Blame is a Prejudice (Free-Will & Determinism)
Round 1: Introductory Communication and Definitions
Round 2: Both sides give First Arguments.
Round 3: Free Debate/Refutation/Criticism of Opposing Arguments
Round 4: Further Debate/Refutation/Criticism
Round 5: Conclusions/Summary of Oppositions Arguments
Summary: In this debate I wish to present an argument supporting the notion that the entire concept of blame is a clear form of prejudice, based off the philosophical ideology of Hard Determinism. I will present an argument from impossibility and/or impracticality, while hopefully making a compelling counter-argument that will favour the often miss-understood idea of Hard Determinism. I will also briefly discuss the problems of Compatibalism, while allowing for an extensive debate with whoever is against the notion.
Free-Will: Choices that are free from influence, or the ability to make choices without defining influences. Specifically, the ability to act on one’s own accord, enough to justify the punishment and rewarding based on external actions.
Hard Determinism: The doctrine that all things are determined by external forces. The laws of Cause-and-Effect apply to both inanimate objects, as well as cognitive thought.
Firstly, I’d like to explain the illusion of free-will;
The act of deciding is to consider the importance, or power, of influences that make up our lives. These influences include; culture, moods, emotions, environment, opinions, beliefs, viewpoints, experience, mental state, intoxication etc.
Free-will implies that we are able to see these influences, yet act in defiance of them. It implies that if you really want to do A, you can in fact decide to do B, even without any further bias or influence. It is, to do the impossible. Determinism states that each of these influences is defined externally before the choice is made. An example;
Do you believe in God?
I have, in fact, realized the true impossibility of Free-will. Influences – the things that drive us into certain choices – are created and controlled by external forces. You cannot have an opinion on X if you have never heard of X, or heard anything relating to X. You cannot enjoy the taste of pizza simply by willing it to be true.
The simplest choice; deciding what to eat. Is that free? Do you choose to enjoy one food over another (and thus have preference towards it?)? No. Your taste buds choose that for you. Do you choose to get angry when you are insulted? Do you choose to let some random atheists words persuade you (or not)? Do you choose to allow certain influences to affect your more than others, or are your beliefs a response?
Instead, I picture life like a domino set. The first cause (whatever it may be) pushed the first domino, driving a society of people who act according to fixed physical laws. Right down to the neurology. For the unexplained “random events” of science, that does not hint towards free-will. It hints towards random-will, pure guess work, and something not to be favoured. A series of dominos that we cannot measure, but still follow a set of laws.
Now, assuming this, can you say with any certainty that it is right to blame someone for something that they are determined to do?
And thus, I propose that blame is a prejudice;
Prejudice means; -an unfavourable opinion or feeling formed beforehand or without knowledge, thought, or reason.
When you blame someone for something, you are creating an expectation of them to meet a certain social standard.
Eg; “I expect you not to steal.”
If, however, you knew everything about them (and thus, were able to determine what they were going to do) then you’d realize that you can only expect them to do what they do actually do. If someone steals, you must expect them to steal (unless you change the events leading up to it, which is impossible, as you only know in hindsight).
This is my initial argument.
But just think of what it would do to our legal systems if someone could provide scientific evidence showing that human beings have no free-will? Rapists would argue and rightly so, that they were forced to commit their crimes by outside forces and get away with it. Murderers would hide behind this theory as well. So before I get into presenting my evidence I just want to say that I do hope with all my heart that Pro is wrong on this issue. But I will be looking to hear from Pro if he blieves that criminals should be punished. If there is no personal responsibility in Pro's philosophy, then he must hold that punishment for crime is also unfair, and should not occur. How can society blame or praise a person for an action which he himself had no control over? It is inconsistent to say that a person is not responsible for his bad deed and then punish him for that deed. It seems that even those who deny the existence of free will still live their lives as if it does exist.
Now if I have no free will, then I don't believe in free will by my own choice, so what's the point of Pro trying to convince me otherwise? What's the point of trying to persuade anyone at all if everything is already predetermined?
But here is another issue, do determinists ever feel shame, regret, or remorse, when they does something wrong? If there is no free will, then they aren't responsible for their actions and shouldn't feel this way. If they do feel this way, then it shows that their position is a very hypocritical one. They claim to be innocent because of having no choice, yet they feel bad over what they did. Unless, Pro will argue that he can commit heinous crimes and feel no remorse whatever, in which case simply makes his philosophy a very heartless one.
