Resolved: It is morally permissible to kill one innocent person to save the lives of more innocent people.The obvious affirmative / negative split is a classic standoff between utilitarianism and deontology. Some thoughts to get you started thinking:
1. What does "morally permissible" mean?
2. Note that the resolution says "to kill." This seems to require a more active form of agency--the action involves taking action to end a life, not merely allowing a life to end.
3. Don't limit yourself to the basic utilitarian/deontological split, though. There are many ways of looking at moral questions--act vs. rule utility, attempted hybrid theories, utility with side constraints, moral intuitionism, virtue ethics. A good introduction to different moral stances is here. (For novices, some basic resources are here.)
4. Look into "moral psychology." Specifically, hypotheticals like the "trolley problem." Human intuitions, regarding what to do in these circumstances, are notoriously murky.
More links and analysis in the days to come. Join in the conversation--add a comment or a question!
Update 8/19: I go over some potential problems for the affirmative.
Update 8/21: I define "morally permissible."
Update 9/4: Many of the comments are useful--scroll about halfway down, until things start turning into, my summary, "would you email me a copy of your case?" and "spreading sucks!" Those are valuable, but they're cluttering up the comments. So, I'm creating a new post--call it an open forum--where you can rant about LD as an event, instead of this resolution in particular. If you have a question or would like to see me post on a specific aspect of this resolution, that's also the place to let me know.
Update 9/11: I answer a reader's question about specific agents within the resolution.
Update 9/14: I discuss a few versions of utilitarianism.
Update 9/15: Some thoughts for the stuck.