The Instigator
TheSkeptic
Pro (for)
Winning
31 Points
The Contender
exorb
Con (against)
Losing
0 Points

Three Philosophical Topics - 1D

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/13/2009 Category: Miscellaneous
Updated: 7 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 2,262 times Debate No: 10453
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (30)
Votes (6)

 

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.
exorb

Con

Free will does exist.
rational agents my influence my thought process, but I have the "free will" to do what ever the hell i want.
It was my 'free will' to debate this topic.
I can assure you that I am not programmed, guided, or forced into debating this stupid topic.
I fully understand the concept/idea of determinism and emergent behaviour, but in all honesty I think it's totally asinine.
I'm not uncontrollably making unconscious decisions that not only influence my behavior but outright determine my actions.
To say that 'anything' does NOT exist is a contradiction in it self.
You just explained what it was. Even if you are 100% correct in your arguments, the 'idea' of free will does exist. There for you are wrong.
Debate Round No. 1
TheSkeptic

Pro

I thank my opponent for accepting this debate, though I am once again afraid to say that he doesn't understand what free will means. His entire argument hinges on a very common misunderstanding that free will advocates have; it's the philosophically naive ones who subvert "free will" to "freedom of action/agency" - the two have a subtle but important difference. Given that his response is short and empty of any substantial arguments, I will simply quote what he says and respond:

"rational agents my influence my thought process, but I have the "free will" to do what ever the hell i want. It was my 'free will' to debate this topic. I can assure you that I am not programmed, guided, or forced into debating this stupid topic . . . I'm not uncontrollably making unconscious decisions that not only influence my behavior but outright determine my actions."
----> You are denying that anything is physically limiting you from actions (such as coercion, physical constraint, etc.), and I agree; however this is NOT what free will is. What you are referring to is agency[1], or freedom of action. You are correct in saying that you have the ability to act, but this is not sufficient to grant you free will. Free will is a specific type of act; it's an act in which you must be the original source of (granted I am a Source incompatibilist). I am ready to defend the Source model, but it seems you need to first get out of the conceptual prison of confusing agency necessarily with free will.

"I fully understand the concept/idea of determinism and emergent behaviour, but in all honesty I think it's totally asinine."
----> In all honesty, you need to read more into the free will debate then what is probably a superficial understanding of determinism, emergent behavior, etc.

"To say that 'anything' does NOT exist is a contradiction in it self."
----> What?

"You just explained what it was. Even if you are 100% correct in your arguments, the 'idea' of free will does exist. There for you are wrong."
----> Har har, you know exactly what my intentions are in this debate. I'm not referring to the idea of free will, but free will itself. Did my resolution say "the idea of free will does not exist"? No, so don't try.

---References---
1. http://plato.stanford.edu...
exorb

Con

Free will - raises the question whether, and in what sense, rational agents exercise control over their actions, decisions, choices. HELLO! That's what it means.
And yet you have still made no case for your side. You have said nothing about why you think free will does not exist.

Here i'll post what your going to say because you have a text book in front of you right?
Your going to say it that every event, including human cognition, behavior, decision, and action, is causally determined by an unbroken chain of prior occurrences.
Use your own brain kid. Now if some guy takes a shotgun and blows your mommy's head off i bet you change your view point real quick. Is he not responsible? I guess he did not have 'free will'.. we should let him go.
Debate Round No. 2
TheSkeptic

Pro

"Free will - raises the question whether, and in what sense, rational agents exercise control over their actions, decisions, choices. HELLO! That's what it means. And yet you have still made no case for your side. You have said nothing about why you think free will does not exist."
----> You obviously have no clue what I'm talking about. That definition is a broad and generic one, for the very reason that there are different ways of pursuing the free will problem. As I have mentioned, there are two models of control that are debates over - the Leeway model and the Source model. I support the Source model, and thus DENY free will's existence since under that understanding of control (that for an agent to have free will he must the ultimate/original source of his actions), free will is not feasible. I HAVE given a case, you just don't seem to read what I said.

"Here i'll post what your going to say because you have a text book in front of you right?"
----> No, but I highly recommend you get one for yourself.

