The Instigator
patsox834
Pro (for)
Winning
48 Points
The Contender
MTGandP
Con (against)
Losing
43 Points

My Opponent Exists.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 6/13/2009 Category: Miscellaneous
Updated: 7 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 2,708 times Debate No: 8612
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (16)
Votes (17)

 

patsox834

Pro

I think the debate's title is pretty self-explanatory. I'm trying to affirm the idea that my opponent exists; whoever accepts is attempting to negate whatever reasoning I choose to put forth.

Round one is merely an introduction; arguments will begin in the second round.

So yeah, best of luck to whoever accepts.
MTGandP

Con

Existence: the state or fact of having being especially independently of human consciousness and as contrasted with nonexistence (merriam-webster.com)

My opponent must conclusively prove that I exist. Since I do not think it's possible to prove that I exist, the resolution cannot be affirmed. Maybe I exist, maybe I don't. This lack of certainty goes against the certainty of the resolution; therefore, the resolution is negated.
Debate Round No. 1
patsox834

Pro

My opponent is MTGandP; MTGandP exists, as evidenced by his ability to think critically, mentally distinguish, and perceive, and also by his profile; therefore, my opponent exists.

My opponent has clearly shown a capacity for both sentient and sapient thought, and, quite frankly, cogito ergo sum.

Also: http://www.debate.org... -- that link, as well as his apparent rationality and ability to discern, are proof that MTGandP is, indeed, existent.

The resolution has been affirmed. MTGandP exists.
MTGandP

Con

I as a person do not necessarily exist. It is possible that all of these responses are pre-written, and only appear to exhibit rational thought.

"that link, as well as his apparent rationality and ability to discern, are proof that MTGandP is, indeed, existent."
It is merely proof that my PROFILE exists.

My opponent has attempted to prove that I exist with "cogito ergo sum", also known as "I think therefore I am". But this is not only invalid, but unsound.

Invalidity
Why does it follow that rational thoughts prove existence? I see no reason for this.

Unsoundness
It is entirely possible that I do not think, and that thought is merely an illusion, much like free will is an illusion [1]. We have no conclusive evidence that I do, in fact, think.

Resolution negated. We do not know whether I exist or not.

[1] http://www.debate.org...
Debate Round No. 2
patsox834

Pro

<"It is possible that all of these responses are pre-written, and only appear to exhibit rational thought.">

Who said *these* responses were the means by which I was concluding that my opponent exists? I sure didn't, which means that his above argument is a straw man (1.)

My opponent has written up responses on this site which were tailor made to suit specific conversations and debates. To contextualize in such a way means he thinks; therefore, he is. His debates and comments prove that he can discern and critically think, which, again, means he is.

<"Why does it follow that rational thoughts prove existence? I see no reason for this.">

In essence, thinking directly equates to existence because someone has to come up with a thought, or else thoughts couldn't exist, so it follows that to think means someone exists.

<"It is entirely possible that I do not think, and that thought is merely an illusion, much like free will is an illusion [1]. We have no conclusive evidence that I do, in fact, think.">

Ah, but this rebuttal is evidence that my opponent *does,*indeed, think. To make such an argument, an ability to perceive my post and to critically analyze it are necessary. To explain further, to rebut is to think rationally and perceive; to do those things, existence is required; therefore, my opponent exists.

Resolution affirmed.

(1) = http://www.nizkor.org...
MTGandP

Con

"My opponent has written up responses on this site which were tailor made to suit specific conversations and debates."
I might just be a sophisticated computer program, but still short of self-aware, cognitive thought.

"In essence, thinking directly equates to existence because someone has to come up with a thought, or else thoughts couldn't exist, so it follows that to think means someone exists."
There is no reason to think that thoughts cannot exist without people thinking them. Sure, we have never observed them, but we are limited to our own thoughts and cannot even observe the thoughts of another person, much less disembodied thoughts.

"To make such an argument, an ability to perceive my post and to critically analyze it are necessary."
It is entirely possible that my opponent's argument, as well as mine, was preprogrammed and then implanted into our heads. The mind is easy to trick, especially when it doesn't exist.

Rational thought is impossible since free will does not exist; rational thought is an illusion. Therefore, I do not think. Since "cogito ergo sum" is the only "proof" of existence that anyone has, there is no longer any reason to believe that I exist.
Debate Round No. 3
patsox834

Pro

<"I might just be a sophisticated computer program, but still short of self-aware, cognitive thought.">

This clearly isn't the case, however. A sophisticated computer program can't discern nor can it rationally think, which are abilities evidenced by my opponent throughout his tenure on debate.org. But, even if MTGandP is a computer program, he still exists. I'll expand upon that a little further down in the debate.

<"There is no reason to think that thoughts cannot exist without people thinking them.">

Sure there is: If brains didn't exist to think these thoughts up, then the thoughts wouldn't exist. So the thoughts existing means cognitive processes exist, which means that functioning brains exist, which means we exist. To put it simply, a brain is required for thought; the level of stimuli in our brains is seemingly what helps develop sapience, as well as advanced ability to feel things such as pain and pleasure. So, without sapient beings, the process which creates thoughts couldn't exist, so if sapient beings didn't exist, then nor could thoughts.

<"It is entirely possible that my opponent's argument, as well as mine, was preprogrammed and then implanted into our heads. The mind is easy to trick, especially when it doesn't exist.">

Firstly, I'd like proof that such technology exists. That is, technology which can be programmed into a humans mind, and is capable of making the readers read arguments which don't actually exist. If there isn't any, then that argument is meaningless.

Secondly, even if my opponent's claim can somehow hold up, which I really do heavily doubt, I don't think it's relevant, because even if MTGandP were a computer program, MTGandP would still be a concept, and all concepts exist.

