The Instigator
RonHooft
Pro (for)
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The Contender
SamuelWH
Con (against)
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What is will?

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 5/8/2021 Category: Science
Updated: 3 weeks ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 422 times Debate No: 127603
Debate Rounds (5)
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RonHooft

Pro

Do we have free will? And what is will anyway? My hypothesis is that it's simple: We do what we want. Which is: We appease our likes and dislikes. But we don't choose our likes and dislikes, You just have them. So what is will? Will is a manifestation of your genetic predispositions set against your environment/learning/culture etc, Which produce your likes and dislikes, Which fuel/produce your will. Free? Hardly. Unique? Yes you have unique, Individual, Dynamic, Though highly influenced, Will. Lots of it. And, You have understanding and learning. Learning can chage your likes and dislikes. Unlike animals, Through language you know what is expected of you and the consequences of going against that. You've been told countless times. So unless you have a mental issue that prevents you from understanding, You're responcible for your actions; regardless of not having "free" will,

Agree? Great. Disagree? Great. But why? Do your best to prove me wrong.
SamuelWH

Con

Firstly, I'm looking forward to what should be a good debate with you!

First, I think we should set some foundations: "Do we have free will? And what is will anyway? " Yes, I believe that we have free-will. According the the dictionary "will" is, "the faculty by which a person decides on and initiates action. " Therefore, Free-will means that a person has an unhindered (free) faculty to decide/initiate action. This definition may have some flaws, But I think it gets the point across.

So, Let me make sure that I understand what you're saying: you believe that we have the freedom to choose what we do, But because our likes and dislikes (which we don't choose) dictate what we choose, That choice isn't really us choosing but rather forces out of our control deciding what we do?
First, You made the statement, "We do what we want. " In other words, We don't have freedom to choose what we do? I don't necessarily think that mankind is bound to do "what we want". I think that many men have chosen what they don't want for some reason or other.
"Which is: We appease our likes and dislikes. " Once again, I don't think that every man can only act to appease his likes or dislikes. I think that man can act for many other reasons.
So I think that your argument is flawed because it states that every man can choose what he does, But then it goes on to say what man must choose.

Let me ask you this. You're driving, And you come to a fork in the road. You have to decide whether to go to the right or to the left. You know where you want to go, But you don't know how to get there and you don't have a GPS or a map. What part of "your genetic predispositions set against your environment/learning/culture etc, " or "likes/dislikes" do you use to make your decision?

I believe in free-will because I believe that man has an unhindered ability to choose what he does. True, There are many things outside of his control that affect his decision, But I believe that the decision in the end is still his to make. I believe that man will take into consideration his likes/dislikes, His emotions, His thoughts, His culture, Etc. . . And will use all of that to make a decision through his personality and character. After all, I believe that if thought, Culture, Etc. . . Is all that goes into choice, Than couldn't we arrive at a point where each persons decisions could be accurately guessed? However, Even closest friends have been wrong about what a person would do.

"Through language you know what is expected of you and the consequences of going against that. You've been told countless times. So unless you have a mental issue that prevents you from understanding, You're responcible for your actions; regardless of not having "free" will, " Ok, This is where I think the biggest flaw is. Does it matter if you know the consequence of an action considering the fact that it was no fault of yours that you did it to begin with? How can you say that someone must face the consequence of an action that they did when they what they choose is out of their control?

I hope you're doing well, And I'm looking forward to reading what you have to say!
Debate Round No. 1
RonHooft

Pro

"Therefore, Free-will means that a person has an unhindered (free) faculty to decide/initiate action. This definition may have some flaws, But I think it gets the point across. "

Free in what way? No gun to your head? No influence? The only thing will is free of is direct control by other minds. It's not free of influence by other minds, Or anything else including a cup of coffee. So free to make a choice regardless of influence? How, You have to make a choice based on something. You are already being forced to make a choice. So you make it based on your current understanding of what you think is going to be best outcome for you.
This is a universal pattern: interaction causes conflict in degrees. That conflict must be resolved. You can push each other away, Destroy each other, Or merge creating a relationship. This is true from atom to human, And all because of one simple rule: All atoms have to maintain or get back to their lowest possible energy level. So do we. High energy states can't be maintained forever. Fight with a guy. You might beat him or him you, But eventually one of you is going to get too tired to continue and will either give up, Die, Pass out, Or offer the other guy a settlement. It's the basis of entropy.
So needs force us to act. How do we know we have a need? By feelings. Hungry? How do you know? Feelings. That makes you go look for food. Once you eat, You "feel" better. Emotions/feelings either tell you you have a need, Or you've resolved a need. But all choices we make are based on needs, Real or imagined. You don't scratch if you don't itch. You do nothing without stimulus, Internal and or external.
"So, Let me make sure that I understand what you're saying: you believe that we have the freedom to choose what we do, But because our likes and dislikes (which we don't choose) dictate what we choose, That choice isn't really us choosing but rather forces out of our control deciding what we do? "

Right and wrong. You have will. Lots of it. But it's not free of influence. In fact, It's complex auto response. But it's all you. You decide. No question. No one else is choosing for you. But you are not one individual, But billions of individuals as one. And you have inherited traits you may even be proud of. You also have unique genetic predispositions. All these are set against your environment, Learning, Culture, Upbringing, Etc. All help create your likes and dislikes, Which manifest as will.

