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66
80
Yes No
Debate Score:146
Arguments:196
Total Votes:153
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 Yes (46)
 
 No (57)

Debate Creator

HarvardGrad(174) pic



Is there a such thing as "objective morality"?

Is there really a such thing as objective right or wrong? For exapmple, if I were to puch a baby, is that (objectively) wrong? How so?

Yes

Side Score: 66
VS.

No

Side Score: 80
3 points

Since we are human beings, and things can actually harm us in various ways (especially ourselves), I would say there is such a thing as objective morality. By this I mean there is actually a better and a worse way to interact. This doesn't mean that objective morality is known or has been discovered by each or any person. The various codes of conduct adopted are highly subjective, but this doesn't negate a "most effective" alternative. Which ever potential code is most effective in upholding, protecting, enhancing, and prolonging human life is the objective standard that all subjective interpretations measure against.

Side: Yes
HarvardGrad(174) Disputed
1 point

If a way of behaving is necessary for survival then it would be called instinct.

Also, IF morals are being practiced for survival, then it is a contradictory factor because an objective moral would cause, as you said, "prolonged human life" with prolonged HUMAN life there are negative corresponding factors(overpopulation, starvation, use of earths resources needed for survival, global warming.) which will basically destroy not only human life, but all life.

Lastly, humans can interact naturally(e.g. reaction off of emotion, male dominance etc.) without morals and would still survive. Why?; because it is instinctual. Name a species that has taken itself out because its moral system failed? Better yet, give me empirical evidence of a species with moral practices (not including human.)

S.N

Clarifying my point on the prolonged human life there is a positive correlation of life span and overpopulation.

Side: No
Amarel(5564) Disputed
2 points

The direct physical mechanism of life becomes multifaceted with complexity. The extent to which an animal can think long range and choose between alternative (think rationally, is the extent to which it looses instincts. Humans still have some instincts, and monkeys are not entirely instinctual. Morality becomes more required the more rational an animal is.

an objective moral would cause, as you said, "prolonged human life"...overpopulation, starvation...which will basically destroy not only human life, but all life.

wow, Seems that wouldn't prolong human life after all...That wouldn't fit the definition then would it.

Name a species that has taken itself out because its moral system failed?

Humans are the only ones capable of this. Off hand Easter Island comes to mind.

Side: Yes
Amarel(5564) Disputed
1 point

Let's try this again without the extended distraction from the point.

If a way of behaving is necessary for survival then it would be called instinct.

If the organism doesn't "just know", then it isn't simply instinct.

Your second paragraph is mostly assertions about which concludes with the end of all life. Since I know that you believe this is happening, and I am not arguing that an objective morality is practiced, the potentially absurd statement is mute.

humans can interact naturally without morals and would still survive.

Humans need a code of conduct, especially under conditions of interaction. This internalized code becomes morality. What I am arguing is that humans need a code, not necessarily that they use the objectively best code.

I have argued (poorly) elsewhere concerning non-human animals. I don't consider morals concerning other animals since I have no way to know. However, some people have studied quite and "Recently, some comparative and evolutionary psychologists (Haidt, Hauser, De Waal) have taken morality, or a close anticipation of it, to be present among groups of non-human animals, primarily other primates but not limited to them."

http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/morality-definition/

PS I didn't read the entire article.

Side: Yes
3 points

Yes there is such a thing as objective morality.

Taking care of newborn offspring is objectively good.

Owning another human (slavery) is objectively wrong.

Slavery being acceptable in the past is not a measure of its subjectivity but a measure of how immoral people were in the past to have accepted it as a morally right thing.

Side: Yes
thousandin1(1931) Clarified
2 points

Owning another human (slavery) is objectively wrong.

But doesn't the qualifier 'owning another human' render this a subjective case? If we were referring to a non-human creature with human intelligence, would the morality governing slavery cease to apply? I believe that it would not. What about cases of slavery where neither the master nor the slave is human? Several species of ants practice slavery with the remnants of conquered colonies, as an example there. What is a beast of burden, if not a non-human slave?

I would agree that human slavery is wrong, but I maintain that this is subjective morality, rather than objective morality. I assert that for it to be a truly objective system of morality it would have to apply regardless of whether or not humans are involved- and as I've demonstrated, it doesn't.

