The Instigator
Mells
Con (against)
Winning
12 Points
The Contender
enkaaladiyilboomi
Pro (for)
Losing
1 Points

Determinism is compatible with free will

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/30/2008 Category: Religion
Updated: 8 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 1,931 times Debate No: 6373
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (17)
Votes (2)

 

Mells

Con

First off, my argument which requires a response from a pro., is that determinism and free will are incompatible.
enkaaladiyilboomi

Pro

Thank you Mells.

There must exist a bond between determinism and free will.

Determinism cannot have a beginning as it says everything is caused as a direct result of a chain of prior occurrences. Time was created by humans to put events in sequence. Time is not forever as time is actually nothing.

Seeing as determinism is needs a beginning but cannot have a beginning, determinism cannot exist forever. But, once there is a beginning, it can be argued that determinism exists.

The beginning, if not by determinism, is up to free will. Free will and determinism are then compatible.

I await response from my opponent.
Debate Round No. 1
Mells

Con

Thank you for responding Pro.

I have several complaints to start this debate off with the logic of your argument. First, you state information regarding determinism only to in the last sentence state that free will is needed because it has a beginning. You need more content to back this up, because it is illogical to just state that determinism has no begining, and therefore, since there is a begining, free will must be the beginning. This leaves me no where to refute your argument as it is invalid as it stands. Let me now move on to show you how moral responsibility is incompatible with determinism.

First, an action or decision must be free. Free in the sense that it is not causally determined, or, if it is causally determined, the action must be causally determined by the agent alone. An action can be causally determined by possessing certain character traits that enhance one's ability to make a certain choice. For an action to be deemed non-determined, it must be one in which the agent is ultimately responsible. To be ultimately responsible for an action, one must be in ultimate control of that action. In order to have ultimate control of an action means that we must have at least some control over an action in the past that is now an adequate reason for us to move action. However, there are some actions that do not require us to be in complete control over, such as an action that is a sufficient reason for causing some future decision. The individual making some future decision is still responsible for that decision, because he was responsible for the sufficient cause of that future decision. According to Robert Kane, if causal determinism is true, then all of our actions are caused by events that have happened in the distant past and by the laws of nature. It is impossible to prevent events from the past from occurring, simply because it is impossible to change the past. It also follows that, since we have no control over the laws of nature, we can't prevent the laws of nature from obtaining. Furthermore, if we cannot prevent one event from occurring, and we also cannot prevent that event to cause a second event to occur, then we cannot prevent the second event. Therefore, if one does not have the ability to control an event from occurring, at least in some way, then one cannot be ultimately responsible for the decision that caused the event to occur. Additionally, in order for free will to be plausible, one must have what is required to act freely. To act freely is, in short, to have the ability to act in a way that is in complete control of the agent. For that reason, there are numerous different choices available to an agent and he is in complete control of the ability to pursue any action he desires. When the agent acts in this way, he is the complete author of the action pursued (Source 1). Thus, we proceed to the term incompatibilism. Incompatibilism states that we act freely, in the sense previously described, only if determinism is false. In book one of On Free Choice of the Will, Augustine explains to Evodius that "everyone who does evil is the cause of his own evildoing" and further explains that our actions "would not be punished justly if they had not been performed voluntarily". For an action to be executed voluntarily, means that the action was done by our own free will and not caused by past events and the laws of nature that we have no control over. In other words, since God is not responsible for the evil in the world, it follows that, the evil that is caused voluntarily is of our own non-determined free will. Also, since God is not responsible for the evil in the world, we are morally responsible. Augustine strongly believed that God could not be responsible for evildoing by stating "and I strained to perceive what I now heard, that free-will was the cause of our doing ill". If determinism were true, then under such a view, we would not be morally responsible for our actions since the actions were not done freely, which I believe to be extremely problematic.

Source 1- Hall, Scot. "Kane, Alternate Possibilities, and Ultimate Responsibility." University of Minnesota Morris. Available from http://www.morris.umn.edu.... Internet; accessed 30 December 2008.
enkaaladiyilboomi

Pro

Thank you for the delightful response.

Thank you, furthermore, for the complaints. I will provide more clarity to my case after a few things.