Now, What do I mean by auto response? A ball is coming toward your head. You just notice it before it's going hit you. If you play ball, No problem, You'll catch it and think to yourself how good you are. But you didn't have to think about it. And had you, It would have hit you in the face. Thinking is too slow at times.
Learn to ride a bike. You have to think about everything, Steering, Balance, Brakes, And so much more. But the more you learn the less you need to think about it. Eventually it becomes part of you, Like an arm or leg. Second guess yourself and you may fall off again.
This goes for any skill we do well. It becomes automatic. So we've stored it in memory, But more than that, It changes our auto responses. That's what learning does. We spend most of our lives just accepting suggested auto responses without thinking about them.

"So I think that your argument is flawed because it states that every man can choose what he does, But then it goes on to say what man must choose. "

"First, You made the statement, "We do what we want. " In other words, We don't have freedom to choose what we do? I don't necessarily think that mankind is bound to do "what we want". I think that many men have chosen what they don't want for some reason or other. "

Yes, You do exactly what you want, When you can. You just don't choose to want what you want, You just want to do it. And yes, People do what they don't want to do all the time because they feel they are forced to. They are trying to avoid consequences that they feel they would hate even more than doing what they are doing.

"Which is: We appease our likes and dislikes. " Once again, I don't think that every man can only act to appease his likes or dislikes. I think that man can act for many other reasons. "

Name a few. Give examples please.

"So I think that your argument is flawed because it states that every man can choose what he does, But then it goes on to say what man must choose. "

Well, Again, You don't choose to have to make choices, They are forced on you. So that's the context I was saying that in. But yes, At any given moment you could be asked to make a choice. When all is said and done at that second, Weighing all the variables and dominant feelings, You make a choice. The best and only one you can at that moment even if it's not the best. But if your choice didn't work for you, You learned, Ad thus your auto response changes next time. Your will isn't free, But it is dynamic.
.
"Let me ask you this. You're driving, And you come to a fork in the road. You have to decide whether to go to the right or to the left. You know where you want to go, But you don't know how to get there and you don't have a GPS or a map. What part of "your genetic predispositions set against your environment/learning/culture etc, " or "likes/dislikes" do you use to make your decision? "

Your experience. You make your best guess. Is one going north and the other headed west? Do you know it should be farther north or west? Depending on exactly that, You're current knowledge and the feelings you get will make you take a guess.

"I believe in free-will because I believe that man has an unhindered ability to choose what he does. True, There are many things outside of his control that affect his decision, But I believe that the decision in the end is still his to make"

Sure. But who or what are you and why are making the choice? You're not doing it at random. So your choice can't be random. It has to apply to the situation. You have limits in what you can choose. You can't fly by flapping your arms. And your choice has a history behind it. We are all different unique individuals. No, Your choices can't be accurately predicted. Now let me tell you about the brain.
Can we show will is part of the brain? Yes. What happens when you separate the right and left lobes as was tried in order to cure really bad epilepsy? People had problems like one hand doing up buttons while the other undid them, And like the woman who said something nasty to a friend and then slapped herself in the face several times, And so many more stories showing that when separated we have at least two separate wills that often conflict. But that's not all. Our limbic system has several glands/parts that often send the "thinking" brain conflicting emotions and auto responses before the sensory info it's responding to is fully clarified by the rear lobe and sent to the right, Left and frontal lobes. The amygdala is the best known. That's where fight or flight comes from, Aggression, Fear, And so much more. And the reason this happens is because the limbic system gets the info first while it's still traveling through hundreds of synapses to where it's fully processed.
Where do they get auto responses? The limbic system has a lot to do with memory. So it suggests auto responses from experience, Right or wrong.
So it's like we have many contributors to our one will, Or we have 5 or 6 wills all acting as one when all is functioning properly. And then there's our gut bacteria that talks to our brain and gives us cravings. Yeah, We don't choose those either. And there's more. Our second brain (billions of gut neurons) give us "gut feelings. "That's right, Those feelings do come from our gut. Then there's the fact that all cells communicate with each other, Including brain cells, Each having needs that have to be fulfilled. How many wills do we have? So many contributors.

"Does it matter if you know the consequence of an action considering the fact that it was no fault of yours that you did it to begin with? How can you say that someone must face the consequence of an action that they did when they what they choose is out of their control? "

It is your fault. You did it. No one else did. If a dog goes around biting kids on the street, Are you going to say: Oh it's not the dog's fault? Of course it is. And you aren't going to let it keep doing it, Right? And again, You can't tell a dog what it did was wrong and why, But you can train it from birth not be aggressive, And chances are it won't be as it grows up. Or less so. But born in the wild it's going have a different take on things. You can train kids not to take from others not to be violent, Etc. But your kid grows up in a society that speaks in complex concepts. I say to you: Build me a castle. 4 little words/sounds that each take at least a few sentences to explain, And some you could write books about. But you know what I mean. Due to thinking in complex language we can communicate and understand what other animals can't.

Again, Our first impulse is always auto response. But if we train our brain to wait a second when we can, We better more accurate info and be able to deliberate more and end up with better more logical choices. Free? No. But better than free. Individual, Unique, And dynamic. Who needs free? Everything has a structure, And all structures facilitate and limit. Free couldn't exist.
SamuelWH

Con

To begin with, I think that our main differences in thinking lie in how we define "free": Let's say you're in a large space that enables you to move your arms wherever you like. You're arms have free movement. Sure there are a lot of things that may influence where you move your arms, But they still have free movement. Now, If they are bound or handcuffed, Then they no longer have free movement--they aren't free. I believe that will is free because it cannot be bound. It can be influenced, But the individual will always have freedom to choose what do do. Even if a gun is pointed at someone's head, The will is still free to make whatever choice the individual chooses.

"Emotions/feelings either tell you you have a need, Or you've resolved a need. But all choices we make are based on needs, Real or imagined. " True
"You don't scratch if you don't itch. " But you could.

