Tahani and The Good Place (spoilers and full debate topic inside)
All stages have been completed. The voting points distribution and the result are presented below.
With 1 vote and 1 point ahead, the winner is ...
- Publication date
- Last update date
- Time for argument
- One week
- Voting system
- Open voting
- Voting period
- One month
- Point system
- Winner selection
- Rating mode
- Characters per argument
Full debate topic: Tahani Al-Jamil did not deserve to be assigned to the Bad Place based solely on the partially vain motives behind her extremely and consistently benevolent actions. She is in fact among the least malevolent human characters in the entire show, if not the single least.
Debate Topic: Tahani Al-Jamil did not deserve to be assigned to the Bad Place based solely on the partially vain motives behind her extremely and consistently benevolent actions.
Tahani Al-Jamil was thoroughly good to the core.
Tahani was the only one of the four to instinctively and actively seek to be as good as she possibly could to people even while being told she was in the guaranteed 'good guy' afterlife with no further good karma/dharma to earn.
In actual fact, Tahani breaks down and cries as her deep empathy made her, in the after-heat of a spiteful fight between the two sisters when hurled back into the real world, because she realises (due to something someone says) that her parents and how they divided the sisters, are a huge inspiration for a lot of Kamilah's abstract art. She then hugs the sister and cries deeply into her shoulder despite the sister being furious and vindictive, leading to a groundbreaking peacebrokering between them.To further push forward my case, not only is Tahani the only one of the four to continually do good and display innate empathy (way beyond the urge to selfishly point-gain) while in the pseudo good-place actual bad-place but she ends up the only known human at all to volunteer to remain a permanent architect ensuring that each soul be tested fairly and rehabilitated constructively. Meanwhile the rest, even Michael himself, take literal soul-death or banishment to Earth over remaining. It could even be argued that when that specific Janet (the superintelligent android who has a personality) literally ended up with all of her friends and 'family' gone grows sad as she misses them, she may ask the doorman to be transferred to the architects because Tahani is the only true friend she's got left. While Tahani was actually reluctant to actively bond with and take seriously the 'Janet' vs what Eleanor, Michael and Jason did, it actually is because Tahani doesn't seek to be 'served' all that much that the Janet and her filled similar roles within the team in terms of social hierarchy, they were both non-alpha females unlike Eleanor and this helped them a lot with frictionless team synergy as Eleanor likes to lead. Tahani and Janet did care deeply for each other, even when being in an intense love triangle with Jason. The fact Tahani seriously would have sex with, fall in love with and give up half her money for Jason in different iterations, shows that she was not at all the snob she was made out to be. She did this before finding out the truth about the afterlife in each iteration where she did so. Even more interestingly, she is the only one of the four to never ever (Chidi and Jason both did once) realise that they are not in the Good Place. Even when she visits Mindy in the Medium Place (we don't see it, it's mentioned by Mindy), there is never shown to be an iteration where Tahani doesn't believe that she is in paradise because it is in her nature to make the best of what she's got, which is actually proof that her vanity and materialism are not at all geniune vices, they are unhealthy habits her parents forced onto her and we all are somewhat products of our upbringing.When the Judge tests the four of them, while Eleanor is the only one who passes the test officially, Tahani not only solved exactly what she had to do in order to pass it but failed it intentionally, skipping several doors of people gossiping about her, to solely listen to what her parents thought of her and find out why they didn't approve of her. In fact, she stayed true to this even when she was in the real Good Place, waiting for her parents to come through their version of purgatory to end up in the Good Place and spend time with her and Kamilah as a happy family finally. She waited the equivalent of centuries, if not over 2000 years (the conversion between their time and ours isn't made clear) to meet her parents and Kamilah, refusing to be 'at peace' or 'move on' to her architect role until she'd done so.
She was raised to be a competitive sociopath by parents who pitted her against her sister again and again. She is the older sibling and was in fact proven much more capable than her sister (both in hindsight from skills she proves throughout the series to be capable of gaining and skills like drawing and painting) than her sister. Her parents favoured her sister and brutally left Tahani nothing at all in their will, for absolutely no reason whatsoever than sheer sadism. She was tortured psychologically by her parents to rinse out the 'good' in her and replace it with ruthless strategic cunning, this is most blatant at a charity event where she's the entire reason it's happening and helped raise a lot, her parents tell her to shut up about it and bring her celebrity sister on stage to auction off a dinner date with herself and to rake in more. Despite all of this upbringing, the only negative trait that is displayed, morally speaking, is a clinginess and need to be heard and appreciated.
