The Instigator
TheSkeptic
Pro (for)
Winning
38 Points
The Contender
JeremyPearl
Con (against)
Losing
6 Points

Three Philosophical Topics - 1C

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/7/2009 Category: Miscellaneous
Updated: 7 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 1,564 times Debate No: 10374
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (18)
Votes (8)

 

TheSkeptic

Pro

I will present three philosophical debate topics and allow my opponent to have the opportunity to choose one of them to debate. The procedure is simple: in this round I list the 3 topics and my position on them, then in my opponent's first round he chooses the topic he wants to debate. From rounds 2-4 we have ourselves a classic three round debate!

So here are the topics:

=====================================================
PRO - Qualia is not an irreducible, non-physical entity.
PRO - Free will does not exist.
PRO - Moral error theory is sound/There are currently no adequate meta-ethical theories that secure moral realism.*
=====================================================

A little clarification on each topic:

*Qualia is the phenomenal character of conscious experience that you as a first person observer is able to access introspectively. There are several different definitions of qualia, some being more restrictive than others, so if there are any suggestions for change then leave it in the comments section.

*Free will is the ability that rational agents have when they exercise control over their actions. The definition and interpretation of free will obviously needs to be expanded upon, but that's part of the debate.

*Moral error theory is the meta-ethical school of thought that claims nothing is there are no moral facts. I am willing to defend either the global falsity version or the presupposition failure version. Furthermore, you will notice that I included another topic that is closely related to this topic; it's unique because I'm giving the opponent to choose either moral error theory or the claim that there is yet a satisfactory account for moral realism (essentially you get 4 topics). Also, to avoid redundancy if you choose the latter topic then I will refute it not by arguing for error theory (which is definitely viable) but rather by creating a positive attack on your proposed ethical theory (utilitarianism, Kantian ethics, Objectivism, virtue ethics, contractarianism, etc.).

I'm PRO on all topics to coincide with the position I actually am for this debate - this is to make everything as clear and free of misunderstandings as possible.

I hope we have a great debate.
JeremyPearl

Con

Free Will-The power of making free choices unconstrained by external agencies

I am going to assume that because my opponent believes free will doesn't exist, then all humans have one choice. There is always the choice of death.

Pro must prove that an external source can be linked to death in every single case ever recorded. So Con wins.
Debate Round No. 1
TheSkeptic

Pro

I thank my opponent for accepting this debate. Since his response was small, and frankly an absurd misunderstanding of free will, my round here won't be too long.

"I am going to assume that because my opponent believes free will doesn't exist, then all humans have one choice. There is always the choice of death."

----> Why would the denial of free will entail that we can only have one choice? If you are referring to determinism and you mean there is an unbroken chain of prior occurrences, then I agree - but obviously these mean different things. Even though we don't have free will we still have freedom of action, though the driving force behind it is not "free". If you doubt this then lift up your hand, walk around the room, and get a burger; this would confirm what I mean.

"Pro must prove that an external source can be linked to death in every single case ever recorded. So Con wins."

----> What do you mean an external source? Perhaps by external you mean something that is outside the human body causing death, and if that is so I have no clue how free will even leads to such an irrelevant conclusion. Frankly, I'm not sure why you even brought this up.
JeremyPearl

Con

Ok, that wasn't a round, just a brief explanation of what I was going to do. Would it be fair if I had 4 turns and you had 3? I was't clear anyway, sorry. I did that really really quickly.

Anyway, what I am saying is that suicide is an example of free will.

Suicide--the action of killing oneself intentionally (Oxford American)
Intentionally--Done on purpose; deliberate

Show that suicide is not a decision made by the person dying
Debate Round No. 2
TheSkeptic

Pro

Ah, even if you make an argument I don't mind.

Free will does not imply you can't make decisions. As I stated before, you can have freedom of action without freedom of will. So your example of suicide can simply be rationalized from the incompatibilist in the same framework - those who suicide probably do so from a chain of painful experiences or circumstances. Whatever the reason may be, suicide is no different from any other activity that involves intentionality.
JeremyPearl

Con

"Free will is the ability that rational agents have when they exercise control over their actions. The definition and interpretation of free will obviously needs to be expanded upon, but that's part of the debate."

Are you saying that the person commiting suicide isn't exercising control over their actions?
Debate Round No. 3
TheSkeptic

Pro

"Are you saying that the person commiting suicide isn't exercising control over their actions?"

----> No.

I finally see what the point of your argument is, and all I have to say is that if you were attempting to catch me in a semantical trap it was unsuccessful. If you read it carefully, it refers to free will as the ability rational agents *HAVE WHEN* they exercise control over their actions. This definition already assumes people are exercising control (a better term is intentionality), because free will is this supposed element of decision making. The point of this debate was an attempt to figure out what free will is, and then figure out if it exists.