"You have will. Lots of it. But it's not free of influence. " True
"Learn to ride a bike. You have to think about everything, Steering, Balance, Brakes, And so much more. But the more you learn the less you need to think about it. Eventually it becomes part of you, Like an arm or leg. Second guess yourself and you may fall off again. " Very true, However, It is your free choice to learn. That being said, You do have an interesting point there.

"Name a few. Give examples please. " Morality, Character, Personality, Etc. . .

"You don't choose to have to make choices, They are forced on you. So that's the context I was saying that in. But yes, At any given moment you could be asked to make a choice. When all is said and done at that second, Weighing all the variables and dominant feelings, You make a choice. " True

" It has to apply to the situation. You have limits in what you can choose. You can't fly by flapping your arms. And your choice has a history behind it. " True, But I don't believe that free will is free because it can choose anything, But rather because it has the freedom decide which of all possible actions to take.

"How many wills do we have? So many contributors. " Very true, We have many contributors, But I don't think that our will having contributors means that it is not in the end free to decide what to do.

"It is your fault. You did it. " Ok, Now that I better understand your position, I know how it is possible to hold someone accountable given what you believe.

"Again, Our first impulse is always auto response. But if we train our brain to wait a second when we can, We better more accurate info and be able to deliberate more and end up with better more logical choices. Free? No. But better than free. Individual, Unique, And dynamic. Who needs free? Everything has a structure, And all structures facilitate and limit. Free couldn't exist. " Very interesting point of looking at things, And I don't think it's necessarily wrong. Once again, I think where we conflict is in how we think of the word "free" in free will.
Debate Round No. 2
RonHooft

Pro

"To begin with, I think that our main differences in thinking lie in how we define "free": Let's say you're in a large space that enables you to move your arms wherever you like. You're arms have free movement. Sure there are a lot of things that may influence where you move your arms, But they still have free movement. Now, If they are bound or handcuffed, Then they no longer have free movement--they aren't free. I believe that will is free because it cannot be bound. It can be influenced, But the individual will always have freedom to choose what do do. Even if a gun is pointed at someone's head, The will is still free to make whatever choice the individual chooses. "

Yes, I agree. But while you may have every possible choice theoretically available to you, You can't make all of them. Some are locked from you. I like to use the example of Saint Paul. No, I'm not religious, It just makes the point. Before he had the vision of Jesus he was out looking for Christians to bring to the Romans for the forums. After he had that vision, Killing Christians was no longer an option for him. He had the technical ability to still do it, Sure, But due to his new beliefs that choice couldn't be made again, Unless his beliefs changed again. . Open one door, Close another. You can choose to walk around a room, A person with no legs can't make that choice, Though they are "free" to, If they can.

"Emotions/feelings either tell you you have a need, Or you've resolved a need. But all choices we make are based on needs, Real or imagined. " True
"You don't scratch if you don't itch. " But you could. "

Sure, But there would have to be a reason for it, Like me saying you won't do it. That might make you say:"Oh yeah? Watch me! " lol. . . So you were stimulated to do it to prove a point. But if there is no need/stimulation felt there's no need to do it, So you won't. My point being not that you can't, But that we do nothing without feeling a need to do it. Of course, We have so much stimulus we rarely do nothing.

"Learn to ride a bike. You have to think about everything, Steering, Balance, Brakes, And so much more. But the more you learn the less you need to think about it. Eventually it becomes part of you, Like an arm or leg. Second guess yourself and you may fall off again. " Very true, However, It is your free choice to learn. That being said, You do have an interesting point there. "

Well thank you, And yes. It's your choice to learn or not. You may hate the idea of learning to ride. It might scare you. Your parents might force you anyway, Depending on how hard you fight them, You might learn or not. If you do you might find you love it, Or not. If you want to learn, It's because you're attracted to it in some way; potential freedom, For example. There's always a reason for your choice. But you don't always know where the reason originates. It may be due to an experience you had a long time ago, Or you may come from a culture/family that loves riding bikes and passes on the trait. You think you're making a spur of the moment free choice, But you aren't. It has a history and influences you may not be aware of.
"Name a few. Give examples please. " Morality, Character, Personality, Etc. . .

Personality. That's an interesting one. Again, We have several, Depending on the conditions. But, Like will, It comes from your genetic predispositions set against you environment, As does character. We've heard of multiple personality disorder. That's where the many will contributors in the brain lose contact with each other through some brain disorder. They usually act as one, As do the personalities they create on their own. Your will is your personality in essence. It's how you act, Which is based on what you believe, Etc.

Morality is the same thing, But it gets into a whole new but related topic: Self interest. There's no such thing as a selfless act. Save your kid from an oncoming truck and you die; was it selfless? No. You wanted to save your child at any cost, Thus you were doing it for yourself as much as for the child. You couldn't have lived with yourself if you hadn't. Give to charity? Sure. But again, You want to. You have a goal in mind and fulfill it.

Morality is based on self interest. Twenty thousand years ago you had a fifty fifty chance of being killed by another human. Now it's around two percent. Why? We all want freedom, Security, Prosperity, Etc. But you can't have any of that if you're constantly looking over your shoulder to make sure no one is after you, Or you're always at war. So we made social contracts: I promise not to harm you if you promise not to hurt me. And those contracts evolved into villages, Cities, And eventually countries. Each with ways to enforce those contracts.

We have empathy. We feel other's pain and imagine how it would feel if it were us. So we come up with golden rules like do unto others. My version being: Do no intentional harm. Bring down crap on someone's head, You can expect to get some back. So if you want a safer, Freer, More prosperous life, Do no intentional harm. That's morality. It's in our best interest. It helps us meet our needs.

