Instigator / Pro
21
1695
rating
76
debates
74.34%
won
Topic

Morality is subjective

Status
Finished

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

Arguments points
9
3
Sources points
6
6
Spelling and grammar points
3
3
Conduct points
3
0

With 3 votes and 9 points ahead, the winner is ...

Intelligence_06
Parameters
More details
Publication date
Last update date
Category
Miscellaneous
Time for argument
Two days
Voting system
Open voting
Voting period
One month
Point system
Four points
Rating mode
Rated
Characters per argument
15,000
Required rating
1010
Contender / Con
12
1491
rating
1
debates
0.0%
won
Description
~ 386 / 5,000

Rules to be followed:
1. Forfeiture = loss
2. Insulting = -1 conduct
3. Insisting that I did something I haven't done or that I didn't do something I clearly did = -1 conduct
4. Definitions must have evidence behind it to be considered valid
5. Anything not mentioned in the description is considered to be what is normally considered for it, instead of outright nonexistent
6. Have fun

Round 1
Pro
Definitions

a(1): peculiar to a particular individual PERSONAL
(2): modified or affected by personal views, experience, or background
a: a doctrine or system of moral conduct
a: of or relating to principles of right and wrong in behavior
The definitions chosen are used within the discussion of whether morality is subjective or objective, as shown in this article. Other interpretations of the definition may or may not be used as critiquing devices that will not be the main argument of this round, as one interpretation of the terms is enough to prove a statement true or false, especially that the one is the mainly-used one within this issue.

Behavior

Behavior is defined as the manner of conducting oneself. It could be concluded from before that the definition of "moral" mentions of the term "behavior", and that the definition of "morality" mentions that of the term "moral". In conclusion, what the resolution carries in meaning would be considered, based on these definitions:
Systems of conduct regarding principles of right and wrong methods of personal conduct varies based on the person
This statement, upon close inspection, would be true, due to that morality concerns behavior of people themselves, and not anything else. One could argue that animals or artificial intelligence do have tenets they consider to be right to act in accordance to, but even then, their moral systems concerns their behavior(oneself).

We, as of now, do not have moral law that everyone in the world agree with. As much as that breaking the law is considered wrong for the most part of the world, there are illegalists, following the footsteps of Max Stirner, doing whatever they want to do, utterly ignoring the law and not considering breaking it to be morally incorrect. As much as we consider murder and theft wrong, there are psychopaths who will steal and kill for their own thrill. I challenge my opponent to find ONE rule that they can be sure everybody considers true. So far, we cannot find any.

expressing or dealing with facts or conditions as perceived without distortion by personal feelings, prejudices, or interpretations
The only way objective morality would be true is when everyone agrees on this one moral doctrine, making it right even if nobody exists. However, it is basically impossible for everyone to believe in the same moral doctrine. By the shared experience with many people, we could come to the conclusion that as of now, we can't agree on anything that we can think of. The things that are mention that are somewhat accepted generally concerns nothing of correctness and wrongness. Nope, not even the statement "We can't agree on anything" concerns the correctness of our behavior, so those statements are thrown out of the window.

This is on top of that all the ideas come from the mind(brain) and all our actions are stimulated from our mind(brain). From that nobody agrees on any certain thing, we can be sure that basically everyone interprets the world. It is a truth that everyone has feelings, even if they don't have prejudices. Everybody interprets and everybody feels. Everybody sees the world through their lens, and everybody, whom applicable for "morality", distorts "facts", if "facts" even exist(We cannot agree on any "fact"), into subjectivity. Objective morality, even if they exist for some reason, would be nonexistent to the people who perceive and cannot gather information without perception of the things they see.

Objective morality is impossible to achieve due to its ridiculous conditions. To the world in which we see, objective morality is a transparent dragon with no hitboxes and blends in with the temperatures of the environment, whom breathes transparent fire the same temperature as the body, and whom makes sounds no one can hear. How are we so sure that such dragon would be considered existent? We aren't and we can't be sure of that.

In the end, subjective morality exists and objective morality cannot be proven to exist.