"Your going to say it that every event, including human cognition, behavior, decision, and action, is causally determined by an unbroken chain of prior occurrences."
----> That can be one of the premises' of the consequence argument, but for now I'm denying free will under the context of the Source model.

"Use your own brain kid."
----> This is ironically fitting for yourself.

"Now if some guy takes a shotgun and blows your mommy's head off i bet you change your view point real quick."
----> What a meager emotive argument you're using; I hope you really don't think that is a legitimate argument worth considering.

" Is he not responsible? I guess he did not have 'free will'.. we should let him go."
---->Morally responsible? No. Legally responsible? Yes. So even though we don't believe in free will, you can still imprison him for reasons such as not wanting criminals on the street.
exorb

Con

I'm not going to let you get away with regurgitating text. Your going to have to give reason.
So then you agree that the definition is correct. It may be "broad and generic" as you say, but it is correct.

Now the topic is if free will exists. Not if one model is better than another. If you wanted to debate that then you should have made it clear. You are welcome to use a model to help prove your case. To say that you support a model is not saying much of anything. According to the topic it's not required that i prove a model wrong, it's your job to prove that rational agents exercise control over their actions, decisions, choices. Do you understand that?

I'll tell you what, i'm going to give you a simple hypothetical situation and all you have to do is prove that there is "rational" reason for it. Your free to post and explain any models you want.

OK. Let's say that I turn my stove top burner on high. I'll wait and let it get nice and hot. Next i will place my finger on the burner and fight my impulses to take it off. In fact i'll even use my other hand to help hold my finger on the burner. My nervous system and brain are screaming at me and shoot pain down my arm into my finger. I refuse to pull my finger off. It takes a bit of "will power" but, i manage to keep my finger on the burner for a longer period than my brain is telling me. Notes: I am not doing this to impress anyone, and i'm not doing it for any sort of personal gain. Why am i doing it? only because i can, no other reason, it is my 'free will'.

sorry for dramatic example in the last post, but i think it's the only way to make a point.

your up..
Debate Round No. 3
TheSkeptic

Pro

Regardless of how this debate has progressed, I thank my opponent for this debate.

"Now the topic is if free will exists. Not if one model is better than another. If you wanted to debate that then you should have made it clear."
----> This is why I advise you and others to read up on more literature concerning free will. The Leeway and Source model are attempts to explain the concept of control (and how we should conceive of it). Depending on which model we accept, our approach to free will can vary greatly - for example, I find the Source model to be correct and under it's framework, I find free will to be implausible. At this point you have 2 ways of attacking my position: by either demonstrating the falsehood of the Source model or the falsehood of the connection between the Source model and the denial of free will.

In response to your intentional finger burning example, I will first point out an obvious possible reason for doing so and then go on to rant (heh) about the irrelevance of such counterexamples that free will advocates commonly employ:

Firstly, a possible reason excluding impressing people or for personal gain is perhaps you are attempting to prove you have free will. This is a hilariously ironic possibility, but a plausible one as well. After all, wouldn't doing something with seemingly no benefit show credibility for free will? Yet, I have supplied a perfectly "rational reason" for your action - as you would put it.

Now, I want to say a thing about these examples...they are rubbish. It's common for those who believe in free will to act in a similar fashion when confronted with someone who doesn't believe in the existence of free will. They would do something random (like speak some lines of gibberish) and point at this random, incoherent, and seemingly pointless act and hail it as a proof of free will. Not only is this incredibly weak empirical evidence, it ignores the philosophic reasons for denying free will. I and others aren't saying free will is the ability to do any type of act, but rather we conceive of free will as a SPECIFIC TYPE of acting. A type of acting that would (in my view) originate from you as the ultimate cause and harbor moral responsibilities along with it. This is the type of acting that is what I am talking about, and of which I find nonexistent.