" It has to apply to the situation. You have limits in what you can choose. You can't fly by flapping your arms. And your choice has a history behind it. " True, But I don't believe that free will is free because it can choose anything, But rather because it has the freedom decide which of all possible actions to take. "

And I'm just saying that while you have that freedom from a technical perspective, What you will choose is determined by your conditioning; both genetic and environmental. It's who you are. Determined isn't necessarily predetermined, But that's another related debate. You can't decondition yourself, You can only recondition through learning. But yes, Learning gives us more choices and takes away others. But it doesn't make those choices free, Except in the sense that no other mind directly controls ours. Our will is determined by our conditioning, As are our choices.

"How many wills do we have? So many contributors. " Very true, We have many contributors, But I don't think that our will having contributors means that it is not in the end free to decide what to do. "

Free to do what we want, Yes. But what we want is determined by conditioning, As is our final choice.

"It is your fault. You did it. " Ok, Now that I better understand your position, I know how it is possible to hold someone accountable given what you believe. "

Great. ;)

"Again, Our first impulse is always auto response. But if we train our brain to wait a second when we can, We get better more accurate info, And we are able to deliberate more and end up with better, More logical, Choices. Free? No. But better than free. Individual, Unique, And dynamic. Who needs free? Everything has a structure, And all structures facilitate and limit. Free couldn't exist. " Very interesting point of looking at things, And I don't think it's necessarily wrong. Once again, I think where we conflict is in how we think of the word "free" in free will. "

Well, That way of looking at it comes from debating the religious who claim free will is part of our soul and therefore is supernatural, Having no structure and being given by god. To me, No structure = nothing. So even had we a soul it would have a structure of some sort, And all structures both facilitate and limit functionality. Therefore, If correct, Even a soul couldn't have "free" will in that sense. But to me, The structure of will is obvious. And it's obvious to me that it is a manifestation of our overall conditioning.
SamuelWH

Con

" After he had that vision, Killing Christians was no longer an option for him. "
It's true that due to his new beliefs, Killing Christians was no longer an option, However, I believe that it was his choice as to what his beliefs are. For example, I think that he could have chosen to hate Christians more, And therefore, Under that belief, Kill even more. However, He chose to believe God, And under that belief, Killing Christians wasn't really an option (though, As you've said, He still could have done it). I think our beliefs influence our choices for sure, But I also think that we believe as a result of our choice too. Therefore, I wouldn't say that killing Christians wasn't an option as a result of the vision (that was out of his control), But rather a result of what he CHOSE to believe as a result of that vision. Once again, The vision didn't restrict his will, It merely influenced his choice.

"You can choose to walk around a room, A person with no legs can't make that choice, Though they are "free" to, If they can. "
I'm don't quite agree. I believe that a person without legs can choose to walk, Even though he can't do it, The will is still free to choose so. People have chosen to do things that's impossible for them to do (like flying by flapping their arms); sure they can't fly by flapping their arms, But they can still choose to do so in their will. That's why I would define the will as free. Sure, An intelligent person would purposefully restrict themselves to only choosing a choice that they can actually do, But even that is a choice.

"Sure, But there would have to be a reason for it, Like me saying you won't do it. That might make you say:"Oh yeah? Watch me! " lol"
Haha, Good point! So, Are you saying that because we act due to stimulus, Our will isn't free? I would say that our stimulus is just another influence of what choice we decide to make.

"We have empathy. We feel other's pain and imagine how it would feel if it were us. So we come up with golden rules like do unto others. My version being: Do no intentional harm. Bring down crap on someone's head, You can expect to get some back. So if you want a safer, Freer, More prosperous life, Do no intentional harm. That's morality. It's in our best interest. It helps us meet our needs. " (including you're covering of morality, Personality, And character)
Quite true, So the question is, Does something being influenced mean that it isn't free? If so, Then I'd have to agree with you're perspective. However, I would say that influence doesn't mean that the will isn't free. The definition of "free" is: "not under the control or in the power of another; able to act or be done as one wishes. ", And I don't think that influence falls under controlling or in power of the person being influenced. Therefore, I would still define the will as being free.

"Determined isn't necessarily predetermined" True, And a vital point!

" Therefore, If correct, Even a soul couldn't have "free" will in that sense. But to me, The structure of will is obvious. And it's obvious to me that it is a manifestation of our overall conditioning. "
I must admit I never thought of it before this way, And it's definitely something to think about!

So if you took one person without influence, Or other people, Cultures, Etc. . . Would you say that that person has free will? However, When you take 7 billion people (who all have free wills), And put them into one planet, With cultures, Etc. . . As their wills collide, And countries form, We would then have structure? In other words, The structure comes from 7 billion free-wills acting on each other, Such that their wills would no longer be considered free, But rather better than free (structured). Is this possibly what is happening?

Hope you're well, And looking forward to you're next argument!
Debate Round No. 3
RonHooft

Pro

"After he had that vision, Killing Christians was no longer an option for him. "
It's true that due to his new beliefs, Killing Christians was no longer an option, However, I believe that it was his choice as to what his beliefs are. "

Paul had a roman father and a Jewish mother. He was torn between the two cultures and beliefs. Christians at the time were Jews for the most part. So he was killing his own kind for money. It seems this was confusing his mind and conscience. On his way to Damascus to catch more Christians he had a vision. Was he on drugs? Or did he have a mental breakdown? Who knows? But the story tells us he met the already dead Jesus and he tells him stuff no other apostle heard and fought with him about. So then, Instead of killing Christians, He was the one who brought non-jews/Romans in to a new version of Romanized Christianity. And later, Constantine used his version to create the Catholic church.

