Instigator / Pro
0
1473
rating
99
debates
31.82%
won
Topic

By combining Utilitarianism and Virtue Ethics, you achieve better outcomes than either alone

Status
Finished

All stages have been completed. The voting points distribution and the result are presented below.

Voting points
0
1

With 1 vote and 1 point ahead, the winner is ...

RationalMadman
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Category
Philosophy
Time for argument
Two days
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Open voting
Voting period
Two weeks
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Characters per argument
10,000
Contender / Con
1
1694
rating
293
debates
67.41%
won
Description
~ 696 / 5,000

A lot of people criticize Utilitarianism because it cannot put value on all things, and measuring certain things are extraordinarily difficult. I then propose, that we add virtue ethics, putting an infinite value on human dignity, freedom, and valuable characteristics (allowing them to overcome any amount of financial gain), in addition to the vague "happiness" that is harder to measure. With both of these moral systems combined, I argue that the most moral actions can be concluded.

Utilitarianism: the idea that the greater the happiness (and minimalizing the amount of harm), the more moral the action is

Virtue ethics: the idea that some things must always be done and achieved through.

Round 1
Pro
My opening argument is simple. The Constitution, and the UN declaration of rights tells us that humans have ideas that cannot be measured merely by numbers. No amount of money should be allowed to let me put an innocent in jail, stripping him of freedom. No number can measure liberty and security. Unless con can prove that these can be assigned a precise value, then, we can only presume that they are more necessary than any amount of money. Remember the classic criticism of Utilitarianism, how if the happiness monster generated more happiness from eating the people, this seems an absurd basis for the "happiness principle". But with the assignment of infinite value to the person's life, we now stop the argument and prevent the monster from eating the people merely to gain more happiness.

Now, con might be wondering, why not follow Virtue theory alone? Some Virtues are indeed put into question, with infinity up against infinity, for example, lying to save someone's life. This is when utilitarianism comes in and thinks about the actual value of happiness you produce, and thus it would be on a case to case basis rather than never lying to save your dignity. As the person's life and your lie would both have infinite value, we now depend on the finite values to determine the answer, rather than depending on pure virtue, as situation can definitively change the consequences of your actions. As such, combining the two moral systems together is superior to each one on its own. 
Con
Forfeited
Round 2
Pro
extend
Con
It is literally impossible to combine the two. Therefore, either on its own is superior with Utilitarianism being most superior as it uses the most reasoning.

Virtue Ethics involves assigning virtues that are always good and always bad to people and if they ever act 'bad' it's bad no matter the circumstance. Utilitarianism is about weighing net-good vs net-harm of one's actions in a situation, regardless of the subjective 'value' of the virtue of said actions.

Round 3
Pro
con says it is impossible but I have the proposal which adds virtue ethic values into utilitarianism by valuing rights and human lives at infinite value. Case closed.
Con
That is not a case closed at all, firstly virtue ethics is much more than just always valuing human life as worth saving (which is one of the many flaws with its rigid way of thinking), it's assigning 'always good' or 'always bad/evil' to attributes that simply cannot be rigid if one is to use utilitarianism.

Also, Utilitarianism involves weighing options; you cannot possibly combine the two in a scenario like the trolley dilemma or really any situation in life at all. Just because you assign 'infinite value' to human life doesn't at all come into any and all situations where you are trying to debate over whether or not a non-lethal-to-humans scenario is morally good or not depending on options taken.

I don't even understand how 'infinite value' solves anything. If I assign infinite value to human life and also infinite evil to making someone unhappy than which of the two infinite values wins in the case of euthanasia? You literally can't combine Utilitarianism with Virtue ethics because the latter doesn't allow the delibility of thought that the former demands.