It's this common failure among most who support free will that bars a good debate on this subject. Yes, I agree you have freedom of physical action, but free will is some metaphysical notion that you are clearly missing.
exorb

Con

exorb forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
30 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by daniel_t 7 years ago
daniel_t
@exorb: It's a shame you didn't provide that quote and expound on the idea within the debate. I didn't vote for Skeptic because of any friendship issue, I voted for him because he provided sources and treated his opponent with more respect. To my mind, these issues do have something to do with "the content of the debate itself."
Posted by exorb 7 years ago
exorb
This is exactly why there is no solid definition of 'free will' to an individual that does not believe it does not exist. Why? Because there are missing pieces or 'links' that defy all foundational logic in the first place.
Posted by exorb 7 years ago
exorb
It all boils down to the evolutionary "missing link". What "caused" a big bang? What are these arbitrary 'made up' variables that are missing in metaphysics?
What was prior? lack of explanation is not an answer.
Posted by exorb 7 years ago
exorb
by request -
The idea of determinisim is self contradictory and or self defeating. The notion that every event must have a cause. This is trumped in that whatever originated an action in the first place could not have existed with out causation.
Posted by exorb 7 years ago
exorb
To support atheism it makes perfect scene to dig deep into obscurity and demoralize everything down to the basic choices life that result in actions. One seeks justification via lack of responsibility, because without "free will", morality does not exist either.

While one looks at externals interfering with will, others look at external(to source) as tools or a means to accomplish their will. (exorb)
Posted by exorb 7 years ago
exorb
5 of 6 items that a debate is voted on have absolutely nothing to do with the content of the debate itself. Again the scoreboard is not important to me. If I put you in a corner that you can not refute then i win.
Posted by exorb 7 years ago
exorb
I don't care if you win the vote, it has nothing to do with the debate "at hand".
the very elements that the voting is on has nothing to do with the debate. spelling and grammar?
+ the size of your friends list should not determine the outcome.

I can take the other side and apply the source model if i wanted to, but that's not my position.

This debate is still open right here in the comments area, screw the voting.
If you can not apply the source model to the example i posted then you have proven nothing, and thus i win.
Posted by exorb 7 years ago
exorb
The_Skeptic,
Ironic because Hume was one of the biggest "skeptics" of his time and has great influence on and still is respected by many philosophers of today. He tries to tone down the nonsense that goes on especially with defining philosophical terms. How appropriate can a Hume reference be here?
He was one to cut though the obscurity of some of the outlandish ideas, and ambiguity of some of the 'philosophical' terms. *Accountability of definition is his stance.

"Word for word" from your very own reference:
"Begin with a term. Ask what idea is annexed to it. If there is no such idea, then the term has no cognitive content, however prominently it figures in philosophy or theology. If there is an idea annexed to the term, and it is complex, break it up into the simple ideas that compose it. Then trace the simple ideas back to their original impressions: "These impressions are all strong and sensible. They admit not of ambiguity. They are not only placed in a full light themselves, but may throw light on their correspondent ideas, which lie in obscurity" (EHU, 62).

If the process fails at any point, the idea in question lacks cognitive content. When carried through successfully, however, the theory yields a "just definition" — a precise account of the troublesome idea or term. So, whenever we are suspicious that a "philosophical term is employed without any meaning or idea (as is too frequent), we need but enquire, from what impression is that supposed idea derived? And if it be impossible to assign any, this will serve to confirm our suspicion. By bringing ideas into so clear a light we may reasonably hope to remove all dispute, which may arise, concerning their nature and reality" (EHU, 22; Abstract, T, 648-9). "

http://plato.stanford.edu...

In other words let's cut through the BS.
Posted by TheSkeptic 7 years ago
TheSkeptic
Obviously you need to read more philosophy - David Hume was wrong.
Posted by exorb 7 years ago
exorb
I was not confusing agency with free will.

David Hume defines liberty as "a power of acting or of not acting, according to the determination of the will." (1748, sect.viii, part 1).

*Theories of Free Will To have free will is to have what it takes to act freely.

"Your issue" is you do not know how to apply the model.

If you wanted it defined a certain way then you should have done so.

You may get the win, but you said nothing at all.
I look foward to debating agian. GL.
6 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 6 records.
Vote Placed by Cliff.Stamp 6 years ago
Cliff.Stamp
TheSkepticexorbTied
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