The Judge is not at all equal to an omniscient god.
The system's scoring method is proven flawed and irrefutably unfair.
Debate Topic: Tahani Al-Jamil did not deserve to be assigned to the Bad Place based solely on the partially vain motives behind her extremely and consistently benevolent actions.
The Judge erroneously says that Tahani's actions were based on very maclious motive. This is quite literally wrong, there's no two ways about it.
If you balanced out Tahani's proven motives throughout the series, she appears to be extremely nurturing and kind to all she comes across and in each iteration of the Good Place's redos.
Take note that we never fully get enough flashbacks into her past to show how 'evil' she supposedly is
Rest of Pro's Arguments
Pro has yet to rebuke my points in Round 1 other than go 'the show's characters said so'.
- Con refutes Pro in the first round by the show's own standard.
- Con refutes Pro pointing out his paradoxes and vague argumentation.
Full debate topic: Tahani Al-Jamil did not deserve to be assigned to the Bad Place based solely on the partially vain motives behind her extremely and consistently benevolent actions.
- Pro attempts to burden most of the BoP on Con
- Pro suggests that the entire afterlife system in the show is flawed and so Tahani-Al-Jamil doesn't belong in the bad place assigned to her first hand.
- Pro suggests that since Tahani acted so benevolently compared to other 3, she must have been instinctively too good to end up in the bad place.
Burden of Proof
CON R1: In reality, Tahani Al Jamil acted as a narcissistic, self-absorbed, mere celebrity in her earthly life spending all her resources in the name of charity just to outshine her famous sister and to tell off her parents. Her parents and the preferred sister may have been a huge influence for Tahani to act like the way she did, but they were in no way any bigger than her own self. She had the power, the ability to outperform her family as a benevolent and philanthropic but she rather chose to compete with them unnecessarily and to portray a fake profile in front of the world rather than confronting her issues. She persisted in continuing to impress her family even when she was not any close to the goal. And all this time, her method of accomplishing that untouchable line was by fooling the media into believing how great she was and the people she was helping just to show that off. In any society, such a person is regarded a hypocrite and that's exactly what Tahani Al Jamil became. Especially with the indicated free will in place, she had the choice to be the person she aspired to become or to run a lifelong beef in the expense of selling off her honesty but unfortunately she chose the latter leading to the rightful bad place. Recall that, each person is accountable for his own position in afterlife. Tahani's parents and her sister may may have earned their own negative points for the mental torture they knowingly and unknowingly imposed upon her with all the underestimation and disrespect they showed. But that doesn't take away the negative points Tahani earned as well by faking a noble deed just out of spite for other mortals. On that count, it only seems fair that she ends up in the bad place as well
Pro suggests that the entire afterlife system in the show is flawed and so Tahani-Al-Jamil doesn't belong in the bad place assigned to her first hand.
CON R2: Since the entire good and bad place allotment program is based on the scoring system itself, therefore, most of the allotments for the past few centuries must be misplaced. But how does it prove that Tahani or any particular subject deserved good place instead of bad place? Do you reinstate all the bad place residents from those faulty years into the good place to balance things out? Pro talks about silly chain of actions leading to negative points from noble intentions. Whatabout the impact of a bad deed ending up in a good consequence and thus positive points? (Like of Tahani, hysterical isn't it?) Isn't it unjust? How do you figure out who deserves what afterwards? Pro doesn't provide any solution but leans to the idea that having proven that the judge and the system are flawed, his position is self-evident whereas he traps himself inside a paradox he can't escape.
CON R1: ....towards the end of the season 2, as Judge Gen had remarked (about Tahani)-"You're supposed to do good things because they're good—not for moral dessert."So, according to her, the judgement system was justified well enough as she pointed to Tahani Al Jamil for her work of charity under the false pretense of benevolence. Now, Pro might argue that the entire judgement system was flawed. But remember, Michael was not reporting of the flaw in the system for its ethical evaluation. He asked for a fair range of opportunities given to the people on earth firsthand, for letting them receive a hint of afterlife consequences and that's why he managed to alter the timeline for each of the subjects on earth giving them chances to rectify their mistakes and lead themselves to the good place eventually. So, according to the humans, Michael and the convinced judge Gen, the valid reason of their appeal to change the system was not any flaw within the ethical or moral standard of the system- but rather as quoted in the show- "complexities" of human life on earth.
