering to preserve and live well? Of course it is, otherwise I wouldn't be a slave.

You don't choose to work. You choose not to starve and/or live like a tramp. That's a choice in the same way that asking someone whether they want to be shot in the head or the leg is a choice.

Nonsensical ramblings of someone jacked up on meth. No wonder your teeth look like an amusement park.

Hypothetical(68) Clarified
1 point

I understand your stance on self-worth and self-value based on this argument, however let me ask you this; if a decision must be made that one of two people have to die by an outside spectator, is there an objective answer to who should die? My principles say yes, because we must have an objective foundation for worth to advance as a species. Otherwise, the answer to my aforementioned question would be no, meaning that a serial murderer could be spared over an innocent, intelligent child simply because of subjective relations to each; if the murderer is a loved one of yours, should they be spared over the child? Such moral ambiguity leads to chaos and will result in the stagnation of humanity's advancement, in my opinion.