Side: Yes
Coldfire(1014) Clarified
1 point

But doesn't the qualifier 'owning another human' render this a subjective case?

No. It wasn't a qualifier, it was an example.

If we were referring to a non-human creature with human intelligence, would the morality governing slavery cease to apply?

No. it was but one example. Slavery would still be objectively wrong in that case. As would rape and mutilation for instance.

What about cases of slavery where neither the master nor the slave is human? Several species of ants practice slavery with the remnants of conquered colonies, as an example there. What is a beast of burden, if not a non-human slave?

Yes, slavery would be objectively wrong in these accounts as well.

A sign of immorality for those who consider it acceptable on a moral basis.

I would agree that human slavery is wrong, but I maintain that this is subjective morality, rather than objective morality.

In what way is human slavery morally right?

I assert that for it to be a truly objective system of morality it would have to apply regardless of whether or not humans are involved

And it does. I provided one example originally but I assert that slavery on all accounts is objectively wrong.

- and as I've demonstrated, it doesn't.

You haven’t demonstrated that it doesn’t apply, merely provided an example of where slavery can be perceived to occur in non-human subjects.

I will maintain that slavery is objectively wrong on those accounts as well.

Side: Yes
pakicetus(1455) Disputed
2 points

Taking care of newborn offspring is objectively good.

Why?

Owning another human (slavery) is objectively wrong.

Why?

Side: No

Man, I could have saved myself a lot of typing ;)

Side: No
Coldfire(1014) Clarified
1 point

They have been demonstrated to be so through the course of history.

Side: Yes
HarvardGrad(174) Disputed
1 point

Taking care of newborn offspring is objectively good.

No. Instinctual. And replace good with right.

Owning another human (slavery) is objectively wrong

Slavery being right or wrong is subjective. The slave owner does not think it is wrong. So when you say "immoral people" you are subjectively classifying them in their own subjective beliefs. Why are you subjectively classifying them? Because I do not feel as though they were "immoral." They may be immoral to you but there morality is subject to belief.

Side: No
Coldfire(1014) Disputed
2 points

No. Instinctual. And replace good with right.

Being influenced by instinct does not negate any moral objectivity. If anything it only solidifies the concept.

And why should I replace good with right (who made you the authority on the matter)? It doesn’t matter either way, I will humor you and assert that “Taking care of newborn offspring is objectively right” doesn't change my position in any fundamental way whatsoever.

Slavery being right or wrong is subjective.

No. Our perception of it is but the act of oppressively owning another human is wrong regardless of perception.

The slave owner does not think it is wrong.

Because they are immoral. This is not a measure of moral subjectivity; it’s a measure of moral awareness.

So when you say "immoral people" you are subjectively classifying them in their own subjective beliefs. Why are you subjectively classifying them?

No. I am considering slavery morally wrong on all accounts and asserting that anyone who considers it morally right to be immoral.

I would also consider rape as objectively wrong on all accounts.

Objective morality.

Side: Yes
1 point

Slavery being right or wrong is subjective. I disagree. Slavery is wrong because people have the right to be free.

Side: Yes
1 point

Yes there is such a thing as objective morality.

I think there are morals that nearly all agree on, but that is not "objective morality" - even if everyone agrees, that would not make it "objective" only provide evidence that it might be.

Taking care of newborn offspring is objectively good.

If you only have enough resources around for the children that already exist and keeping another child results in the death of that child and another, might it be more moral to let the infant die?

If a newborn has severe deformations and will not live long and is in intense pain, would it be moral to end its suffering.

If there was an objective morality, I would expect it to be more prevalent than one or two possibilities (which I have never seen).

Owning another human (slavery) is objectively wrong.

It depends on what your goal is, and the goal is always a subjective one. If your goal is minimize human suffering, etc. it would be seen as morally wrong. If your goal was the maximum human output, etc. then it would likely be preferred over some other systems.

Slavery being acceptable in the past is not a measure of its subjectivity but a measure of how immoral people were in the past

It isn't necessarily proof but it is evidence.

