The Instigator
TheSkeptic
Pro (for)
Losing
22 Points
The Contender
J.Kenyon
Con (against)
Winning
38 Points

Three Philosophical Topics - 1F

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 1/10/2010 Category: Miscellaneous
Updated: 7 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 6,160 times Debate No: 10780
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (52)
Votes (14)

 

TheSkeptic

Pro

The free will debate is OFF-LIMITS unless I approve of you in the comment sections. So if you want to argue for the existence of free will, leave me a few comments so I can be sure that we can pass the very bare rudimentary philosophical material in our debate to avoid what can very well be a philosophy lecture.

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.*
PRO - Time travel, whether forward or backward, is possible.
=====================================================

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 there are no objective moral values. 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. 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.).

*Time travel is transport through time into the past or the future. What time is, or the nature of the transport process itself, is subject to the debate. I will prefer my opponent to attack this resolution from a philosophical standpoint, given the context of this debate (philosophical topics).

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.
J.Kenyon

Con

I thank my distinguished opponent for an interesting debate topic.

TheSkeptic has made the affirmative claim that free will does not exist, thus it is his burden to prove this beyond reasonable doubt. My purpose in this debate is to refute as best I can his argument(s) while providing my own alternative to the source incompatibilist model.

Obviously, I do not want to betray too many of my counterarguments before PRO has even presented his case! I will therefore allow my opponent to make his opening arguments before positing any of my own. To give a brief overview, I will be arguing for a compatibilist/soft-determinist model predicated on the following points:

- Free does not mean "uncaused."
- Foreknowledge =\= Predestination (to refute the Nietzschean argument found in "Human, All Too Human.")
- The fact that things WILL play out a certain way does not negate Free Will.
- Incompatibilist/Hard determinist models use a flawed definition of both "could" and "free."

I declare the right to qualify these assertions and expand the list as neccessary to refute PRO's contentions.

With that I defer to my opponent.
Debate Round No. 1
TheSkeptic

Pro

I thank my opponent for accepting this debate, and I'm quite exhilarated that he knows more than an elementary level about free will :D. Since this is more of a first round that you will find in a typical 3-Round debate, I won't go into much detail in this round. Rather, I will supply two propositions that should be taken into consideration: the consequence argument against free will and in conjunction the source model of control. I will argue that if both of these arguments are valid, then the existence of free will should be denied.

So first is the consequence argument:

====================
Consequence argument against free will
====================

Formulated by Carl Ginet, the consequence argument[1] is as follows:

P1. No one has power over the facts of the past and the laws of nature.
P2. No one has power over the fact that the facts of the past and the laws of nature entail every fact of the future (i.e., determinism is true).
:. Therefore, no one has power over the facts of the future.

This is a very powerful argument that has helped in the transition from classical compatibilism to contemporary compatibilism. It seems pretty obvious that if determinism were to be true, then there will only be one future. However, it seems that my opponent will negate it's prowess, by stating "the fact that things WILL play out a certain way does not negate free will".

This would only hold up if he has a correct understanding of free will, of control. This is a second-order question that brings me to the following, the Source Model:

====================
The Source Model of Control
====================

The source model[2] conceives of control if one is the "ultimate origin" of it - it conceives of control as emanating from one's self. Thus, if an agent is not the ultimate source or origin of her actions, then she can't be rightly in control - and thus rightly have no free will. Therefore, if we take this into conjunction with the consequence argument (that which upholds determinism), then we get the following formulation:

P1. Any agent, x, performs an any act, a, of her own free will iff x has control over a.
P2. x has control over a only if x is the ultimate source of a.
P3. If x is the ultimate source of a, then some condition, b, necessary for a, originates with x.
P4. If any condition, b, originates with x, then there are no conditions sufficient for b independent of x.
P5. If determinism is true, then the facts of the past, in conjunction with the laws of nature, entail every truth about the future.
P6. If the facts of the past, in conjunction with the laws of nature, entail every truth about the future, then for any condition, b, necessary for any action, a, performed by any agent, x, there are conditions independent of x (in x's remote past, before x's birth) that are sufficient for b.
P7. If, for any condition, b, necessary for any action, a, performed by any agent, x, there are conditions independent of x that are sufficient for b, then no agent, x, is the ultimate source of any action, a. (This follows from 3 and 4.)
P8. If determinism is true, then no agent, x, is the ultimate source of any action, a. (This follows from 5, 6, and 7.)

:.Therefore, if determinism is true, then no agent, x, performs any action, a, of her own free will. (This follows from 1, 2, and 8.)