1) "First, you state information regarding determinism only to in the last sentence state that free will is needed because it has a beginning. You need more content to back this up," What is your point? Also, I do not see how more information will help. I am debating assuming you, the instigator, knows what determinism and free will are. I do not see how that is wrong.

2) It is not illogical to follow a chain of statements that flow in a logical order. If it was hard to understand, then you would not have understood. If you had not understood, you would have returned a chain summarizing what my case seemed to say. Seeing as you understood perfectly, it is not hard to understand.

3) When you understand my case, you can refute my case.

4) How is it invalid? My case shows why determinism needs free will to work. This means they are compatible, they are capable of existing or performing in harmonious, agreeable, or congenial combination with another or others (American Heritage Dictionary at dictionary.com).

----------------------------------------

Now to clarify.

My case is just as my opponent said, "determinism has no begining, and therefore, since there is a begining, free will must be the beginning."

Part 1

Determinism is the philosophical idea that every event, is determined by a chain of prior occurrences. This means that determinism cannot have a beginning, for every event has to have more events that cause it to happen.

Part 2

Time is a creation of man. It does not actually exist. There has to be a beginning.

Part 3

There is a beginning which cannot be provided by determinism. The opposite, free will, can provide a beginning. Free will starts it for determinism. They exist in harmonious combination with each other. Check back with the definition mentioned a bit above.

----------------------------------------

Now to my opponent's case.

First and foremost, this Robert Kane person is quite enlightening.

I do not agree. We would be morally responsible for our actions. Consider this situation:

There are three people Bob, Fred, and George. Bob and Fred are best friends. Bob is a mercenary for hire. Fred is a big businessman. George is a mafia boss. George asks Bob to kill Fred, who has offended the mafia somehow. Bob now has a few options.

a) kill Fred

b) not kill Fred

We will get back to this point. Now the events that lead to this point:

1) Bob becomes a mercenary, Fred becomes a big business, and George becomes a mafia boss

2)Fred becomes friends with Bob

3) Fred offends the mafia

4) George asks Bob, who can get close to Fred, to kill Fred

If any of these did not happen, this situation would have been avoided. The event is causually determined (this is determinism) by previous events.

Back to the point of decision. Bob has the two choices. He can make the choice (this is free will) to kill Fred or he can make the choice to not kill Fred. If Bob chooses to kill Fred, he is morally responsible for the death of his best friend.

Also note that in this situation, free will and determinism coexist harmoniously. Thus, they, determinism and free will, are compatible.

----------------------------------------

N.B. The names used in the story hold no relevance to anything.

I am enthusiastic to hear my wise opponent's well-thought out response.
Debate Round No. 2
Mells

Con

"Determinism is the philosophical idea that every event, is determined by a chain of prior occurrences. This means that determinism cannot have a beginning, for every event has to have more events that cause it to happen."

Indeed this is quite perplexing, don't you say. If there is no beginning to these series of events, then there is no first cause. If there is no first cause, then this causal chain is infinite. This cannot be, for everything has a first cause. Primarily, look at motion. Motion is but the change from potentiality to actuality. A piece of cold wood, for example, is actually cold, but potentially hot. It can only be changed from potentially hot to actually hot by something already actually hot. A fire that is actually hot can change the potentially hot, but currently actually cold piece of wood, to a piece of wood that is actually hot. Something cannot go from potentially cold to actually hot by something that is only potentially anything-for that matter. So, it seems that something can only become actually from something potentially, thus, change occurs. This cannot go on forever, since something clearly must start this series of events for them to have taken place. It is clearly inconceivable to believe in an infinite causal chain with no beginning to set the series of events into action. As Thomas Aquinas says, "Unless there is a First Mover, there can be no motions. To take away the actual is to take away the potential". Also, Aquinas notes that the first mover is obviously God. This is where you are quite wrong in your assumption that there is no beginning to determinism (series of events as you correctly say).
"1) Bob becomes a mercenary, Fred becomes a big business, and George becomes a mafia boss

2)Fred becomes friends with Bob

3) Fred offends the mafia

4) George asks Bob, who can get close to Fred, to kill Fred

If any of these did not happen, this situation would have been avoided. The event is causually determined (this is determinism) by previous events."

