The Instigator
SarcasticMethod
Con (against)
Winning
8 Points
The Contender
gyfe
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points

Is there free will?

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 2 votes the winner is...
SarcasticMethod
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 11/30/2015 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 689 times Debate No: 83214
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (19)
Votes (2)

 

SarcasticMethod

Con

Is there free will?
I will be taking CON. The burden of proof lies on PRO.

First round is for definition of terms. You can dispute definitions throughout as part of the debate. Second round is for opening statements, and remaining rounds (and, if you like, sequel debates) are for rebuttal.

Free will - The making of a choice from within, not relying on outside forces
Unfree will - The making of a choice from without, relying on outside forces
Will - The making of a choice in any way
Libertarianism - The thesis that free will exists
Determinism - The thesis that all outcomes are fully predictable
Universal law - The set of laws that govern the Universe
Universe - All that exists
gyfe

Pro

According to your definitions, you are implying that you believe in un-free will. Unfree will is defined by the making of a choice from without, relying on outside forces. Would you please elaborate on what outside forces exactly dictate Unfree will?

I am pro free will because that it the logical conclusion that can be made. When you make a choice, you take factors and determine a course of action
Debate Round No. 1
SarcasticMethod

Con

"Would you please elaborate on what outside forces exactly dictate Unfree will?"

Premise 1: Every Will that we have is based on a desire.
Premise 2: We cannot control the desires we have.
Clarification: No-one has ever chosen to experience physical attraction, or desire for food or drink, or for seeking truth.
Conclusion 1: Every Will that we have comes from something beyond our choice.

Please give your logical argument for the existence of free will.
gyfe

Pro

Premise 1: Every Will that we have is based on a desire.
Premise 2: We cannot control the desires we have.
Clarification: No-one has ever chosen to experience physical attraction, or desire for food or drink, or for seeking truth.
Conclusion 1: Every Will that we have comes from something beyond our choice.

You defined free will as the making of a choice from within. You have also postulated that we cannot control the desires that we have, and every will that we have is based on a desire.

Since the wording is slightly ambiguous, I can make two points

The first point is as follows: If free will is making a choice, the only argument you have stated against that is we cannot control our wills because they stem from desires that we cannot control. Assuming that that's true, not being able to control the input does not mean you do not have the option to control the output without relying on an outside force. If somebody is dying of hunger, the desire to eat is there and the making of what to eat has to be made, but a person can go against that and simply not eat anything, therefore going against the desire and will stemming from the desire

Second point: Refuting the premise that we cannot control the desires that we have. A desire is defined as "a strong feeling of wanting to have something or wishing for something to happen". So a desire would be to want to do something because you feel like it.
If I decide to take a stroll in the park, you're saying that there are uncontrollable desires motivating my action. Let's say in this instance it's boredom. Walking in the park was not my only choice to resolve my boredom. I looked back at past events and drew on what certain activities would satisfy. There is no need to insist that free will is some kind of magical violation of causality. Free will is just another kind of cause. The causal process by which a person decides whether to marry is simply different from the processes that cause balls to roll downhill, ice to melt in the hot sun, a magnet to attract nails, or a stock price to rise and fall.
Debate Round No. 2
SarcasticMethod

Con

On your first point: It is impossible to control actions if the will is entirely influenced by desire. All will descends from desire, and all desire descends from external influence. If someone like Mahatma Gandhi were to make a choice, "I refuse to eat", then it would not be because Gandhi was simply denying his desire to eat, but moreover because there was a higher and more powerful desire, such as "I desire the liberation of my people". His decision towards this was not free; the unique set of instances that led to his decision were in complete control of his desire to eat or to free his people, and one happened to overpower the other.

Second point:
Firstly, you claim that if you are bored, you do not only need to take a walk. However, on the occasion that you do choose to walk, the desire not to be bored is not the only desire acting! It could be that, at the same time, you desire to be in the sun, or to exercise your muscles, or to get the dog out for a piss. Each of these small desires adds up to an inevitable action.
Secondly, not only is the will a kind of cause, but it also is a kind of effect. It happens due to something, not magically and on its own. If it did, it would violate causality, a concept I'm sure you believe in. The process by which I will something is identical to the process by which a plant make sugar in its' leaves.
gyfe

Pro

gyfe forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
SarcasticMethod

Con

I'm displeased to find that gyfe has forefeited. I have no more argument to make.
gyfe