====================
Conclusion
====================

Obviously, these arguments will have to be defended and worked on. But I think I have done enough for my first round to show that there is a plausible attack on the existence of free will by fleshing out both the first order question (does free will exist) and the second order question (what do we mean when we ask "does free will exist?").

Seeing as how my opponent will likely reformulate the notion of control, I'm in great anticipation as to how he would do so. Good luck!

---References---
1. http://plato.stanford.edu...
2. http://plato.stanford.edu...
J.Kenyon

Con

I will be arguing against the Source model (the negation of which is all that is necessary for a CON victory) and advocating the Cogito Model, which requires four things:
- Adequate Determinism Is True
-Chance Must Not Be The Direct Cause of Action
-Our Will is Adequately Determined
-Our Actions are Causally Determined by Our Will

===> Introduction <===
Hard determinism is not science, but rather scientism. PRO has given the following definition of Free Will: the ability that rational agents have when they exercise control over their actions. It is an undeniable fact that man experiences the act of reasoning, while a rock, or a low-level organism does not. Thus free will cannot be denied without denying our ability to reason and negating our ability to affirm or negate the resolution

===> The Consequence Argument <===
It's ironic that one who believes in time travel would advocate such an argument, but I digress

My first objection is that, in my view, the main problem with hard determinism is that it takes a post hoc view of events that tell us nothing about the moment of decision. Suppose we had external knowledge that Jack has Free Will,which for the sake of argument, we will take to mean that he has alternate choices open to him. Jack wants to get from point A to point B, and has roads R1 and R2 available to him. Jack, who we know is empowered with libertarian free will, can choose either road to reach his destination, thus the argument does not disprove the possibility of Free Will. When the incompatibilist says that Jack could� have only taken R2, it only has meaning after the fact. When we look at it from the future, of course he could� only choose R2, that is, if he took R2, he could not have taken R1 as well. This tells us nothing about the existence of choices.

G.E. Moore writes "The question of Free Will has thus been represented as merely the question whether we ever could have chosen, what we did not choose, or ever can choose, what, in fact, we shall not choose. And since there is some plausibility in this contention, it is, I think, worth while to point out that here again it is absolutely certain that, in two different senses, at least, we often could have chosen, what, in fact, we did not choose; and that in neither sense does this fact contradict the principle of causality."� [1]

My second objection is that the incompatibilist conflates caused�and causally determined�[3] as well as will� and �€œpower.�€�[4] Obviously, it is empirically impossible (and theoretically impossible as well, which I will come to later) to take into account every factor involved in a person�€™s decision making. We must necessarily simplify it to this: Jack wants to get from point A to point B, and has roads R1 and R2 available to him. But this is not incompatible with causality: as we stated, he was caused to make either decision by the fact that he wished to get from A to B. The fact that he only has the options R1 and R2 available to him are a matter of power not will, and his decision was caused, but not causally determined. In the same sense, Jack could not fly from A to B, as man does not have the power to fly, or at least not without mechanical assistance.

===> The Source Model <===
�€œThe source model conceives of control if one is the �€˜ultimate origin�€™ of it - it conceives of control as emanating from one's self. Thus, if an agent is not the ultimate source or origin of her actions, then she can't be rightly in control - and thus rightly have no free will.�€�

In this case, the Source model would seem to imply that in order to be free, an action must be uncaused. However, this would not be freedom, but randomness. As I stated in my thesis, adequate determinism is necessary to maintain the Cogito model, adequate meaning caused, though taking into consideration the randomness that exists at a quantum level.[2]

From this, we can reduce the Source argument ad absurdum: the quantum particles in the universe are the ultimate source of their actions. They obey no specific law or pattern; the predictions we make are only accurate one a larger scale when we factor in the probability that, say, an alpha particle is emitted from a radioactive isotope, which allows us to use various forms of radiometric dating. Thus quantum particles possess Free Will, while humans do not.[3]

===> Hard Determinism is Self Refuting <===
This requires four premises:
1) with respect to the free will issue, we should believe what is true
2) �€œought�€� implies �€œcan,�€� ie. we ought not do something that is impossible, for example, jump off of a building and attempt to fly
3) If determinism is true, than what �€œcan�€� be done is done. This follows from the definition of determinism.
4) I personally believe in Free Will. This comes from introspection. It is not necessary that Free Will be true, as that would be begging the question, only that I believe it.