Side: No
Coldfire(1014) Clarified
2 points

If you only have enough resources around for the children that already exist and keeping another child results in the death of that child and another, might it be more moral to let the infant die?

No. It would be prudent to recognize this type of scope before one brings new life into the world.

If a newborn has severe deformations and will not live long and is in intense pain, would it be moral to end its suffering.

If it will not live long then it's suffering will soon end won't it?

It is not to say that the same answer for one moral question is the same for others which have different considerations. The morally correct answer for newborns born with deformities is not the same answer for newborns born without. But in situations where deformities exist there would be a morally correct answer in regard to the well being of the parties involved.

If there was an objective morality, I would expect it to be more prevalent than one or two possibilities (which I have never seen).

It is. I'm sure you have seen it but are just conditioned to recognize it in a certain way.

It depends on what your goal is, and the goal is always a subjective one. If your goal is minimize human suffering, etc. it would be seen as morally wrong. If your goal was the maximum human output, etc. then it would likely be preferred over some other systems.

I would argue that those systems which are built upon the suffering of others are immoral. It may not be realized until a new system is discovered, but looking back it would be recognized for it's immorality.

It isn't necessarily proof but it is evidence.

No. It is not proof and using a synonym doesn't make it any more apparent.

Side: Yes

I think objective to what? If it's objective, then it should be to something. I think that this other debate is relevant:

http://www.createdebate.com/debate/show/ What ifanythingisnecessary#arg584046

I think to have objective morality, it has to be objective out of necessity TO SOMETHING.

Side: Yes
Jace(5216) Clarified
2 points

I believe the debate creator was using "objective" to indicate something that exists in actuality independent of our perception that it exists. You do not need necessity in any form at all for something to exist objectively (or subjectively).

Side: Yes
Amarel(5564) Disputed
1 point

independent of our perception

Living things objectively exist. But unlike other things in the universe, living things won't continue to exist unless they do the things necessary to continue.

Side: No
Amarel(5564) Clarified
2 points

(Formerly StickinStone)

You're right, that debate is relevant to this. It seems stupid to say that things are necessary to themselves, except when you consider that life is unique in that it can go out of existence. For this reason, living things have to value life and have to actually take action to maintain life. Some actions are objectively detrimental to that life, while other actions enhance. These things are objectively "good" and "bad".

None of this means that morality is in fact objective, only that there is such a thing.

Side: Yes
HarvardGrad(174) Disputed
1 point

Some actions are objectively detrimental to that life, while other actions enhance. These things are objectively "good" and "bad".

subjectively good and bad.

Fighting is detrimental to life. But yet humans/animals fight. By your logic, it is objectively wrong to fight. Animals will fight knowing they might not possibly survive. Because of it being detrimental to life then one should not do it. Yet of course this is false because fighting is used for surviving.

You stated earlier that an objective moral would persist through generations for prolonged life. But why would one commence an action that is problematic with survival? I forgot, because that does not mean that they are destined to follow an objective moral. But that can't apply because most male species of any kind fight. A lot to the death.

Side: No

I like to ask relativists if they are absolutely sure that there are no absolutes.

Side: Yes
Jace(5216) Disputed
1 point

One can be a moral relativist without being an absolute relativist.

Side: No
SitaraMusica(536) Clarified
1 point

Can you explain some more, please? .

Side: Yes
Atrag(5556) Disputed
0 points

That is because you're a plank short of two short planks :)

Side: No
Coldfire(1014) Clarified
3 points

I'm glad you didn't leave, Atrag ;)

Side: Yes
1 point

Punching a baby is a universal wrong. Sometimes there are exceptions in which it might be considered morally okay but there is an assumption that it is not in every society (I am assuming a little when I say every, I realise). There there must be something objectively wrong in that act and the interesting thing is arguing what that is.

Side: Yes
Jace(5216) Disputed
2 points

Your assumption is not an insignificant one; you are asserting universality from a self-professed fallacy. If there are exceptions, either circumstantial or by the individual, then the moral is not universal and consequentially inconsistent with any objective constant.

Further, it is a leap of logic to extrapolate from a single moral to morality as a whole (which is what this debate subject discusses). Even if you could demonstrate one moral to be actually universal, this would not speak to the entirety of morality.

