The Instigator
Con (against)
4 Points
The Contender
Pro (for)
0 Points

Free Will Exists

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after 1 vote the winner is...
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 8/2/2014 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 621 times Debate No: 59878
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (9)
Votes (1)




"The ability to choose, think, and act voluntarily. For many philosophers, to believe in free will is to believe that human beings can be the authors of their own actions and to reject the idea that human actions are determined by conditions or fate."
I will argue that human actions are determined by conditions, and my opponent shall have to argue that human decisions are not bound by conditions.

Debate Structure:
R1 Rules and Acceptance by my opponent
R2 Opening Args
R3 Responses to Opening Args
R4 Responses to Responses and Closing Statements
I would like it this way so my opponent can't have the last word anymore than I can.

If any potential opponent would like to get more of a definition and grounds for debate, please ask for clarification in the comments before accepting.


I don't believe we are determined, I believe we have free will. I believe free will is at the core of what we are as humans.
For example: if you love someone do want them to love you back because they have no choice to love you back because there will has already been determined or would you want them to love you back of there own free will ?

If we are determined I ask you were you free to start this debate?
Debate Round No. 1


I see my opponent has already violated the rules of the debate structure. His role in the first round was merely to accept, not to post an argument. This is his first debate however, so I would say it's up to the discretion of the voters as to whether or not he should lose conduct points for this. That aside, I hope my opponent will follow the debate structure from here on out.

Every single thing we do, we do for a reason. They may not always be the best reasons in retrospect, but the fact remains, everything we do is motivated by some reason. When you think about this in passing, you may not realize the implications in their fullness. But if you focus on this fact for a little bit, you will realize that we don't actually have a choice in what we do.

Everything that we do is because of a set of conditions preceding the action. Your mood, your memory of past events, your personality, and the external conditions around you, all of these things force you into a choice. Some people might latch onto the word 'choice' and say, "Yes, but he still chose that!" Yes, he 'chose' that. But, if he chose the option that he did, based on all the aforementioned conditions, then, he isn't really choosing, so much as reacting to the scenario. And you could repeat the scenario over and over again, and you would find that this person would choose the same option for the same reasons every time.

I'll do some examples. Let's say you're in the desert, and you're extremely thirsty. Suddenly, you find a bottle of unopened water. You can pick it up, touch it, you know it's not a mirage or hallucination. What would you do? Your actions are determined by conditions, and what are the conditions here? Extremely thirsty, in the middle of a desert, and you just found a bottle of water. You're going to drink that bottle of water of course. And you could keep going back in time, to that same exact moment, and you would keep drinking the water, because the factors are all the same, and so too is your reaction to them.

That one is a good starter, because the factors involved are very simple, but it is not a good final example, because of its simplicity. So let's do something more complicated. Let's say you're running in a race. You've reached the final mile, and going at a pace that indicates to you that you could be on the verge of setting a new record for the race. But, you've been hauling balls this whole race, and you're starting to tire. You're in pain from being exhausted and still running.

So at this current juncture, it would seem that there are two paths you could take. You could succumb to the exhaustion and slow down, or you could take the pain and try to set the record. The number of options are the same as in the water in the desert option, but the factors that play into your action are more complicated.

First, what kind of personality do you have? Are you someone who focuses on personal achievement? Do you get your feeling of worth from winning? Or are you a less competitive person? What kind of personality you have is also affected by other factors that have been present all your life. We're all born with some kind of disposition, and as we each experience things, they shape our personality. For instance, maybe when you were younger, you felt that your parents were happier with you when you were winning and competing, so your personality came to value competition and personal achievement more. That's not something that you actually choose, it's something that comes about thanks to a set of factors determining an outcome.

Secondly, how many races have you been in before? Races are generally painfully tiring experiences, and so the more you've been in, the higher a tolerance for pain you will have developed. This is an important factor when it comes to whether or not you will succumb or push on.

So your past experiences will affect both your personality and your pain tolerance. These two traits will either be strong enough to overcome the urge to stop, and you will push on, or they will not be strong enough, and you will not push on. But the fact is, these factors are the things that really decide the outcome, not you.

One thing I would like to head off right now, is a counter point I've had my friends try to posit to me. After I get talking about how all our actions are reactions to factors, they say, 'Well, we still choose how we perceive things. You're still in control of how your personality sees things.' Simply put, no. What your personality is today is the result of a series of events so complicated, lengthy, and interconnected, that you would literally have to be omniscient to see how each experience exactly affects who you are today. But make no mistake, though we cannot comprehend every fine detail of this truth, one can see in more simplified examples that everything is action and reaction, and that your personality is simply a product of this, and your 'decisions' are 'chosen' by this personality.

Thanks for reading.


This is my first time on this site so my apologies if I broke a rule. If I'm not mistaken Round 2 is opening arguements If not my apologies.

I believe free will does exist no matter what the conditions are and no matter what are personalites are like. The premis that my decisions are determined based on my surroundings or my conditions are true to a certain extent. No matter what your conditions or personality is lke your still making a choice you can make a choice that goes against what you would normally do.