THE ARGUMENT
1. With respect to the free-will issue, we should refrain from believing falsehoods. (premise)
2. Whatever should be done can be done. (premise)
3. If determinism is true, then whatever can be done, is done. (premise)
4. I believe in minimal free will. (premise)
5. With respect to the free will issue, we can refrain from believing falsehoods. (from 1,2)
6. If determinism is true, then with respect to the free will issue, we refrain from believing falsehoods. (from 3,5)
7. If determinism is true, then minimal free will is true. (from 6,4)
8. Minimal free will is true. (from 7) [6]

As you can see, step 7 shows a contradiction, which leads us to step 8, hard determinism is false. I will clarify this later.

===> The G��delian Argument <===
This is a complex logical derivation of G��del�€™s theoretical incompleteness theorem. This is highly advanced, and I ask the voters to refrain from considering it unless they feel they can understand it. This was first postulated by J.R. Lucas in his 1959 paper �€œMinds, Machines, and G��del.�€� Due to space constraints, I am forced to clarify it in later rounds.

1. Determinism �†" For any human h there exists at least one (deterministic) logical system L(h) which reliably predicts h's actions in all circumstances.
2. For any logical system L a sufficiently skilled mathematical logician (equipped with a sufficiently powerful computer if necessary) can construct some statements T(L) which are true but unprovable in L. (This follows from G��del's first theorem.)
3. If a human m is a sufficiently skillful mathematical logician (equipped with a sufficiently powerful computer if necessary) then if m is given L(m), he or she can construct T(L(m)) and
4. Determine that they are true--which L(m) cannot do.
5. Hence L(m) does not reliably predict m's actions in all circumstances.
6. Hence m has free will.
7. It is implausible that the qualitative difference between mathematical logicians and the rest of the population is such that the former have free will and the latter do not.

===> Argument From Consciousness <===
Jean-Paul Sartre states that �€œa consciousness externally motivated-becomes pure exteriority and ceases to be consciousness�€�[5]

It is undeniable that we experience consciousness. How then is it possible for man not to have some degree of freedom? What evolutionary purpose could there possibly be in developing the ILLUSION of consciousness, but not consciousness itself?

===> Argument from experience <===
We experience decision making. I realize I have derided several debaters for use of experiential arguments, however, I contend that this is fundamentally different: one can logically deny that he has experienced God with the proper understanding of human cognition; one cannot deny that we experience Free Will without denying our ability to perceive anything. I will expand on this later.

SOURCE(S)
http://www.debate.org...
Debate Round No. 2
TheSkeptic

Pro

I thank my opponent for his insightful response, although I do spy several flaws and even misunderstandings on his part - particularly in his evaluation in aspects of my position. Further, since he has supplied several arguments, several which I don't want to dwell too long upon (given the character limits), I'll try my best to have the length and detail of my counterarguments reflect the importance of the arguments being attacked.

Before I begin, I want to reply to two comments my opponent has made, one which he never really expanded upon. In his introduction to hard determinism, he claims that "free will cannot be denied with denying our ability to reason", which is preposterous. Would he care to defend it? Reason is simply a mental faculty that helps us generate sound conclusions, while free will is some metaphysical property we are purported (falsely) to have - there is no necessary connection between the two.

And on an irrelevant notion, he claims that my adherence to time travel and the consequence argument is contradictory - untrue. Determinism states that there is only on future IN CORRESPONDENCE to one past; if the past becomes different then so does the future.

=====================
The Consequence Argument
=====================

His first objection, that a main problem with this argument is that it takes a post hoc view of events, claims that it shows us nothing about the moment of decision. He misses the point of this argument by failing to see the stronger claim, let me explain by responding to his example:

So given the case of Jack, we are enlightened by the fact that he has chosen to take R2. My opponent states that the incompatibilist tells us nothing new when we say he only could have taken R2 - for if the future was so, then in this instance it must be (in virtue of the simple fact that if A leads to B, and A happens then B must). The thing he misses is that I am also claiming that if we were to somehow constantly reverse time to when he is presented with the option of taking either road, he will ALWAYS TAKE R2 given the same set of causal chains in the past.

Besides this obvious fact, I can't see how this argument is effective at all. You assume Jack has free will for the sake of argument, and then you conclude that we can't disprove the possibility of it? Unless you clarify on how this argument is both sound and relevant, it's not much of a threat to the power of the consequence argument -- that, as you admit in your first round, things will play out a certain way in the future in correspondence with the past. The reason why this argument is so strong is that you have to show free will exists without resorting to the idea of proving one can have alternative possibilities or choices - which you believe you can do. Now show me HOW you conceive of this.

