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Debate Philosophy

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  1. Debate Philosophy

  2. Psychology The study of human behavior. Psychologists look at people’s emotions and mind to understand what motivates them.

  3. Example A psychologist might have evidence that shows people feel safer in cities with the death penalty.

  4. Philosophy The study of morality and values. Philosophers discuss the difference between right and wrong actions to guide people in their decisions.

  5. Example A philosopher might argue that the death penalty is wrong because nobody should decide who lives or dies.

  6. What is the difference? Psychology: Discusses how things are or the real world. It describes what is. Philosophy: Discusses how things should be or the ideal world. It prescribes how things ought to be.

  7. Is-Ought Gap A mistake in logic that happens when a person jumps from a statement of fact (an “is” sentence) to a statement of value (an “ought” or “should” sentence). Remember you can’t jump from description to evaluation/judgment without a middle step! Facts give us information but can’t tell us what we should do without a value entering into the argument.

  8. Example Fact/Is statement: Research shows that students who wear uniforms do better in school. Value/Ought statement:Therefore, students should wear uniforms. Problem: What if I don’t care about doing well in school? The conclusion assumes a value that hasn’t been logically supported. You must show the middle step in your thinking to have a strong argument. Don’t assume values (even good ones like education) are obvious!

  9. Ask Yourself: What is the hidden value in my conclusion? How do I explain the importance of that value? (Some common values are listed in your LD packet)

  10. Improving the Argument Research shows that students who wear uniforms do better in school. We should want our students to get the best education possible because they will be responsible for solving society’s problems in the future. This makes their education important to the world’s progress. Therefore, students should wear uniforms.

  11. Maslow’s Hierarchy morality Self Actualization/creativity, Highest Potential individuality Self Esteem confidence, respect Belonging friendship, family, intimacy Safety/Security resources, property, health Survival Basic needs: air, food, water, sleep

  12. Application Maslow states that people must feel secure to achieve their highest potential. Therefore, we must always prioritize our security over our relationships. What is the problem with this logic?

  13. Let’s Practice! Complete the example at your table. You have 5 minutes.

  14. So, what does all this have to do with debate? Lincoln-Douglas Debate argues about values or how things ought to be. An LD debater concerns himself/herself with two things: How should people behave? Or, what makes a person good/moral? How should government and society behave? Or, what makes our social institutions good/legitimate?

  15. Philosophical Theories on Ethics/Morality How should people behave? What makes a person good/moral?

  16. Utilitarianism To make the right decision a person should do the greatest good for the greatest number of people. Focus is on the ends or the results of an action.

  17. Deontology To make the right decision a person should follow certain moral rules or duties when taking an action. Focus is on the means or the process used to achieve a result. A deontologist would say: “The ends don’t justify the means.”

  18. How do deontologists come up with the rules to follow? Kant says we follow two steps to determine our duty: Act only on a maxim that you can will to be a universal law. Never treat people as a mere means. Treat people as ends in themselves.

  19. What is Kant talking about? A. Act only on a maxim that you can will to be a universal law: A “maxim” is a rule. To “will” something means to express your choice. A “universal law” is an obligation that applies to everybody. Restated: People should only take actions that they would as a rule choose everybody to take in the same situation. Ask yourself: Would you want others to do what you are doing?

  20. What is Kant talking about? B. Never treat people as a mere means. Treat people as ends in themselves. To treat people as “means” would be to use them as a way to get what you want. To treat people as “ends” would be to respect them as individuals who have their own goals and desires. A person is valuable because he/she is human, not because of what he/she can do for you. Restated: People should not take actions that use others to achieve an outcome. We should always value others for their humanity not because of their usefulness. Ask yourself: Am I using somebody to achieve my goal?

  21. What about this word “mere?” People do services for us every day. Waiters serve us food at a restaurants, and sales clerks help us at stores. Is it wrong to use these people? Remember Kant says it is only wrong if a person is treated as a mere means. This context is SUPER important. This one word is the difference between having a job and being a slave!