Pro argues that eternal forces are responsible for our decisions, but this is only partially true. For example. There is external evidence which convinces Pro there is no God; but I too can digest this same evidence and still not e forced into atheism by it. I choose not to believe the evidence for atheism, he chooses to believe it. Conversely, I choose to accept the evidence for God, he chooses not to. If it were all a matter of us dancing to external forces, then we should all react the same way to the same set of external forces, but we don't.
We are not pawns in a game of cause and effect, for we can reason and calculate outcomes, making a choice based on the use of logic as opposed to following some predetermined path. Pro will use his reasoning ability to pick apart my argument, and conjure up reasons why he doesn't find it convincing; this reasoning power is not an outside influence, but an internal factor which aids in making free choices.
Cause and effect is the observation of repetitive conjunction of particular events which induces us to postulate their linkage. Pro tries to prove cause and effect in our choice of food; he says: "The simplest choice; deciding what to eat. Is that free? Do you choose to enjoy one food over another (and thus have preference towards it?)? No."
But really, many people actually avoid eating their favorite food because they use their reasoning ability (an internal, not external force) to overrule their own preferences. That food might be high in fat, cholestorol, etc, and the people in question want to maintain a healthy diet, so they choose not to eat it; so Pro is simply wrong when he suggests that people have no choice but to let their taste buds guide them. There are others, who knowing full well the health risks of eating cetain foods, simply don't care and eat them. So if determinism were true, why do they not all react the same to the same external influences? Obviously, people can choose, and they regularly do make different choices.
He reasons that we can't blame the person who steals if we know the events that led up to him stealing, but let's be honest, can all the burgulars that appear before the judges give good reasons why they steal? Do they? No. Some steal just for the fun of it. Interestingly, some people may be hungry, homeless, and going through hell, and yet choose resist the temptation to steal and simply beg at the street corners. If determinism is true, why don't all hungry homeless people steal? Why is that for ever person who steals for reason X, we can find someone else who has been through X and has not stolen? This shows the external forces alone are not responsible for the actual "response." Many people steal who have no reason whatever to steal. They are already rich, they are not in debt, they don't need the money, they can leagally make more easily, and yet they steal. They didn't need some external reason like extreme poverty in order to make them steal.
I thank Pro for this interesting debate, and look forward to his next response.
Round 3:Free Debate/Refutation/Criticism of Opposing Arguments
Can I just say, thanks for the extremely detailed and interesting response. Now;
While I agree with the majority of what con says, readers have to realize that while Determinism is the reality, it is not the ideology.
“(a)he cannot rightly comdemn any action... support the penalty system.”
It is true that I cannot rightly condemn any person for their wrong doings; however, there is a necessity to preserve the safety of the peoples who make up the society. And so, my response to (b) is this; While there are moral issues with punishing wrong doers of society, it is the lesser of two evils.
I’d like to propose the idea that, with the knowledge of hard determinism comes the responsibility to accept it, which can be extremely difficult for those of us who have lived a large part of our lives blaming and judging those who do wrong. I, for one, would not be happy if a man was locked up for murder, but I accept the reality of the fact that he is more of a danger to himself and others if let free. Utilitarian ideas, but what’s the alternative?
While I have touched on the legal system above, I’d like to re-enforce the values, ideas and moral conclusions if we were to accept Determinism. The legal system would no longer be “We are punishing you for doing wrong.” But “we are protecting society from an individual who has been brought up with an anti-social mind-set”. A larger emphasis would be put on rehabilitation, as well as prevention from the source. I believe that Hard Determinism promotes young moral education, actively making us think about our actions.
“It seems that even those who deny the existence of free will still live their lives as if it does exist.”
This is completely true. It is known in philosophy as the greatest illusion in the world. I, however, live under the above idea: Determinism is the reality, while ethics is the ideology. I strive to be an ethical person, while realizing my unavoidable determined state. Don’t get me wrong, I realize that the miss-interpretations and alternative conclusions may be detrimental to the wellbeing of society (and example is someone acting on the whim simply because they believe they are determined to do so) but I do not believe that that scenario is either likely or dangerous. Why?
“What's the point of trying to persuade anyone at all if everything is already predetermined?”
Because it may be determined that they change their minds. There is no reason to change the way they act because reality is set in stone, because everything they will think, do and say has already been accounted for. They are not changing the future whenever they have a change of heart. Hard Determinism, while not being an actual sentient being, is similar to someone who knows their future. If they try to change it, the future will have foreseen it. Again, I am not saying that Determinism is about knowing everything, or future fortune telling, it is simply the fact that if A causes B, and A occurs, B must occur. Simple laws of physics.