As well for the first objection, I fail to see the tenacity of his second objection. At this point I would have him clarify the point of his conclusion. If it's my failure to understand your argument, then I apologize but I'm struggling to see how it's an effective counterargument; for I am giving you the benefit of the doubt that you have an adequate grasp on this subject.

====================
The Source Model
====================

You misunderstand the source model - it does not imply that to have free will it must manifest in randomness - for how can one have control via randomness? I can imagine that something like a soul would be an adequate fulfillment for one who believes in free will and the source model - where his actions originate within himself but have no preceding conditions.

Remember, the source model is one that describes CONTROL. So your ad absurdum fails to make a correct example - quantum particles have no control over their actions (they aren't conscious in even the most remote sense).

Indeed, I think your responses to the source model need to be much more intricate than this. In your first round you claim that you can argue for free will even in the face of determinism and the idea that you can't resort to alternative possibilities as did the classical compatibilists - this is exactly what the consequence argument forces you to do. Therefore, you have to find a way to reformulate what you mean by free will, and I have yet to see one.

====================
The Godelian Argument
====================

To be honest, I don't know much about the philosophy of artificial intelligence, so this subject is relatively foreign to me. And while I can't comment on the validity of his argument, I do spy a premise that leads me to to doubt it - premise 5.

Why would the ability of L(m) to predict one's actions in all circumstances, which fails, lead one to believe in the existence of free will? Simply because it can't predict all of m's actions doesn't mean all of m's actions are free. If you would expand on this idea, we probably will get more done.

====================
Argument from consciousness and experience
====================

I would ask of my opponent, why would a freedom-less consciousness become an illusion? Indeed, it seems obvious to me that there can be a conscious being without free will and my opponent has yet to demonstrate otherwise.

The same with your argument from experience. Yes, we can internally recognize our decision making in a vague but definite manner, but when does incompatibilism deny decision making? It denies a certain TYPE of decision making, namely one with the free will smear, but it in no way would make such an absurd psychological claim as that.

====================
Conclusion
====================

My opponent's argument, for the most part, need to be expanded for me to see where he even is going. And indeed, several instances he has stated he will expand on this later - well I hope he does so sufficiently given that we only have one round left.

I would recommend that he drop some argument unless he can fit them all with the character limits.

---References---
1. http://users.ox.ac.uk...
J.Kenyon

Con

===> Intro <===

I stand by my statement that Free Will cannot be denied without denying reason as well, and yes, I intend to support it.

Before I begin, I want to clarify: the joke about time travel was clearly an irrelevant jibe.

===> Hard Determinism is Self-Refuting <===

PRO gave no response to this, however, I won't hold it against him should he choose to respond in a later round. It may look daunting at first, but is actually quite simple. All premises are stated and the conclusion cannot be denied without denying one of the premises. I have given a simple, though adequate explanation. Therefore, due to character restraints, I will only expand on this should my opponent choose to make an argument.

===> The Goedelian Argument <===

Premise 5 stems from Premise 1: Under a deterministic system, for any human h there exists at least one (deterministic) logical system L(h) which reliably predicts h's actions in all circumstances. Variable "m" is an example of "h," more specifically, "m" is a mathematical logician. Note that L(m) is purely theoretical.

Unpredictability, of course, is not sufficient reason to believe in Free Will: it is the reason WHY L(m) cannot reliably predict m's actions. It is not quantum uncertainty, but Goedelian mathematics. In Lucas' paper, he sets up his argument as a competition between himself and a hypothetical mechanist (the engineer who is building the Turing machine that, using L(m) will predict all of m's actions). Goedel's theorems state that in any consistent system of mathematics, there must always be an unproven axiom. If this unproven axiom is proven, it will be done at the expense of disproving another axiom. The same is true for the newly unsupported axiom ad infinitum. Thus, for any Turing machine set up to model the mind, there will always be statements regarding m's behavior that cannot be proven. M, on the other hand, can always prove the unsupported axiom (and therefore the conclusions drawn from it) true or false by his actions since he exists outside the system. The mechanist could, of course, modify his device, but m will always be able to defy him. Machines, which take input and give a predictable output, are fundamentally different from the human mind.

===> The Source Model <===

In his rebuttal, PRO asks "how can one have control via randomness?" This is my point exactly. Premise 1 of the Source argument states: "Any agent, x, performs an any act, a, of her own free will iff x has control over a." Which he clarifies in the second premise: "x has control over a ONLY IF x is the ultimate source of a." The argument clearly defines "control" as being the originator of an action.

