The Instigator
Pro (for)
The Contender
Con (against)

Do we have free will?

Do you like this debate?NoYes+0
Add this debate to Google Add this debate to Delicious Add this debate to FaceBook Add this debate to Digg  
Debate Round Forfeited
truthislightanddarkness has forfeited round #2.
Our system has not yet updated this debate. Please check back in a few minutes for more options.
Time Remaining
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 11/19/2016 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Debating Period
Viewed: 465 times Debate No: 97162
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (3)
Votes (0)




We have free will based on the premise that no one observer can be omniscient. Even with the concept that everything happens for a literal reason, we will always act upon what we know and we don't know; such is the existence of humanity. Since the observer can never have a true informed consent (I suppose another debate to why that is), then choice is always implied, as not knowing something always gives an option of knowing it. Also, the moment one sees the future (i know this is theoretically) one changes it. Not only this implies we can never see the exact future (probabilities are still acceptable), but one can see it and then choose to act differently causing a different future. That choice is free will. And whether you like to accept it or not, killing yourself is an actual choice. That means if you see a future of yourself , you still have the option to kill yourself if you wanted thus proving free will.


I thank pro for instigating this ever interesting topic. I will be taking the con position and arguing against the proposition that we have free will. I merely need to refute pro’s claims, however I may put forth a constructive case in rounds to come. In this round I merely aim to offer a definition of free will, a distinction, a brief outline of my position, and a brief overview of my objection to pro’s case.

Semantic Matters

In such a debate it is incredibly important to define what we mean by free will. Pro has not asserted a definition, so I will seek to provide a fair one.

Per the Stanford Encyclopedia:”“Free Will” is a philosophical term of art for a particular sort of capacity of rational agents to choose a course of action from among various alternatives.”

There are many varying interpretations of this, however it is my position that we don’t have this capacity on any level.

Objective v Subjective

This distinction is incredibly vital. From the resolution, and pro’s opening, it appears to be the case that we are arguing whether we objectively have free will. To borrow some terminology from John Searle but appropriate it to free will, free will is ontologically subjective, in that if it exists, it only exists so long as we experience. However, it is my contention that we merely have the perception of free will, not the objective experience of it. So, it may seem like we have free will, but I foresee no way for it to be established that we actually have free will.

My Case Overview

I will argue that by virtue of the preponderance of evidence of the neuroscience literature that we don’t objectively have free will, primarily predicated on the notion that prior to becoming conscious of acts, the neurological determinants of the acts are already under way. I will also argue that, given the laws of physics are deterministic, our choices are determined and therefore we don’t have free will.

Brief Objection To Pro’s case

I’m a bit confused by pro’s language as it departs from the usually terms in the free will debate, but I will try to discern it best I can. Pro states that his case is predicated on there not being an omniscient. This is certainly a fair point, however I think it conflates sufficiency and necessity. If there was an omniscient observer, this would definitely negate free will, however this merely shows that the absence of an omniscient observer is sufficient for the existence of free will, not necessary. This is to say, the absence of an omniscient observer doesn’t appear to necessitate free will. In this case pro is denying the consequent. Pro is right to note that free will is predicated on the notion that we could do otherwise under the same conditions, however pro has offered no evidence for this to be the case. In coming rounds I will offer why you could not do otherwise. I have no earthly idea by what is meant by choosing another future.

With having framed the debate in this manner, I pass it back over to pro, and look forward to continuing this discussion.



Debate Round No. 1
This round has not been posted yet.
This round has not been posted yet.
Debate Round No. 2
This round has not been posted yet.
This round has not been posted yet.
Debate Round No. 3
3 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Posted by GrimlyF 2 years ago
Pro.How far does your idea of "free will"go?.Apart from the mundane choices we all make every day how much control do you believe you have over your life?.Would you believe you have virtually none?.From the time you rise in the morning to the time you go to bed your life/free will is dependant on the actions of some of the 81/2 billion people on the planet.Example:You decide to drive to work but your cars been stolen,to catch a train but the driver is off sick,take a cab but they are already booked so you go home,surprise a thief and get fatally shot.Actions that took place a month ago on the other side of the world can have small/large ramifications for you and you can only wait,powerless, for them to happen.Free will?.What is it good for?.
Posted by X1 2 years ago
@missmedic social conditioning
Posted by missmedic 2 years ago
How would you explain the people that choice to have their mind enslaved (AKA self imposed ignorance) by religious belief, if there is no free will.
This debate has 2 more rounds before the voting begins. If you want to receive email updates for this debate, click the Add to My Favorites link at the top of the page.