For example take someone who is in financial trouble and is a well known theif, he can choose to rob a bank and no one will be surprised because of his up bringing and his personality , but he can choose to do the right thing and not rob a bank and look for a job. There have been many people who have done this ,change their life around which goes against their conditions and there personality and their upbringing.
Debate Round No. 2


"If I'm not mistaken Round 2 is opening arguements If not my apologies."
You are correct there.

" can make a choice that goes against what you would normally do."
Yes, but, there would be reasons for doing what you would not 'normally' do. For instance, if I told you everything you do is controlled by things outside your control, you might think to yourself, "Oh yeah, this'll show him!" and do something totally 'out of place' to demonstrate that 'you're in control'. But really, all this would demonstrate is that the idea that you don't have free will is so repulsive to you that you are acting out to try to disprove it. You've just shown that you really are tied to a scenario's conditions.

This is the only idea my opponent puts forth, he uses an example, but I've shown how the concept itself is harmful to his argument, so doing the same for his example would be needlessly redundant.

Thanks for reading.


I believe that you are completely cofused about determinsim and free will. Yes there are reasons to do something , yes there are situations someone might find themselves that it will benefit them to make a specific decision but that doesn't mean you are determined to do it.

I would ask you were you free to get on this website and debate me?

The fact that we have the ability to think and know that we can go down one road or the other road to me proves your theory wrong. Because if it was totally determined I don't believe the other road would even come into our minds.

If we were to believe what you are trying to convince us of , no one should be held accountable for their actions because they were not free to choose their actions!
Debate Round No. 3


"I would ask you were you free to get on this website and debate me?"
Well, in the sense that I as an American am free to express my opinions, and therefore a site like this is able to exist, then yes, I was 'free' to. But if we are talking about whether or not this could have turned out differently, no, I was not 'free' to do or not do this. Various factors including: my need to prove myself right stemming from insecurities, my need to feel that I'm not letting my brain rot over the summer, and the aspects of the theory of determinism that appeal to me. Now these three factors are not all that's going on behind my actions, there are factors that created the factors, and on and on. Whether you struggle to create the comprehensive view, or simply look at the simplified version, we can see that my personality and the surrounding conditions led me to this point.

"The fact that we have the ability to think and know that we can go down one road or the other road to me proves your theory wrong. Because if it was totally determined I don't believe the other road would even come into our minds."
No, it proves us wrong. We think that we can go down one road or the other, but, despite the fact that we possess conscious, intelligent thought, if one was smart enough, one could know all of our actions in advance because they are determined by numerous conditions.

The struggle your mind goes through when deciding something does not prove free will exists. All it does is prove that thought exists. If I was omniscient, I could look at all the factors and say, "Yep, he's gonna struggle this long and this hard over these two ideas but eventually he'll settle on this one, because these factors appeal to his personality more than the others."

"If we were to believe what you are trying to convince us of , no one should be held accountable for their actions because they were not free to choose their actions!"
Not necessarily. Under determinism, which is what I'm championing here, nobody is really in control of their actions, in the sense that there was nothing else they could have done given their circumstances. However, that does not mean that we should act as if nobody was accountable. If we did that, our crime rates would skyrocket, and our justice systems would be immobilized, prevented from dolling out any form of punishment, for the most part. Knowing that all of this would be the case, we can accept that determinism is true, but simply conduct our war on crime and application of justice as if it were not true, to make things as peaceful as possible.


torresjoh forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
9 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 9 records.
Posted by evangambit 2 years ago
Inaudita, I wouldn't say it is necessarily improperly titled so much as "free will" is so vaguely defined. Some argue that the mechanistic nature of existence disproves the existence of free will. Not really my favorite definition, but certainly an often accepted/debated one.
Posted by MyDinosaurHands 2 years ago
Perhaps. But if I prove the mechanistic nature of existence, then don't I disprove free will?
Posted by inaudita 2 years ago
This isn't an argument of free will but the mechanistic nature of existence. Improperly titled.
Posted by dannyc 2 years ago
This is a simple win for someone not willing to read the extensive writings of causal will. Your definition is outdated.
Posted by Rational_Thinker9119 2 years ago
The way the definition is worded is iffy. Human action can be bound by conditions, and we could still have free-will. It is just that it can't be the case that every human action is only determined by conditions. As long as there is some freedom (even if there are some actions bound by conditions as well); free-will would still exist.
Posted by MyDinosaurHands 2 years ago
I feel like the definition is in there. First sentence of the italicized paragraph is an actual definition.
Posted by Ragnar 2 years ago
In my first serious debate I set the presumption of free will into the resolution, to avoid semantics.
Posted by MyDinosaurHands 2 years ago
Keep that profile pic man. I just got the image of V stepping out of the shadows and telling me he concurs. Very gratifying.
Posted by roark555 2 years ago
I concur.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Psychedelic 2 years ago
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Total points awarded:40 
Reasons for voting decision: Points for conduct go to Con. I was willing to look over Pro's breaking of the rules, but he forfeited. Con also had much more convincing arguments and examples to prove them while Pro gave very limited arguments and rebuttals. Hands down Con has won this debate.