The Instigator
funnybrad333
Pro (for)
Losing
3 Points
The Contender
MoCop82
Con (against)
Winning
37 Points

RESOLVED: Free Will Does Not Exist

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 11/8/2008 Category: Miscellaneous
Updated: 8 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 5,812 times Debate No: 5834
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (2)
Votes (9)

 

funnybrad333

Pro

In order to truly evaluate this resolution, some topicalities must be cleared.

Definitions:

Free Will: The ability to consciously choose one's own actions free from any external forces

Observations:

1. A choice is not necessarily a free one. If a choice is available at a specific instance of time, the fact there is a choice does not necessarily make the choice a free and unsullied one.

2. For something to exist, it must exist within the bounds of reality. By this, I mean that for something to exist it must be applicable or evidenced within a human realm, and not only a figment of our imagination. For instance, Pokemon do not exist. You may argue that they exist within our minds, but that does not justify a true existence, as thought does not necessarily impact our actual lives.

I would like to offer 1 contention in the name of affirming this resolution.

Contention 1: Human Actions are predetermined

A. Humans act based on primal needs.

It is undoubtedly true that humans, at the core, are animals. This is biologically true, and philosophically true. Forever, humans have acted based on a "dog eat dog" ideology. But, more importantly, we have even more basic necessities besides competition. These would be the obtaining of food, water, air, shelter, intimacy, freedom, and other means of self progression.

Now that that has been established, how does this negate the presence of free will? Well, because all human actions stem from some form of need, then all human actions are involuntary and the product of an external force. This means that free will does not exist, because for free will to exist a human would be able to choose to act in a way that defies all of his needs. This is CON's burden, as he must evidence that the choice of an action can defy a human's needs.

B. Fate decides all human actions.

When viewing time that has past, every second is a frame. In this frame, certain choices are made. When looking at choices and actions from the past for milennia and milennia, one can see a pattern. Certain actions force other actions to occur. The same can be applied to choices, as choices become actions. Because of this, we must realize that all human actions stem from previous actions, and thus free will does not exist because this would violate fate.
MoCop82

Con

"Humans act based on primal needs."

To begin with I would like to address this statement. We are not here to debate a human action but to decide if a human has a choice in that action. I will have to concede that our actions are based on primal needs, as has been proven on many occasions. But the question is if we have the ability to make choices based on those needs or if it is predetermined. I challenge you to this thought, if all actions derive from human needs then why are there so many different people doing different things. Just because we have a need to procreate does not mean that we have to molest or rape to do it. Just because we have a need to obtain food does not mean that we have to go to Mc Donalds. We as humans have choices. We choose what fits our needs AND our desires the best. If this were not the case we would have no use for laws to govern us. If this were not the case we would have no use for any type of advertising. If this were not the case we would have no use for any parenting. We form our lives around a system of beliefs called morals. If we did not have free will we would simply act without thought. I myself have stayed up nights pondering the next days decisions, have you not?

"Fate decides all human actions."

Your argument is a very compelling one, if you agree that actions and choices are the same thing. I for one do not agree. An action has a physical base yet a decision is mental. All actions have equal and opposite reactions as proven by Newton. Does this not imply that there are two choices? Every action has a consequence, it is a matter of accepting the consequence that makes a decision. If fate ruled the world and nothing that we did really mattered then how would our society and many other have grown and advanced.

If life is simply fate and primal instincts then why do we not hunt with a sharp stick and eat our food raw. Why don't we live in grass huts, why do we strive to do our best. The answer is simple. Your theory is flawed. We hunt with guns because we choose not to spend weeks trying to capture a single creature. We cook our food because it tastes better and is better for us. We live in houses because it is more comfortable, and we do our best because we know that our decisions are the only thing that set us apart from every other living being on this planet.
Debate Round No. 1
funnybrad333

Pro

I would like to first note that my opponent provided no contentions of his own, so this debate will revolve around my one contention and its two sub-points.
I also thank my opponent for accepting my definitions and observations, as a debate on semantics is never a fun one. :)

A. Humans act based on primal needs.

My opponent concedes the fact that humans act based on primal needs. I will address his point on choice within our needs, but I would like to note that he does not provide any examples or reasoning to how a person would make a choice that defied our own needs.

