The Instigator
moshe
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
petersaysstuff
Con (against)
Winning
5 Points

Free will exists only if the soul exists

Do you like this debate?NoYes-1
Add this debate to Google Add this debate to Delicious Add this debate to FaceBook Add this debate to Digg  
Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 2 votes the winner is...
petersaysstuff
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 4/1/2011 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 6 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,190 times Debate No: 15740
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (1)
Votes (2)

 

moshe

Pro

The processes possible in a physical world can be classified into two categories random and deterministic, it follows therefore that in order for free will to exist there must be a non physical construct behind the scenes to enable free choice i.e. a soul.
petersaysstuff

Con

First off I would like to thank my opponent for this chance to debate. Seeing as my opponent provided no definitions it is my duty to do so.

=========Definitions=========

Free will: "the power of making free choices unconstrained by external agencies"[1]
Physical world: "The Universe comprises everything we perceive to exist physically, the entirety of space and time, all forms of matter and energy."[2]
Deterministic: "an inevitable consequence of antecedent sufficient causes"[3]
Random: "lacking any definite plan or order or purpose"[4]

========Arguments=======

My opponent claims since (he says) our actions are not random, they must be deterministic and thus the soul exits.
This is a major fallacy because his argument assumes that there is no other cause to our supposed free will except the soul. This may not be true considering we are biological machines and, according to the definition of determinism, our actions can be controlled by anything, even our chemistry.
Nextly, our actions are, in fact, random. Our decisions are aren't governed by anything seeing as, when things are governed by a force, they are predictable but since, as my opponent would agree, any given action cannot be predicted accurately. Lets compare our random actions with something that is governed. The theory of gravity is a predictable, governed action. We know that if we drop an apple it will fall whereas if I ask someone to decided to leave a room or not, we can make a guess based on probability but we cannot know for certain.

I will be expanding my arguments as the debate goes on.

[1] http://wordnetweb.princeton.edu...
[2] http://en.wikipedia.org...
[3] http://wordnetweb.princeton.edu...
[4] http://wordnetweb.princeton.edu...
Debate Round No. 1
moshe

Pro

It seem that Con misunderstood the point that was made. If human actions are governed solely physics then they must be either deterministic or random, depending upon differing views in classical and modern physics.
HOWEVER!
Free will as Con kindly defined is "the power of making free choices unconstrained by external agencies".
therefore, if the laws of physics are deterministic then there is no FREE will since all of history is set in stone since the beginning of time. and if the laws of physics are random, then there is no WILL at all.
(The connection between the nature of physics and human actions should be obvious. human thoughts and actions are centered in the brain which as a result of being a physical object is subject to the laws of physics.)
It follows that the only way for free will to exist is for the mechanism to reside in a non physical entity. which might now be called the soul. I look forwards to Cons upcoming arguments
petersaysstuff

Con

First off I must say that I never talked about the laws of physics because that is not what governs human behavior so my opponent's argument here falls. My argument about BIOLOGICAL devices is simply to make that point that if we go with his assumption that there is no inherent free will and there has to be an extra force, there are perfectly natural ways of explaining it without asserting a soul exists.

But to respond to the rest of his argument, if you actually look at the definition of will which is "the capability of conscious choice and decision and intention"[1] you can see that even if events in the universe are random, which they are, you can still make decisions. So my opponent assuming that with random events comes the inability to make actions is fallacious.

Also, when my opponent talks about the brain being subject to the laws of physics he is dead wrong in a) we don't even know how the brain works and b) that the laws of physics are usually used to refer to non biological laws.
So here we have shown that even if everything is deterministic, there are other possible explanations and my opponent has not defended his assertion at all.
Debate Round No. 2
moshe

Pro

moshe forfeited this round.
petersaysstuff

Con

Please extend. Vote CON.
Debate Round No. 3
1 comment has been posted on this debate.
Posted by Thaddeus 6 years ago
Thaddeus
May I make the definitions?
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by Cliff.Stamp 6 years ago
Cliff.Stamp
moshepetersaysstuffTied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:-Vote Checkmark-1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:--Vote Checkmark3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:01 
Reasons for voting decision: Odd decision by Pro, they could have taken this with a strong final round.
Vote Placed by RoyLatham 6 years ago
RoyLatham
moshepetersaysstuffTied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:-Vote Checkmark-1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:04 
Reasons for voting decision: Con does not understand that the laws of physics entirely govern biological processes. Pro was on the way to winning, but forfeited leaving the argument unanswered. The definition of the "soul" is a weakness in Pro's case.