What is more, even if a being had a soul, one could still claim that he was not free as his soul was CAUSED by God. The ad absurdum stands.

When I stated that Jack has the power of libertarian free will, I was not claiming this as an absolute an attempting to place the burden of disproof on my opponent: I was giving an example of an entity making a decision that came as a consequence of prior events to highlight the overly restrictive definition of Free Will given by PRO and illustrating how it fails to disprove the ability to choose.

Finally, contrary to my opponent's claim, I gave a clear outline of what constitutes Free Will in my introduction to R2:
- Adequate determinism is true
- Chance must not be the direct cause of action
- Our will is adequately determined
- Our actions are causally determined by our will

===> The Consequence Argument <===

This is one of many modern forms of d'Holbach's original argument, that, assuming all humans are material, and all material things follow immutable physical laws which they have no control over, Free Will does not exist. Again, this confuses several things, first and foremost the meaning of "could" and second the distinction between "will" and "power."

The fact that any entity must act within the confines of what is physically possible is a matter of POWER, not WILL. It is clearly absurd to employ as a definition of "freedom" the power of an entity to perform an impossible action, to violate its nature.[1]

G.E. Moore argues that Hard determinism is the view that if a person does x, that person never could have done other than x in those circumstances. For hard determinism to be correct, there must be NO meaning of "could" (or "can") according to which a person could/can do other than x when the person actually did x. Since we CAN sometimes do other than x when we actually do x, hard determinism is wrong. Many human actions are simultaneously free and determined by context/circumstances.

He gives several examples, two of which I have included.

1. Even when we see that x happened, we know that a second thing, y, could NOT have happened, while a third, z, could have. And this is often true of human behavior. (This ship is going 15 knots but COULD go 20 knots, while this second is going 10 knots because it CANNOT go 15. Since we can distinguish between these two cases, the hard determinist hypothesis is false.)
2. Our futures are often INDETERMINATE. Because we recognize that we cannot know, in advance, that we would NOT choose something, we often make choices NOW to reduce the likelihood of making those choices later.[2]

Thus, PRO uses a deeply flawed definition of "could," the consequence of which is clearly outlined in my argument that Hard Determinism is self-refuting (which PRO has not bothered to refute).

===> Arguments from Consciousness and Experience <===

As I promised in my intro, I intend to support my contention that denying Free Will denies our ability to reason. This is not, as PRO seems to think, because I link Free Will and reason as an inextricable duo, but because its negation negates our basic ability to perceive. Would anyone deny the perception of choice? How can so basic a perception be denied?

Perception and reason must be taken in tandem: at first glance the earth looks flat, but, through use of both reason and perception, we can see this is not so. Decision making, on the other hand, cannot be so easily discounted. Self-awareness is a basic tenet of humanity. So basic a truth as our own free will is impossible to discount without overwhelming evidence that can account for this inexplicable "illusion" of decision making that we experience every day. Unlike the flat-earth, there is no model explaining this. Indeed, such model is a mathematical IMPOSSIBILITY. In the absence of such proof, we are asked to deny our most basic ability to perceive.

I would also like to take the Goedelian argument further: there is empirical evidence that the mind is not a machine.[3] Besides the issue of Goedelian mathematics, the fundamental difference between man and machine is consciousness. A machine responds to input; it is not conscious. Man is. What explanation can there be? As Sartre states, such a thing that responds only to input is not a consciousness but externality.

[1] http://mises.org...
[2] http://www.mnstate.edu...
[3] H.T. Siegelmann, "Computation Beyond the Turing Limit," Science, 238(28), April 1995: 632-637
Debate Round No. 3
TheSkeptic

Pro

I thank my opponent for his argument - he certainly has a much better grasp of the concept of free will than most. This makes for an intriguing perspective, given that he has used some arguments I have yet to encounter; I praise him for this.

====================
Hard Determinism is Self-Refuting
====================

I'm a little disappointed that my opponent didn't expand on this argument - after all, in his previous section he did clarify that he would explain this argument in further detail. Nonetheless, I will try my best to interpret and attack it.

My first argument is...why do you presume hard determinism is necessary for denying the existence of free will? In fact, as I go on I will demonstrate that we do not need hard determinism to rule out free will.

I take conflict with the premise that "If determinism is true, then whatever can be done, is done." This would seem to be blatantly wrong; determinism in no way states that whatever can be done IS done, for this would apply that every event that could be done has already past - placing us right now at the most awkward of situations...a moment in time in which everything has finished beforehand? This is an incoherent and absurd idea that even one completely new to the philosophy of time would recognize, and the determinist in no way upholds this.

