Aug 15, 2008

Resolved: It is morally permissible to kill one innocent person to save the lives of more innocent people.

The September/October Lincoln-Douglas resolution has been released:
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.

146 comments:

Captain Princess said...

Speaking of moral wiring...http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trolley_dilemma.

Sexy beast said...

I'd like to point out that Utilitarianism does not have to be the only criterion on the Affirmative.

Rousseau's social contract theory and the Harm Principle both sound like feasible options.

okiedebater said...

1) The use of the phrase "more innocent" in the resolution could open up the possibility of degrees of innocence. Instead of just arguing based on the number of people, it could be possible to argue that the people who are saved have a greater degree of innocence because they are "more innocent".

2) Also, the resolution speaks of moral permissibility rather than moral obligation. Can this lead to some form of moral relativity argumentation?

3) With legal definitions, "person" can include not only an individual human, but also organizations, corporations... "People", however, does NOT seem to include this. Because of this, would it be possible to create a case that is more company vs. individuals than individual vs. individuals?

Sexy beast said...

Okie debater who are you? I'm Rod from Bixby.

And as to your points, I'm not sure if I like the first and third, but the second one is intriguing. Care to elaborate?

Christine said...

okiedebater, my opinions/questions:

1) How would you determine "more innocent" (i.e., what are the degrees of innocence)? Are we saying that some people have more worth than others and should therefore be saved?
2) As Princeton WordNet defines permissible, it is merely "that may be accepted or conceded", and some sort of moral relativity would be particularly powerful on the aff frameworking.
3) I see the point about using legal definitions, but how would you framework that in without being abusive since aff will most likely interpret the resol in a strictly moral sense. Also, how do you "kill" a corporation or even determine if it is "innocent"?

Furthermore, what does it mean to be "killed" or "saved"? Does "saving" also imply an active form of agency as well, and if so, to what degree (i.e., just prevent life-threatening injuries, or all injuries)?

Captain Princess said...

okie: I'm intrigued by the notion that relative definitions of innocence as a guide to moral judgements. However, I'm not convinced: the structure of the resolution suggests that its a quantitative judgment (one vs. more). Additionally, innocence seems like pregnency. There are certainly different degrees of both, but there is a clear and distinct dichotomy between "innocence" and "guilt."

christine: I'd strongly advise you look to at the link I posted earlier. In thought expieriements the notion of being the agent changes peoples' willingness to save the many instead of the few.

Anonymous said...

I am most pleased about this topic. I was hoping for it to come up and here it is. Now that I am back debating, I see that there are always those who try to think outside the box. But after losing many debates with cases like that, I would refrain from okiedebater's first and third ideas however creative they are. I just like the plain debate but there are so many different angles you could use!

I am wondering, though, if it is a good idea to say that a person may be willing to die for the other innocents...especially in a society where such sacrifice is a moral obligation. I don't know completely about that one...but it's worth a shot.

LDn00b said...

Perhaps I'm just too morally inflexible to argue neg from a deontological perspective, but I've been brainstorming ways to take it on consquentialy-- that in the real world, obeying this principle does not lead to a better result. I've been trying to think of examples (such as kosovo) where killing innocents (serbian civilians who were collateral damage) in an attempt to save more innocents backfired. I'm having trouble thinking of examples on a smaller scale, though. Does anyone think this strategy could work?

Captain Princess said...

ldn00b: You might want to think about the Ticking Time Bomb scenario. However, its hard to justify going back in time and deeming certain deaths as necessary for advancement. Any evidence you do find is going to be fundamentally distasteful I think.

LDn00b said...

Well, I found a way to right a deontological neg, despite my quesiness. But I came up with some interesting anti-consequential arguments.

Mainly, the resolution here is talkign about the value of human life. Consequential logicwould hold human life about the same value most of the time, because killing a human has the same basic consequence everytime-- someone stops living. However, common ethics suggests many situations where this does not hold: (this works for utilitarian and possibly teleological too)

1. Every day people die in the US waiting for donated organs, yet it is against medical ethics for a doctor to steal organs from a diseased patient who did not otherwise specify.

2. On the battlefield, bombing military targets is considered ligit by the rules of war no matter what, even if there are some civilians killed. Consider especially the end of the gulf war I, when coalitian planes bombed a huge column of retreating Iraqi vehicles on the highway to Basra that posed no threat and were manned at least party by innocent drafties. (That's the kicker: killing innocent people who posed no immediate threat was justified.)

3. On the other hand, killing, threatening to kill, or torturing POWs to get information (even information that can save dozens of lives) is forbidden by the same commonly-accepted international law that allows massacring drafties.

Basically, in all the above situations, consequentialism/uttilitarianism contradicts common morality concerning human life (mainly because they don't adapt to different situations) suggesting Deontology is a better VC.

LDn00b said...

sorry captain, didn't see your reply

thanks for the tip, I'll look up the time bomb scenario later.

okiedebater said...

Well, my humble comment seems to have gotten a few response. Because of tournament schedules, I most likely won't get to debate this topic, so I'm mainly doing some preliminary brainstorming at this point. As a result, I'm developing my thoughts as I go.

To Rod from Bixby, I'm from Bethany (NFL- West OK, OSSAA- SW 4A). I think I was in Adv. LD at Cameron U. with some of your teammates this summer.

Regarding the second point, it would be saying that it is not something that is required, but can be justified.
If we relate it to an individual level, let us say it was up to one person to carry out the resolution. They can kill a person to save others, or do nothing and allow them to die. Saying it is morally obligated means they have to kill that person. Saying morally permissible means it is justified if they choose to, but perhaps also justified if they don't. It allows for more adaptation to individual cases.

Regarding the degrees of innocence, it IS something that is difficult to quantify. However, in issues of morality, it would be practically impossible to use innocent (or guilty) as an absolute. Intuitively, it would seem that innocence and guilt are not absolute. This could lead to comparison between them with "more". (However, I also agree that this is not the strongest argument there is.)

I would most likely use a utilitarian or deontological case myself. However, it could potentially be worth it to have a framework definition or observation that can undermine the other side if left unopposed.
For example, just defining person as including "person" as including corporations could undermine a Neg based off of a human life value. Of course, this will rely heavily on the judge.

okiedebater said...

Another preliminary thought, this time regarding utilitarianism. The commonly used definition of utilitarianism is providing the greatest good for the greatest number. However, I believe there is also a third part, "for the greatest amount of time".

If we're only looking at the number of people in the resolution, then clearly the Aff wins the "greatest number" because it is saving more lives. However, if we move this greatest number to include all people, then it could potentially change things by making us look at who the people are. The only thing the resolution tells us the innocence of the people involved, but not their usefulness to society.

Imagine that the one is a pre-eminent heart surgeon vs. two blue-collar workers. All their lives have intrinsic value, but some are more useful to society. Now if we are only looking at number, the two win. However, if we are looking at who is providing the greatest good for society, it could be the heart surgeon who is saving other lives.

In this way, it could perhaps be possible to make utilitarianism go Neg.