So no, You don't choose your beliefs. Yes they can change. But there have to be reasons for it. Paul was torn between two cultures. They formed his beliefs. He didn't know whether to believe in one god or many gods. But eventually his guilt got him, His subconscious gave him an experience he interpreted as real, Which changed his beliefs. People get these supposedly supernatural experiences through meditation, Or drugs, EM waves, Or mental break downs due to feeling guilt and conflicting emotions. The mind can be trained to give you any ultra real feeling experience you want. I've had many, Including out of body experience as a young man. I did it through meditation first and then with shrooms and lsd and peyote. All "spiritual" experiences. For a long time I believed they were real. I believed it. But then I did an experiment, And lived in Middle Earth for about 20 min, Which felt like two days and as real as this. Then I visited Alice in Wonderland. I knew then that what I had been doing was living in the subconscious.

We believe what we want, Sure. But why do we want to believe it? Again, Our conditioning. Your mom tells you there's a god, You take her at her word. If your culture backs that up, You're very likely to just accept it as fact. Unless something happens like you discover no one actually does know for a fact there is or isn't a god, You have no reason to change your belief, And it can be a comforting thought. Faith is ultimate belief. Meaning, You not only believe it, You are certain it's true even after seeing evidence that it isn't. Faith being the end of logic. You want it to be true. Why believe anything else?

Which is why I created a method for not fooling myself once I understood how belief works. I believe nothing at all. It's a fact, Or it isn't. Why believe a fact? It's redundant. If it is a proven fact, Accept it. But don't allow yourself to have faith it's true. Be ready to drop your understanding and revise it with new info. The only other things beside facts, Are speculation and lies. Why would you believe either? So no need to believe anything negative or positive. Is there a god? I don't know. Do I believe there is? No. Do I believe there isn't? No. I don't and can't know with certainty either way. Why believe anything?

Hope? Sure. Self confidence? Absolutely. Determination? Oh yes. But not belief. So, I trained myself not to believe. I build models based on facts. But models based on fact are not necessarily fact themselves. Hence why I like to throw my models out for a trial by fire in a debate group. I have no stake in what the truth might be. I don't care what it is. I just demand to know what it is. ;) So for goodness sake prove me wrong. That's how I learn.

And no, It's not a choice. It's who I am. Choosing otherwise would make me feel bad. And I chose to look for truth because I had to. When I discovered no one knew how all this works, At 6 years old I vowed to myself I'd figure it out before I die. Why? I don't know. It's like my purpose in life. Not one I chose, One that all that is me demands of me. Do I love it? Of course. Could I choose otherwise? Sure. But there would have to be a damn good reason for it. One that forced me to change my feelings about it. One all of me would feel ok with. But I can't see that happening.

" For example, I think that he could have chosen to hate Christians more, And therefore, Under that belief, Kill even more. However, He chose to believe God, And under that belief, Killing Christians wasn't really an option (though, As you've said, He still could have done it). I think our beliefs influence our choices for sure, But I also think that we believe as a result of our choice too. Therefore, I wouldn't say that killing Christians wasn't an option as a result of the vision (that was out of his control), But rather a result of what he CHOSE to believe as a result of that vision. Once again, The vision didn't restrict his will, It merely influenced his choice.

Yes, But what he chose to believe after the experience depended on his personal history. It wasn't a choice, As such. It was a natural auto reaction to the situation determined by his history and conditioning and all of who he was. It wasn't a random choice. No one makes those. It's cause and effect. Chains of them. Potentially billions of them, Interacting, And eventually coming to an actuality. You make the choice because it feels best. You may love the choice. But why? You don't choose the feeling. You get it due to doing what all those chains determined you needed to do.

"You can choose to walk around a room, A person with no legs can't make that choice, Though they are "free" to, If they can. "
I'm don't quite agree. I believe that a person without legs can choose to walk, Even though he can't do it, The will is still free to choose so.

Yes, But again, Choosing is acting. A person with no legs cannot choose to walk. They can only wish they could, Be determined that somehow they will again someday. And if they have a mental issue and forget they have no legs they may choose to walk but fail. You can wish someone would die, But that isn't choosing to kill them. Choice is usually a type of action. You can wish that flapping your arms would let you fly, But doing so results in failure every time. So you choose to flap your arms in an attempt to fly, But you can't choose to use that as an actual flying method. You can't choose a hammer to screw in a screw, Only to hammer it in. You can choose it, But you can't choose to use it as a screwdriver. There are thousands of things we might wish we could choose to do, But can't be done. A lot of things are possible, But not anything. Fewer things are plausible, And even fewer are probable, And so many fewer are fact.

"An intelligent person would purposefully restrict themselves to only choosing a choice that they can actually do, But even that is a choice. "

Hey, If you're a kid, Why wouldn't you try it? I did. I even tried to lift myself off the ground with a rope under my feet. You try it. Then you know. If you aren't sure or just want have fun, Do it. But something like fun or curiosity or other is what is going to give you the feeling you want to do it. It's not a choice in a vacuum. An immaculate free choice with no history, No reason, No conditioning, No influence, Would also be useless and wouldn't relate to any issues at hand. Again, To me it's not about being able to choose, It's about why you choose. The dynamic behind the choice. History, Current influences, Your conditioning, Who you are and why. That's what makes the choice. You, Yes. But free? To me it's a meaningless term in the context of will. It's like saying free conditioning. An oxymoron.