It seems to be me quite the jump from step 6 to step 7. You denote that premise 7 is accumulated from 4 and 6, and in such you commit an error. The premise of you believing in minimal free will can't fulfill the demand we refrain from believing falsehoods. As you've stated, simply believing in minimal free will doesn't mean it's true - simply that you do believe it.

Further, you claim that in light of the contradiction between step 7 and 8, you rule out hard determinism in favor of minimal free will... I can't see how this can be anything else but arbitrary. For what grounds do you have for choosing minimal free will over determinism? Can't I on the same foot see the contradiction and thus declare free will to be false while determinism to be true?

====================
The Godelian Argument
====================

As stated before, I have yet to read deeply into such a field - indeed, it was my opponent's mention of Godelian related arguments that has led me to begin to read on the subject, albeit I have not enough time to comprehensively understand it for this debate in time. However, even if I were to grant him this effect of Godel's incompleteness theorem, I believe I can still expose a flaw in his argument that substantiates my point of him not being able to prove free will.

As I've stated in the previous section, at best what you can achieve here is to undermine hard determinism...which I would agree to be an unscientific position given new insight in quantum mechanics. I will develop this point in the following sections (the consequence argument mostly) - what I will add here is to ask how you can free will here. So, let's assume that anthropic mechanism is false (that one can explain all of human behavior in mechanical terms), this darkness, if you would, would not necessarily lead to free will. This is akin to the God of the Gaps argument amongst the religious -- simply because there is no explanation, either practically or theoretically, does not allow for the affirmation of the existence of something else unless shown otherwise. You have yet to give us any reason to believe how free will would be sprung upon his given these uncertainties. You agree that unpredictability is not a sufficient reason to believe in free will", but you just go on to explain that the reason why L(m) can't reliability predict m's action is because of mathematics that denies mechanism...where's the difference?

====================
The Source Model
====================

I'm not sure why you are claiming the source model to be false in light of "ad absurdurms", whom are simply examples of when free will are denied. For is this not my goal? I find the Source Model to be an accurate model of control, and upon understanding it we realize that free will is incoherent - this is THE POINT OF USING THE SOURCE MODEL.

Of course, one would ask why in the world we should accept such a model, but you don't garner any attack except supposed ad absurdum and the Jack example. As I'm sure you know, the idea of Frankfurt counterexamples[1] is something I have mounted in defense of the Source model, and given that I recall you agreeing with such examples I'll focus on your Jack analogy. If the voters take issue with this, then so be it - I don't care so much about pleasing the voters but rather having a healthy debate with my opponent in which intellectual progression actually takes place.

To make your analogy effective, you would have to demonstrate how such a free will would differ from a similar example except free will being denied (obviously you find no difference, and find my definition to be overly restrictive). But we would have a weird standstill here - what would prevent me from calling your conception of free will inadequate? Indeed, the issue then boils down to how we conceive of control, which is exactly encapsulated in the Source Model. To use an example that would deny the Source model while assuming another framework of control is begging the question.

You give an outline of what constitutes free will, and yet fail to clear up the mystery. What is "adequate determinism"? If you reject the Source Model, would free will be conceptualized in the ability to have alternative possibilities? If so, how would you handle the Frankfurt counterexamples? As you can see, your failure to expand on such a fuzzy but crucial word will undermine your position.

=====================
The Consequence Argument
=====================

Indeed, it would be absurd to employ a definition of freedom the power of an entity to perform an impossible action - such a demand would be simply uncalled for. However, let's take your analogy with Jack again. Obviously, there is nothing impossible about him taking either R1 or R2 -- UNLESS, as you are apt to point out, he has already chosen R2.

The point is, the consequence argument calls for us to look into the PAST as well. Given that one past will correspond with one future, if Jack lived in a world in which such conditions led to the conclusion of him choosing R2, then such will happen. This doesn't erase our idea of could because it can simply refer to other possible worlds[2], in which OTHER EVENTS COULD have happened.

As I've stated many times before, I don't need determinism to deny free will - given the Source Model is adequate enough. If we take it to be true, then we would realize that an agent only has free will if "some condition necessary for her action originates with the agent herself.[3]" We see this to be manifested in no circumstance.

====================
Argument from consciousness and experience
====================

I hardly see how decision making would be equated with free will - a computer can make decisions. You have yet to demonstrate the necessary connection between reason and free will. Reason is simply a mental faculty humans possess - a machine can eventually easily come to handle this, EVEN IF they are fundamentally different between man and machine.