Additionally, I would contend that nothing is objectively ever "wrong" or "right" in actuality. (Dis)advantageous or harmful/beneficial, certainly; but the moment we attach a moral value judgement our perception becomes subjective.

Side: No
Amarel(5564) Disputed
1 point

If the principle that allows for punching the baby is that same principle that forbids it under normal circumstances, then you have an objectively based morality. It would never work if morality is so rigid as to not account for context. If you found the underlying principle here, I am sure it would apply to many other moral situations. You may begin to have something like an objective morality.

but the moment we attach a moral value judgement our perception becomes subjective.

The moment you hear noise it becomes subjective. We should remember that subjective doesn't necessarily mean false. I think I said this above, but if you created a code of conduct based on these principles you are laying out, it would eventually be considered wrong/right good/bad etc. Subjective reality doesn't exist without the objective one.

Side: Yes

Some actions and behaviours just are bad as they are things that almost everyone with the exception of psychopaths and sociopaths can agree are bad. Physically abusing someone unprovoked is bad as any one with a healthy mind reacts badly to it and feels empathy for the victim and feels hostility to the perpetrator.

Side: Yes
pakicetus(1455) Disputed
1 point

and why are these things bad?

Side: No
8 points

Nope .

Side: No
1 point

Wow your words are so deep how do you do it

Side: Yes

Objective divine inspiration .

Side: Yes
5 points

Morals aren't tangible, empirical, physical things. They are concepts and practices, much like numbers.

Side: No
ghostheadX(1104) Disputed
3 points

objective- not influenced by personal feelings, interpretations, or prejudice; based on facts; unbiased- dictionary.com

That definition never said that something objective has to be tangible. It probably has to have some basis on something tangible, in order to be based on fact. But no where in that definition does it say that something objective is tangible, physical, or empirical.

Therefore, it can be a concept or practice, such as a mathematical concept, a computer science concept, a comedy routine, etc.

Side: Yes
Akulakhan(2985) Disputed
2 points

To quote Merriam Webster:

1ob·jec·tive adjective \əb-ˈjek-tiv, äb-\

       : based on facts rather than feelings or opinions : not influenced by feelings

philosophy : existing outside of the mind : existing in the real world

grammar : relating to nouns, noun phrases, or pronouns that are the objects of verbs or prepositions

---

To quote your provided definition: "based on facts;" meaning exactly what I said before; tangible, empirical, and physical.

Side: No

Correct. I always give exact comparison of 'time' and 'morality.' Problem is when I say time does not exist people think I speaking some sort of "philosophical hypothesis" when in fact time does not exist! But that is another topic I will post tomorrow and see who are the intellectuals and who are the... You know.

Side: No
Amarel(5564) Disputed
1 point

The inability to explain an intellectual complexity is itself a failure of the intellect. Denying the self-evident and the scientific on the basis that it just is, and then saying that whomever disagrees is "...you know" stupid, doesn't make you more intelligent, it just makes you a less intelligent jerk.

Side: Yes
3 points

There is always some set of circumstances that makes something wrong.

Side: No
Amarel(5564) Disputed
3 points

That's true, if by "something" you mean some moral action. An objective reality therefore, would need to be based on conceptual principles, rather than a rulebook of particulars. Also, since morality is meant for general living, objective morality would be put aside for situations that will never happen such as the trolley thought experiment, or you in a life raft. In these cases, just do whatever. Amorality should be left to areality situations.

Side: Yes
Cartman(18192) Disputed
1 point

I am not sure what you are disputing.

That's true, if by "something" you mean some moral action.

It is true for anything that can be deemed right or wrong. Which is the subject of objective morality. Since we are discussing objective morality it is valid to discuss moral actions, so I don't see how this is any kind of objection.

An objective reality therefore, would need to be based on conceptual principles, rather than a rulebook of particulars.

These conceptual principles always require some kind of subjective reality.

Side: No
2 points

Morality exists as a form of value judgement and ascription. It is premised upon the subjective perception that value itself exists objectively, which it does not. "Good" and "bad" are just ideas that we made up to understand our world and to codify our interactions. They do not actually exist.

