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Debate Info

53
44
Yes No
Debate Score:97
Arguments:72
Total Votes:121
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 Yes (29)
 
 No (26)

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Explorer(188) pic



Is Free Will an Illusion?

Free Will- Being able to choose ones desires and actions not based on the laws of nature. (People can't simply be wound up and it is possible for them to choose differently at the same situtation at time.)

Yes

Side Score: 53
VS.

No

Side Score: 44
3 points

In the technical sense, no. Although, within that sense perhaps is the cause of this illusory ideation? I would suggest the highly contentious compatibilst notion of 'able to do otherwise'. However, in nowise is this supposed to be the modernist view I am suggesting, rather, at a given situation if you think of doing otherwise, and rationalized said thought, then your choice was freely made--but if we go into 'technicalities' then I would say your ability to rationalized perhaps could not have been freely willed (assuming genetic derivitation) therefore your rationalization on making the choice (doing otherwise) could not be an action freely willed--libertarians would stop me at genetics and concede with that notion and argue that said genetics is what is necessitated by free will. It's 3:09; I'm tired; and confused; nighty night.

Side: Yes
Yale Disputed
2 points

Though your compatibilist notion is of its own suggestion (you didn't clarify on the 'classical' compatibilist notion of "if a then c if not a rather 'b' then c-d". Lol you can't keep promoting your "S.B Murray's" model of compatibilism. Until you become a 'renowned' philosopher then your model hold no accreditation.

On a different note, this site poses foolish debate topics. Where is it exactly you wanted me to look at?

Side: No
Harvard(659) Clarified
1 point

I'll show you where to go to find ... significant debate topics. Give me about 2hrs; moms is pushing a 'family breakfast' thing now... Don't ask.

Side: Yes
JustIgnoreMe(3368) Clarified
1 point

Side note: if you don't see a debate topic you would like, you are free to create it.

Side: Yes
-2 points
Harvard(659) Disputed
6 points

Since you can't comprehend the point, I would suggest that your assessment skills are relatively subpar. I don't see the purpose of this post... Nobody else seems to have a problem. I shall not succumb to simplistic exoteric linguistics for just one linguistically questioned 'CD' user.

Side: No
1 point

A growing body of research indicates that our actions are already set in motion before we are consciously aware of them. While more research is necessary, it is notable that thus far no findings have been made to substantiate our perception of free will as an objective reality. This, taken in conjunction with the growing body of genetic research regarding various behavioral and personality dispositions, strongly indicates that free will is an illusion rather than a reality.

Side: Yes
daver(1771) Disputed
4 points

A growing body of research indicates that our actions are already set in motion before we are consciously aware of them. Aren't you referring to a biochemical/mechanical process that thought is made of and calling that choosing, while skipping over that the effect of all that brain activity first results in consciousness, then consideration, assessment and finally choice?

Normally our choices are actually constrained. Clearly we all use morals and the like, along with experience involving actions and resulting outcomes, to make choices.

IMHO labeling free will as an illusion goes to far. For example you and I have made choices that go counter to reason, logic and our own experience. Why, because of a very high cognitive function called emotion. This sort of choosing can be done every day, completely without constraint. This can be called many things, but does it not fit the definition of free will? ?

Side: No
Harvard(659) Clarified
1 point

He's suggesting that in the moment our emotions, thoughts, etc., collectively works together, a machine strapped to you head scrutinizing each neuro-chemical reaction, it can basically tell the psychoanalyst what decision you are going to make before you even know it. But that's only semi-deterministic. They haven't made machines that can tell me what I'm going to do tomorrow, so until then...

Side: Yes
Jace(4669) Disputed
1 point

Aren't you referring to a biochemical/mechanical process that thought is made of and calling that choosing, while skipping over that the effect of all that brain activity first results in consciousness, then consideration, assessment and finally choice?

No. The order of progression between those variables is expressly what this and other research addresses. This evidence simply does not support, and indeed directly contradicts, your proposed order of progression. Activity is initiated significantly before we are conscious of the choice, rendering our perception of choice merely that: a perception, as opposed to an actuality.

Normally our choices are actually constrained. Clearly we all use morals and the like, along with experience involving actions and resulting outcomes, to make choices.