====================
Conclusion
====================

While my opponent makes interesting arguments against determinism (which I have clarified is not something I need to support), he never makes a case for free will himself. It would seem that he finds a safe haven for free will in the unpredictably found in Godel mathematics; such a truth may be the starting point but it has yet to point us at the nature of free will.

---References---
1. http://en.wikipedia.org...
2. http://en.wikipedia.org...
3. http://plato.stanford.edu...
J.Kenyon

Con

===> Introduction <===

My opponent has conceded that I have disproved determinism, but have still not won the arguments. This is incorrect for several reasons. First, P2 of the Consequence argument and P5 of the Source argument assume that determinism is true. If determinism is false, the arguments are not valid. It has been an established fact for over half a century that physical determinism is false, however, in philosophical discussions it is still common to refer to the position of "INCOMPATIBILISM" (my opponent's position) as simply "determinism."

However, this was not my intent. Disproving physical determinism is not sufficient to ensure Free Will. I have used the phrase "adequate determinism" over the course of the debate, which essentially concedes that physical determinism is true, allowing, of course, for the (very) minimal effects of quantum uncertainty on macroscopic models which has come to light over the course of the last century. Since I am arguing that physical determinism and Free Will are compatible, my arguments have NOT been focused on disproving this, but on disproving INCOMPATIBILISM.

===> Consequence Argument <===

PRO has missed the point – I am accusing him of equivocation (he doesn't distinguish between the two different meanings of the word "could" in the ship analogy). What is more, he has painted himself into a corner – if his definition of the word "could" IS to be taken seriously, all this does is give support to P3 of my argument that Hard Determinism is self refuting.

===> Hard Determinism is Self-Refuting <===

As I stated in the intro, "hard determinism" has been used interchangeably with "incompatibilism."
Whether physical determinism is true or not is really beside the point since it is my opponent's incompatibilist premise that I am attacking. Apart this, however, PRO has correctly interpreted the argument and I will now proceed to answer his objections.

P3: What can be done is done – As I said in my answer to the consequence argument, this comes directly from the definition of incompatibilism that my opponent has put forth. He stated explicitly in Round 3 that "[Jack] will ALWAYS TAKE R2 given the same set of causal chains in the past," implying that using his own definition of "could" (which again, I hold to be fallacious) Jack COULD have done no other; whatever IS done is literally all that CAN be done.

P4 simply states that I believe in Free Will. Is this arbitrary? Yes, I freely admit this; however, it does not detract from the argument. Therefore, we are left with two possible outcomes, either of which negates PRO's arguments:

1) My definition of could is fallacious, in which case PRO's definition of could is fallacious.
2) Minimal Free Will is true.

PRO also attacked P4 (that I personally believe in Free Will). I freely admit that this is arbitrary, however, that is beside the point: it is only necessary that I believe it. Substituting "incompatibilism" for "Free Will" will yield the conclusion that incompatibilism is true; however, that is also not the point of the argument. The point is to show that in certain circumstances, minimal free will is true. The fact that my belief is arbitrary does not make the argument any less valid.

===> The Source Model <===

This is not so much an ARGUMENT against Free Will as a DEFINITION of Free Will that basically excludes everything (P1. Any agent, x, performs an any act, a, of her own free will iff x has control over a;
P2. x has control over a only if x is the ultimate source of a).

And how convenient a definition for my opponent to give! He essentially postulates an absurd definition of Free Will, admits to its absurdity, and claims, therefore, that Free Will is absurd!
If this were an ARGUMENT, then he is correct that a reducto ad absurdum argument would be fallacious. However, since it is a DEFINITION, the ad absurdum stands. I hold that my definition (which I stated informally in the Jack example) is superior. Stated formally, any agent X is free iff X performs any act A, when he COULD HAVE done B. I attacked the fallacious definition of the word "could" put forth by PRO in the consequence argument.

To cap off the absurdity, even if we grant that my opponent's definition is valid, it can only disprove Free Will in HUMANS, the alpha particles emitted by a deposit of U-238, ironically, would have it while we would not.

As a sidenote, Harry Frankfurt, like me, is a compatibilist.[1] In the in the past, my opponent has used Frankfurt counterexamples to support his use of the Source model. While he gave no explanation, what they basically are is a situation in which we would intuitively say that an agent had acted freely when in fact no alternative course of action existed. What this adds to his case is the possibility of retaining moral responsibility under an incompatibilist model, and while this may be true, it has no bearing on whether or not his definition of Free Will is right or wrong. Yes, moral responsibility can be retained under the Source model, just as it is under a compatibilist model.