Disclaimer: I would NOT base a Negative case on this argument, I would just use it in a rebuttal as a response to utilitarianism.

Sexy Beast said...

Interesting...

Anonymous said...

I wondering what would be the popular value for this topic. Morality would be an obvious one because it is inherent within the resolution. But couldn't it be narrowed to Moral Permissibility? Also, I think a value of Life might be used.

The popular criterion would obviously include Utilitarianism (or something Teleology related) and Deontology.

A question about Utilitarianism: Why is it defined as the "greatest good for the greatest number of people"? Didn't Bentham and Mills both define Utilitarianism in terms of happiness (greatest happiness for the greatest amount of people).

I think it is unfair to make that jump from happiness to good without explaining yourself. I think Mills and Bentham argued that happiness was the ultimate good because of its intrinsic nature but most debaters forget to include that within their framework making it pretty easy to muddle up.

Kant's Categorical Imperative is an obvious framework for a Neg. Killing one innocent person to save others is treating him as merely a means. It can't become a universal law because it then would deny dignity and natural rights on a massive scale.

What about the psychological harms arising from the resolution? If one man let those others die because he didn't sacrifice himself to save them (also works vice-versa), there would be potentially devastating psychological effects on that person which might even lead to suicide.

Just some preliminary thoughts. I personally dislike this resolution because of the lack of empirical evidence.

satej said...

could one use jean-paul sartre's/ivan karamzov's argument that says that if there is no god, everything is permitted to spike out of negatives that take moral relativist stances? like: "if morality doesn't exist, than nothing is morally impermissible, so you affirm prior to any standard either debater proposes..."

also, can anyone think of a way to apply alasdair mcintyre without greatly butchering his works?

just throwing around ideas here...

P.S. i think this blog is going to be the source of many cases for my team, considering all our good debaters graduated....

Jim Anderson said...

Interesting thoughts so far, folks. Thanks for sharing. I'm going to put up a fresh post tomorrow, going over some problems in the resolution. I thought I'd also reiterate what sexy beast emphasized, and what I alluded to, earlier: examine all philosophical frameworks beyond the strict utility/deontology split. (But be ready to argue against both.)

Oh, and for anonymous just above, the lack of empiricism is what makes this a classic LD battle. Old school, you might even say.

Ann O'Nymous said...

Would the Trader Principle make a better value or criterion on the neg, and if criterion what would the value be?

What do you think would be the best way to use virtue ethics?

Would judges accept a negative case based on moral anti-realism?

Thanks.

Anonymous said...

The Traders Principle seems very interesting for this topic. Of course, as the neg you would have to define kill as something that is coercive and forced rather then something that could possibly be done out of consent of the victim. A sneaky Aff might state that the one innocent person could be convinced to be killed for a higher good. That would mean that the Trader Principle is fulfilled because there is no force involved and all is done peacefully with reason and consent of the victim.

I would definitely use it as a criterion because it is too narrow as a value. Justice seems to go with it when defined as "fairness" or something along the lines of "morally-correct"

Sexy Beast said...

Just thought I'd through this one out here...

You know, most of us don't seem to want to use utility as the criterion. So, what about trying something a little sneaky?

Aristotle came up with, among many other things, a notion of social justice that goes like this. "That which is just for society is what provides greater benefit to society as a whole.

By implementing this notion of justice as an affirmative value, you can then have a form of utility to achieve- and if accepted, will lose the negative a lot of ground.

AJ said...

I'm kind of new to LD debate, and I need a case by friday. Today is my first day working on this topic. Here are some points that I have already, and any suggestions or help would be appreciated.

Value: Justice
VC: Utilitarianism
-2 lives are greater than one
C1: more people are saved
-"greater good/happiness for greater number of people achieved"

This isn't how it's worded in my case, I'm still working on that part.
Also, this debate is pretty much Individual vs Common good. I know that much, but I dont know how to fit it in my case.

Question: One of my teammates mentioned suicide as an example. I told her it wouldn't be covered but she pointed out that it's all about how you define "kill". Would it make for a strong argument?

Sexy Beast said...

I think that we should focus on coming up with strong arguments and powerful V/C instead of examples, because we don't want our debates to turn into unsolvable example debates.

And I'd just like to say that I've been on a lot of debate websites, and not one covers the new resolution as well as this one.

Thanks Jim, and keep up the great work guys!!

Anonymous said...

Based on all the examples I've been seeing, wouldn't most of this debate be theoretical?

Also, what would make a strong VC for neg?

Sexy Beast said...

I believe that your set to go by running Kant on the neg. Study him profusely, and use him!

Anonymous said...

What is the Trader Principle. I do not get that.

Anonymous said...

I cannot find a set definition for morally permissible anywhere. Has anybody else managed to do so and if so where?

satej said...

re: defining "morally permissible"

i thought about it this way:
when we say killing is morally impermissible, we assume that we have a moral obligation to a) not kill and b) prevent others from killing. if something is morally permissible, these moral obligations don't exist.

i bet Jim is going to put up a mind-blowing set of definitions soon, though. this blog rocks.

Matt said...

"Another preliminary thought, this time regarding utilitarianism. The commonly used definition of utilitarianism is providing the greatest good for the greatest number. However, I believe there is also a third part, "for the greatest amount of time.' "

This brings up an interesting con point. While the pro may be the best option in regarding one situation, a "pro" ruling in this case sets a precedent that can easily be abused in the future and be twisted for selfish purposes. It only takes a short glance at history to look at the problems people created when they thought they were doing what they did for the "greater good".

Matt said...

So, in summary, a "pro" ruling would likely end up killing more people in the long run.

halopwns said...

Hey Jim or Okie
im new to the blogging thing but im on the varsity LD team at my high school and i was thinking on a great value/criterion for both the aff and the neg and i was thinking on going along the lines of everyone else with the utility/deontology thing on my aff. Does anyone have any tips or advice to give me on some value a criterion and maybe some ideas of some contentions or evidence

SetoKaiba'sGirl said...

if 5 patients in the hospital needed organ transplants and there was one healthy man roaming the halls, would it be ok for the doctor to kill the man to save his paitents? think about that.

halopwns said...

I was thinking on maybe using Negative Utilitarianism (if you dont know what NU is you can find it on my link) for the aff, any advice or contentions that fit with it so that I can roll with it?

halopwns said...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Negative_utilitarianism is the wiki post for NU

Sexy Beast said...

FOR ALL:

This is my Aff, I think its pretty good, let me know what y'all think and feel free to steal.

Because Justice is the core of all values and thus is intrinsically valuable, I value Justice. Aristotle, who many consider to be the greatest philosopher of all time, defines Justice as acting in the best interest of society as a whole. In other words, a notion of Justice as social utility.

I feel that the best way to achieve the value of Justice and weigh our arguments is through the criterion of Respecting Rousseau’s Philosophy of the General Will. Jean Jacque Rousseau believed that the sole purpose of the social contract is to satisfy the General Will.