That is not clear at all, and certainly not supported by research. It would be more accurate to say that (most) people use morality to understand thought and action, and that when morality affects action is not by conscious will but by the social conditioning of genetic predispositions.

IMHO labeling free will as an illusion goes to far. For example you and I have made choices that go counter to reason, logic and our own experience. Why, because of a very high cognitive function called emotion. This sort of choosing can be done every day, completely without constraint. This can be called many things, but does it not fit the definition of free will?

You can hold whatever opinion you like, but the evidence simply does not support your view. Whether we perceive our actions to be motivated by emotion or thought is irrelevant, since that perception comes after our actions have already been initiated. Simply thinking that one has free will is not the definition of free will at all.

Side: Yes

Every few months I hear about yet another experiment that damns the notion of free will. The ref at the bottom is from this year, and there are plenty of other experiments with similar conclusions.

Supporting Evidence: Free will could be "background noise" in the brain. (www.independent.co.uk)
Side: Yes
daver(1771) Clarified
1 point

"Free will" says your will is free from what?

Free from constraints and limits of choosing.

Who's thinking is free from constraints?

Very young children think and choose without awareness of consequence. Do they start with free will and then loose it?

Side: Yes
1 point

You are not using the normal concept of free will. They are asking whether the universe is deterministic - if a universe where the big bang happened exactly as it did in ours, would all subsequent actions occur exactly as they have for us?

Side: Yes
1 point

Yes , in a facist government system . Or a system like it .

Side: Yes
1 point

Free will, in the absolute sense, would have to be an illusion. Note that God's word says that "their names are written in the Lamb's Book of Life from before the foundation of the world". And, "the Lamb who was slain before the creation of the world." That means that our eternal fates were sealed before the world was even created, and that Christ had died for us a sacrifice before we even existed. "God guides all of your footsteps". I assure you, we will each and every one, be at the appointed place at the appointed time for our own deaths. "Anyone who is destined for prison will be taken to prison. Anyone destined to die by the sword will die by the sword." Note the word "destined".

Side: Yes
anonymousdeb(61) Disputed
1 point

Omniscience-Free Will Paradox

God can give humans free will, yet still know what people are going to do because of omniscience. Therefore, God can write the Book of Life knowing the future.

Side: No
1 point

We will always have free will but we may not like the outcome

Everyone knows what is the right thing for them to do in every situation in which they have to make a decision, and they have the right and choice to do so, however, many decide for whatever not to take that step and in renouncing free will make themselves a victim of the consequences.

Side: Yes

Because no asks to be born, hence, there is no such thing as free will.

Side: Yes
anonymousdeb(61) Disputed
1 point

Free Will: The ability to make one's own choices once born

So... this argument does not make sense.

Side: No
2 points

God gives us free will. He's sovereign over everything, except we are the ones that choose to sin. God doesn't make us sin, we do. We do have free will, just remember that God is sovereign over it.

Side: No
1 point

Almost always, my brain wants me to say something, but I decide to say something else.

So no.

Side: No
Harvard(659) Disputed
1 point

That internal conflict and resolution could still be wholly determined. This does not prevail the illusion of free will, rather, supplements the 'illusion' part even more.

A psychotic person feels they're perfectly normal. Tis the doctor that eradicates said feeling of normalcy.

Side: Yes
ProLogos(2798) Clarified
1 point

Maybe. I doubt it.

I think the subconscious mind knows what the person really wants.

I think being unaware of what the subconscious mind has already decided, is what gives the illusion that free will is an illusion.

I think becoming more self-aware of the subconscious, what its doing and what it may cause you to do, is what free will is.

I think free will is something that one must attain.

I think most people have little free will, others have more, few have complete free will.

Side: Yes
1 point

The super-genius heavyweight Noam Chomsky gives a pretty damn good philosophical argument for free will here in this link. I know that in quantum mechanics they now have evidence for free will. You can google it if you like, but I doubt most people can understand that stuff. I know I can't.

Noam Chomsky on Free Will
Side: No
Jace(4669) Disputed
2 points

Regarding Noam Chomsky

Noam Chomsky is a credible authority in some areas, but in this I think his philosophy is somewhat flippant and lacking.

He observes that we have a strong impression of having free will and because we cannot explain it then it must be true. That does not follow, however. All this means is that at the time of his statements we could not explain our perception of free will... which in no way means that free will must actually exist.