Since you haven't even touched upon either part, I will supply a short argument against free will as you have wasted our rounds. The argument I am presenting is the famous consequence argument by Carl Ginet[1][2].

P1. If determinism is true, then we have no control over the events of the past that determined our present state and no control over the laws of nature.
P2. Since we can have no control over these matters, we also can have no control over the consequences of them. C. Since our present choices and acts, under determinism, are the necessary consequences of the past and the laws of nature, then we have no control over them and, hence, no free will.

Furthermore, I will remind my opponent that as stated in my profile, I am a Source Incompatibilist. I deny the existence of free will, and conceive of the notion of control in the framework of the Source model. In contrast to the Leeway model, the Source model conceives of control as being the source of which one's actions originate. Here is a breakdown of how the Source model views free will:

Any agent, x, performs an any act, a, of his own free will iff x has control over a. x has control over a only if x is the ultimate source of a.

As you can see, put in conjunction with the consequence argument the Source model can easily reject free will. I will be ready to defend either claim.

---References---
1. http://www2.drury.edu...
2. http://maverickphilosopher.powerblogs.com...
3. http://plato.stanford.edu...
JeremyPearl

Con

I haven't really put much time into this. And I haven't looked up any sources. Why? Because suicide is the very dictionary definition of free will.

Random House Dictionary, � Random House, Inc. 2009.

free will
–noun
1.free and independent choice; voluntary decision: You took on the responsibility of your own free will.
2.Philosophy. the doctrine that the conduct of human beings expresses personal choice and is not simply determined by physical or divine forces.

Suicide is the free and independent choice to kill yourself.
"So your example of suicide can simply be rationalized from the incompatibilist in the same framework - those who suicide probably do so from a chain of painful experiences or circumstances."

That is true--however, you can't be forced to commit suicide. Therefore it is your choice to commit suicide. Therefore suicide is an example of free will falling under the 2009 Random House Dictionary definition.
Debate Round No. 4
18 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by mattrodstrom 7 years ago
mattrodstrom
If I could vote, It'd be for theskeptic.

Even if he is unreasonable :P
Posted by MTGandP 7 years ago
MTGandP
RFD

B/A: Pro
Conduct: Tie
S&G: Tie - Both sides were acceptable.
Args: Pro - Con didn't really understand what Pro was saying, and then tried to redefine Free Will in the final round.
Sources: Pro - Pro had one or two, Con had none (besides definitions).
Posted by TheSkeptic 7 years ago
TheSkeptic
By deny I mean show to be unreasonable, you know what I mean :P
Posted by mattrodstrom 7 years ago
mattrodstrom
"You could deny the first topic via skepticism"

I don't think I just denied it, I thought I gave a logical argument which showed the contention, as it was stated, unreasonable.
Posted by TheSkeptic 7 years ago
TheSkeptic
Well I certainly accept other logical possibilities. And skepticism is interesting, and indeed people should come to know the arguments if they are going to dismiss it, but that's a discussion for some other time. You could deny the first topic via skepticism, but that's just straying from the intended debate topic.
Posted by mattrodstrom 7 years ago
mattrodstrom
I think a lot of people would support your claim as it is, without qualification, and without acknowledging that other logical possibilities exist.

They dismiss skeptical arguments about the limits of knowledge without really arguing against it.
Posted by TheSkeptic 7 years ago
TheSkeptic
Now you're just abusing the intended meaning of my words. When I say qualia isn't irreducible and non-physical doesn't mean this is necessarily so (i.e. certain), but just highly likely so. Why do you need to force such a heavy burden on me?
Posted by mattrodstrom 7 years ago
mattrodstrom
lol.

You said qualia is not...

that means it is not. that is what you have the burden of proving. I claim that it could be. You have to show it is not, can not, be.
Posted by TheSkeptic 7 years ago
TheSkeptic
Ah, I see what you're point at...but I'm not sure this is a serious problem for me at all. Sure, a god or something of the sort could be making said qualia exhibit the "patterns of reality", as you would refer to it. But take note, when did I ever imply in my resolution that qualia is necessarily not an irreducible, non-physical entity?
Posted by mattrodstrom 7 years ago
mattrodstrom
"Qualia is not an irreducible, non-physical entity"

This is a knowledge claim about the inherent qualities of qualia, based on the patterns that it is observed qualia occur in. It is not logically necessary that those patterns are absolute, or that they are necessarily caused by the inherent charecteristics of qualia.

A god of spirit stuff (or some other thing), could, logically, be making said qualia exhibit those patterns. Sure given our current patterns, this does not seem the most reasonable explanation, but it is logically possible and, if patterns change, what we could come to think.
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