  • Morality, as it is defined, concerns individual behavior which makes it subjective.
  • It is not yet proven that anything agrees on anything, and no doctrine of morality is agreed by everybody.
  • Objective morality is impossible to prove as when we consider morality, we are already perceiving it and thus "distorting it".
  • Morality is subjective. Vote for Pro.


Con
Forfeited
Round 2
Pro
I extend due to Con not being able to present anything against my argument.

  • Morality, as it is defined, concerns individual behavior which makes it subjective.
  • It is not yet proven that everyone agrees on anything, and no doctrine of morality is agreed by everybody.
  • Objective morality is impossible to prove as when we consider morality, we are already perceiving it and thus "distorting it".
  • Morality is subjective. Vote for Pro.


Con
    Thank you for giving me this opportunity to discuss this topic with you, I look forward to our conversation. The con accepts the definitions proposed by the pro as they are well substantiated and documented.

    Before delving too far into my own argument, I would like to make a claim as to the burden of proof. The burden of proof is always on the side claiming that something exists, rather than the side claiming it doesn't. This is done because it's possible to prove the existence of something, but in many cases it's nigh impossible to prove that something doesn't exist. One can prove the existence of a ghost with irrefutable evidence, but one can never truly 'disprove' it, as the story around it, the definition of the ghost, will always adapt to fit the new scenario. At first it's appearance resembles that of it's living counterpart and it can move objects and be felt-- then it becomes invisible when one proves it cannot be seen, then it becomes untouchable and can move through objects when it is proven to not be touched. Therefore, in discourses of such matters, the burden of proof is always on the one that claims something exists.  At a first glance, one might be forgiven for determining that the burden of proof would then lie on the con, as I will be arguing toward the existence of objective 'an objective moral system', while the pro will be arguing that it does not exist. However, I would implore you to consider it this way; in the case that there is a god, a creator, or some kind of superior being that dictates our reality; then it goes without saying that our truth must come from that being. The logic then follows that in a world ruled by such a being, all moral truths would come from it as well. If you forgo this possibility-- and instead opt to establish a world view based on empirical evidence and rational thought, you would be forced to concede that our reality has definite proportions, finite construction, and in other words, one, single,  and objective reality.  In a world governed by natural events, there is always a factual truth, regardless of our subjective interpretations of that truth. We as humans perceive the world through our senses, we touch, we taste, we see, we hear and we smell. We do not directly perceive the world, rather we formulate our own subjective view of this objective reality. It then stands to reason that there is by default, outside of creationism, an objective truth in all things. By this argument, I would like to claim that the burden of proof in this debate lies on the pro-- as they are claiming that there is no truth in regards to morality. I do not need to prove what the objective morals are, nor do I need to prove that anyone can reasonably infer them. There is an objective truth, regardless of our own perceptions. 

  • Morality, as it is defined, concerns individual behavior which makes it subjective.
My opponents line of reasoning is precisely as follows: 
(1) Morality is a doctrine or system of moral conduct. 
(2) Morals are principles of right and wrong behavior.
(3) Behavior is a manner of conducting ones self. 
(4) Anything that is peculiar to a particular individual, modified or affected by personal views, experience or background is by definition subjective. 

    This reasoning starts off well, and I am inclined to agree that you could conclude that 'Morality is a system of principles of right and wrong ways of conducting ones self'. However, the jump from (3) to (4) is unsubstantiated and misses the logical steps necessary to make that claim. The pro is effectively arguing that since moral systems judge the actions of an individual, that it is by definition subjective. This is misguided for two reasons. 
(1) The moral systems in question do not judge a single person, rather they judge all people. The argument is that behavior is about the way an individual conducts themselves, but the moral systems themselves are not judging the behavior of only one person; they are judging the behavior of all people. If I were to tell you that a shirt is worn by a single person, would you then conclude that the idea of shirts applies only to one individual? Of course not, you'd understand that each shirt is worn by one person, but that each person can then wear one shirt. In this light morals are the same; the moral itself can be applied to an individual, and then judges that individuals behavior; but you must not forget, morals are defined as 'principles', in other words, they are constructs meant to be applied. They are by definition then, applicable to all people. They are not subjective simply due to the fact they judge one individual at a time, they are objective, but can be used as a lens of judgement which can be fixated upon any one subject. 