“But here is another issue, do determinists ever feel shame, regret, or remorse, when they does something wrong?”
Yes, because I can’t control the effect that my conscious has on me. Again, I can live under the illusion of free-will, and my conscious is guided by ethics, not reality. I would still feel shame stealing; I would still regret a missed opportunity or a bad action; I would be determined to do so.
“in which case simply makes his philosophy a very heartless one.”
While I do not believe this, I do feel the need to point out that a philosophical theory should not be judged based on how much con wants it to be true, but how much it holds up to rational scrutiny.
“Pro argues that eternal forces are responsible for our decisions, but this is only partially true... If it were all a matter of us dancing to external forces, then we should all react the same way to the same set of external forces, but we don't.”
They have perfectly deterministic reasons. When I hear one piece of evidence supporting atheism, I have my own logical and rational ideas, whereas con has his own. Con does not believe X solely on X’s rhetoric persuasion, con believes X based on how it relates to cons own beliefs, opinions, mood etc.
Cons other persuasions are obviously quite diversely different to mine, and thus, even with the same bit of evidence, we will react in entirely different ways.
“We are not pawns in a game of cause and effect, for we can reason and calculate outcomes, making a choice based on the use of logic as opposed to following some predetermined path. Pro will use his reasoning ability to pick apart my argument, and conjure up reasons why he doesn't find it convincing; this reasoning power is not an outside influence, but an internal factor which aids in making free choices.”
Again, this can be explained by looking at the above. All ‘internal’ actions are the result of external persuasions that stay in the mind. I am an atheist when I begin reading the arguments for Gods existence, and more than likely I’ll remain an atheist when I finish reading. If, however, I was undecided and I read the arguments, had a different set of ideas about philosophy, then I may have been determined to become a theist.
All internal ‘calculations’ are determined just as much as external ones, simply because they are the result of external ones. We think Y because we were asked X, we conclude Z because we thought Y. Cause-and-effect.
The next argument con gives is one of influences. While these persuasions, or influences, have an effect, they all depend on each other and as a result nothing is definitely a priority. This can be said for all aspects of life. It is said that even a pacifist has a violence limit. Something will make someone tick, and one persuasion will overcome another if a set of events were played out.
Furthermore, the argument con gives about the un-importance of motives (like doing something “just for fun”) does not in any way diminish the power of the argument. If someone does something just for fun they are doing something that is the highest on their list of persuasions. This, as a result, led to the criminal activity. Some people get kicks out of robbing shops, and as long as that’s true, there’ll be people determined to do it.
And so I maintain that because the concept of blame is to have made an expectation that one has failed to meet, it is a form of pre-judgement; a prejudice.
Cheers. Also, the numbers just help as paragraph breaks, and references for quotes, if you so wish to use them.
The self-defeating character of determinism is that for Pro to accept it as true, he must believe that he believes in it because he was predetermined to do so. He hasn't been able to weigh the pros and cons rationally and make up his mind freely based on that, but was determined by outside forces. So in his world-view, his very belief in determinism is determined, and so are the thoughts he is having right now; so that even if determinism were true, its impossible for him to rationally affirm it, for its very affirmation undermines the rationality of its affirmation.
Empirical evidence does not support the cause-and-effect nature of human actions that Pro proposes. For example; X is the cause and Y is the effect, so that X always precedes Y; but the problem is that every instance of X (a set of initial conditions/circumstances) is different from every other X, so that there cannot be two or more documented cases of X leading to Y. No two human beings will have the exact same set of circumstances, beliefs, life experiences, and so forth, so as to test the theory that given these conditions (X), that Y must always occur. Pro must therefore make the assumption that X leads to Y in his domino effect illustration without being able to falsify his theory. Without a duplicate of X the observation will not be repeatable, and is an assumption of determinism at best, not an actual proof. So my question to Pro, is, how does he know that were subject A who does not steal when homeless and hungry, to have had the same experiences in life as subject B who does steal when homeless and hungry, would not still choose to refrain from stealing? It's not like he can reproduce the exact same set uf circumstances for multiple subjects to observe that they all steal when in such a situation. Since the variables of X are not even be fully defined, the correlation between X and Y is spurious. I challenge Pro to give us conforming examples that X leads to Y in the behavior of humans.
