Instigator / Pro
14
1773
rating
86
debates
76.74%
won
Topic
#5295

Morality is subjective

Status
Finished

The debate is finished. The distribution of the voting points and the winner are presented below.

Winner & statistics
Better arguments
6
0
Better sources
4
4
Better legibility
2
2
Better conduct
2
2

After 2 votes and with 6 points ahead, the winner is...

Benjamin
Parameters
Publication date
Last updated date
Type
Rated
Number of rounds
3
Time for argument
Two days
Max argument characters
10,000
Voting period
One month
Point system
Multiple criterions
Voting system
Open
Minimal rating
1,400
Contender / Con
8
1494
rating
11
debates
40.91%
won
Description

CON can argue in comments but automatically agrees with these by accepting the debate:
-Morality: principles concerning the distinction between right and wrong or good and bad behaviour.
-Subjective: existing in the mind; belonging to the thinking subject rather than to the object of thought
-Objective: not influenced by personal feelings, interpretations, or prejudice; based on facts; unbiased:

BoP is shared and equal. PRO has to prove that morality is subjective. CON has to prove that morality is objective. If neither BoP is adequately met then it ends in a draw.

Round 1
Pro
#1
CON claims this debate is a trap, but he could just have asked for any changes to definitions before accepting the debate. He has no excuse, he accepted the debate and its terms. 

Morality: principles concerning the distinction between right and wrong or good and bad behaviour.
  • My BoP is to prove that these are existing in the mind; belonging to the thinking subject rather than to the object of thought.
  • CON's BoP is to prove that morality is not influenced by personal feelings, interpretations, or prejudice; based on facts; unbiased:
And just to be clear, these definitions have overlapping meaning. Everything that exists inside the mind is definitely influenced by personal feelings, interpretations and prejudice. 


Objects vs Subjects
Take a tree. How tall that tree is can be measured and stated objectively. Height is objective. But how beatifull the tree is cannot be measured objectively, we cannot create a scientific instrument to measure beauty, because it is not inherent in the object. Beauty is a quality whose existence is dependent on a SUBJECT to perceive the tree and judge its appearance. That is to say, the principles concerning the distinction between beatifull and ugly, exist in the mind, they belong to the thinking subject rather than the object of thought. The same goes for morality. Where there is no SUBJECT, no mind to perceive and judge an act, there can be no such thing as morality. This also makes sense considering what morality even is. We do not apply it to inanimate objects or even intelligent animals. A rock is not immoral when it crushes the skull of some child, nor is the construction worker immoral for destroying mountains to build a tunell. Even intelligent animals like lions are not acting immorally when they eat their children. No OBJECT can ever commit immorality. Only SUBJECTS can have its actions moraly judged, and only SUBJECTS dish out moral judgement. That is because the morality or immorality of an action is not inherent on any act itself, but rather in the sentient minds that makes choices and passes judgement. 

The law agrees. If you kill someone by accident, like by losing your grip and dropping a hammer from a construction site, that is never punished as harshly as if you chose to kill someone by intentionally dropping a hammer. You would hardly find anyone who says intentionality is not the main or only reason why murder is immoral. So the moral wrongness of an action like killing is dependent on the intentions behind it. So objects or animals that lack intentionality can never do something immoral, because they are not SUBJECTS.

If all that existed was objects, there would be no morality at all. Morality's very existence is predicated on there being SUBJECTS and minds for it to exists within.


IS vs OUGHT
IS statements are all objective, even wrong ones. If I say that the Earth is flat, I am making a claim about the qualities inherent in the object. These we can measure with scientific tools and our senses. OUGHT statements are different. You can never get an OUGHT statement from an IS statement. You cannot say that X behaviour IS endagering children, and therefore you OUGHT not to do X. Rather, this argument, and every moral argument, rellies on preconceived OUGHT-assumptions. You say you OUGHT not to do X because you have already assumed that you OUGHT not endanger children. But that assumption is nowhere to be found in objective reality. Lions eat their children, animals rape each other, they have done so for millions of years, without ever feeling bad for it. Morality only emerged along with human SUBJECTS who elected to make these assumptions about correct behaviour. 

I challenge CON. If he can succesfully prove a single OUGHT statement by only using IS statements, then I will conceede.