To put it in a syllogism:

MTGandP is a concept; all concepts exist; therefore, MTGandP exists.

For a concept to exist, it merely has to come about as a result of one's cognition. Even if the concept is false, or if where it stems from is false, the concept is still existence, because an concept's existence isn't affected by any potential falsehoods which were thought up with it. This is what I was getting at when I was citing MTGandP's profile of evidence -- even if MTGandP wasn't an individual person (which I think he is, as shown by his perception, rationality, and ability to discern), MTGandP still, obviously, exists.

<"Rational thought is impossible since free will does not exist; rational thought is an illusion. Therefore, I do not think. Since "cogito ergo sum" is the only "proof" of existence that anyone has, there is no longer any reason to believe that I exist.">

To start, let's define free will, considering my opponent failed to, and since "free will" is a relatively ambiguous phrase:

"the doctrine that the conduct of human beings expresses personal choice and is not simply determined by physical or divine forces." (1)

My opponent's rationale here is...well, non-sequiturial, and therefore, fallacious; the premise that he thinks free will doesn't exist doesn't follow the conclusion that rational thinking doesn't exist. Rational thinking and free will aren't at all mutually exclusive; rationality can exist without free will, as shown by the definition I provided.

I'd also like to define rational: "having reason or understanding." (2)

Taking into account both definitions I've posted, free will and rationality aren't unable to both be true; one can have the ability to reason and understand without having the ability to make a choice on certain things.

Free will not existing means we don't have the ability to make certain choices, such as biological imperatives. it doesn't mean we don't have the ability to reason; they're separate from each other.

Affirmed. My opponent, MTGandP, does, indeed, exist.

(1) = http://dictionary.reference.com...
(2) = http://www.merriam-webster.com...
MTGandP

Con

"A sophisticated computer program can't discern nor can it rationally think"
We do not have any such program, but there is no reason to think that thinking programs cannot be created. In fact, computers are becoming smarter and smarter all the time.

We cannot know that thoughts only come from brains. We are unable to perceive any thoughts outside of our own brains, and cannot empirically test their existence. But we do not know if thoughts only come from brains. We cannot detect thoughts from other people's brains, and have no way of knowing if other people actually have thoughts. Why not assume that rocks have thoughts? We can no more find thoughts in brains than in rocks.

"MTGandP is a concept; all concepts exist; therefore, MTGandP exists."
This is false reasoning. For example, I have a concept of invisible pink unicorns. This does not mean that invisible pink unicorns exist.

1. We have no proof that concepts themselves exist. It is possible that we only have concepts of concepts, or that concepts are merely illusions.
2. MTGandP as a concept may exist, but this does not imply that MTGandP exists. Concepts and actual beings are independent.

Resolution negated. There is inadequate proof that MTGandP exists.
Debate Round No. 4
16 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Cody_Franklin 7 years ago
Cody_Franklin
Conduct: Tied
S/G: Tied
Arguments: Pro - Despite MTG's last rebuttal, the argument that best sold me on the Pro position was the syllogism constructed by patsox: MTG is a concept, concepts exist, therefore MTG exists; I completely bought that, even if MTG wasn't a physical being, he, as a metaphysical thing, exists; also, I thought that MTG wasn't so much disproving his own existence as he was trying to create 'reasonable doubt', which just didn't do it for me.
Sources: Tied
Posted by MTGandP 7 years ago
MTGandP
It would appear so.
Posted by patsox834 7 years ago
patsox834
Haha, I'm getting vote bombed. I'm actually amused.
Posted by tmhustler 7 years ago
tmhustler
then Descartes came up with i think therefor i am his was only trying to prove that he existed not the outside world or any one else
Posted by HeIsRisen 7 years ago
HeIsRisen
..............What is the point of this debate? =)
Posted by ilovgoogle 7 years ago
ilovgoogle
Giving this one to Patsox. When MT was said he was A.I. and Pat asked for evidence and MT responded "there is no reason to think that thinking programs cannot be created." he invalidated his own point of being a computer by admitting that they do exist.
Posted by iamadragon 7 years ago
iamadragon
Who is voting for MTGandP? Explain yourselves.
Posted by alto2osu 7 years ago
alto2osu
I recommend Descartes Meditations & Locke's Essay Concerning Human Understanding. The latter far better :)
Posted by patsox834 7 years ago
patsox834
I honestly haven't done much reading on Descartes -- as far as philosophers go, I've mostly looked into Nietzsche, which was because Jim Morrison was a big fan of his, and, well, I'm a big fan of Morrison's. I do legitimately like what I've read about Nietzsche, though, which isn't a *whole* lot as of now, but yeah.
Posted by alto2osu 7 years ago
alto2osu
I intensely dislike cogito ergo sum :) I don't mind all of Descartes, but he really did pull the demon hypothesis out of his a**...

I subscribe much more to empiricist logic. John Locke is my hero.
17 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Vote Placed by emigre 7 years ago
emigre
patsox834MTGandPTied
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Vote Placed by lelanatty 7 years ago
lelanatty
patsox834MTGandPTied
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Vote Placed by tommyproer 7 years ago
tommyproer
patsox834MTGandPTied
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Vote Placed by LightningRod 7 years ago
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patsox834MTGandPTied
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Vote Placed by Cody_Franklin 7 years ago
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patsox834MTGandPTied
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Vote Placed by tmhustler 7 years ago
tmhustler
patsox834MTGandPTied
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Vote Placed by Charlie_Danger 7 years ago
Charlie_Danger
patsox834MTGandPTied
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Vote Placed by mongeese 7 years ago
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patsox834MTGandPTied
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Vote Placed by rimshot515 7 years ago
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patsox834MTGandPTied
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Vote Placed by HeIsRisen 7 years ago
HeIsRisen
patsox834MTGandPTied
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