Illustration: If I measure the force of the earth's gravity on an object, I see the relation F=gm. However, magnets and gases exhibit a different relation with respect to the earth. Is gravity deterministic? F=gm contains no term regarding the make-up of the object, so the only way to explain the exception is to say that gravity obeys the relation F=gm unless something else causes it not to. We have bounded our causal law so that our hypothesis stands, but we now must postulate the existence of new phenomena to describe the other "causal" forces which are at work; and so on. How can this program be falsified? If it cannot be falsified (since we can always postulate additional "unknown" causes), isn't the conclusion questionable?
Pro cannot affirm that people bear moral responsibility under his deterministic view, so that Hitler wasn't really to blame for his treatment of the Jew during the Holocaust. Nor were slave traders to blame during the years of Trans-Atlantic slavery; they could do no better. I will simply ask the readers of this debate to carry out a simple experiment. Put two items before you for breakfast; pick one tomorrow, and use the next one the following day. Now, did you have to use "first" the one you did use "first"? Could you not have chosen the other one? If not, why not? Pro's argument is that some past experiences and circumstances caused you to choose the one you did chose as opposed to the other, but if so, please try to identify what those causes X, were. Ask yourself what is the relationship between those variables (X) and the meal you chose for breakfast; would (or do) other individuals with similar (if not the same) specific number of circumstances/experiences always choose that breakfast which you did chose "first" given that they have the same two options?
‘Determinism does not require us to give up choice altogether, but to realize that what we want to do has already been determined."
The problem I have here is that people don't always do what they "want," but at times they put other things even above their wants. Someone pushes me, I "want" to push him back, but I "choose" to walk away. My desire to fight might be more intense than the small voice of conscience telling me to do the right thing. The external factors which allowed me to have these options do not decide which one I will choose. For a twin raised in the same home, we may have similar external factors, having been raised with the same values, exposed to the same influences, etc, yet, one pushes back, the other chooses not to.
When I ask what's the point of trying to convince anyone of anything, Pro says: "Because it may be determined that they change their minds."
So if a woman sits in a chair, Pro's claim would be that she was determined to do so, and could not have remained standing. Yet, if she were to keep standing, he would argue that she could not have sat down; even though in both scenarios she had the same prior set of circumstances and experiences, which would show that X doesn't necessarily lead to Y, but she had free-will to chose.
"In a cause-and-effect universe the only way for un-predictability to exist is if it existed at the start."
Randomness does exist in this universe: When quantum theory was introduced in the late 1920's, a surprising discovery was made: the success of the theory is dependent on the existence of statistical, non-causal forces. The behavior of individual atomic particles is completely indeterministic. Detailed analysis has demonstrated that all fundamental particles display completely random behavior at the atomic level. They appear, in some sense, to have "free will" when observed individually; their behavior is not "caused" by anything. These quantum vacuum fluctuations or virtual particles are particle-antiparticle pairs that come into existence in otherwise empty space for very brief periods of time, in agreement with the Heisenberg uncertainty relations. (Paul Davies, 1983, God and the New Physics, p.162; Richard Morris, 1990, The Edges of Science, p.24)
Pro says he can't control the effects his conscience has on him, but the conscience will only condemn us for that which we truly believe we are wrong; so if Pro truly believes he has no choice but to commit wrongs, then why should his conscience condemn him? It seems to me that deep inside, Pro might believe he could have done better at times.
Con argues that our prior beliefs determine why we react differently to the same set of evidence, and yet, they are atheists who had such extreme education in defense of atheism and attack of Christianity, that given that background, and given their views, should not have been convinced by the evidence for God, yet, they were. This argument works both ways.
"I am an atheist when I begin reading the arguments for Gods existence, and more than likely I'll remain an atheist when I finish reading. If, however, I was undecided and I read the arguments, had a different set of ideas about philosophy, then I may have been determined to become a theist."
I've studied with folks who were hard atheists and others who were simply undecided. The undecided ones remained undecided, while the atheists were convinced to become theists, on the same evidence which was shown to both groups. This is one of the things that convinces me free-will is real.
I thank Pro for his responses and look forward to his next round.
"The self-defeating character of determinism is that for Pro to accept it as true, he must believe that he believes in it because he was predetermined to do so. He hasn't been able to weigh the pros and cons rationally and make up his mind freely based on that, but was determined by outside forces."