Contention 1. We must value life. A. By negating the resolution, we are condemning multiple people to death.

B. By allowing many to die, we are essentially killing them.

C. The will of the people always supports saving the lives of many people.

Contention 2. Morality must be based upon the situation.

Thats the basic gist of it!

halopwns said...

Sexy Beast, I like the overall appeal of your aff sample. I was suprised that you chose to link general will to your justice value which was a pretty good link. Your contentions are good but the problem with the first one is that you begin by saying that we must value life. I would like your take on how you would link that specifically to the social contract and the value of justice. if you elaborate on that, it would be nice, otherwise you have a great sample of your aff speach. :) I may even try some of you ideas in one of my speaches if theres no problem to you.

Sexy Beast said...

No problem whatsoever.

Thanks for the critique, and if you need me to, I can e-mail you my entire case, showing the warrants and impacts.

Sexy Beast said...

And here is your link, Halo.

All three social contract theorists believe that the social contract exists first and foremost to provide security to its citizens. Rousseau specifically believes that the general will of the people is the only way to achieve such security, because all people are equal, and the general will thus cannot be selfish or unjust. If we allow more people to live, then we clearly satisfy the general will by providing the greatest amount of security to the people, security that cannot be achieved on the negative, because the negative would allow the many to die.

Newbie said...

sexy beast,

Would you mind emailing your affirmative case to me? I'm a novice this year and I haven't really got the hang of this resolution yet since I don't have a coach/mentor. I just want to see how cases are supposed to be strung together with the argument, evidence, and value criterion. I won't steal your case :)

email: ibuc84@gmail.com

Sexy Beast said...

Its been sent. I don't use a whole bunch of evidence, especially on this topic, due to its philosophical/logical roots.

Anonymous said...

hey sexy beast...can i also see you affirmative case...i am a novie aswell...and yes i wont steal your case...thanks =D

email: upandajo@aol.com

Sexy Beast said...

Sent it.

halopwns said...

No Problem with the critique, Im the kind of person who believes the best way to boost self-confidence in debate is to critique the speech in a way that the debator feels proud of their speech but knows they still may need work. If its no problem with you, may i ask that you email me your speech,
My email is: Halopwns@yahoo.com
please and thank you

Anonymous said...

How much should we bet that in a few weeks much of the local circuits are going to be running that case haha.

Anonymous said...

sexy beast, i quite like your outline for the aff and i am having some trouble writing my neg...so if you would be so kind as to email me you negative it would be greatly appreciated...

my email: LDdebate1@gmail.com

please and thanks

-Josh G.

halopwns said...

Thanks Sexy, can I call you sexy or beast, but thanks and if its no problem could you send me your negative.

Rod said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sexy Beast said...

Anonymous and halo, we won't be using this topic for our tournaments, so I have not, and do not intend to write a negative case. (I did my aff for the example debate).

However, these are the ideas I would incorporate if I were to create a neg.

Because Justice is the core of all values and thus is intrinsically valuable, I value Justice, defined by Plato. Plato defines Justice as "Acting in respect for natural human rights. No act ought to infringe upon these rights and still be considered just." Because the affirmative blatantly kills an innocent man, the affirmative completely disregards the natural human right of life, and cannot achieve justice.

My criterion for achieving Justice and weighing arguments in this round is Kant's Catagorical Imperative. (Blah blah blah, I'm to lazy to come up with a persuasive argument as to why this should be implemented and why the affirmative cant achieve it, but I'm sure you can come up with one.)

Contention 1. It can never be just to kill an innocent man. Kant says that for a law to be just, it cannot be a logical contradiction. The words "morally permissible" and "Kill an innocent" logically contradict, and thus the resolution cannot be just. (this is the basis of Kant's Logical Contradiction theory, I recommend looking this up and obviously elaborating on this contention much more, this should work well alongside the Catagorical Imperative.

Contention 2. The Affirmative treats people as a means to an end.


This is the gist of what I would run with my neg, it would make sense to study Kant thorougly if you wish to run this, but I recommend using something along these lines for a strong negative.

Also, please note that you DO NOT need to show that the affirmative cannot meet any of the 3 prongs of the cat. imp., Kant explains that "one only needs to violate one section of this standard to achieve an injustice." Specifically, I recommend using the 2nd prong of the Cat. Imp. as your criterion, which is the one about treating people as a means to an end.

Good Luck!

AJ said...

Hey, I am debating this topic this weekend, and I have both my cases written, but I would like some critiques. I don't feel like they are strong enough.

My email is ajpd.iwashere@yahoo.com

Thanks

Anonymous said...

really guys? really? you should never run util or kant or especially rousseau. those are the first arguments every team blocks out. and if they haven't already, they will for this resolution. not to mention how ridiculously sexist rousseau and kant were. you homies gotta think ahead into your rebuttals. cause it doesn't matter how pretty your case sounds in the AC if it's torn to shreds by the 2AR. this debate needs to have framework. you can't just jump into running utilitarianism without setting parameters on the round, especially with a reso like this.

Matt said...

Kant's categorical imperitives were somewhat ridiculous...Nietzsche talks about the mask of sophistry in them leading us to the fallacious conclusion that a priori reasoning is achievable by humans.

Anonymous said...

I disagree. If you know util or Kant better than your opponent, you will win. People will make blocks against them, but not blocks against blocks. If you can stay 2 to 3 steps ahead, there is nothing wrong with using Kant or Utility. Knowledge and background is key for this resolution.

Matt said...

I agree with anonymous :P

Matt said...

Here's an aff arguement that I think I'll be using:

The resolution doesn't specify who the person is that you're killing, so it could include killing yourself. Are you actually saying that it is morally impermissible to give my own life to save the life of my children?

Anonymous said...

people do write blocks against blocks. they're called frontlines. and there's a finite number of speeches where you can be getting up to defend your points. the point i'm making is that whether or not these guys are right, they're simply not strategic. if you've got to be fighting back a ten block spread on your criterion or a case turn dump before you can garner any offense, you're creating a problem for yourself that you need not create. and honestly, do you really want to debate the same round with the same arguments over and over again at every tournament?

halopwns said...

hey AJ if you would like a critique on your cases i can be of some help just send me a copy of your cases and i can give you my advice, oh and i wont steal your cases, just helping out a fellow debater.

halopwns said...

my Email is Halopwns@yahoo.com

Sexy Beast said...

Matt/Anon 1., I challenge you.
While I agree that I probably should implement more observations, even though it isn't big where I debate and I don't really have the time in my speech, I disagree with pretty much every thing else you said against my V/C.

So here is my challenge: Post a reasonable length refutation against my V/C (for both cases if you feel like it), and I will offer my defence.

I contend that your refutation will be rather weak, acknowledging the high ethos both philosophers are given by society.

Anonymous said...

To sexy beast:
I noticed that your AFF case equates letting someone die to 'killing.' There is a Doctrine of Double Effect argument I want to discuss with you, but I think it might help if I read your case.