You say that these 4 premises causally determine that Bob will kill Fred, when in fact, they do not. Surely, one does not need to "be close" to someone to be able to kill them, unless this person never leaves a bullet proof building with no entrances or exits. Also, it is therefore not necessary that Fred must become friends with Bob, For to be a mercenary means that he simply kills for money. He is not required to get close to such a man to be able to kill him. You also state that if one did not occur, it would be impossible for Bob to not kill Fred. This is again, clearly nonsense to say that one must be friends with someone, offend someone, and "get close" to someone to be able to kill this "someone". So far I have shown that these events are not necessarily casually determining a later situation, even if I couldn't somehow show your premises to be faulty, which I clearly have.
None of your premises in any direct way relate to the killing of Fred, because you later say that he still has two choices. These "choices", under the law of nature, are not actual choices. Bob cannot even rationally think about this choice, because in the end it was already determined that he would either kill Fred or not kill Fred. Whichever Bob chooses is already determined, insofar that Bob is not morally responsible. You provide a weak deterministic case that, indeed in your case, Bob is morally responsible. He is morally responsible because none of the premises make him kill Fred or not kill Fred. Just because Fred is a businessman, is friends with Bob, is close to Bob, Bob is a mercenary, and George asks Bob to kill Fred, none of these actually determine anything, for he still has the choice. By the laws of determinism, which is what I am arguing, this choice would have had to be made years before Bob, Fred, George, whoever, were even born. Thus, if determinism were true, and Bob really had no choices (since his choice was already determined long ago), then he cannot be held morally responsible. Your fault lies in the assumption that he still has a choice. If determinism is true, he may think he has a choice, but in reality, this "choice" has already been "chosen" way before his time, or at least the time at which the murder takes place.
"Back to the point of decision. Bob has the two choices. He can make the choice (this is free will) to kill Fred or he can make the choice to not kill Fred. If Bob chooses to kill Fred, he is morally responsible for the death of his best friend."
Yes, here you are correct. If Bob indeed has two undetermined choices (to kill or not to kill), then if he decides to kill he is morally responsible for the death of Fred. If he doesn't kill Fred, then he obviously is not morally responsible. This would be untrue, however, if your premises that you believe causally determine the outcome, actually did just that-casually determine the choice of whether he would kill or not to kill. However, as previously discussed, your premises in no way necessitates or predicts the outcome of the death of Fred. For if it did, indeed predict or casually determine the death of Fred, then as again previously discussed he would be morally responsible.
For determinism to be true, even using your definition "Determinism is the philosophical idea that every event, is determined by a chain of prior occurrences", it is obvious that being friends with someone, asking someone to kill someone, and being close to someone, in no way at all determines the fact that this person will actually kill the other person. For your definition of determinism to be correct, you must state that these choices were already determined, which we can call the set D that you believe causes the killing of Fred. For determinism to be true, there must be some other set of events, C, that cause D to occur. C must then be causally determined by set B, and so on until none of the characters mentioned were even born. It is clear, then, that the outcome can in no way, hold someone responsible for any event of occurring. Since we cannot prevent any of the events that took place prior to our existence.
enkaaladiyilboomi

Pro

Thank you for the response.

----------------------------------------

I will start with my opponent's case

First you agree with me. Followed immediately by disagreeing with me on the same thing. You move onto say the existence of God is the cause of everything. Thus, determinism is false or non-existent.

We are debating philosophical ideas. This debate is assuming the ideas are true. It does not matter if it can be proved false. If it is absolutely false, then you must find a way to make it true, or the entire debate is pointless.

Also, the words of one man do not determine the existence of God or anything like that. And so, you're entire argument of sorts has no affect to the topic at hand.

Say the circumstances were as you said, with such an impregnable building, it would be necessary or a tleast unbelievably useful to be able to get close. In such a case, the situation could have been avoided if Bob and Fred were not close friends or friends at all.

Bob does have two choices. Bob makes the choice, hence he is responsible. If you wonder why, here is why: Whatever made Bob a mercenary, whatever happens in Bob's life determines how he acts and responds. His decision making is determined by the events in his life. But the choice still exists. He makes a choice, though it may already be determined, he is conscious of making the decision to kill or not kill Fred. So he would be morally responsible for killing Fred if he chose to do so. This is determinism, at the same time it is free will. He is conscious of making a decision (free will). His decision-making is determined by the events in his life. As it is both, determinism is compatible with free will.