===> Goedelian Argument <===

My purpose here was not to disprove physical determinism and the argument retains its validity even in the face of quantum indeterminacy. Under a system of hard indeterminist incompatibilism, P1 might be modified to say "For any human h there exists at least one logical system L(h) which reliably predicts h's actions in all circumstances [excepting randomness caused by indeterminacy]." And the rest of the argument go unchanged.

PRO claims that there is no difference between the unpredictability of a quantum particle and human behavior. This is not the case. Certain ASPECTS of human behavior CAN be predicted by L(h), and other aspects can be predicted by other logical models, but both models cannot be accurate at once unless the system of arithmetic is inconsistent. However, these rules apply only to the machine that is attempting to draw conclusions for L(h): "h" himself CAN predict all aspects of his character while retaining a system of consistent arithmetic. This is a fundamental difference between minds and machines.

This is NOT an instance of the "God of the Gaps" fallacy: predictions CAN be made, but only by "h," not by the mechanist.

===> Argument from Consciousness/Experience <===

Again my opponent has badly misrepresented my position: I do not hold that without Free Will there can be no reason, but given consciousness and experience, to deny Free Will is to distrust our ability to sense and perceive, without which there can be nothing to rationally evaluate.

Since when can computers make decisions? Computers respond to input in a predetermined way based on lines of written program code. Because we clearly perceive the act of decision making, and there is a clear distinction between this and the "decisions" that a computer makes, the Free Will Premise must be true.

As I stated in R3 (citing G.E. Moore) "Our futures are often INDETERMINATE. Because we recognize that we cannot know, in advance, that we would NOT choose something, we often make choices NOW to reduce the likelihood of making those choices later."

===> Conclusion <===

Hard incompatbilism runs completely contrary to reason. It goes against our perception without explaining why we perceive wrongly. In light of this, it should be clear where the burden of proof lies.

My opponent states that I have disproved physical determinism without proving Free Will, but this i simply not the case. In addition to removing support for the aforementioned premises in PRO's arguments, I have made positive arguments for Free Will in all five contentions.

I thank my opponent for a vigorous debate and hope that it has been as much of a learning experience for him as it has for me.

SOURCE(S)

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org...
Debate Round No. 4
52 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Qetzlcoatl 6 years ago
Qetzlcoatl
Con is holding pretty well in this arguement, my condolences to you, even though you're not losing, still, you keep on man.
Posted by enochisgone 7 years ago
enochisgone
free will only exist as the illusion but the real driver is causality
Posted by enochisgone 7 years ago
enochisgone
free will must exist in a relitvive form but the destination is unchangable (exsample ) we are raft in a stream of time (the stream being the environment and time being that which we cannot effect) as we flow down stream we may move to one bank or the other but we are still headed downstream
Posted by Kinesis 7 years ago
Kinesis
lol, vote-bombers RFD's wouldn't be very interesting...

Conduct: Con suks!
S&G: Con speled 'frea' rong.
Arguments: free will exists nutbag!
Sources: free will exists nutbag!
Posted by J.Kenyon 7 years ago
J.Kenyon
How about posting an RFD before you vote bomb...
Posted by TheSkeptic 7 years ago
TheSkeptic
Yeah, that's always another option.
Posted by J.Kenyon 7 years ago
J.Kenyon
Next time we go, I plan to accept the Source Model and argue that the Cogito model fulfills it. So the question of whether or not it really does fulfill it, along with whatever other arguments we decide to consider, would form the core of the debate.
Posted by TheSkeptic 7 years ago
TheSkeptic
There are multiple pathways you can take - an obvious one is to demonstrate that the Source Model is false, and thus my conception of control is wrong. In fact, it is this debate between the Source Model and the Leeway Model that is common in contemporary debates about compatibilism.
Posted by daniel_t 7 years ago
daniel_t
TheSkeptic: What conceivable experiment, even a subjective thought experiment, would demonstrate the existence of free will? If that experiment fails, then your contention that free will doesn't exist is supported. If no such experiment is even conceivable, then your claim about free will is not cognitive, it has no truth value.
Posted by TheSkeptic 7 years ago
TheSkeptic
I'm lost at how you can gather such a conclusion from what I've said:

The question of the existence of free will needs a cogent definition of control. The Source Model is true. Given the nature of the Source Model, a conclusion can be drawn that control could only be realized under the conditions X (which themselves are absurd). Since the only possible conditions that control can manifest, in the framework of the Source Mode, is absurd free will does not exist.
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