The Instigator
alexhdz55
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
vivalayeo
Con (against)
Winning
39 Points

Free will is an illusion, ALL events are predetermined.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 8/11/2010 Category: Religion
Updated: 7 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 3,519 times Debate No: 12737
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (3)
Votes (8)

 

alexhdz55

Pro

There is a chain of prior predetermined occurrences dating back to the beginning of the universe that predetermine the thoughts we think, our behaviours, our choices and our actions.
vivalayeo

Con

Good luck to my opponent, this argument is a particular interest of mine, having studied it in College last year. Although I would lend myself to the deterministic viewpoint naturally, I will play devil's advocate in this debate. I am eager to hear the opponent's opening argument's in round 2.
Debate Round No. 1
alexhdz55

Pro

Some events have simple explanations, like a ball falls to the ground becauseof the pull of gravity. Others are more complicated and may seem random TO US!

Say you have a feeding schedule for an animal. You feed him at a specific time every day, only the specific time varies from day to day. you never feed him at a specific time two days in a row, and this schedule repeats itself every 10 days. To the animal the time of day when it gets fed will seem completely random. But it isnt random. The animal just isnt intelligent enough to figure out the system used to feed it.

Even the things that seem to have no explanation have explanations, they are just too complicated for us to grasp. Somewhere, there are hidden or unseen variables that make things appear random. Hence the illusion of free will.

I have never heard a valid example of an effect without a cause. Only examples of effects who SEEM to have no cause.
vivalayeo

Con

Thank's to my opponent for posting his argument quickly, although by the nature of the argument, it would be preferable for you to give more precise example's. What you have described is hard determinism, which seem's infallable at first glance, however, when put into certain context's, determinism fall's apart, or atleast hard determinism does. The free wiill and determinism debate has it's epicenter in God. So for the purpose of this debate, I will address both scenario's, what it spell's for determinism if God does exist, and what it spell's if he doesn't

One major argument for determinism is that God is a personal being, who is omniscient, he know's everything, and therefore his choice's are determined. However, here is my rebuttal, I will explain the premise's and then the conclusion's for a number of argument's for free will.

Argument #1 (from experience)

P1.I experience my choice as being free.
P2.If I experience my choice as being free, then my choice really is free.
C1.So, my choice really is free.

Argument #2 (from moral responsibility)

P1.If people don't have free will, then they are not morally responsible for their actions.
P2.But, people are morally responsible for their actions.
C1.So, people do have free will.

Argument #3 (from appropriate emotions)

P1.If people don't have free will, then all human emotions (such as love, or compassion) are inappropriate.
P2.But, at least some cases of human emotion are appropriate.
C1.So, people do have free will.

Argument #4 (from indeterminism)

P1.That people have free will is a very plausible position.
P2.The only reason to reject free will is that science has advocated total determinism.
P3.Science now no longer advocates total determinism.
C1.So, there is now no longer any reason to reject free will.
P4.If there is no reason to reject an otherwise very plausible position, then one should accept that position as true.
C2.So, one should accept the position that people have free will.

Argument #5 (from human works)

P1.The works of human beings are unlike anything produced by nature working under natural law.
P2.The only possible explanation for this observed fact is the hypothesis that people have free will (among other qualities such as creativity, vision, understanding, purpose).
P3.If a given hypothesis is the only possible explanation for an observed fact, then that hypothesis is true.
C1.So, it is true that people have free will.

Argument #6 (from worry)

P1.If I am able to worry about whether I have free will, then I have to have free will.
P2.I am able to worry about whether I have free will.
C1.So, I have free will.

Argument #7 (from agency)

P1.If I do not have free will, then I am not an agent (a self).
P2.But, I am an agent (a self).
C1.So, I do have free will.

Argument #8 (from universal belief in moral responsibility)

P1.We all believe that people are morally responsible for their actions (MRA).
P2.If we all believe that people are MRA, then it is really true that people are MRA.
P3.If it is really true that people are MRA, then people have free will.
C1.So, people have free will.

Argument #9 (from innate belief in moral responsibility)

P1.We all believe that people are morally responsible for their actions.
P2.If we all believe that people are MRA, then we innately believe that people are MRA.
P3.If we innately believe that people are MRA, then it is really true that people are MRA.
P4.If it is really true that people are MRA, then people have free will.
C1.So, people have free will.

Argument #10 (from creative acts)

P1.Some processes are creative in the sense that are they are strictly controlled by their performer to achieve a highly unnatural arrangement of effects that nature does not produce without such special control, (e.g., hanging picture on the wall, writing a sentence, preparing a meal, singing a song, etc.).
P2.Such special control requires that the performer has free will.
P3.People all engage in such creative processes.
C1.So, people have free will.