"Haha, Good point! So, Are you saying that because we act due to stimulus, Our will isn't free? I would say that our stimulus is just another influence of what choice we decide to make. "

Well, The stimulus is the reason we feel we need to act. How we act depends on who we are. That's the part that isn't free. It can change/adapt, But nothing I see about it is "free". Again, We have all the possible choices that exist, Including those we don't know about as potential choices. But because of who we are we can't choose just any of them in the end. The choice we do make is determined by all that we are. We might feel good about it. Did we choose to? No. So why the emotion? Because you fulfilled a need given to you by your subconscious. You felt the need to make the choice, Then again you get a feeling when you fulfill the need. It's all about appeasing likes and dislikes you don't choose to have.

"That's morality. It's in our best interest. It helps us meet our needs. " "(including you're covering of morality, Personality, And character)"

Exactly so, In this context. Lol. . .

"Quite true, So the question is, Does something being influenced mean that it isn't free? If so, Then I'd have to agree with you're perspective. "

Yes, Influenced means by definition it's not completely free.

" However, I would say that influence doesn't mean that the will isn't free. The definition of "free" is: "not under the control or in the power of another; able to act or be done as one wishes. ", And I don't think that influence falls under controlling or in power of the person being influenced. Therefore, I would still define the will as being free. "

It depends on the influence and how you react to it. You may accept it or reject it. If it's from genes from previous ancestors, Sure it is still you making the choice, But because it's influence that is part of you, You automatically like it. Usually, Anyway. Other parts may be giving you contradictory opinions and options. So there are many internal influences you aren't aware of or can control. Outside influences are easier to reject at times, If you know what they are. But again, Where is the free?

"Determined isn't necessarily predetermined" True, And a vital point!

Yes it is. But it doesn't help free will, I'm afraid. ;)

" Therefore, If correct, Even a soul couldn't have "free" will in that sense. But to me, The structure of will is obvious. And it's obvious to me that it is a manifestation of our overall conditioning. "
I must admit I never thought of it before this way, And it's definitely something to think about!

Thank you. ;)

"So if you took one person without influence, Or other people, Cultures, Etc. . . Would you say that that person has free will? "

No. He still has internal influences he can't control, Conditioning, Needs he has to fulfill, Etc. Also, He still has an environment he has to adapt to. Adaption works like this: You have an auto response. If it works, Great. If not, You learn. That changes your auto response if it can/if you learn. When you try again, If it works. You've adapted. If not, Back to the drawing board. His environment will definitely influence his thinking and choices.

" However, When you take 7 billion people (who all have free wills), And put them into one planet, With cultures, Etc. . . As their wills collide, And countries form, We would then have structure? In other words, The structure comes from 7 billion free-wills acting on each other, Such that their wills would no longer be considered free, But rather better than free (structured). Is this possibly what is happening? "

In a very real way, Yes. You've just discovered the patterns of existence and evolution. Interaction always changes all participants even if very little. This happens from atom to human. High energy interactions can't be sustained. So solutions are demanded. Seven billion unique wills set against each other produces constant complaints, Conflicts, Feelings of being oppressed etc. This results in resolutions being demanded, Wars, Mergers between clans: Safety in numbers, And eventually to multi cultural societies like Canada. Why? Evolution. Self interest. The less them there are, The safer we all are. The safer you are. So let's make them us, If they feel the same.

Again, Interaction, Conflict, Resolution, New order. And natural selection. From 50 percent chance of being murdered 12000 years ago, To now having a 2 percent chance is amazing. But we have a long way to go to zero. A thousand years or so? Who knows? We already got rid of slavery, Murder, Racism, And so much more as being acceptable only in the last few hundred years. That's the first step. But it's going the right way.

Chaos causes order. Ever see a game where they fill a bowl with candy or marbles and ask people to guess how many are in the bowl? The person closest or right on gets a prize. Well, Most people guess way off. Only a few get even close and fewer still get it right. But if you take all the guesses and average them, Guess what happens? You consistently get very close to exact results the more people/guesses involved. Amazing isn't it? Look it up. Good news for democracy? Lol. . . The simple becomes the complex by following the same simple rules over and over again under diverse conditions. That's Chaos theory.

"Hope you're well, And looking forward to you're next argument! "

As I look forward to yours. And I hope nothing but the best for you. ;)
SamuelWH

Con

"So no, You don't choose your beliefs. Yes they can change. But there have to be reasons for it. Paul was torn between two cultures. They formed his beliefs. He didn't know whether to believe in one god or many gods. But eventually his guilt got him, His subconscious gave him an experience he interpreted as real, Which changed his beliefs. "
But wasn't it his choice to "change" his beliefs? How could Paul be torn between two cultures if it wasn't even his choice as to which one to believe? I believe that his Jewish mother, Roman father, Cultures, History, Etc. . . Were all a factor in his decision making, But I think the choice was still his.

"We believe what we want, Sure. " agreed

"But why do we want to believe it? Again, Our conditioning"
Once again, I believe that our conditioning is merely a factor that we consider when making our decisions, But I still think that it is our choice to believe it.

"And no, It's not a choice. It's who I am. Choosing otherwise would make me feel bad. And I chose to look for truth because I had to. When I discovered no one knew how all this works, At 6 years old I vowed to myself I'd figure it out before I die. Why? I don't know. It's like my purpose in life"
But wasn't it a choice to make that vow? Wasn't it a choice to look for truth? Look at all of the fat, Lazy bums who sit on a couch getting fat and angry at they-don't-know-what; is that not their choice? Is that their childhood calling (or whatever you'd like to call it)? I think that it's great that you chose your "calling", And I respect that because I know that many people have chosen much more ridiculous paths. And, I know that such people could be much happier had they chosen right (like you).

