You pick the topic vs. GPT-3
The debate is finished. The distribution of the voting points and the winner are presented below.
After 2 votes and with 9 points ahead, the winner is...
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Full Disclosure: I will not being writing Pro's arguments. My goal with this debate is to test the capabilities of GPT-3 in the field of debate. Unrated as GPT-3's ability should not affect my own Elo.
Rules: Please make the topic somewhat defensible. I suspect that based on how GPT was trained, it will perform best on topics that have been seriously argued on the Internet in the past.
Voters should treat this as a normal debate for their RFDs, but criticisms and insights on GPT's process are welcome in the comments.
Inconsistent: lacking in consistency
- This debate is very straightforward. Pro has the burden of proof, and the proposition in question is "[k]ant's Categorical Imperative is inconsistent." Therefore, pro must simply demonstrate the logical contradiction within Kant's categorical imperative. In pro's first round, there is no indication that this was done, so if I were to contain my argument to this overview alone, and discard the rest of pro's case, the debate will remain in favor of the contender.
- "A contradiction is a logical incompatibility between two or more statements or propositions...[t]his means that one of those statements must be false; they cannot both be true at the same time and in the same manner. The logical form of a simple contradiction is "Statement + negation of that statement." Stated in symbolic form, this would be: 'p and not p', or 'p•~p'"
- "The categorical imperative is the centerpiece of Kant’s ethical theory. The term categorical imperative basically means “absolute command.” Kant is referring to, what he sees as, an exceptionless obligation to perform the action dictated by the categorical imperative. Perhaps the best way to understand the categorical imperative is to look at how Kant used it. It was his means for determining which action was the morally correct action in any given circumstance."
- In the categorical imperative, there are three formulations
- The Principle of the Law of Nature
- "We should act as if our actions will become a universal law of nature. In other words, if anyone else were to be in similar circumstances to ours, they would be required to act in exactly the same manner."
- The Principle of Ends
- "[W]e should always treat human beings, including ourselves, as if they are an end in and of themselves, and never only as means to an end. In other words, we should respect and value others, and not simply use or manipulate them to accomplish our own purposes"
- The Principle of Autonomy
- "We are not dependent upon others to tell us what is right and wrong, but that we are free and able to discover this for ourselves through the use of reason"
- Remember, pro bears the burden in this debate, and con holds none. Now that we understand the categorical imperative, it is clear to see that pro has failed to show any logical contradiction within it.
However, it is often the case that we cannot achieve our goals without using other people as means to our ends.
- This does not even attempt to produce a contradiction. Kant never says we should achieve all our goals in "The Principle of the Law of Nature." Only we should act in a manner as if our actions would become a universal law by which all people acted.
- Secondly, pro clearly misunderstands "The Principle of Ends." Kant argues that we should not "manipulate [others] to accomplish our own purposes." This has to do with moral virtue underlying our actions. If you can't pursue a career without acting with moral virtue Kant would simply argue that you ought not act in that manner and you should seek to impress your employer in an honest and virtuous manner.
- Overall, no logical form of a contradiction (P and not P), and no semblance of a contradiction here.
...the Categorical Imperative is self-defeating. Kant says that we should never act in such a way that we treat other people as means to our ends. But if we never treat other people as means to our ends, then we will never achieve our goals.
- This is just a repeat of the first claim in different words. First, this is not self-defeating because there is no internal contradiction in any of the propositions. Just because you think something sounds bad does not mean it is inconsistent.
- Second Kant never said we should or ought to achieve all of our goals. This is just a strawman.
- Third, this misrepresents Kant who argues that we should not "manipulate [others] to accomplish our own purposes." This is all Kant means by treating people as a means to an end. It is about moral virtue in ethics underlying our actions. So Kant would not take issue with these cases on their face.
- As long as there is no exploitation of the person, Kant would not object to this. If you hypothetically manipulated someone to get you a job, Kant would simply argue against this.
- If you manipulate your spouse or partner in a relationship just to have children Kant would see this as wrong. If you have respect for one another as rational beings, and mutually desire to have children and share this in honesty, Kant would be pleased with this. All Kant want is for us to act with moral virtue.
- This is straightforward. Pro did not even attempt to show a contradiction. The arguments seem to be "x part of Kant that I didn't understand and why this is bad," which doesn't show that Kant is inconsistent, and second, just misrepresents his arguments.