Feel free to send an e-mail, I have some critique to give.
psyclone12012@gmail.com

Sexy Beast said...

Ahh, the doctrine of double effect which I am vaguely familiar with, after coming up with a block with it during the Nuclear Weapons topic. Yes, it probably could be a criterion; only we here in Shmoklahoma try to use criterion's that are more grounded into philosophy.

Sexy Beast said...

And I think were going in the right direction with this intelligent exchange of ideas, lets keep up the great work guys!

Matt said...

note: this is not my arguement against--if I get around to it, I may put a con arguement up here

Kant really only contributed anything worthwhile in epistemology, and nobody really cares as much abotu the rest of the things he said. In fact, if it wasn't for his epistemology, he problably wouldn't even be known by much today. Neither Kant nor John Stuart Mill are really relevant to modern political and ethical philosophy. They did have influence, but we've moved on in different directions. They are given "ethos" (is that even the right context of the word?) because they contributed to the development of philosophy in their time period. But they're philosophies of the past--no one really accepts utilitarianism any more. They may accept something based on it, or similar to it, but not the thing itself.

Sexy Beast said...

In no particular order...

1. No one accept util.? On the contrary, I believe that is the basis for accepting torture in Guantanamo bay, the basis for pragmatism, and the reason why we went used the nukes against Japan. We believed that by using a power shot, we could stop the long term loss of lives on our frontier. Ask yourself what is the reason for living, and you'll find that the answer is, in some shape or form, to find the greatest amount of happiness.

2. Mill is what I would call your Jack of all trades for LD. You can really apply him to every single resolution. And contrary to what you may say, he has done a GREAT DEAL with ethics. Lets go over some of his theory's that can be applicable to debate:

Mills Harm Theory, which discusses the role of the government over the individual , as well as when someones liberty may be revoked.

Mills Market Place of Ideas, which can be used in almost every resolution that the common man would affirm.

Mills tyranny of the majority, which discusses some of the flaws with democracy.

Mills rights, Which focuses on many of the basic rights a person may not have taken by the government. Similar to Locke's, but without the retribution factor.

3. Kant focuses on reason and logic dually, which makes him so hard to refute. Logically, his theory makes perfect sense. We need some kind of "rules" that cannot be broken, and Kant finds these rules though his Catagorical Imperative, his logical contradiction theory, and the theory of "Perfect Duty", which is what we call the a priori theory that is used universally in debates today.


So yes, I would use both Mill and Kant in debates, considering that many national champions incorporated their ideas into their debate cases.

Anonymous said...

ok guys, here's what's up. running mill/kant is a bad idea because they're both blocked out like none other. i'm not gonna post all of my blocks here, like many of you probably would, because that's how you get your arguments prepped out. but in a very general and brief sense, look to T.M. Scanlon. he pretty effectively refutes both util and the categorical imperative. As far as util goes, it doesn't give adequate weight to rights. for this, you can look to dworkin, nozick, donnely, etc. With the categorical imperative, a strong but cliche refutation is the question of what to do if you're housing jews in your attic and nazis knock on your door and ask if you know if there are any jews in your house. Kant would say that you can never lie in this situation, but that it would be permissible to mislead the nazi by saying that you don't know, because, as far as you know, they could have escaped out the window by then. this is probably the second weakest argument in all of philosophy, right after anything ayn rand ever said and followed closely by mill's justification of liberty in terms of utility, rather than rights.

halopwns said...

my case is based on a combination of mill and utility and i have a few blocks to arguments against them, but could i get some of you guys blocks so i can maybe be prepared against them. please and thank you.
if you can email them to me id be very appreciative, my email is halopwns@yahoo.com

Sexy Beast said...

Well, we came up with blocks 2 those blocks at camp, and i could post em here if yall would like.

halopwns said...

could you send them to my email

SetoKaiba'sGirl said...

what about action vs. inaction? are we killing the innocent person by stabbing him or letting him die?
ps: am i the only girl reading this?

Matt said...

Sure, you can use Kant and Mill in debate, but that's because debate judges (unless they're exceptional) care/know nothing about Derrida or Nietzsche or Hegel. If you were in a political philosophy class, you would likely talk about Rawls and Leo Strauss rather than just The Republic, the Social Contract, and utilitarianism.

I'm not saying that Mill hasn't done a great deal with ethics, but I'm saying that they're plenty of other, more current people, that have also done a great deal with ethics that most LDers are flat out ignoring. Bringing them up can give an advantage, but part of the problem is that judges will recognize inflated names like Kant and Mill, but not others. Depending on the judge, of course.

And util is not the basis for pragmatism. Mill helped influence it, but he did so through his views in epistemology and metaphysics, not moral philosophy.

Kant can seem to make what you term "logical sense". And it could be said that we need general all encompassing moral principles to follow, although lots of people (existentialists, pragmatists, postmodernists) would disagree. But who decides what these vague moral principles are? Kant? Are you saying I should trust one German philosopher's ideas as the basis for a moral system? "Modern" principles like util and, before that, the cat imp. have caused a lot of world problems.

Anonymous said...

I have almost no problem with utility vs CI debate because all it takes it is a very well read person to refute the common blocks. For the uncommon blocks... well there must be a reason for why they are uncommon. Look for potention contradictions and flaws within blocks and make sure they are specifically directed to the type of utilitarianism, etc. you are running and not some stock version.

I am having a dilema with inaction vs. action. I'm having a hard time finding philosophers or logic that would explain how inaction in the face of injustice is morally culpable. If anyone could help me out, that'd be great.

Sexy Beast said...

Well Kant, Mill, and Rousseau (I think) all cover the morality in some way or another. The key word is ommission for Mill, Duty for Kant, and Rousseau is equality. To elaborate on Rousseau, he believes that all humans are equal, and that as a member of a Social Contract, you have a right to maintain order... or something like that.

I may be wrong about Rousseau though.

Sexy Beast said...

Oh, and Matt? The main reason why people should use philosophy, especially those that are esteemed in debate, is because it wins.

There it is, pure and simple. The national champions have all been persuasive speakers, often using the philosophies Mill and Kant in particular as their criterion, and authoritative support in their cases. However, if you can find away to implement Confucius, Hegel, and all those guys into your case, be my guest. It really isn't a bad idea, just you need to apply them in viable ways.

Actually Matt, CAN you apply any of those philosophers you mentioned in your cases? I would be sincerely interested in how you manage that feat.

With all due respect,
Rod

Anonymous said...

if anyone else says "it wins national championships" as a justification for any argument again i might puke. I've been to nationals. that's not debate. that's trained monkeys babbling in a disgustingly illogical but persuasively presented stupor. If that's what you kids aspire to, by all means. But that's what my whole argument is. that's not what i want to do. i want to debate on a national circuit level. I've watched a lot of videos of toc rounds. i mean a lot. and very very infrequently do i see anything resembling mill or kant's philosophy and when i do, it's phrased as something else. why? because it loses. because when you interpret a resolution the same way seventy five percent of debaters and ninety five percent of novice debaters do, you walk into every round with your opponent knowing exactly what you're going to run and exactly how to refute it. try as you may to convince yourself that your "superior knowledge" of those arguments will win you rounds, there's a reason you're not at the toc. matt is right on with derrida and spanos and foucault and rawls and all those other brilliant people who simply aren't recognized by ignorant debaters just because they think outside the box. to put it in terms you might understand: in the allegory of the cave, you're the one stuck in the cave subjecting yourself to a misleading and meaningless simulacrum that only serves to deepen your subservience to popular western thought.