Argument #11 (from communication)

P1.If people do not have free will, then they cannot engage in purposive conversations.
P2.But, people do engage in purposive conversations.
C1.So, people do have free will.

Argument #12 (from computer incompetence)

P1.People can perform a great many tasks by themselves, in particular, those that require purposive behavior.
P2.Computers cannot perform these tasks by themselves.
P3.The reason why computers cannot perform these tasks by themselves is that such tasks require the performer to have free will, and computers do not have free will.
C1.So, people have free will.

Hopefully that will give you food for thought. These were the most compelling argument's for free will in my opinion. A lot depend's on whether a heavly creator exist's, and whether he is infallable or not. We can safely that if God does exist, and he know's everything, and every outcome, then how could we possibly have free will?

The bible advocate's that we are moral agent's that are responsible for our action's, therefore, it is up to us in the end, if we either wish to commit sin and spend an eternity in hell, or perform noble and holy deed's to insure our place in heaven. This require's choice, the whole concept of sin, is choice, therefore by default, Christianity is built on free will, which also mean's God advocate's free will and our choice's are not causally determined.

If we assume that God does not exist, then you concede that there is no being that know's every action and consequence, therefore it is impossible to say that due to every factor we know of, I decided to buy a Spicy Italian sub from Subway, I could have easily have bought another sandwich, and with a lack of a creator, and supervisor, my choice can hardly have been predetermined. This also bring's up the problem, that in principle, every effect has a cause. If I hold a pencil and let go, it will fall from the fall, not shoot across the room. However, natural law's are basically a description of the past, and we expect them to be the same in the present and future, but it is impossible to precisely know if that is the case. Which lead's to two conclusion's, either I dropped the pencil out of random chance, or I chose to drop it.

Hard determinism, which you are advocating, fall's short when it come's to moral responsiblity. If everything is pre-determined, then praise and condemnation's are meaningless. To accept that you have no control over your action's is to say that you are not responsible for how you act. I am pretty sure, that if someone was to murder a family member, or a friend of your's, you would want them thrown in prison right? But by the philosophy you stand-by, it wasn't there fault, they were caused to do it, and had no free will in the matter. Therefore why should they get punished for something they had no control over?
Debate Round No. 2
alexhdz55

Pro

The goal of punishment is to prevent the wrongdoer from making their particular mistake again, as well as to make an example that will dissuade others from doing wrong. Both of these goals are still obtainable under determinism. For example even if the wrongdoer?s future actions are completely determined by the current state of the world it is still reasonable to assume that their future actions would be different in a world that includes them being punished versus a world that did not include their punishment.
vivalayeo

Con

Your argument make's little to no sense. If you argue that the object of punish people is to disuade other's from doing it, then you have, in fact, just contradicted yourself. It is clear in the first post, that you are advocating hard determinism, and claiming that universal causality govern every aspect of our live's. It even state's this in the title of this debate. The thing is, how can you disuade someone from doing that they were pre-determined to do anyway? Your idea of justice is that everyone must have a choice, or you wouldn't believe punishment work's in this way. Therefore you believe in free will.

Since your post's have been dreadfully short, I will keep my last one short aswel. Thank's for the debate, and may the best man win, but I suggest that you spend a bit more time on this topic and learn how to structure your answer's better. I admit, I'm not great at that myself, but on this website you get point's for grammar, structure etc. Good luck in this, and future debate's. It's nice to see someone of 15 actually interested in these thing's.
Debate Round No. 3
3 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Posted by egbindiana 7 years ago
egbindiana
A lot of con's premises are untenable, or at the very least arguable:

P2.If I experience my choice as being free, then my choice really is free.

P1.If people don't have free will, then they are not morally responsible for their actions.

P3.Science now no longer advocates total determinism. [I presume you're alluding to Heisenberg and Bohr and so on? Personally I think that's your best approach, through QM, preferably the Copenhagen Interpetation. Of course, that reduces events to probability functions. Could one really call that "free will"?]

P1.If I am able to worry about whether I have free will, then I have to have free will.

Argument #7 and others use circular logic.

P1.We all believe that people are morally responsible for their actions.

P2.But, people do engage in purposive conversations. [nihists would disagree]
Posted by alexhdz55 7 years ago
alexhdz55
Im seriously dumbfounded by your argument.
Posted by vivalayeo 7 years ago
vivalayeo
Oh bugger, in my haste I forgot to include my source's and citation's here they are:

Michael Lacewing AS/A2 Philosophy (My main source)
http://en.wikipedia.org...
http://blogs.salon.com...
http://parablemania.ektopos.com...
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