CON R2: In fact, since the system is wrong according to him, what objective standard does Pro follow to boldly assert that Tahani's actions were NOT based on malicious motives? Was the cause of her placement in the bad place ever contested by herself? No. Does the show state that her motives were overall honest anywhere after the system got fixed in season 4? Nope. Then how does Pro defend his comments about Tahani?
Pro suggests that since Tahani acted so benevolently compared to other 3, she must have been instinctively too good to end up in the bad place.
CON R1: The four were assigned to the bad place based on their earthly deeds. Whatever they did on earth got back at them through the torture designed by Michael. Whatever they do afterlife doesn't count anymore. If Pro indicates that it means that she was 'instinctively' good, my previous point proves she wasn't by the standard she was brought in. Also, when Michael realized the human complexity issue, he had reported to Gen about the striking improvement in all the four humans- not only Tahani. This report of improvement from Michael further confirms that the humans were earning negative points on earth justifiably- otherwise he wouldn't call them improved to a significant extent. [....] Pro again discusses afterlife improvements in all these points that according to Con's rebuttals don't count for her ending up in the original bad place in the first place.
CON R2: Refuted in R1 by Con. Redos don't matter since Michael continuously narrated about how the humans always came together in every restart and how the "neighborhood IMPROVED the humans". And for the record, "Improve" generally means to elevate from a less good state to a better state. When the show constantly reminds us that they improved, then they must have been struggling a lot with their ethical grounding. Plain to realize! [....] Pro talks about how good and benevolent she acted within the circle which was still a part of afterlife; in the neighborhood which was always portrayed as the turning point for all the four humans- that improved them. So, go back to my previous arguments.
Tahani Al Jamil never contested her placement in the original bad place and was actively trying to pursue success in the next challenges to IMPROVE herself. Also, Michael, Janet and Judge Gen never justified her wrongdoings as well. It upholds my BoP in a sense that the wrongness implied in the ill intention behind charity done by Tahani has gone unchallenged both by the show and by Pro's blank assertions. Therefore, Con position is well defended.
Even more interestingly, she is the only one of the four to never ever (Chidi and Jason both did once) realise that they are not in the Good Place. Even when she visits Mindy in the Medium Place (we don't see it, it's mentioned by Mindy), there is never shown to be an iteration where Tahani doesn't believe that she is in paradise because it is in her nature to make the best of what she's got, which is actually proof that her vanity and materialism are not at all geniune vices, they are unhealthy habits her parents forced onto her and we all are somewhat products of our upbringing.
Michael implied directly and indirectly how a concerned neighborhood such in the pseudo-good place improved the humans meaning there took place no solo judgement on individuals in afterlife.
Pro suggests that since Tahani acted so benevolently compared to other 3, she must have been instinctively too good to end up in the bad place.Such presupposition has been refuted numerous times by Con in both R1 and R2 and here in this round as well. And so no new arguments are to be provided.
Con has suddenly brought a series of brand new points and rebuttals in the penultimate Round,
Firstly, I did not say the first sentence, that is a very clever misrepresntation of what I said.
CON R3: Tahani Al Jamil never contested her placement in the original bad place and was actively trying to pursue success in the next challenges to IMPROVE herself.
Tahani Al-Jamil believed she was assigned to the Good Place (under false delusions) and was the single most confused individual when it was revealed that they were in the Bad Place. [....] This is never ever explained, debated, or accepted by Tahani, instead she surrenders to the fact that the afterlife is set and sees no point fighting it.
Each time, Tahani asks 'what did I do wrong? I was kind my whole life and did a lot of charity work!' to which Michael or at one point the Judge herself tells her 'but your motives were malicious/corrupt.'