Anonymous said...

and as for the application of critical and contemporary philosophers...

links to a derrida k come any time your opponent reads text.

foucault links come any time anything your opponent says could be construed to relate to biopower. or fear of death (as with affirming this resolution)

nietzche links can be found in any argument made appealing to morality (also as with affirming this resolution)

nozick can be applied as a justification (with actual warrants which i'm yet to see any of you provide for kant) for an a priori protection of rights as moral side constraints on action.

scanlon can be used in determining the the moral status according to a contractualist paradigm as a foundational theory superior to kant's or mill's and based on benefits and burdens of any given action
(as with any morally concerned resolution)

i think you all get my point. there is no excuse for not applying these philosophies, because it can be done.

halopwns said...

can anyone think of any blocks they can give me against using a mix of utility and mill on aff. please and thank you and if you dont want to post it here just send it to my email@ halopwns@yahoo.com

Anonymous said...

If anyone wants to share blocks or even cases send yours to

dylan_andersonn@yahoo.com

&& I'll send you my blocks. I have AT util/mill, conseq, deon/kant, ommision v. commisioon, indiv dont exist K, innocent doesnt exist K, not moral to even debate life/death K, and a bunch more.

Also I have a great evidence packet I put together at camp if anyone wantsss.

Sexy Beast said...

Oh boy. Im gonna go through and refute most your arguments when Ive got the time anon., but for right now I'd just like to focus on your TOC vs. NFL point.

First, I'd like EVERYONE on this site to check out this link.
http://victorybriefsdaily.com/videos/

Click on the TOC championship round.
I'd like to hear yall's opinion on that, but I believe that any debater who tries to model him/herself after the affirmative is, with all due respect, wrong.

That's not debate. That's not even policy. That's a speeding, spreading shout fest. If you can even understand that, then consider yourself a genius.

Second, its not like an average of 60 of the best people per district compete, and only about three qualify. And its not like there's over 70 districts in the United States, either. Oh no. Its easy to win a national tournament. Trained monkeys do it every day, right anon?

Think about it guys.

Sexy Beast said...

Finally, I'd like to offer some useful information from Jim Anderson The Great.

Lincoln Douglas Debate
1. The Council has approved new LD debate event and judging descriptions, ostensibly to clear up contentious issues about the nature of the event. The biggest, and likely most grating, change: no kritiks. At least, that's how I read this passage:

The debaters are equally obligated to focus the debate on the central uestions of the resolution, not whether the resolution is worthy of debate. Because the affirmative must uphold the resolution, the negative must also argue the resolution as presented.

Obviously, this rule change affects only those tournaments that operate under NFL rules--but that's a conservative shift for LD, a bold move to keep it from becoming quasi-policy.

This, I hope, should stop the sharing of Kritik's, an illegal practise, that Anon. brought up.


And sorry about the rant, but I feel strongly that LD debate should be the way Mr. Lincoln and Mr. Douglas did it: The right, persuasive way.

halopwns said...

hey anon/dylan anderson ill send my aff case if you send me your info from camp and your blocks please and thank you

Anonymous said...

Oh please, that book on how to LD debate is not a rule book. This is pointed out at the very beginning of the thing. The preface to the book is very clear: **it is not a rule book for LD nor should it be taken as such.** There is a difference between nationals and national circuit tournaments. People who win nationals are generally persuasive and appeal primarily to pathos. People who win the TOC do so by appealing to logos. Banning original ideas in debate is ridiculous and antithetical to debate itself. If this topic has to boil down to "utilitarianism collapses into deontology" and "no, deontology collapses into utilitarianism" that would be absurd.

Sexy Beast said...

Que? When did I bring up the LD rulebook? Im afraid your sadly mistaken. Guys, lets do Lincoln Douglas debate the way they intended it. The perfect mix of ethos, pathos, and logos.

Matt said...

I was never saying that we shouldn't bring up philosophers. The problem is that in the local tournaments I'm competing in (my first year in debate), many of the judges will almost certainly recognize names like Kant and Thomas Jefferson, probably even John Locke, but, if they've ever heard of Nietzsche before, it was problably in the same sentence as "amoral" and "anti Christian". So I plan to have a set of arguements depending on who the judges are, one more pathos based, the other less so.

So my problem is that where anonymous may be competing with people where arguements involving Derrida are more accepted, in most of my rounds, I'm predicting the judges won't even know who Derrida is. Meh.

Anonymous (who mentioned toc), because it's my first year, do you think you could give (I hate to say 'advice') some information that could help me win local tournaments and stuff? I'll be starting in novice, but I'm pretty sure that after two or three tournaments, because I already have more experience with philosophy/writing papers, I'll switch to jv or varsity. If you want, I'll give you my email. I also have a couple out of the box arguements that I wouldn't mind sharing, as long as you don't live in Utah :P

Matt said...

There's no reason why we should strive to be doing LD the way "they" intended it, you are biasing the past and its 'superior' traditions. Which is a logical fallacy. Just because LD was names for the lincon/douglas debates doesn't mean we should do everything the same way, or given the same distribution of pathos, ethos, and logos.

Anonymous said...

"NFL rules" implicitly brings up a rulebook. However, the types of the K's the passage you quoted seems to be discussing solely K's that say "the resolution is not worth discussing" not one's that say an assumption is flawed. However, I don't think debate is meant to be a mix of all appeals, but merely an educational activity. Whatever you find to be the most educational/most interesting is probably what you should run. There's no way to verify the intention of an event, or the intentions of Lincoln and Douglas. I would assume their purposes were to just win their arguments through whatever appeals were necessary. This seems to be the sticking point: prove your arguments through what means you see fit. I see no reason why spreading sure be censured if the judges are fine with it, or any reason K's should not exist. If education is the true purpose of debate, then it seems that it would allow all types of argumentation and techniques to win a ballot in order to expand one's horizons. My education rant is done now, cheers!

Anonymous said...

If you use speed to win debates, you can't call that skill. That's cheap, and hopefully LD won't continue on the path of spreading and speeding.

Anonymous said...

1. No warrant as to why you can't call spreading a skill or as to why it is cheap.
2. If you can't spread then it obviously is a skill because it takes some type of training to achieve.
I don't want to get into a debate about the issue, but it would be nice to actually give some reasons why spreading is bad.

Sexy Beast said...

Well, I actually DO want to get into a debate about this issue (because debates are great way to get knowledge.)

Allow me to back you up anonymous.

