You cannot be a Naturalist and believe you have Free Will
Debate Rounds (4)
This will be a short debate. I will be arguing that free will is not compatible with Naturalism as it needs to be invoked by the supernatural.
There will be 4 rounds. First round is acceptance, final round is summary.
I welcome the contender.
Thanks very much to Con for accepting the debate.
Naturalism and belief in free will cannot co-exist together.
Naturalism is the idea that only natural forces are present in the universe, but free will cannot be invoked without supernatural explanation.
The reason is very simple. The decisions we make according to the naturalist are nothing more than reactions, reacting to predetermined stimuli. For instance, a person is born and they are a genetic robot. A person develops a unique character and psychology when genetics interact with environmental and experiential factors. A person then makes decisions based on genetic inclination (leading to for example brain chemistry) and psychology/previous experience.
What room is there for free will here?
Whenever a decision is made a concoction of ingredients such as psychology, genetics and experience are all thrown into a pot and the reaction is determined by the ingredients that went into it. The naturalist therefore has no basis to argue for free will as he is suggesting that any reaction can decide its own fate, rather than is predecided by the ingredients.
This is fundamentally at odds with the naturalistic world view as they can only invoke the supernatural to argue for free will. Otherwise Con needs to explain when there has ever been a reaction which decided its own fate, and his tools for arguing this can only be limited to scientific, empirical examples.
That concludes my opening remarks. Best of luck to Con.
You argue that all of our decisions are based on pre-determined causes such as our genetic nature. However, while this may leave us more predisposed to certain behaviours or actions, it does not take away our ability to choose an alternative.
Bringing this back to the concept of naturalism, the brain functions used to make decisions are completely natural forces, as we have electrical impulses etc that cause thoughts and reasoning within the brain.
To have free will, we must be able to think and choose. If you argue that the processes of free will - the thinking and reasoning - are supernatural, then how do you account for individual thoughts? You are probably reading this with the little voice in your head, are you saying that that's supernatural as well? It uses the same brain functions required for free will.
Thankyou Con for his thoughtful response.
Con claims that our genetic nature: "does not take away our ability to choose an alternative."
But this is merely an opinion, he has not even tried to provide a philosophical or scientific basis for it.
I don't doubt that we have the appearance of free will, but for a naturalist that appearance must be an illusion
"To have free will, we must be able to think and choose. If you argue that the processes of free will - the thinking and reasoning - are supernatural, then how do you account for individual thoughts? You are probably reading this with the little voice in your head, are you saying that that's supernatural as well"
Well, the little voice in your head is not necessarily an indicator of free will, it just gives the illusion of free will because you feel like you can discuss with yourself.
The question is, is there any basis to for a naturalist to believe he has free will? A naturalist recognises that all things in nature are mechanical, any reaction is always decided by its ingredients rather than by itself. How therefore can humans have free will without the laws of physics being broken?
Click107 forfeited this round.
Sadly Con has forfeited the debate.
Please vote pro!
I realise that I gave no scientific or philosophical example for my so-called "opinion" that our genetic nature or upbringing does not take away our ability to choose an alternative, in my view, this is simply common sense. For example, it has been shown that children born into criminal families are more likely to turn to crime themselves, either through genetics or simply by being in that environment, but this does not mean that they have no choice in the matter. Since not all of these children will go on to commit crime themselves, it clearly is possible. Undoubtedly, people are influenced by their surroundings and the people they interact with but if a person has peer pressure and social conformity shoved down their throat, it doesn't mean they now suddenly don't have brain function. IT HAS NO IMPLICATIONS ON THEIR ABILITY TO REASON. They still have the ability to choose their behaviours. Whether they do or not is irrelevant, the point is that they CAN choose not to be criminal.
And coming back to the little voice in your head, it is not the same thing as free will obviously, though it uses similar brain processes - electrical impulses etc (I am not a scientist so am unable to go into detail about this). A person gets free will through thinking and reasoning with themselves (" should I eat a Mars bar or a Snickers?") and if they use their reasoning to decide that they don't like nuts, they will choose a Mars bar. Since they also have the ability to use neurological processes to lift their arm and pick up a Mars bar, they made this choice all by themselves, showing free will.
Naturalism comes into this as everything I explained above is completely natural and viewable in the natural world. There is nothing supernatural about brain processes and arm movements.
This concludes my argument, thank you to Pro for the debate.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Krazzy_Player 2 years ago
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