I did not say Tahani accepted her place in the Bad Place, she never ever accepts that in any iteration, I said that she accepted her place in the fake Good Place whereas Eleanor and Jason both instantly knew they were in the wrong place and Chidi thinks he's there for the wrong reasons (both when he thinks he's in the Good and the Bad Place). In fact, what I said was that Tahani is the only one of the four who strives to remain as good a person as possible even after she is told she'd got a guaranteed place in the equivalent of Heaven. Chidi, Eleanor and Jason, all three instinctively go 'oh yes, now I'm here I don't need to be good anymore! Except Eleanor switches to trying to improve herself because she realises she's too blatantly evil to keep up the act and knows she's the 'fake' Eleanor each and every iteration. Tahani not only strives to improve herself despite believing she's in the guaranteed 'good place' afterlife, she consistently displays loyalty and mercy to Eleanor and Jason when she gets 'in on the secret' that they're wrongly placed in the (fake) 'good place'. She also is extremely empathetic and understanding to Michael, despite not needing to be as she's told he's a perfect arthitect that doesn't need her help. She is extremely attentive to people's quirks and needs, trying to make everyone around her happy (probably due to emotional scarring from parents and a sister who were almost never happy around her). This all makes complete sense for someone who is benevolent and belongs in the Good Place to do.
CON R1: Besides, when Tahani was convinced that she belonged to the good place, that just proves she wasn't guilty about her negatives on earth and was simply enjoying the haven as anyone would- very unlike Jason who decided to observe silence as a mask of his guilt or confusion of his presence. If anybody should get that primary credit for actual improvement, it should be Eleanor after she realized her undeserving spot in the pseudo-good place as she actively decided to better herself from then on to belong. For actual benevolence, Chidi should be credited before Tahani as he attempted to help his soulmate out of the blunder by helping her grow as a human all over again.
Throughout this entire debate, Con has flip-flopped between claiming he has absolutely no burden of proof because the show is automatically correct to saying I am wrong because the show was wrong to begin with. The problem is that I have called him out on it and tethered his own defeat to one of those lines of attack. If the show is automatically correct, why does it not only admit Tahani is good place material at the end but rank her as one of the architects capable of designing judgement systems to rehabilitate souls?
Why is it that Tahani is always a good, caring person in every single iteration of the afterlife and even 'temporary back-on-Earth phase' that we see? I have yet to see her malicious motives or corrupt intentions. She is not even a snob actually, which is fascinating giving her background and how she likes to shrivel her nose at things. When she is given a spouse (not Jason, the short one) who asks her to wear 'hilbilly' style blue collar clothing, she shrieks on the inside but wears it to make her 'soulmate' happy. She suffers through Jason's silence and doesn't call him out on remaining a devout Buddhist (since she thinks he's a Buddhist monk sworn to silence) even though she does indeed have reason to do so. She is constantly going out of her way to please, help, nurture and show affection to others. I have only seen her break this pattern of behaviour with her sister Kamilah, who there's an understandable rivalry with and who she was always the nicer sister to anyway (Kamilah was much more vicious back to her and instigates all of the scenarios as far as I can see).
When Tahani was given nothing in the will from her parents, which I refer to in Round 1, she is of course jealous as her sister got everything. Tahani doesn't do more than say 'keep it' and storm out of the door, which is a 100% legitimate and fair enough response, how can that be called 'malicious' how would you not be jealous? What on Earth is that even meant to mean?
I have not seen any sign of the show's characters or the 'original system' that put her in the Bad Place of being correct. Con can't just baselessly say 'it's correct because it is', he has to explain why. I literally am claiming that the director and scriptwriters were wrong. I am entitled to do so.
- Con refutes Pro in the first round by the show's own standard.
- Con refutes Pro in the second round by pointing out his paradoxes and vague argumentation.
- Con nullifies Pro position in the third round pointing out the lost basis of his argumentation.
- Con invalidates Pro assertions in the fourth round by summing up his incoherence between his premises and arguments and an inconsistency with his claims
Since you seem to have watched the show, wanna cast a vote, please?
I misspelled Johannsen in my Round 2.
This fandom wiki fails to mention that a whole episode before Eleanor accidentally provokes a revealing reaction from Linda, that Tahani had already told her she thought Linda was a demon-plant.
I love a good ethics debate, but I've never seen this show, so Im gonna pass on this one.
You wanna try this? It’s basically our Kantian vs utilitarianism debate. Pro basically has to argue we must not weigh motivation over consequences, while you can say the opposite
Chidi is actually the only one of the four who didn't have a bad life, he merely had crippling anxiety. The others had very sad lives with a lot stacked against them.