The reason rape is not ubiquitous is because that humans naturally conform to societies will, as their peers would look down upon said action. Also, a human wants to preserve his own life, and raping would violate the safety of his own life because of the consequences of illegal actions. Also, females are usually attainable. This means that the action of rape is already predetermined to be a "wrong" choice, and thus the reason rape is not ubiquitous is because of external forces, and the fact that free will does not exist.

You bring up the choice of restaurant, stating that to meet our need of food we have the choice to go to any restaurant.
This is false.
The choice of restaurant stems from our need of food, but there are many other subtle external forces at work. Location already narrows are decision to few options. Preexisting preferences also subconsciously affect our decision. The food you have eaten in the past also impacts your decision. In reality, it is not a decision at all, and is only the product of external forces depicting your actions.

Society and morality are products of external forces, because naturally humans tend to kill each other in the pursuit of our needs and competition. Society and morality were necessary to insure the overall survival of humanity, so they were incorporated due to said need. Also, intelligence brought a new formula into the equation, cooperation. Tribes soon formed, all due to the need to survive.

B. Fate decides all human actions.

A choice is the act of deciding. By definition, a choice is an action itself. Therefore we must look at each choice as a single action, a single action that has been determined from the past and will determine the future.

Just because all actions have equal reactions does not necessitate that their are two choices. The choice is already predetermined, and so the reaction is already predetermined as well. These reactions, or consequences, in no way make the action a choice, but rather further prove that the action, or choice, itself was predetermined, because these consequences would subconsciously weigh the decision in one sides favor without your own consent.

The reason society advanced and the reason why people do not hunt with sticks and live in grass huts is because these things necessitated their own advancement. Humanity became more advanced genetically for our own survival. This brought newfound intelligence. With this intelligence, humans became able to cooperate. This cooperation led to tribes, or otherwise society. Now how does this negate free will? Our own needs mandated these advancements. Cooperation insured survival more so than the current methods of being used. The choice to create communities was predetermined by the fact that humans need to survive, and communities insure the greater good for each individual.

Again, you provide examples such as why we hunt with guns instead of our hands, or why we cook our food instead of eating it raw, or why we live in houses, but in reality all of these choices are already made. We have to choose the one that betters us. This is because our needs don't just need to be met, but met to the greatest degree possible. If I had any of the aforementioned choices to make, the decision would be already made. I could ponder and think all I wanted, but in the end the decision was already made. I would choose based on which one helped me the most, and those are obvious within each aforementioned decision.

So, in the end, every single action is derived from previous actions, and therefore free will does not exist.
MoCop82

Con

1. "human wants to preserve his own life, and raping would violate the safety of his own life"

To begin with you have reconfirmed what I have already stated. Yes a person wants to preserve his life as free and well as it can be, but if your theory is true than no one would commit the crime of rape. We all know that is not the case. If the act of rape is already predetermined to be the wrong choice why do so many choose it? There are people who rape. They know the consequences but still chose to act on the choice that could put there way of life in jeopardy. If everything was predetermined and a product of previous actions then you could easily predict a criminal before he ever commits a crime. This, unfortunately, is not possible.

2. "A choice is the act of deciding. By definition, a choice is an action itself."

I would like to be able to agree with all of your definitions but at this time it is not possible. Webster defines choice as: 1: the act of choosing : selection 2: power of choosing : option
It continues with: synonyms choice , option , alternative , preference , selection , election mean the act or opportunity of choosing or the thing chosen. choice suggests the opportunity or privilege of choosing freely . option implies a power to choose that is specifically granted or guaranteed . alternative implies a need to choose one and reject another possibility . preference suggests a choice guided by one's judgment or predilections . selection implies a range of choice . election implies an end or purpose which requires exercise of judgment .

As you can see they follow suite with: Choice suggests the opportunity or privilege of choosing freely.

3. "Just because all actions have equal reactions does not necessitate that their are two choices."