But if he cannot, then no OUGHT statments can be derrived from objective IS statements, meaning they all automatically fall into the SUBJECTIVE category.


Moral disagreements
Which moral principles take precedence. Would you do the "honourable" thing and kill your neigbourhs child because he killed yours? Probably not. What is considered honourable changes over time, and most people today would probably not even agree that you OUGHT to do what is honorable in every situation. So that moral principle has completely faded out of western culture. There is not a single moral issue that everyone can agree on across history and in every society. In fact, just in the west the last 500 years, we have changed our moral views on everything from slavery and genocide to womens status and the rights of gay people. One would assume that if morality was OBJECTIVE rather than influenced by various personal prejudices and cultural factors, that we would not find such completely opposite views on every moral issue. 


I could go on but I don't have that much time IRL and maybe CON is going to kritik, so I will wait to see if he even disputes the evidence presented so far.


Conclusion:
Morality is subjective. The OUGHT statments that morality offers are not inherent in objective reality, which explains why morality only applies to subjects and why morality is ever changing.
Con
#2
All that can ever be known to exist is your consciousness. Your conscious experiences are subjective.
  • All that can ever be known to exist is subjective.
All that can ever be known to exist is subjective. Everything subjective is based on something objective
  • All that can ever be known to exist is based on something objective.
Morality is known to exist. All that can be known to exist is based on something objective.
  • Morality is based on something objective.
Morality is based on something objective and so I win this debate.
Round 2
Pro
#3
All that can ever be known to exist is subjective. 
  • Concession
  • Nothing inside the mind can be "not influenced by personal feelings, interpretations, or prejudice; based on facts; unbiased":

Everything subjective is based on something objective
  • Irrelevant. Your BoP is to prove that morality IS objective not that it is merely BASED on something else that is objective.
  • Plus, you said yourself that nothing "objective" can ever be known to exist because we only have access to our consciousness.
    • So you can never know that anything objective even exists, and definitely can't be certaint it is a valid basis for anything subjective.
  • Furthermore, this premise is totally unsupported. CON has no evidence that "everything subjective is based on something objective" which is the crux of his argument.

CON has not made the case that morality is not inside the mind, that it is not influenced by personal feelings, interpretations, or prejudice; based on facts; unbiased".

Instead he conceeded that morality exists inside the mind, rendering me victorious.
Con
#4
Everything subjective is based on something objective.
this premise is totally unsupported.
You see a car, and so you assume that the car objectively exists.
By assuming this, you believe that the subjective is based on the objective.
Did my opponent really just challenge that point, or am I hallucinating again? 
Maybe I did hallucinate, but even so, I believe that my hallucination was caused by something that objectively exists, like LSD.

Morality is a subjective thing. Everything subjective is based on something objective.
  • Morality is based on something objective.
What this means:
  • How humans view morality is subjective.
  • Morality is a concept that objectively exists.
So morality is both subjective and objective. Cool! I win.
Round 3
Pro
#5
CON argues that some subjective things are based on the objective. That does not support the premise that EVERYTHING subjective is based on something objective. 


Morality is a subjective thing
  • Concession.

Morality is based on something objective.
  • CON has not demonstrated this. He has failed to deduce a single OUGHT statement from IS statements.

Morality is a concept that objectively exists.
  • As per your own admission: 
    • Morality does not exist uninfluenced by personal feelings, interpretations, or prejudice; based on facts; unbiased
    • Morality does exist in the mind; it belongs to the thinking subject rather than to the object of thought
  • The concept of beauty objectively exists. Does that make all of your oppinions on art either objectively false or objectively true? Of course not. This is a ridiculous argument.
    • The concept of something is completely different from the something itself. 
      • And CON has conceeded that morality is subjective. What the concept of morality is has no bearing on this debate.

Conclusion:
Morality is subjective. The OUGHT statments called morality are not inherent in objective reality, which explains why morality only applies to subjects and why morality is ever changing.


Con
#6
Morality is the object. You are the subject.
Morality is the question. You are the respondent.

Morality is the question. 
An answer to a question can be correct, incorrect, or subjective.
But a question just is.

"Is that moral?"
This question is not subjective, correct, or incorrect.
This question objectively exists, but it is nothing more. 

The concept of morality objectively exists.
Your opinions on morality are subjective.