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I feel that I should start this post with an apology to nathan_debate. I'm sorry about the way I approached, and came off in my responses. I also feel the need to bring clarity to my thoughts about skep. I think you do bring up some valid points, however, I still believe that even rule util, deontology, etc all have the same amount of potential to justify horrible things as skep. I think that you are certainly right in saying that skep has the potential to justify horrible things. I have confidence that no debater would actually run a position that actually justifies such atrocities. I am more than willing to discuss how all ethical/philosophical have to potential to justify horrible things. Finally, I never meant to imply that ethical stances weren't important. Again I feel like I must reiterate my apology of taking an adversarial approach as opposed to an inquisitorial approach to the discussion.

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1) So is genocide unethical?  Should we condemn genocide?  What should we do in the case of genocide?

 

2) I'm taking about the consequences of that unraveling (or being suppressed or withheld or whatever your thesaurus language says) for human survival, progress, and value.

 

3) The end result of saying that morality can't be justified….is that we can't say things like rape and genocide, and coercion are bad.  We can't say things like justice are good.  Same goes with Natural rights.  

 

4) The very basis of all our shared agreements about debate…..unravel.  Truth, fairness, honesty, and respect for idea and opponents all unravels.

 

What is the basis for the notion that "morality doesn't obtain???"

lol at critiquing a normative framework from inside a normative framework

 

try again son

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Hayden,

 

I think that while there is an academic exercise in running certain arguments…..I think this argument is uniquely damaging….because I think it makes people think that there aren't consequences for being unethical…..that treating others with less than respect is justified.

 

You suggest that "debaters wouldn't make those arguments"  Its precisely when debaters have problems justifying the real resolutional arguments that they opt out for the "security" of these types of arguments.  Let me zero in a little more….what resolution did you debate that had silly impacts on one side?  Silly meaning the values weren't important or relevant.

 

I think there is certainly a danger in debaters abusing these arguments….because they don't have to resolve the REAL issues at the heart of the resolution.  I say that as someone who ran Ks and who coached kids to run Ks in college debate.

 

Based on my limited exploration of the wikis this is also the result of a "word salad"--not substantive argument (IMHO).  Thats certainly up for debate.

 

No worries.  I'm sorry if I got out of line in some way.  I know online text doesn't have tone and non-verbals so is uniquely subject to misinterpretation.

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Wikipedia points to an empirical/rationalist perspective.  This video (from UNT LD debate camp) basically points out that every ethics is a meta-ethic.  Which is to say meta-ethics is basically like criteria.  The idea that one side in a debate supports meta-ethics….and the other doesn't doesn't make sense.

 

Moreover, the denial of ALL meta-ethics….seems to link to the relativism arguments I listed before….not to mention a host of other problems in my opinion:

 

Those critiques assume a naturalist/physicalist/mechanistic/reductionistic framework.

 

They link to scientism in my opinion:

http://www.thenewatlantis.com/publications/the-folly-of-scientism

 

Plus, you can probably actually get experimental philosophy that justifies

 

He references Sources of Normativity from a professor at Harvard.

Edited by nathan_debate

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I think there is certainly a danger in debaters abusing these arguments….

While I think that there is a danger to these sorts of arguments being abused, I again must highlight that the abuse isn't limited to just skep. 

 

As for the video that you posted there are a couple of things to note. First this is only one lecture from a 2-3 week camp and does not take into account the complexity of meta ethics, not should we expect it to. Secondly, based off of what I viewed in the video, it seems to me that the message is that you can run a meta ethic without calling it such. I think this is where the instructor goes into talking about Jalon Alexander and how he ran meta ethics without calling them such. 

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Meta-ethics.

 

1. I think the point where it gets muddled is about 13 minutes into the lecture, with the idea of consequentialism/deontology as metaethics. The point here is that consequentialism (i.e. "we care about the consequences of actions" or "we treat the consequences of an action as part of that action" or something like that, in its crudest form) can be a descriptor/requirement for a certain group of ethical theories, and likewise for deontology (in the broadest sense, "the study of duty"). Think of consequentialism as a set of ethical theories, and say utilitarianism is an element of that set. In that sense, they're metaethical theories. But, for example, you can't just get up in a round and say "we care about the consequences" and then read offense that links to utilitarianism and expect to win right like that--your opponent could exclude your offense by winning a different theory of the good than the one you operate under. I'm not sure that's the correct account of the term "metaethics" but under your operating definition, this would apply.

 

2. Also, skepticism seems to operate on a higher level than metaethics (questioning metaethical assumptions or assumptions behind metaethical/ethical justifications). So you'd have to win that skepticism is false beforehand.

 

Science/naturalism:

 

1. Again, you have to win skep is false before the K has an impact (i.e. you can't exclude skeptical arguments with normative claims--that just begs the question). So you have to win two things, and the K won't be offense under the NC, so there's no strategic benefit to just reading floating offense. Unless you're kicking the AC in the 1AR but they get a 6 minute 2NR to answer any new arguments you make--huge negative timeskew if you have to beat back skep too.

 

2. How does it link? Usually skepticism justifies why naturalism is the correct way of looking at the world if that's required for the argument (if not, they're just bad arguments/bad debaters). So critiquing that argument doesn't respond to it--you have to include a framework that operates on a higher level, which bites into the problems in 1. above.

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Meta-ethics.