Pro

gyfe forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
SarcasticMethod

Con

I rest my case.
gyfe

Pro

gyfe forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 5
19 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by skipsaweirdo 1 year ago
skipsaweirdo
Premise 1. I desire a luxury flat. (In this sense you're being ambiguous unless you admit that desire is also buy or have)
Premise 2. I desire to avoid debt. (This contradicts p1)
Premise 3. If I were to buy a luxury flat, I would have debt. (You would know this so you're contradicting yourself. If you're arguing that having contradictory desires is valid then you have no argument. Seems kind of convenient to assert a contradiction is allowable)
Premise 4. My desire to avoid debt is stronger than my desire to own a luxury flat. (Now you're quantifying desire in terms that "levels" somehow are relevant. Once again convenient for the argument, but not logical, as you state that "merely desire" determines decision making, not levels of desire)
Conclusion. I do not have the will to buy a luxury flat. Non sequitur....you've built a justification for the initial argument that desire affects decision making, then mere!y argued to that result in a circle.
This isn't a logical argument at all. And technically the conclusion is you do not have the financial means to buy it. Unless now you're arguing that financial means isn't the issue, just merely avoiding debt. Anyone can make an ambiguous assertion about something as vague as avoiding debt. That's just another way of saying avoiding a desire to buy or own or have a luxury flat.
So desire, which means strongly want, to have a flat contradicts the desire, strongly want, to avoid debt. So premise 1 cannot be true or premise 2 cannot be true, both being true is a contradiction.
Posted by SarcasticMethod 1 year ago
SarcasticMethod
don't mention it bro
Posted by WorldSkeptic 1 year ago
WorldSkeptic
Pfft, mind exhausted, I'll give it a think. Thanks SarcasticMethod.
Posted by SarcasticMethod 1 year ago
SarcasticMethod
Okay, so what? You're saying that the reason we have certain desires is because of outside forces? Isn't that what I was trying to prove?

When you say that reasoning helps us determine the will, you are simply wrong. You can use reasoning to arrive at analytical statements, like, "I desire redness" plus "I desire roundness" equals "I desire something red and round", but the desires themselves do not happen because of the reason, they are merely clarified by it.

You bought the red ball based on a desire for redness, roundness and the ability to roll. It's still desires.
Posted by WorldSkeptic 1 year ago
WorldSkeptic
Well, that was just an example.

It's true that we can't control our desires, but they influence our will alongside other factors.. If you have a very low economic situation, you will often desire things that other/richer people don't, and both of these factors will determine your will. If you have a "bad" morality, you might want things that others find repulsive, and that will take part in what your desires will be and both of these factors will determine your will. If you are physically tired, that affect how much you want things and both of these factors will determine your will. Reasoning will make you know what it is you desire, and both of these factors will determine your will.

For example: Why do I like this red ball? Well, I like red, I like round objects, and I like to roll objects on the floor. Therefore, I will buy this ball instead of something else.
Posted by SarcasticMethod 1 year ago
SarcasticMethod
No, it isn't true that will is based in any way on economic situation. Maybe your ability to carry out that will, to implement it in the real world, depends on many factors, but the actual decision-making is based on desire.
Premise 1. I desire a luxury flat.
Premise 2. I desire to avoid debt.
Premise 3. If I were to buy a luxury flat, I would have debt.
Premise 4. My desire to avoid debt is stronger than my desire to own a luxury flat.
Conclusion. I do not have the will to buy a luxury flat.

or, alternatively,
Premise 1. I desire a luxury flat.
Premise 2. I am incapable of buying a luxury flat.
Conclusion. No matter whether my will is to buy a luxury flat or not, I shan't buy a luxury flat.
Posted by WorldSkeptic 1 year ago
WorldSkeptic
Alright, I apologize for some confusions, I came with my mind in a jumble.

Here's my whole thought:
When taking a decision, multiple factors come in. Desires, yes, but also feelings, morals, economic situation, health, physical capacity, etc. Taking one of these to argue that free will is entirely based on it is fallacious. To give an example:
1.Every will we have is based on your economic situation,
2. Your economic situation can be good or bad
Conclusion: Your will is either good or bad.

The point of it is, desires are not the only factors that take place in a decision, so using characteristics of you desires does not completely define free will.
How's that?
Posted by SarcasticMethod 1 year ago
SarcasticMethod
No, that's not a fair comparison. It's more like,

Premise 1: The rooster has crowed.
Premise 2: The rooster crows only when its vocal organs receive a particular stimulus from the brain.
Subpremise 1: The pathways that this stimulus takes to cause the crowing exist due to the genetic makeup of the rooster.
Premise 3: The stimulus exists because...
etc, etc.
All of these events can be traced back to events completely external from the rooster - its parentage, the position on the fence it was standing that allowed it to see the lightening sky, the rotation of the earth at a certain speed so the sun could rise at a certain hour... All these events are beyond the control of the rooster.

In the same way, any human action can be traced back to external stimuli, with obvious causal links such as how we naturally wake up at a certain hour because our bodies have adapted to the speed of the Earth's rotation, for example.
Posted by WorldSkeptic 1 year ago
WorldSkeptic
Anyway, you do the same thing as the rooster example
"The rooster crows immediately before sunrise; therefore the rooster causes the sun to rise."
Sure one thing has characteristics, but I miss how that means that so does the second. I'll shoot at something: The rooster crows immediately before sunrise; therefore the rooster causes the sun to rise. Since a rooster has feelings, then so does the sun." It seems that there is a causal link, but in reality this is just using post hoc ergo propter hoc.
Posted by WorldSkeptic 1 year ago
WorldSkeptic
Sure, if that thing has objective advantages.
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by Jonbonbon 1 year ago
Jonbonbon
SarcasticMethodgyfeTied
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Total points awarded:30 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro conceded the debate by forfeiting. Arguments to con.
Vote Placed by TheChristian 1 year ago
TheChristian
SarcasticMethodgyfeTied
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Total points awarded:50 
Reasons for voting decision: Forefeiture