  • It is not yet proven that anything agrees on anything, and no doctrine of morality is agreed by everybody.
    My opponent claims here that since no one set of morals is agreed upon by all individuals that they must be subjective. This in itself contradicts reality, and can be illustrated quite easily. If you were to examine any scenario where two people disagree, you would find that there is in fact a truth regardless of the 'consensus' about it. There either is a god, or there is not one; regardless of if we as humans have come to agree on which it is. If a man is murdered and another put on trial, the prosecution and the defense may digress, but the reality of the situation is never changed. The man on trial either did or did not commit the crime. When the trial proceeds and the discourse occurs, the only thing that may sway or change is the perception of those involved. People may have their own bias views, some people may have opinions which become altered. Some people may have been right before, and are now wrong afterwards, while the converse may occur as well. Simply put, reality is not changed or determined by the subjective views of humanity. Our perceptions, our beliefs and our understanding may be altered and subjective, but the reality is always the same. Morals are no exception. One culture may claim murder is wrong, while another may condone it. One society may claim capital punishment is murder and thus wrong, while another may call it justice. An individual may perceive abortion as murder, while another may believe it is not. There is no doubt that people will debate these concepts; but you must remember, it is not the morals that are subjective, it is our views, our perceptions and our understanding of these morals that are distorted. We as humans distort all that we experience through our own senses, our own biases and our own experiences. That said, the object of our distortion is not the reality we perceive, but instead our perception of the reality. 

  • Objective morality is impossible to prove as when we consider morality, we are already perceiving it and thus "distorting it".
    This argument falls before my previous rebuttals and requires no reiteration, but I will give a simplified explanation for this point in particular. The pro insists that objective morality does not exist, simply because we will distort it as we perceive it. I have explained earlier that we do not distort the truth, we instead distort our own views of it; regardless of it perceive something accurately, it still exists. The pro also claims we cannot prove that it exists, but in this case as described in my opening statements, the burden of proof lies on the pro. They are arguing that there is no truth, in other words, they are arguing the existence of something that contradicts our very reality.

Morals must either be defined as objective truths, or as opinions. If a moral is defined as an objective truth, such as 'killing is wrong', it must by definition be based on something objective; in this light, the moral must either be correct or incorrect, killing must either be wrong, or it must not be wrong. In this case there is an objective truth, akin to the facts of a murder or the structure of a cat's DNA, it must have a basis in reality. If a moral is defined as anything besides an objective truth, it must then be defined as an opinion; in such a case the moral can be interpreted as an objective statement of some subjects opinion on some particular matter. To provide an example for clarification; let's examine the moral of 'abortion is wrong'. Either, this must be defined as a statement of fact, or a statement of opinion. If it is defined as a statement of fact, abortion must then be wrong, or it must not be wrong. People may have their own distorted views as to whether or not they agree with the moral being right or with the moral being wrong, but all that is distorted is their perception of it. By definition, it must be a fact-- a right one, or a wrong one. Now, if morals are not defined as objective facts, they must be defined as opinions. In such a case the moral cannot be 'abortion is wrong' or 'abortion is evil', it must then be a statement of ones preference. While one may understandably mistake this for moral relativism, you must understand the distinction here; at this point the moral is defined as an objective statement of one's views or preferences. In other words, the moral is not 'abortion is wrong', but rather 'this church believes that abortion is wrong'-- which can then be framed in a way that you can verify it, or deny it. Either the church as a whole does feel this way, or it does not. The same logic extends to all individuals-- if I claim I have the moral view that killing is wrong, by the definition of moral being an opinion, it means that the moral is functionally a statement that I as an individual am either for, or against the concept of killing. If you could read my mind, or interpret the pattern of neurons firing in my brain, you could objectively determine whether or not this was true, regardless of your personal views, backgrounds, or any other subjective qualities. There would be an objective truth-- regardless of if you could prove it, know it, or even think it. 