Again, I believe that it is a miss-interpretation of Hard Determinism that leads con to this conclusion. If we were to simply question why I was predetermined to believe in Hard Determinism, it would be because I used my determined rational mind (among other things) to interpret the evidence in a way that I found convincing, including the internal (and still determined) weighing up process that you mentioned. The same can be said for the following quote;
"…its impossible for him to rationally affirm it, for its very affirmation undermines the rationality of its affirmation."
Con argues that due to the fact that the diverse nature of the world disallows for a repeating of the same circumstances twice (the phrase ‘you can never stand in the same river twice'), there is no way to prove cause-and-effect, and subsequently, determinism. While this is ultimately true, I disbelieve that there is anyone alive who will argue against such an overwhelmingly obvious cause-and-effect world. Furthermore, I'd even ask con to suggest an alternative to mental cause-and-effect reasoning, and how it works, and thus to explain how free-will works. Free-will has as little validity as Hard Determinism, as it is an area completely unexplored by philosophers. Cons assumptions, and the assumptions of Free-Will are as equally questionable as that of a Determinist.
And so, while I cannot prove a deterministic mind, I will point out a few things that lean towards that conclusion;
-Predictability: How are people predictable if they have the freedom to do what they want?
-Self Perfection Mentality: If we are so free, then why don't we all choose to enjoy being good people? Not choose to act as good people, but choose to actually become good people.
-Our Sympathy towards Innocence: A child does not know that it is wrong to be greedy until taught. Notice how we assume that someone who is an adult is thus capable of controlling the stealing desires? This is a prejudice. We prejudge them as capable of a certain level of self-control that is not based on anything but a presumption of maturity.
Once you clarify that all decision processes, all influences internal and external, and all prior events are determined, there is no room for a freedom of will. Once again, trying to prove freedom of will proves impossible, as free will would allow anyone to do anything in any circumstance. Hypothetically, you could read this and conclude that the world is flat (and believe it) if you so wished. If everything is unbiased, then how could anyone decide anything? I even question why anyone would want a will made up entirely of random conclusions, as appose to an entirely rational, all-inclusive determined consideration.
I disagree with the next point, I can and do affirm moral responsibility on myself and others. It is the ideology, the self-expectation that will allow me to function. I do, however, feel sympathy even for those who are considered disgustingly evil. I believe that a series of events led them to become who they are. A bigot is usually taught to become a bigot (at least, in the eyes of the opposition). Is it a racists fault if they were raised to become a racist? Is a sexist at fault if they incorrectly conclude, in a society of sexism, that men are better? Under the free-will idea we should blame flat earth believers for their beliefs.
The experiment is inherently flawed; again it uses the assumption that you may change what you are determined to do, and are free from certain influences, which is not true. The reason you can believe to change determinism is because you are ignorant of the fact that your very desire to prove your freedom is a strong enough influence to change the trivial task of choosing a breakfast food.
Try this thought experiment: Consider any choice that you have ever made. Ask yourself why you made that choice. Consider the influences, and how much control you had over them at that time. Consider everything. You will notice that none of those influences are changeable.
"The problem I have here is that people don't always do what they "want," but at times they put other things even above their wants. Someone pushes me, I "want" to push him back, but I "choose" to walk away."
Simply ask why. In the end, it's because you wanted to walk away more than you want to hit someone, otherwise you would have hit them. Isn't that an obvious truth? Instead, you are claiming ‘I wanted to hit him, but I used some other influence (which has yet to have a source) to decide not to. This is not at all based on any internal or external factors, but is separate and free'. You may as well decide to dance in front of the man instead of hitting him.
Your reference to quantum physics can no way be attributed to the supposed existence of free-will. I dare even you to try to make that connection. There is a difference between free-will and unexplained probabilities. Notice, however, that the very measurable probability shows that behind this "randomness" is a certain logic, a mathematic law. For something to be truly chaotic, it must have no laws.
"Pro says he can't control the effects his conscience has on him, but the conscience will only condemn us for that which we truly believe we are wrong"
Exactly, realize that I do not choose to believe what is truly wrong. It is determined that I dislike greed. It is determined that I dislike violence. It is determined that I cannot choose to change these things.
"Con argues that our prior beliefs determine why we react differently to the same set of evidence, and yet, they are atheists who had such extreme education in defense of atheism and attack of Christianity, that given that background, and given their views, should not have been convinced by the evidence for God, yet, they were. This argument works both ways."