"Yes, But what he chose to believe after the experience depended on his personal history. It wasn't a choice"
That statement seems a bit contradictory to me. How could he choose something that wasn't a choice? I think that he chose his beliefs in light of his history and all, But he still had a choice. Earlier you said that Paul was torn, But how can someone be torn if they don't have to choose between the two options. The fact that he was torn at all suggests that it was a choice that he, In the moment, Had to think over and make.

" It wasn't a random choice. No one makes those. It's cause and effect. Chains of them. Potentially billions of them, Interacting, And eventually coming to an actuality. "
True

"Yes, But again, Choosing is acting. "
I think this may be another area where we disagree on a definition. The definition of choose is, "decide on a course of action, Typically after rejecting alternatives. " Therefore, I believe that though choosing is an action, I think that you can decide on a course of action that's impossible for you to do. I believe that choosing an action is a process done entirely in one's mind, And that that decision making can be separated from physical physical reality. Thus I still think it possible for one to choose to fly, Even though they can't possibly do it (without equipment of course).

"Hey, If you're a kid, Why wouldn't you try it? I did. I even tried to lift myself off the ground with a rope under my feet" :) Exactly, You chose to lift yourself off the ground, And it didn't work, But I still believe that you made that choice. I think that kids are great examples of choosing to do things that they can't possibly do. Why do they choose them? Because they don't know any better, And it's because those older know better that they know not to make such a choice again.

" It's not a choice in a vacuum. An immaculate free choice with no history, No reason, No conditioning, No influence, Would also be useless and wouldn't relate to any issues at hand. "
True

"Yes, Influenced means by definition it's not completely free. "
Then, With this in mind, You're absolutely right in thinking that the will isn't free. So, We've settled that!

"Yes it is. But it doesn't help free will, I'm afraid. ;)"
Haha, I guess not!

"In a very real way, Yes. You've just discovered the patterns of existence and evolution. Interaction always changes all participants even if very little. "
Good, I seem to understand then.

In the end, I think our primary differences lie in the how we view "free" and "choose", But for the most part, I think we agree.
Have a good day, And I'm looking forward to our last round!
Debate Round No. 4
RonHooft

Pro

"But wasn't it his choice to "change" his beliefs? "

No.

"How could Paul be torn between two cultures if it wasn't even his choice as to which one to believe? "

He was torn as to which to believe. You don't say: "oh yeah, I want to believe that. Tell me about it. It's a process. Someone tells you something and it either sounds right or wrong to you depending on your conditioning/understanding. You might like the idea and become convinced it's true, Or you hate the idea and refuse to believe it. Or you slowly get convinced it's true. If you're brought up in a religion by both parents you generally accept it as true, At least when you're young. But Paul had two parents teaching two contradictory things. He also had influence from the cultures around him. Which was he to believe? Even though belief is just a guess, For the most part, You think it's true. Faith makes you sure its true even though you can't be. And that's what you're looking for. , Truth, Even if you can't know what it is. So I'm saying, Due to his history he had a mental breakdown and had a vision. His guilty subconscious gave him an experience that forced him to stop hunting Christians for Rome, And try to make up for it by preaching Christianity to the Romans. That made him feel better. He didn't choose Christianity consciously by looking at all the facts, Finding out what was true and what wasn't. He went by feelings like most people do. And we don't choose them.

" I believe that his Jewish mother, Roman father, Cultures, History, Etc. . . Were all a factor in his decision making, But I think the choice was still his. "

Not in the end. All the factors combined determined his beliefs. He didn't nor was he free to except technically. No one was stopping him or making a choice for him, But his thinking part didn't make the choice; it accepted it.

"But why do we want to believe it? Again, Our conditioning"
"Once again, I believe that our conditioning is merely a factor that we consider when making our decisions, But I still think that it is our choice to believe it. "

How? If you think it's true you believe it, Right? So how could you arbitrarily choose to believe something you don't think is true, Rather than something you think is true? You just wouldn't do that. Are you free to do it? Sure, I'll let you. But belief is your version of truth. You won't allow yourself to do it, Unless you aren't certain it's true, And then you have a choice to make and feelings of confusion until an event or trigger of some kind, Like a vision, Makes it for you. It's not a free choice at all. I could never choose to be gay, Even though I'm free to be. I couldn't do it even for a bet or a dare. Free to? Yes, But it's not gonna happen. Sex is fun, Sure. But no thanks. That's why I know being gay is not a choice. You are or you aren't. Being straight isn't a choice. And if you're bi, That's not a choice either. You are what you are. And again, Depending on circumstances that might change, But it's not your choice.

"And no, It's not a choice. It's who I am. Choosing otherwise would make me feel bad. And I chose to look for truth because I had to. When I discovered no one knew how all this works, At 6 years old I vowed to myself I'd figure it out before I die. Why? I don't know. It's like my purpose in life"
But wasn't it a choice to make that vow? Wasn't it a choice to look for truth? Look at all of the fat, Lazy bums who sit on a couch getting fat and angry at they-don't-know-what; is that not their choice? Is that their childhood calling (or whatever you'd like to call it)? I think that it's great that you chose your "calling", And I respect that because I know that many people have chosen much more ridiculous paths. And, I know that such people could be much happier had they chosen right (like you). "

Thank you, But again, It wasn't my choice. I believed we knew what this was all about. I wanted to be a priest. When I discovered we knew nothing it shocked the hell out of me, And the heaven. Lol. . . I needed to know the truth. Why? I don't know. It's just an obsession. Not my choice at all. It was hard as a kid not being able to philosophize with others because they didn't have the same interests. I wish I could have been interested in sports, But I wasn't. When I tried it I just didn't like it. Not my choice at all. It's genetic, As it turns out. My father and his father didn't like sports either. Definitely not my choice, Though I know you'd let me if I wanted to. ;) Thing is, It's very unlikely I ever could/would.