  • I have refuted all three of the pro's claims, leaving the pro with no arguments to contest against my side. 
  • I have put the burden of proof on the pro, meaning they require valid arguments, evidence or proof. 
  • I have also demonstrated that by definition a moral system must either be defined as a system of facts or as a system of beliefs; in either case the moral statement itself has an objective truth, regardless of one's own subjective views on the matter.
  • Morality is objective, vote for con

Round 3
Pro
Rebuttal 1: There exists an objective reality

Con asserts that there is an objective reality. The possibility of God existing would, alone, require extensive proof(that has not been brought to here). Even if an objective reality exists, it is impossible for us to be able to sense it as objective, due to that no matter whether if we perceive the world subjectively or distort our subjective view of the world, the "objective world", whether if it exists, cannot be used by us or sensed. When we see the world, it is already subjective, due to our perception negating us from sensing the "objective world", whether if it exists, because when we perceive the world the world will, by definition, be no longer objective anymore. The objective world, if it exists, would be like the invisible dragon in the garage: It breathes invisible fire and roars sounds we cannot hear. How, exactly, can we prove that the objective world really exists, to us?

Objectivity can obviously be rationalized, however, it remains untouched and disconnected from subjects concerning morality: Sentient beings such as people who either distorts it(interprets the objective world) or distort it in another way(according to Con, we distort our subjective views of the objective reality, which is indirectly making the morality, to the person, subjective; and subjective views are still distorting reality by definition), making the world, to them, subjective. No matter what they are perceiving and distorting with their consciousness and views, the world is, by definition, subjective. If you perceive and interpret(morality is trying to interpret the world by asserting something as good/bad, or right/wrong), it becomes subjective. Objectivity, even if it exists, would have no impact on this debate due to none of the subjects capable of generating moral claims can experience genuine objectivity, nor can they utilize it, nor can they extract any moral statements from an objective world.

Therefore, even if there exists already-rationalized "objective truth", we cannot be able to acquire the so-called "truth", due to that in the pursuit of truth, all evidence, at the end, is empirical(For example, Copernicus concluded that the earth is rotating around the sun by looking at the sun and other celestial objects with a telescope, and Newton theorized that gravity exists by noticing an apple falling from a tree). Empirical evidence are, at the end, subjective, due to that it is our perception that makes those so-called "facts" facts. We cannot prove that all objects are not pushed by invisible aliens to make the illusion of gravity, and we cannot prove that our world is not created last Thursday and all the memories before that were fabricated. All things we consider truth are, in the end, just what we believe to be true. Even if objective truth exists, it would be up to us to consider it true or not. The "truths" we consider to be truths are, in the end, interpretations of the world they observe. Even if objective truths exist, we would be disconnected from it because the moment we consider it "truth", it is subjective truth to us; The moment we observe the world and try to make statements about the world, it is subjective.

Other things, such as mathematics, can be concluded just by theory. However, the likes of mathematics concerns nothing of moral conduct in behavior, and thus cannot be considered morality.

Due to all experiences and all interpretations of us are, essentially subjective, there is no proof that objective morality exists at all due to all ideas come from minds. We cannot prove that there is objective morality due to that such idea is outside the minds. Unless one can prove that one can, indeed, perceive the objectivity, it cannot be proven that objective morality exists, or matter to the beings concerned. In order for something to be considered of morality, it must concern moral conduct or behavior, and "objective morality" does not concern moral conduct or behavior due to the disconnection of it from anything that is concerned by morality. That is equivalent to it not existing, just like you cannot prove the existence of an invisible dragon that breathes invisible fire and roars inaudible noise.

All people

but you must not forget, morals are defined as 'principles', in other words, they are constructs meant to be applied. They are by definition then, applicable to all people. 
Con offers no source for the definition for "principle". On top of that, even if principles are constructs meant to be applied, it is meant to be applied to personal conduct, as abiding by the definition of "behavior". There is nothing suggesting that principles concerning personal conducts are meant to be applied to all people, but if the definitions suggest any one thing, it is that such principles are meant to be applied to personal conduct.

The T-shirt metaphor is not on-point either: Morality, by definition, isn't something to be applied to all people, so in reality "morality" is more like a custom and personalized shirt that only one individual wears rather than any T-shirt that all people can wear.