  22. Discussion What is the difference between being a waiter and being a slave?

  23. A person is NOT a MERE means if… They benefit from the interaction. They are included in the end benefits. (We pay waiters and not slaves.) They have consented to the interaction. It is their choice. (Waiters apply for their jobs and can quit. Slaves are forced to work against their will.)

  24. A person is a MERE means if… We treat them no better than an object to get what we want. If an action would reduce a human being to only being a tool for somebody else’s goals, a deontologist would say that action is wrong.

  25. Group Practice/Homework Work on the moral dilemmas in your notes packet as a group at your table. Answer the questions for each of the three situations. Finish whatever you don’t complete in class as homework.

  26. Review! Situation 1: A very poor mother with 5 children decides to steal some food from the grocery store to feed her starving family. She has been looking for a job but nobody will hire her. She is desperate, and this is the only way she thinks she can get food.

  27. Review! Situation 2: Research has proven that when a society uses the death penalty, it is a deterrent to crime. (Remember a deterrent is something that discourages a person from taking an action. For example: At East End, detention is used as a deterrent to keep students from chewing gum.)

  28. Review! Situation 3: Research has shown that a pregnant teenage girl who has an abortion is more likely to go to college, get a good job, and make more money when she grows up.

  29. Independent Practice/Homework Complete exit ticket on the military draft. Work quietly and by yourself.

  30. Discussion Military Draft answers What seems to be the problems with each philosophy?

  31. Problems with these ideas: Utilitarianism Deontology Can be used to justify horrible actions that offend people (Examples: AIDS and organ donation) Treats people as numbers to be added (no different than pencils or shoes) and not individuals with unique worth. Following rules for the sake of rules can be very harmful to a lot of people. Contradictory to follow system that would harm people to show people are valuable. What happens if rules conflict? (Example: hiding Jews from Nazis)

  32. Philosophical Theories on Government/Society How should our leaders and communities behave? What makes our social institutions good/legitimate?

  33. Discussion Why do we have a government?

  34. Discussion What is a contract?

  35. The Social Contract An agreement where people give up some freedom for the purpose of creating and maintaining social order. Citizens: agree to follow laws in exchange for protection. A government gets its authority from their consent. Government: agrees to provide protection and is considered “legitimate” when it lives up to its end of the bargain.

  36. Discussion: Is the social contract an actual document? How come I’ve never signed it?

  37. Application Work in groups at your tables.

  38. Harm’s Principle The government should only prevent/stop harm. Anything else risks abuse of power. People should be free to live their lives anyway they want as long as they don’t harm others. A legitimate government only protects negative rights. It does not provide positive rights.

  39. Discussion If a government’s only job is to prevent harm, what institutions or services would be included in the society? What government institutions or services would not be provided?

  40. Minimal State Gov. exercises the least amount of power as possible. Gov. only provides: police, military, courts, and prisons

  41. Negative Rights Your rights of non-interference. These rights require others to leave you alone. Examples: Right to safety, freedom of religion

  42. Positive Rights Rights to have benefits provided to you. Much more controversial because obligate others to help you. Examples: Right to education or health care

  43. Discussion Is education a right? Is health care a right?

  44. Paternalism Paternalism is when the gov. acts like your parent (does things for your own good). Harms principle tries to avoid this situation because it limits freedom & might lead to tyranny (abuse of power).

  45. Example Some people argue laws against drug use are paternalistic. What do you think?

  46. A Harm’s Principle philosopher would say… My rights end where your nose begins. … but no sooner.

  47. Importance of “my nose” This concept shows the acceptable limits on a person’s freedom. It means that we should have the ability to pursue our life’s projects or desires up until the point that our actions would harm another person. (Keep in mind that this harm doesn’t have to be violent. It can be any harm that stops another person from living his/her life as he/she chooses.)