If your opponent can't understand, or doesn't have time to write half the stuff your saying, then how is that fair? Fortunately, the majority of judges tend to condone this unfair practice of speed/spreading, and the speeder usually ends up in the bad position.

But this does depend upon where your debating. That granted, I admire the efforts of Champion LD coaches in Rostrum magazine to try to make LD fair for all.

The winners of the NFL nationals do not speed/spread. After watching the 05, 06, and 07 tournaments, going to debate camp, and experiencing many debate rounds, I came to the conclusion that...


... Spreading and speeding is antithetical to debate. Persuasion and logic wins, trying to get as many arguments in as possible does not.

And a plus: apparently, according to the NFL website, "spreading arguments is an uncommon practice that is losing practice due to lack of fairness."

Anonymous said...

1. No warrant why fairness is good.
2. No warrant why not being able to understand people is unfair. Ignorant people who refuse to learn about LD topics don't understand John Locke, but that doesn't mean running his social contract is unfair.
3. No reason why I should have to change my strategy because my opponent doesn't understand. If my opponent didn't speak English then I wouldn't speak another language to appease him/her.
4. The quotation from the NFL is empirically denied insofar as you are complaining about people who spread which means it is a common practice. Moreover, most of the rounds on VBD disprove the argument.
5. No reason why you can't be persuasive and logical while you speak fast.
6. No reason why NFL champions are superior to other debaters.
7. Turn, judge censuring of spreading is bad because judge intervention takes the round away from the debaters defeating the purpose of the activity. If anything, the judge should specify if he/she accepts spreading pre-round.
8. No warrant as to why putting out a bunch of arguments does not win debate rounds. This is empirically denied insofar as the debater you critiqued who came in 2nd at the TOC was spreading.
Good stuff. Jim, if you want, you could make another post about judging philosophies so this debate can be further pursued without taking away from the current resolution.

Anonymous said...

sorry to bug you about this sexy beast. but would you mind sending me a copy of your aff?
i don't intend to plagarize in any way, but i love your ideas and i want to see where exactly you go with them.
email-
captaincharisma93@sbcglobal.net

thanks a ton!

Anonymous said...

I'd like to see the great ideas you've had for this topic too, Rod. Could you please email them to jame_lucas@yahoo.com? You seem to have good ideas for the topic from debate camp.

Sexy Beast said...

1. Logically, reason tells us that this is so. Furthermore, many philosophers such as Aristotle and Rawls believe that fairness is a crucial element to justice.

2. Actually, since debate is a communication event, it would be best to actually be able to understand and comprehend the knowledge that is being shared. Lets turn your argument. If everyone in society talked as fast as some crude debaters do, then how would society convey knowledge? Learning would have no meaning, and society could not exist.

3. If we strive for Justice, then shouldn't it make logical sense not to be hypocrites and be fair to the realms of LD? And maybe debate like Lincoln and Douglas did?

4. ...But the Victory Briefs tournament is no where near the largest, most competitive tournament of the year, now is it?

5. Watch the video link I posted (http://victorybriefsdaily.com/videos/) and say that with a straight face.

6. Given that a. Every district in the nation has a highly competitive tournament just to QUALIFY, I would say that it is rather competitive, especially since it is the only tournament to have those qualifications. b. It is the longest tournament, the largest tournament, and the tournament with the most debate rounds before finals. (16, I believe). And c. It is sponsored by our daddy of all daddy's, the NFL!

Sorry, I'm just about out of time on this computer. In closing, I'd like to say that for the fairness and overall quality of the knowledge shared through debate, I really wouldn't recommend this practice. So lets make a difference by being one less, ladies and gentlemen.

Sexy Beast said...

Oh, and sure guys. I'm sending them now. But do I know you anon. 2? Just wondering, haha!

Oh, and I just thought of something. You and me are pretty much having a debate right now, Anonymous. So would it fair, beneficial, and knowledgeable if you guys could only understand, say, about 80% of what I was writing? That's what might be the case if I was speed debating this right now.

That's why I condone speeding/spreading.

Sexy Beast said...

Jame-Lucas, aka anon. 2, I couldn't send it to your address, for some reason.

Matt said...

1. No reason/warrant why we should provide any reasons/warrants.

Anonymous said...

Matt, if there is no reason an argument is true, then there would be no reason to believe that argument. I know your post was satirical, but I wanted to post any way.
Back to the quasi-debate.
On the #1, no warrant why reason tells us fairness is good. In fact, turn the argument, reason tells us fairness is bad because we are self-interested by nature because we must learn to survive. This means we would want to be unfair as to help ourselves advance in society. Moreover, there's no reason why Aristotle or Rawls saying it is good means it is good.
On the #2, no warrant why people can't understand speed. This is empirically denied insofar as debaters speak that fast all the time and people can debate back the case they present. Also, this isn't responsive. The argument was a no-link between fairness and comprehension. For example, if I use advanced vocabulary and someone cannot understand it because they are too stubborn to learn it that does not mean I am being unfair; it means they're being lazy.
#3 No warrant why we strive for justice. No warrant why being a hypocrite is unjust. No warrant why Lincoln and Douglas used their speeches to promote justice. You're dropping the previous argument I made that you can't judge intent. Moreover, the intent of their arguments was most like to win their arguments not to be fair because they obviously did not want the other to win.
#4 No warrant why being bigger is better. No warrant why nationals is the most competitive. This isn't responsive either. My argument just denies the truth that "spreading is an uncommon practice" by proving that it is common.
#5 I've seen that round. I can comprehend it because a) I have debated on the national circuit and necessity has made my comprehension increase and b) I have practiced spreading which has made me learn to comprehend it. This turns your education claims because speaking faster makes you smarter. (There's also some cards on this if you want to make a speed is good block)
#6 a) I've been to national qualifiers. Here, at least, it is not competitive and is about 10 PFers trying to do LD and 5 LDers defeating them with ease. b) cross apply bigger doesn't equal better c) I'd say TOC is more competitive because you have to get two bids from different tournaments meaning getting lucky once won't get you in. d) (for the sake of being responsive) no warrant why the NFL hosting a tournament means it's good
The #7 and #8 are dropped, but I'm sure you'll have answers to those later. What have we learned? You cannot spread over the internet, but you sure can try.

Anonymous said...

Just want to get my two cents in

1) About Nats:

I think whoever said that 'anyone can win nats' and nats is stupid or whatnot is COMPLETELY wrong. I know and am friends with Todd Liipfert, (who won nats this year) and I promise you, he's an amazing debater and a great person. Now, for sure, nats may be a lot more smiling and a bit more of persuasion, but i promise you. it's not something just 'anyone' can do.

2) About TOC:

I don't think TOC is illegit at all, and intend on qualling this year myself. I'm not sure if any of you live in Texas, but we debate like that all the time. We don't do district debate, out state tournament is the most competitive in the country, and we run advanced cases.
But moreover, if debate was all about persuasion like "sexy beast" believes...why would it be an activity? Being persuasive is something you're born with, not a skill you can develop. Sure, it's important, but it's not as educational or something you can really 'learn' the way thinking on the spot and comign up with good argumentation is.