You agreed with me in your last sentence of the paragraph "Yes, here you are correct (this is not the agreeing I mean)...he would be morally responsible."

In the case that that was a fluke, I will respond as if it (the fluke) did not occur.

For determinism to exist, there must be a beginning. Free will provides a beginning. Nowhere in the definition of determinism I provided does it say "directly determined." Things may be determined indirectly. Which is how this choice goes. The events in Bob's life that determine his decision-making for the specific time of the decision being made does not directly determine the choice. To Bob, his decision is free will; it may have been determined indirectly by the past events, but to Bob, it is free will. Bob is still morally responsible for killing Fred if he chooses to kill Fred.

I just did that (see above), and oddly enough, I got a different result (omg!!!!!!!!).

-----------------------------------------

Now, to conclude.

My case suggested 2 ways in which determinism and free will are compatible. My opponent's case suggested various reasons for why those 2 ways are wrong. I disproved every one of those various reasons. My case still stands.

********************N.B. As you can clearly see I won, I strongly urge you vote PRO.********************
Debate Round No. 3
17 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Nobody 8 years ago
Nobody
"you agreed with the definition of determinism I provided"
Posted by enkaaladiyilboomi 8 years ago
enkaaladiyilboomi
Okay, I don't care.

Again, I don't care.

I provided the definition of "compatible" from dictionary.com. "Compatible" is NOT "determinism." You people like reliable information, so I provided a definition from a dictionary. Is that wrong?
Posted by Nobody 8 years ago
Nobody
His powers of comprehension is entirely different from your own.

He didn't present logic. He just said that your age affected your comprehension skills. Nothing about this is even related to logic.

Providing dictionary.com's definition shows no comprehension at all. Just the ability to copy and paste.
Posted by enkaaladiyilboomi 8 years ago
enkaaladiyilboomi
Age relative to lack of understanding. I agree that it is not true, but his ability to understand stuff is not much different from mine.

I understand what logic is. Big surprise there.*

I provided the definition of "compatible" from dictionary.com.

Fine. Replace "case" with "argument" or "jumble of words that oppose the argument of Con" or whatever else you feel fits.

It's fun.

*Refers to "I'd side with Mells."
Posted by Nobody 8 years ago
Nobody
*"Your
Posted by Nobody 8 years ago
Nobody
"Age means nothing."

Nothing that means nothing exists. It means something.

Your logic is seriously flawed, fix it"

Apparently you don't understand what logic even is, so at the moment I'd side with Mells.

"On the contrary, you agreed with the definition of determinism I provided."

Well, you say that the definition came from dictionary.com, so you haven't demonstrated any understanding at all.

"My case shows why determinism needs free will to work."

Case refers to something pre-written for the purpose of reading aloud. You did not write one for this topic. If you did, you did not present it.

NB Overuse of "NB's" make "NB's" mean less. If they mean less, they are't really "NB's." Not that yours are anyway, you entirely misuse the concepts.
Posted by enkaaladiyilboomi 8 years ago
enkaaladiyilboomi
"people of [mrsmooth27's] age are not well education"

Excuse me.
Posted by mrsmooth27 8 years ago
mrsmooth27
Very true.
Posted by Mells 8 years ago
Mells
thats great mrsmoot, however, all i meant was that he has no idea of what determinism means and hence, his age shows the lack of understanding. Im not saying that people of your age are not well education, for that would indeed be untrue. What I am saying is simply that he does not show a convincing argument that he even, infact, knows what determinism or free will is.
Posted by mrsmooth27 8 years ago
mrsmooth27
I, too, am fourteen years of age and I understand the concept of determinism. Not only that, but I concluded that bio-environmental deterministic beliefs described human nature without ever having been informed of the theory. The idea that age limits the ability to grasp a philosophical concept is completely untrue.

Having said that, I do not have a cell phone so I will not vote, but if I could I would attribute superior mechanics, arguments, and sources to the instigator, and only my personal beliefs to the contender.
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by KRFournier 8 years ago
KRFournier
MellsenkaaladiyilboomiTied
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Vote Placed by Mells 8 years ago
Mells
MellsenkaaladiyilboomiTied
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