Simply ask them why and they will give a reason. Examine that reason
I would like Pro to give us an illustration of how outside forces could have forced him to interpret the evidence in such a way. It seems to me we are all free to interpret evidence however we want, or not to interpret them at all. Pro is saying that because of outside influence X, he was forced to interpret the evidence to conclude Y. Please give us a scenario where this plays out that we may understand; for I propose there is no set of circumstances which would restrict a person from the ability to reject determinism with a sound mind.
Con then asks ‘how does free-will work'? But, there can be no explanation of how free-will works just because it is not a cause-and-effect system. If I could explain "how" it works by some "mechanism" or "scientific model," it would cease to be free-will and be determinism. The fact that one cannot explain the randomness of a set of event does not deny the existence of the events or their randomness.
"How are people predictable if they have the freedom to do what they want?"
It's kind of like saying that just because I know what conclusion you will reach through your reasoning process, doesn't mean you don't have the ability to reason. Similarly, just because you can guess how I will use my freedom, doesn't mean I don't have it. When citizens obey the law, they aren't "forced" to obey it, they could have broken the law and chosen to suffer the consequences. Pro is assuming that because he can predict what "most" of them will do, that "none" of them have free will. But such logic doesn't follow, for it would also mean that anytime he could not predict what someone would do in a situation where (given what he knows about him and the influences on his life) he should have been predictable, that free will does exist. Yet, such events happen everyday.
"Self Perfection Mentality: If we are so free, then why don't we all choose to enjoy being good people?"
To give a motivating force to explain why people do wrong is a fall back into Pro's trap of cause-and-effect, crafty question. After ten years of enjoyable, peaceful marriage, a man goes out and pays a prostitute for sex. When he is discovered, and they finally go for counseling, he answers a list of questions. Were you watching porn? No. Did a woman seduce you and persuade you to come? No. Weren't you satisfied with the sex your wife gives you? Yes. Were you two having problem? No. So why did you do it? "I don't know, I just wanted to." It goes on all the time Pro, to deny this is to deny life. Sometimes people have reasons, motivating forces, other times they don't; and even when they do, they "have" to obey those forces. The fact that many resist them shows they are not predetermined to obey external forces.
"Notice how we assume that someone who is an adult is thus capable of controlling the stealing desires? This is a prejudice. We prejudge them as capable of a certain level of self-control that is not based on anything but a presumption of maturity."
We judge them based on the experienced reality that "we as adults" in all sorts of similar and sometimes the same circumstances make better choices, so can they. If I, while poor and homeless and hungry, did not steal, why should you, while rich and comfortable, steal? It's inexcusable.
"Hypothetically, you could read this and conclude that the world is flat (and believe it) if you so wished."
So if I find people who believe bogus, outrageous things, like the world is flat, that would prove free-will? Many don't believe man ever landed on the moon, some believe the world is an illusion and that we don't really die, only appear so.
"If everything is unbiased, then how could anyone decide anything? I even question why anyone would want a will made up entirely of random conclusions, as appose to an entirely rational, all-inclusive determined consideration."
I can choose to develop desires which are random or structured according to a set philosophy. Free-will doesn't have to mean all one's decisions must "appear" to be random.
"A bigot is usually taught to become a bigot (at least, in the eyes of the opposition)."
Some parents do their very best to raise their kids as good moral citizens, and their peers, religions, etc tell them to be law abiding, yet they choose a life of crime. Bigots aren't always raised to be so, they often times just "choose" to be so, and this is why people are so surprised when so and so suddenly changes for no rational reason.
"Consider any choice that you have ever made. Ask yourself why you made that choice. Consider the influences, and how much control you had over them at that time. Consider everything. You will notice that none of those influences are changeable."
I don't need to change the influences to have a choice on how I respond to them. I was hungry, very hungry, I love pizza, and my mum offered me some; given the forces at work (my hunger and my love for pizza), I should (in the determinist view) accept the pizza. But I just didn't want any at the time so I said no. Why didn't I want any? Was there some force stopping me from wanting it? Not that I know of; on the other hand, I "choose" to ignore the forces pushing me to eat it.
"Simply ask why. In the end, it's because you wanted to walk away more than you want to hit someone, otherwise you would have hit them."
How do you know the intensity of a desire, Con? That's an internal feeling, which isn't necessarily in accord with outward expression. For example, does a man feel more hurt because he is crying than a woman who isn't? She lost her baby, his home team only lost on baseball game, go figure. You can't make the judgment that my desire to walk away was stronger.
Wonderful responses from Pro. Thanks for a great debate so far.
Nickwalker12 forfeited this round.
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