 

1. I think the point where it gets muddled is about 13 minutes into the lecture, with the idea of consequentialism/deontology as metaethics. The point here is that consequentialism (i.e. "we care about the consequences of actions" or "we treat the consequences of an action as part of that action" or something like that, in its crudest form) can be a descriptor/requirement for a certain group of ethical theories, and likewise for deontology (in the broadest sense, "the study of duty"). Think of consequentialism as a set of ethical theories, and say utilitarianism is an element of that set. In that sense, they're metaethical theories. But, for example, you can't just get up in a round and say "we care about the consequences" and then read offense that links to utilitarianism and expect to win right like that--your opponent could exclude your offense by winning a different theory of the good than the one you operate under. I'm not sure that's the correct account of the term "metaethics" but under your operating definition, this would apply.

 

2. Also, skepticism seems to operate on a higher level than metaethics (questioning metaethical assumptions or assumptions behind metaethical/ethical justifications). So you'd have to win that skepticism is false beforehand.

 

Science/naturalism:

 

1. Again, you have to win skep is false before the K has an impact

 

 

Ok….where he goes wrong in my opinion is calling Utilitarianism with side constraints a form of consequentialism…..but not one of deontology.  I think he assumes a forced choice--when you don't have to.  Plus his explanation of side constraints is they themselves are utilitarian, when thats not necessarily true.  And there's no reason to suppose they would be limited to utilitarian calculation.  And at the end of the day…..I think this is a small quibble.  Its perhaps MORE utilitarian/consequentialist than not.  (His argument seems to be based on "ultimate grounds/ultimate ends"……which would make all theory utilitarian/consequentialist.

 

The reason I'm going to suggest that his definition of meta-ethics is better than yours…..is I believe his is grounded in philosophy…..you're is grounded in debate (and offense/defense no less.) And there are conservative critiques in debate (realism good, util good--and others).  

 

Reductionist analysis isn't very good be all end all decision-making calculous.

Skepticism isn't comparative--it doesn't provide a threshold.

People can use "skepticism" as the rhetorical cover for just 

1) infinite questioning (and I might add at some point pointless)

2) only looking at the disadvantages

 

Naturalism/physicalism:

1) Can't find ethics 

2) Can't find ideas (they aren't physical)

3) Excludes minds 

4) Excludes purpose & meaning

 

So…..naturalism is a category mistake.

 

And certain forms exclude the subjective and the emotional--or at least suppress them.  Humans however are not like the hyper-rational Spock….or Sheldon on Big Bang Theory.  Humans are messy and personal. [again….there are only certain forms that exclude these….]

 

Ethics are founded on shared understandings of the right.

 

Also, you need to have adductive reasoning about future actions…..science doesn't include this.  

1) science as a basis = paralysis

2) In other words, a strict scientific perspective here….suppresses science (because there is no peer reviewed science to support it).

 

And the historical record of human rights is empirical and pragmatic.  (mostly the former).

 

This model is overly simplistic.  It says knowledge/ideas are either one or the other.  It doesn't allow for a range of credibility--multi-dimensional, inter-disciplinary proof and principles.

 

There are lots of principles at that are helpful to the welfare, human survival, and innovation/progress…..like this that have empirical support through historical analysis.

 

All my criticisms function at an assumptive level which undermines the foundational truth claims of the skeptical version of meta-ethics. (i.e. the two fold burden or whatever above is kind of silly).  For instance, if meta-ethics (or rather skepticism) as applied here is a category mistake…..it doesn't have a leg to stand on period.  If historical understandings are just as good--thats an end run around the theory.  The fundamental basis of the claim that "all truth claims must be scientific" is not only not scientific……but incredibly weak and dubious (as I proved above).

Edited by nathan_debate

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Ethics are founded on shared understandings of the right.

 

 

That assumes that ethics are universal. Also that assumes that we know what "right" is. I think the key to understanding skep is looking at the most basic definition, that is, that certain knowledge is impossible. This is where things like emotivism and non-cognitivism come into play. I think that skep at its very foundation doesn't lead to infinite questioning as you stipulate, but rather opens the door to talk about whether or not skep is true in context of a specific resolution. If skep is not true then what do we look to for a framework, if it is true then what makes that knowledge impossible?

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I think the infinite questioning isn't the point (I was referencing broader skepticism).  So, in retrospect I think you are correct, in terms of that.

 

Should I think as emotivism and/or non-cognitivism as an alternative?  Is it the way the other team might access the ethical claims?

 

Can I just fuse deontology with virtue ethics to capture emotivism or say that I'm basing my deonteological ethic or the meaning/purpose of it on emotivism?

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Should I think as emotivism and/or non-cognitivism as an alternative?  Is it the way the other team might access the ethical claims?

 

Can I just fuse deontology with virtue ethics to capture emotivism or say that I'm basing my deonteological ethic or the meaning/purpose of it on emotivism?

I have no idea what kind of virtue ethics you're talking about. But Christine Korsgaard's latest paper (http://www.people.fas.harvard.edu/~korsgaar/CMK.Aristotelian.Kantian.Constitutivism.pdf) speaks to that a little bit.

 

Other skeptical arguments: The early Wittgenstein on language, there's an infinite regress of moral rules. Uhh, monism might lend some skeptical weight as well.

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Should I think as emotivism and/or non-cognitivism as an alternative? 

Referring back to the original post in thread it was talking about the in round use. Typically how I have used/seen it used is either a reason to win the round by winning the skep framework and alienating the AC offense. It could also function as a condemnation of the 1AC ethic. But I don't think it used as an alternative but rather a reason to reject the affirmatives framework and avoid looking to their impacts. 

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