Side: No
Amarel(5564) Disputed
2 points

Values are those for which one takes action to gain and/or to keep. Only and all living things value. If living things exist objectively, and they have values, then values exist objectively. "Good" and "bad" applies to the living, just like values. "Good" and "bad" things are those which "aid" or "threaten" the life respectively. Regardless of what I believe is good or bad, there are some things that actually objectively are.

Side: Yes
Jace(5216) Disputed
1 point

Values are those for which one takes action to gain and/or to keep.

Values are about far more than motivators of action towards gaining and retaining. They are motivators that ascribe an abstract notion of "good" and "bad" to the equation.

Only and all living things value.

Not all living things value. A snail does not value; it just does.

If living things exist objectively, and they have values, then values exist objectively.

If living things exist objectively, and they think unicorns are real, that does not mean the unicorn exists objectively. Only the subjective idea of the unicorn exists objectively. Now, simply insert morality/value for unicorn and perhaps you grasp the concept. There is a difference between an idea occurring objectively, and that idea representing something that objectively exists itself.

"Good" and "bad" applies to the living, just like values. "Good" and "bad" things are those which "aid" or "threaten" the life respectively. Regardless of what I believe is good or bad, there are some things that actually objectively are.

The problem with words like "good" and "bad" is that they so intermingle subjective value judgements with objective truth that one cannot use them strictly to reference what is objectively (dis)advantageous. If we are discussing (dis)advantage or harm/benefit, then we should use the language that discusses that explicitly - (dis)advantage and harm/benefit. To say that a disadvantage/advantage is bad/good attaches an additional, subjective value statement onto the objective observation. Consequentially, you end up saying things like "there are some things that actually objectively are" good or bad... instead of simply observing what actually is objectively (dis)advantageous from the offset. Why should we cling to a moral value system that is so inherently imprecise, and not abandon it instead for a direct, amoral consideration of (dis)advantage?

Side: No
1 point

Good and bad have no existence in the objective world, but they do exist as concept through subjective perceptions.

Side: No

What is "moral" simply depends on how we perceive it.

For example; a high ranking Nazi officer would most likely see Hitler's actions as just, while a Jewish prisoner in a concentration camp would see Hitler's actions as unjust.

Side: No
HarvardGrad(174) Clarified
1 point

Concept of morality is subjective, yes; can there be an objective moral though?

Side: Yes
Idiotobx914(1340) Clarified
1 point

What exactly do you mean when you say an objective moral? Do you mean some sort of action that is always absolutely good or evil? If that is the case then my opinion is no, as what is "good" and "evil" simply depends on what we perceive it to be.

Also, I am saying that morality itself is subjective.

Side: Yes
1 point

We can have a morality that is based in objectivity, and with an objective goal, but this morality itself not an objective truth.

Side: No
Amarel(5564) Disputed
1 point

What if the objective goal is inherent in humanity. If it is a property of humanity to act on ones own interests (life, well-being, etc), would a moral code based on principles that are in ones interests then be objective?

(Consider the difference between objective properties and subjectivity. If something is common to a category of entities, it isn't subjective, it is a property.)

Side: Yes
pakicetus(1455) Disputed
1 point

That is not specific enough. Are we concerned with humanity's survival, well-being, happiness, and freedoms as a collective? And if so, which ones take higher priority? Believe it or not, not all of these can be simultaneously achieved.

Side: No
1 point

Objective morality is the idea that a certain system of ethics or set of moral judgments is not just true according to a person's subjective opinion, but factually true. Proponents of this theory would argue that a statement like "Murder is wrong" can be as objectively true as "1 + 1 = 2." Most of the time, the alleged source is God, or the Kantian Categorical Imperative; arguably, no objective source of morality has ever been confirmed, nor have any a priori proofs been offered to the effect that morality is anything other than subjective. Kant ultimately fails, because he is perceptibly committed to Christian morality, which guides his arguments.

At such, in my perception, i believed that there is no such thing as "objective morality"

Side: No
0 points

baby?

infants are innocent. We should not hit them

hahahahahaha

OMG what's wrong with me today !~ lol

dude, tell you a secret, i just meet my crush....

Side: No