You have again managed to take a line out of context to try and prove your point. I believe Newton's law read Every action has an equal AND OPPOSITE reaction. Therefore it does necessitate that there are two forces, or in this instance choices.

4. "This brought newfound intelligence. With this intelligence, humans became able to cooperate."

I will agree that on this point you are correct. If you look at your statement you pointed out that humans became ABLE to cooperate. This does not mean that it was mandated in order to survive. There were many cultures that did not cooperate with others, and still are today.

I firmly believe that every action derives from a choice of many options. With us having a choice and being able to make a decision on not only our needs but also our desires proves that free will does undoubtedly exist.
Debate Round No. 2
funnybrad333

Pro

1. Rape

Faulty assumptions creates a faulty claim. You assume that rapists know of the consequences of their actions. They do not, or if they do they are not sane, as any sane individual would realize the weight of his actions as society would punish him severely for his actions.

2. Choice definition

This is a semantics argument. Action and inaction are literally two different terms, but I believe we can both agree that inaction and action are both conscious choices and are inherently both actions themselves.

The same can be applied to choices and actions, as a choice is obviously not the same word as an action, but a choice is inherently an action in itself. It is the ACT of choosing, and whatever choice is made has become an action in the instance of time it was conducted under.

3. Reactions

Thanks for agreeing with me.

4. Cooperation

Thanks for agreeing with me for the most part. I still contend that this was mandated for the survival of humanity because it increased the overall welfare of humans far beyond that which it previously was. Society brought specialization, and more importantly the pursuit of knowledge. I believe we can both agree that medicine and engineering have saved countless lives. Now for the cultures that did not cooperate, they were simply products of location. Clearly, their location did not permit the growth of society in order to further their lives. They were not prime for cooperation, and instead relied on older methods to continue survival, again furthering my claim that all actions are based off of other actions.

Conclusion: It has become apparent that every action stems from other actions, and by extension it has become apparent that free will does not exist.
MoCop82

Con

Main Entry:
free will
Function:
noun
Date:
13th century

1 : voluntary choice or decision

It is very obvious to me that people make voluntary choices. We do choose Mc Donalds over Burger King. Sometimes we choose a new restaurant because we want something different. People choose to break the law because it is what they want to do. Sometimes we make choices based on which is the least of two evils such as to pull the plug or keep someone on life support. Everyday we are faced with choices and if we did not have the ability to make those choices we would never even leave the house. I still stand strong that free will does exist.
Debate Round No. 3
2 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Posted by jjmd280 8 years ago
jjmd280
Who did you agree with before the debate? PRO - within my limited discussions on this topic.
Who did you agree with after the debate? CON - Very convincing arguments.
Who had better conduct? TIE
Who had better spelling and grammar? TIE
Who made more convincing arguments? CON
Who used the most reliable sources? TIE

It really depends on your worldview - but when stripped bare, you do have the choice to clothe yourself, or run around naked - society may balk, but that is a consequence of free will.
Posted by beem0r 8 years ago
beem0r
Sorry, not interested. Based on the definition you gave, I agree with your position, and I'd hate for this to boil down to a definition debate. I agree with both determinism [that every moment in time necessarily leads to the next one], and that there are external factors in every decision.
However, I don't think either of these are a problem for free will as I would define it. Determinism would only be a problem if we actually knew what was going to happen in the future. Since we don't, determinism doesn't exist as far as practically applying it is concerned.
Also, every decision has external factors. By my definition, outside influences do not affect whether a choice is freely made. I think I made that point in my other debate on the topic - just because someone pressures me to do something, that does not eliminate my ability to freely choose which of the possible decisions to make.

I only debated Bushido on the subject because I was very bored at the time and saw that his argument was rather weak. Your argument, while it does make assumptions of what free will is that I disagree on, is a much stronger argument. That's why I'd have to go into a definition debate, and that's really not something I want to do. Maybe if it was something I had strong feelings on, but I don't' really care about free will and whether we have it or not. Sorry.

Good opening argument, though.
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Vote Placed by shadow835 6 years ago
shadow835
funnybrad333MoCop82Tied
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