"Yes, But what he chose to believe after the experience depended on his personal history. It wasn't a choice"
"That statement seems a bit contradictory to me. How could he choose something that wasn't a choice? "

Right, It should have been: But what he believed after the experience depended on his personal history. Sorry, You rightfully called me out on that.

" I think that he chose his beliefs in light of his history and all, But he still had a choice. Earlier you said that Paul was torn, But how can someone be torn if they don't have to choose between the two options. The fact that he was torn at all suggests that it was a choice that he, In the moment, Had to think over and make. "

Exactly so. I explained this earlier on this page so I will refer you that and won't repeat myself again. ;)

"Yes, But again, Choosing is acting. "
I think this may be another area where we disagree on a definition. The definition of choose is, "decide on a course of action, Typically after rejecting alternatives. " Therefore, I believe that though choosing is an action, I think that you can decide on a course of action that's impossible for you to do. I believe that choosing an action is a process done entirely in one's mind, And that that decision making can be separated from physical physical reality. Thus I still think it possible for one to choose to fly, Even though they can't possibly do it (without equipment of course). "

Well yes, This is getting into semantics, I agree. You can decide/choose to do something you can't do. You can act on it and fail, Or you may not even be able to act on it. The question is why? A process, Exactly. You're trying things you can't do. Why? You can't choose those things. The fact that you can't do them means you can't choose them even if you do. Like I said before: You can choose to flap your arms, But you can't choose to use it as a way to fly. You can try and fail, But you can't choose to do it and expect to succeed. So while you can choose to fly that way, You can't choose to fly that way.

"Exactly, You chose to lift yourself off the ground, And it didn't work, But I still believe that you made that choice. I think that kids are great examples of choosing to do things that they can't possibly do. Why do they choose them? Because they don't know any better, And it's because those older know better that they know not to make such a choice again. "

Exactly so. I made the choice as an experiment. I was told it couldn't be done. So I tried it to be sure they were right. But again, I could choose to try it, But not whether it worked or not. And as it happens, I couldn't choose to use that method to actually lift myself off the ground, Even if I did choose to.

In the end, I think our primary differences lie in the how we view "free" and "choose", But for the most part, I think we agree. Have a good day, And I'm looking forward to our last round!

Well, I tend to agree. Our differences are very few at this point and somewhat semantic. But you've made me think. So I thank you for that. And you have a great day too.
SamuelWH

Con

"You might like the idea and become convinced it's true, Or you hate the idea and refuse to believe it. "
Refusing is something that you must do. I believe that it's your choice as whether to refuse or accept a belief. True, Conditioning, What your parents say, Etc. . All have an influence on your decision, But in the end I believe that it's still one's decision as what to believe. For example, You said previously that your desire is to seek/find out the truth. You've said that doing that wasn't really your choice. Ok, Fair enough, But how can you be sure that the truth is what you are believing. For example, You've said that we don't choose what we believe. Then how could you choose to believe the truth? What difference does it make as to what the truth really is if you can't choose to believe it?

" All the factors combined determined his beliefs. He didn't nor was he free to except technically. No one was stopping him or making a choice for him, But his thinking part didn't make the choice; it accepted it. "
Once again, I'd disagree. I believe that all of the factors determines his beliefs via his thinking and decision making. I think that they were all taken into account when he decided what to believe, And then he made a decision.

" If you think it's true you believe it, Right? So how could you arbitrarily choose to believe something you don't think is true, Rather than something you think is true? "
True, But what you think is true is determined by thinking through things such as what you've heard, Conditioning, Etc. . . , And part of your thinking process requires your decision making abilities. For example, First you must decide to think, Then you must decide what the evidence means, Then you must decide whether to believe the evidence, Etc. . . I believe our thinking process is made up of many little considerations and choices (that we make) that lead up to belief in something.

" I needed to know the truth. Why? I don't know. It's just an obsession. Not my choice at all. It was hard as a kid not being able to philosophize with others because they didn't have the same interests. "
Once again, I don't deny that people have interests and desires, But I believe that it was still your decision to chase those interests. Once again, All of those people who are lazy, Is that their desire/interest--doing nothing? I think that everyone has certain input, Desires, Interests, Etc. . . And they use them all to choose what they want to do. Many people have had a desire to do one thing, But they did something else. Others had a desire, But never did it at all.

"But what he believed after the experience depended on his personal history"
Ok, That makes more sense!

"The fact that you can't do them means you can't choose them even if you do. "
:) I think this might just be our different ways of looking at what a choice is. You seem to believe that a choice is what we decide and what we do, While I believe that a choice is entirely mental, And isn't really tied to our physical actions; I think we physically act because we mentally decide to do so, But I also believe we can mentally decide do something even though we can't physically do it. For example, I believe that we can mentally decide to fly, Even though we can't physically do it. Then, When we try to fly, It doesn't work, And any smart person wouldn't try to fly again.

" I couldn't choose to use that method to actually lift myself off the ground, Even if I did choose to. "
True

You've made me think as well; thanks for the great debate, I've enjoyed it!
Hope all goes well with you, And may the best man win!
Debate Round No. 5
1 comment has been posted on this debate.
Posted by SamuelWH 1 month ago
SamuelWH
Sorry, Been busy but I should be able to post my argument soon.
No votes have been placed for this debate.

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