Rebuttal 2: There exists objective morality
An individual may perceive abortion as murder, while another may believe it is not. There is no doubt that people will debate these concepts; but you must remember, it is not the morals that are subjective, it is our views, our perceptions and our understanding of these morals that are distorted. We as humans distort all that we experience through our own senses, our own biases and our own experiences. That said, the object of our distortion is not the reality we perceive, but instead our perception of the reality. 
The section above about "truths" that do not concern moral conduct can be dismissed as irrelevant. Now, this.

Con claims, indirectly, that there indeed exists objective morality, and we perceive upon those moralities. However, we do not know if there is objective morality at all! Objective morality would need to exist beyond perceptions and interpretations, which is impossible due to the nature of morals are sets of rules that consider something as right/wrong, etc., thus perceives and interprets the world. Other claims based on that we perceive objective morality would crumble and would not get a section for refutations.

Morals must either be defined as objective truths, or as opinions.
Moralities are neither: They are sets of rules constructed by certain individuals to judge their behaviors. Moralities are not "I think abortion is wrong". They are "Abortion is wrong", believed by themselves. They consider things right and wrong and they are not opinions, at least not in the way Con thinks it is, such as "This church believes abortion is wrong". Morals, in the end, are subjective truths.

If a moral is defined as anything besides an objective truth, it must then be defined as an opinion; in such a case the moral can be interpreted as an objective statement of some subjects opinion on some particular matter.
That makes no sense. If it is objective, it won't be a statement of opinion. Con provides zero base for this statement. 

There would be an objective truth-- regardless of if you could prove it, know it, or even think it.
If you have read my argument, then you should know what I have against it. If you don't, scroll to the top of my R2 argument.

Argument 3: Hume's guillotine

This source explains Hume's guillotine. In reality, all moral statements can be transcribed as an "ought" statement, just like "Abortion is wrong" is the same as "One ought to not abort". However, no objective statement can lead to a conclusion like that, even if we consider everything we consider facts objective. Here is an example of Hume's guillotine.
  • It is true that abortion causes pain of the mother
  • Thus one ought to not abort
The problem arises here: What is my hidden goal? Was it not to cause pain for the mother? What if I specifically want women to suffer? How do we know that is wrong, or we ought to not intentionally cause pain of the women? That is something else we cannot prove. The goals, in the end, are subjective, as it is us who want the woman to suffer or not suffer. We do not know which one is objectively true. If anything, we consider the one matching our personal moral standards true, subjectively.

In the end, we cannot consider moral statements true or justified fully and rationally just by facts. The "counterexamples" given in the source would be easy to defeat, as we cannot prove to have a moral obligation to keep promises or anything. It can be pointed out that "ought" statements can have a goal, but even that, the goals are subjective.

Conclusions
  • Objective morality can't even exist due to the nature of morality
  • Even if there exists objective truth, we cannot prove it true
  • Morality is defined as to conduct personal behavior
  • Moralities are subjective facts
  • We cannot derive moral statements from facts, even if those facts are objectively true
  • In the end, it is still unproven that morality is objective
  • Morality is still proven to be subjective. Vote Pro.

Con
Forfeited
Round 4
Pro
I extend as Opp failed to refute any of them.

Non-Argument: Con shall not make new arguments in the 4th round

I am not making an argument regarding this topic, but debating in general. Making new arguments in the last round of ANY debate is frowned upon because it gives an unfair advantage to that person, and it makes the other person unable to respond to it. Any new arguments made by Con in R4 should be nullified as I obviously have zero way of responding to it in the debating section. This is common sense to some of you but to relatively-new voters, this is exactly why.

Con has forfeited R3. I have not missed any single round yet. With me being able to withstand the arguments made in R2 and Con not being able to impact my points in R3, I advise the voters to vote Pro.

Conclusions:
  • Objective morality can't even exist due to the nature of morality
  • Even if there exists objective truth, we cannot prove it true
  • Morality is defined as to conduct personal behavior
  • Moralities are subjective facts
  • We cannot derive moral statements from facts, even if those facts are objectively true
  • In the end, it is still unproven that morality is objective
  • Morality is still proven to be subjective. Vote Pro.

Con
Forfeited