3) About Ks
Ks are illegit. But you have to deal with it. And if they happen, you may as well block them out. Regardless, if you want to get pissed over a K, then you may as well think blocks are illegit too, they're not allowing for the educational aspect of debate. and hey, the maybe theory is illegit too? It removes us from the topic. And then we can go so far as to say T arguments are illegit because we should just stick to our burdens and prove truth/provide clash.

sure, the debate cirquit has begain to change. a lot.

and im sorry sexy beast, but with that mind set- you will never get anywhere in debate outside of your little local cirquit with your stock cases and smiling and slow speakign.

@ halopwns:
sure i'll send it. just send to that email address and i'll reply.

-dyilan

Anonymous said...

Oh and Jim, I think this is REALLY off topic. think you can open a discussion page or something?

people come on here to look for topic info. not arguments about whats worst, locals or the TOC or nats..

thanks & thanks for all the great info!

-dyl

Jim Anderson said...

Anonymous, that's a great idea. Here it is.

Jim Anderson said...

(Which means, for all of you who have posted some interesting and useful comments about LD as an event, that's the place to continue your conversation.)

halopwns said...

Hey Dylan just send it to my Email @ halopwns@yahoo.com and thanks again. To all the people wasting blog space on debating whether or not spreading and speeding are legit LD practices should look towards 2 places for the answer, 1) the Debate handbook says that both are not required to debate well but are not forbidden either, 2) Ask your round's judges( and i know this gets embarrasing to ask) their paradigms. stop wasting this post on stupid stuff and start talking about the resolution in question. I personally would like to find or look for more info and advice on the Resolution so im better prepared for rounds. On a lighter note, does anyone have any Neg ideas or general blocks that they can post or email to

Halopwns@yahoo.com
Thanks and if anyone is offended or comments on my argument on stupid topics that people debate on in a resolution-centered debate please dont be afraid to email me

Sexy Beast said...

Well you make a valid point, but its cool if we continue this debate on the open forum, right?

Pepper said...

Hey people, I'm really new at this and I was wondering if one of you could send me a debate. I wont steal it I just could use a point in the right direction. Thank you. My e-mail is pepper.hotchillipepper@gmail.com

halopwns said...

Can we get back to posting ideas to the resolution debate becuase i have seen that noone except for me and anon have posted anything. Please and thank you and to Dylan/Anonymous, please send the case if you can
send AGAIN to
Halopwns@yahoo.com
Thank you

Anonymous said...

I've found that Neg. cases that state m a man's fallability as a reason for any murder to be immoral is very strong. Can anybody help me on finding some specific philosophies about that to build a value and criterion on?

Anonymous said...

If you ask me this resolution is flawed so much that at a point it's hard to debate such a topic.

First of all, the resolution uses the words 'Morally permissible' but with every great debater, and just about any other human for example, it's difficult because the word 'morally' could mean a different thing to a number of people. Therefore meaning it becomes a challenge to use the resolution because EVERYONE has their own definition of moral. Everyones morals are different.

Moving on though, is the term 'one innocent person' used as is? Or is there a secret meaning behind it in which you could use examples in which multiple people died, such as when President Truman dropped the atomic bomb? Because if you used that in your case then your opponent could get up and argue that the resolution clearly states 'one innocent person' and not more then one.

And finally, how do you know what the outcome is? How can you say beyond a reasonable doubt that you could save the lives of more innocent people? Unless someone is psychic and could say, yes this will save their lives, there is no proof to say it would save their lives. I mean, yes there may some cases when you know in advanced it will save lives, but THAT'S NOT ALWAYS THE CASE. Meaning you could be killing an innocent person and assuming it would save another persons life, when in fact it doesn't do that person or anyone else too much good. You would have just wasted a life.

Anonymous said...

How does a neg case based on double effect sound??
In other words, saving the many innocent people causes a double effect of killing the one
However, since "KILL" implies intent to do morally bad stuff then the whole thing is immoral
it all comes down to intent =p

Sexy Beast said...

To quote Jim Anderson, "murder implies intent. Not kill. You can be killed by a train, but that does not mean that the train means to kill you.

AshleyNichole said...

Please help me!!!!!!!!!!!

I have this debate this weekend and I have no idea what to do.
I need ideas, I need layout, I need someone to basically step by step help me write this thing!!

AFt. and neg!

pleaseeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee help.

Jim Anderson said...

ashley, here's a place to start.

constantinople said...

In this debate it is important to note that despite critisism of the resolved there is an obvious hole in the resolution. Those arguing on the neg. can quite simply poise themselves for major originality points if the aff. side even mentions the words "life is invaluable" Hence, if life is invaluable then life cannot be measured, even against itself. i.e. 3 lives cannot be more valuable than 1. It would be like saying 3x infinity would be infinity. So theres my two cents.

lol.

Anonymous said...

Okay so im a little new at writing cases.
So can someone send me a case to look at the basic structure, and what not...

email : amanda_cottrell@yahoo.com

Jessica said...

Can someone send me a sample neg case because I'm really confused about the neg side of the topic, I won't use anything just to look at the structure. My e-mail is cornyland@gmail.com

Argue with a tree said...

Jim,

How about a communitarian affirmative?

...Framework would be tough, but maybe it could work

Jim Anderson said...

argue with a tree, that's an interesting angle. Obviously, communitarians value the community over the individual, but it could be argued that life is different from resources or other community-shared items, beliefs, or other intangibles. I wonder if any communitarian philosophers have addressed this particular issue.

hatespeeders said...

What are some Aff args that are outside the range of just "it saves more people"

Does human worth count for anything?
Does Age count for anything? (e.g.a baby killed to save two elderly people)

Is it possible to twist the aff's side so that instead of the innocent person dying unwillingly and horribly, can you say that because he is an innocent person, he is without the ideas of selfishness and evil? Therefore his death becomes an act of nobility. Something that he has the moral obligation to do. He doesn't go unwillingly. He knows he dies to save the bigger populace, something honorable and incredibly MORAL.

i don't know. Im just tired of aff args always saying it saves people.

please answer. Im at the end of my rope. XD


-Sarah

b.4v.d.177 said...

ya'll are really on top of this topic. I'm really only looking into so much because of my values and debate class. Was wondering however of what anyone thought of using "The aesthetic" as a value for aff.?

Jim Anderson said...

sarah,

1. Affirmative arguments beyond "it saves more people?" They exist, I'm certain. Perhaps the affirmative promotes bravery and quick thinking. Perhaps it saves the environment and wards off economic collapse. But the most morally serious reason, out of all potential reasons, is probably "it saves more people." I know this is frustrating, but it's the way the resolution is framed. (Commentators, correct me if I'm mistaken.)

2. Regarding the "infant vs. old folks" scenario, the Neg can argue that the Affirmative must support killing a baby to save two elderly people--after all, the resolution doesn't specify--even though intuitively, people would probably agree that it's unfair to take away the life prospects of the infant to save people who have already lived full lives.