Chidi is worthy of less pity than Tahani is, her life was sadder, her circumstances more unfair and her psyche more benevolent than his.
It is not based on Christianity, it explicitly states so at several points in the series. Any human would envy his/her/their sister in her shoes, she had emotionally abusive parents who had a favourite child, it is impossible to require her not to be jealous of her sociopathic, favoured sister and to then call your judgement system a valid one.
Jealousy is a sin and to resent one's only sister's success doubly so. Further, Tahini was born to wealth and beauty so her generosity of spirit was seldom tested. Plus, Tahini was an exhausting braggart. Chidi dedicated his life to self-improvement and the improvement of his fellow man. If his deeper understanding of the uncertainties that underpin all of our self-justifications paralyzed him- well, it is pitiable but I also feel much sympathy.
Thx for invite but my hundredth debate is promised to whiteflame and I'm just holding out for some improvement in my time and temperament before I take that on.
It isn't just that, her entire nature is is extremely empathetic and giving, I actually was a bit perplexed when it turned out to be the bad place because I was like wtf did Tahani do so wrong and the answer made no sense to me.
Janet isn't a human. Tahani is a better person than Chidi, Chidi just 'tries to be' more good than most. If you want, I'll make a debate about Tahani vs Chidi.
I do love The Good Place. Obama gave it a shout out last month. Least malevolent is a terrifically high standard in a hierarchy that includes Doug and Janet and Gwendolyn and Chidi.
oh, I agree. Chidi was absolutely ridiculous in his inaction, and Eleanor was just mean while Jason wasted his life away. At least Tahani was good in terms of utilitarian outcomes.
PRO argues that Tahini did not merit Bad Place assignment because
*she had a cruel if opulent childhood
*she demonstrated outward kindness and charity in life and afterlife. The fact that her motivations were corrupted by jealousy should not diminish her benevolence to any great degree
*her relationship with Jason disproves snobbery
*she intentionally failed the Judge's test
CON correctly notes that PRO seems to be limiting the argument to the original afterlife system- under which nobody had earned the Good Place in 521 years because of the increasing complexity of human life- buying a tomato cost you points. Everybody deserved to be in the Bad Place according to the original system and nobody had to suffer the Bad Place according to the improved system. The system was not in error it just held humans to a superhuman standard under which either everybody deserved to be in the Bad Place or nobody did. PRO really needed to establish a specific ethical framework that supported the assertion that Tahani's treatment was unfair.
CON convincingly argues that truly ethical behavior must overcome disadvantages like Tahani's family and that benevolent behavior motivated by jealousy, attention-seeking and competitiveness is less ethical than benevolence motivated by generosity and compassion.
PRO counters that both the accounting system and the Judge were flawed but PRO must establish what ethical framework is in play.
PRO's best argument is that Tahani often nurtures her friends.
PRO's argument that Tahani's talent for event organization demonstrates a concern for happiness at the community level is less convincing.
PRO dismisses CON's argument as predicated on the framework within the show. The accountancy system was uncallibrated for the complexity of modern life but it remains the only ethical framework by which Tahani has been judged. COB correctly suggests that the burden of providing some alternative preferable framework for judging is on PRO.
PRO misses CON's point- conflating the burden for providing some preferable ethical framework with the burden of proof. These are different standards but related: how can PRO prove "DESERVED" if he does answer CON's question, "according to who?" The standard PRO must prove is "DESERVED" but deserved according to who or what benchmark.
Mostly iterations on above themes.
CON might have provided the alternative framework for PRO but that might also have given PRO an opportunity to score more points within that framework (certainly Tahini does many good deeds during the show). Ultimately, the applicable standard was PRO's to provide and he while he consistently rejected the show's framework, he never gave us a replacement and never understood CON's reasonable request.
I wish more had been extrapolated from specific examples on both sides and I really wish CON had crafted some more specific indictments. After all, Tahani does bad things too. We establish in the first episode that her accent is FAKE! Even after improving herself to architect, she never gives up such affectations. Tearing down your sister's statue in the middle of a party in her honor is always jealous and wrong. Being friends with Kanye is always wrong. Remember that when they get to the Good Place and first smell "whatever makes you most happy," Tahani smells a curtain drawing closed between first class and economy. The thing that makes her *most happy in life* is her class/caste superiority, while Chidi is made most happy by the absolute truth.