But this intuition can be overcome.

Unfortunately, since the Neg C/X comes first, this line of attack can't be taken out in that speech, which is too bad. It would be great to get the Neg to concede, for example, that human beings all have equal moral worth, then show why this necessitates an affirmative vote. Barring a concession, it's probably important to accomplish this in case.

3. Regarding the "moral obligation" argument: If the innocent is so innocent that they are without ideas of selfishness and evil, how is it they are aware of morality at all? I think a compelling argument can be made that moral obligation in the absence of evil is a hollow concept, perhaps even entirely vacuous. Besides, a Neg with a strong definition of "innocent"--one that points to a lack of moral culpability, rather than a complete blank moral slate, will knock down this attack in a heartbeat.

I guess I haven't given you much more rope, except for the "equal moral worth" argument. You could try to develop that idea, and see where it takes you. Good luck!

Jim Anderson said...

b.4. etc., interesting thought. How would you respond to this objection? "The aesthetic is trumped by the value of life, which is foundational and necessary for any sort of aesthetic enjoyment. A statue has aesthetic value only if someone is around to observe it."

Sexy Beast said...

How could you value "the aesthetic"?

Anonymous said...

Hey, does anyone know any good lead-in quotes for this topic especially the NEG side? I really like quotes and I can't find any about the immorality of killing (and so far with the NEG I'm going with the boring old Deontological Ethics).

Philip P. said...

Jeez, I looked at a policy debate video on that site. How the hell do you understand a thing that's said?

Anonymous said...

uurrgghh...i have to write an affirmative case...but how do you make a WARRANT for that??? i mean, there is no real proof that it is morally permissable to kill one person to save the lives of many!
: (
~NOT A HAPPY PERSON

Sexy Beast said...

The terrors of spreading, Phillip. Oh, the terrors...

hatespeeders said...

hey guys.
other thing. How would a person attack an aff argument that says: in this implied situation, somebody is going to die. To save more people is a more moral action?
would the neg just say that killing is wrong no matter what and that consequences have no bearing on the morality of an action?
I can convince myself of that argument's validity, but i doubt any judge would accept it as a strong enough argument to condemn to death the group of people.


Another thing. what kinds of empirical and philosophical evidences should any side use?
How should one attack empirical and philosophical evidences?
I know its possible to attack philosophies, but to me, it just sounds like you're dissing a well-known fact, as if your opinion matters more than a famous philosopher's. how would this be approached?

thanks a bunch

Anonymous said...

At Sexy Beast:

Can you e-mail your whole Aff case to me? I'm completely new to LD and I have no clue how anything is set up, so I wanted to see what exactly had to be done. I've read this, which has helped me a bunch, but I'm still lost.

My e-mail: Kit.tywebster@yahoo.com

Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Hi there Sexy Beast. I was wondering if you could e'mail me your case on whether it is morall permissible to kill one innocent person to save the lives of more innocent people. I'm a novice and I'm really not sure on how to write a case. I promise I won't use your points and such. It would be much appreciated. My e-mail is susandang_8@yahoo.com

Anonymous said...

Hey Sexy beast I have been reading about the whole thing that everyone has been talking about was wondering if you would e-mail me your aff side of it too heh (nick_mayfield2000@hotmail.com)

Anonymous said...

i want the case too sexybeast!! i wont steal it..promise! hayleyb92@yahoo.com

Anonymous said...

I haven't yet been able to debate this topic yet, but does anyone know what the best arguments against theory would be on this? I hear a lot of people will be running it.

Anonymous said...

Sexy Beast,
Would you mind emailing your cases to me too, my email is

kakajili@yahoo.com

Thank You

Anonymous said...

I would like to share cases with anyone willing. My email is tandre26@msn.com Thanks!

Anonymous said...

I'm really struggling with the structure of my case. Could anyone send me their cases just to help me, I promise I wouldnt copy?? My email is:
dolphinfreak@optonline.net

Thanks!

tom said...

hey sexy beast can you send me your aff and neg case plz my first year(novice)!

kopperfuj@gmail.com

Anonymous said...

Hey does anyone have any evidence what so ever for either side. (evidence that can be put into cases not just fro rebutal). I am having a hard time finding any!

Anonymous said...

Hey sexy beast im in my high school debate club and were kind of noobish I wanted to see a good argument and try to compare it to mines could u send me a copy I have one for both sides so either or would be cool thanks in advance dmnyoshi@hotmail.com

=)

Sexy Beast said...

Only because you have "yoshi" in your email address. Jk, haha

Anonymous said...

what is Aristotle view on notion of social justice?

novice :) said...

yes i'd like to know the answer to anonymous question also

Jim Anderson said...

anonymous and novice, SparkNotes has a decent summary of the relevant parts of the Nicomachean Ethics, where Aristotle outlines a theory of justice. It's a good place to start.

novice :) said...

thanks jim

new2LD said...

aff could always argue teleology. also, if neg used deontology, aff could always argue about threshold deontology.

Anonymous said...

Hey Sexy beast, could you send me a copy of your aff case?

I'd like to take a look at how you warranted your arguments.

Thanks.

shananagan7542@yahoo.com

Anonymous said...

Our leading L/D debater took an interesting stance on the Neg side of the case. He argued that the action of killing is inherently immoral, and any actions surrounding it are therefore similarly immoral. Furthermore, he tried to run a strange form of kritik, where he argued that Aff was a moot point because the morality of the killer, the morality of the victims, and the morality of the martyr were all going to be different, and could not be isolated, and thus, could not be debated. I haven't done L/D in quite a while. Any thoughts?

Anonymous said...

hey what do you think about this against kant?

so, you know how its basically you can't look at the ends of an action when determining whether that action is moral?

well, couldn't you say that in this resolution you already know the ends (more or less ppl are going to die) and since CI rests on the basis that the ends cannot be used, CI must be thrown out, because you can't possibly make a moral decision now because you have the bias of knowing the ends?

idk, its hard to explain it written down, but i think i'll be able to do it in a round

btw, any thoughts on the new felon topic?

Matt said...

For some reason We are going back to this topic for a tournament on the 20th-21st and I just want to test and see how my case would hold up...

V:Morality
VC:Utilitarianism

1.
A) Each Person counts as one(use Bentham's thing about this)Therefore we must look to save the most life by affirming

b) Kamms Theory of permissible/impermissible harm

2. Societal effect
Greater ripple(I give an example along the lines of "say that everyone has a positive impact on the lives of ten other people...")

3. Double effect, both sides kill we must preserve the most(inaction v. Action)

Grateful said...

Mr. Anderson,

You are a life-saver. Thank you for this blog. :D
If we win, we'll owe part of our success to you and everyone here. :P

Anonymous said...

Sexy Beast / rod

i have read your points and i quite like some of them. would you send me your affirm case so that i can get more out of it.

anybody else who dont mind can send me your affirm or neg case.. together we can work things out...

this is my email

lynpearlchoo@yahoo.com