He observes that if someone does not believe in free will then they must know they cannot convince someone who does and must see the effort as futile... and somehow construes that to prove that free will must exist. By that reasoning, why debate anything at all since usually the opponents never switch their views? More to the point, I do not debate people about free will because I see any purpose to it. I debate people because I enjoy it. In my view, I enjoy it because I am predisposed and conditioned to do so.

Finally, he argues that research demonstrating that our actions are initiated before we are consciously aware of having decided to act does not prove anything. His basis for that claim is that it just proves what we already know, "that decisions are mostly made unconsciously". That is precisely the point, however, since the subconscious is not the seat of willful choice; an act of free will requires a conscious awareness to be a true act of determination.

I know that in quantum mechanics they now have evidence for free will. You can google it if you like, but I doubt most people can understand that stuff. I know I can't.

If you cannot understand the research you are reading, then you cannot critically evaluate its credibility nor likely accurately interpret its results. Regardless, I have no intention of doing your research for you so I suggest that if you expect your claims to hold any weight you provide source citations.

Side: Yes
14giraffes(85) Disputed
1 point

He observes that if someone does not believe in free will then they must know they cannot convince someone who does and must see the effort as futile…...By that reasoning, why debate anything at all since usually the opponents never switch their views?

The key word in this mix is the word usually. The word usually means that sometimes people change their views. Often it is not the participants, but somebody who reads through these discussions. Free will makes this possible. If determinism is true than it follows that everything is predetermined, and if everything is predetermined you'd might as well sit around play video games and masturbate. It follows that everything is going to happen a specific way so it doesn't really matter what we do.

His basis for that claim is that it just proves what we already know, "that decisions are mostly made unconsciously". That is precisely the point, however, since the subconscious is not the seat of willful choice; an act of free will requires a conscious awareness to be a true act of determination.

Unconscious and subconscious are two different things. I think you are confusing them. Here is the key to understanding the unconscious: The unconscious is REALLY unconscious. This means you can't make a ground for anything on any matter because it is a completely mysterious realm of science that we know absolutely nothing about. (Psychology 101, no citation needed)

If you cannot understand the research you are reading, then you cannot critically evaluate its credibility nor likely accurately interpret its results.

This is pretentious as hell. Only a small minority of scientists can understand quantum mechanics. This is where scientific authority comes in. There is nothing wrong with saying you believe in something because of scientific authority. If you don't then I can point out many things in your life that you take wholly based on authority and consensus. I take it you probably don't understand the theory of vitamins, yet you believe in it, right? Why don't you tell us about the theory of vitamins.

Regardless, I have no intention of doing your research for you so I suggest that if you expect your claims to hold any weight you provide source citations.

You are acting like a lawyer now. That was a different debate, and this is a different context. You didn't give any citations prior to your accusation. Anybody can look that up. If a person does something then accuses somebody else of doing the same thing without taking ownership of his own actions, they call it a projection. You need to take ownership of your mistakes and stop sticking to your guns all the time.

Side: No
1 point

The evidence for free will is in quantum physics. Here is a little explanation from professor Michio Kaku to point you in the right direction.

Why Physics Ends the Free Will Debate
Side: No
Jace(4669) Disputed
1 point

Effectively, Kaku argues that we must have free will because there is unpredictability in the universe. The assumption being made here is that in order for determinism to be true its trajectory must be set in stone, and that any seemingly random activity must be the consequence of free will (notably, by that reasoning, electrons would have free will).

However, determinism is not fundamentally about predictability but causation. It does not matter if we cannot predict the cause or the outcome, so long as it is established that cause leads to effect and that our thoughts and actions are effect rather than cause.

Side: Yes
Noxter(92) Disputed
1 point

There is no evidence for free will in Quantum Physics. Behaving chaotically & unpredictably and being able to chose are two very different things.

Side: Yes
1 point

There are three positions that can be taken in this debate:

1.Determinism

2.Free will

3.Compatibilism

Of those three choices only (1) asserts that free will is an illusion.

Side: No
1 point

This does not say which one you claim to be true or provide any support for it.

Side: Yes
14giraffes(85) Disputed
1 point

I know, I was simply pointing out which side has the most angles of support, which is a type of vague but relevant support.

Side: No
1 point

This presumes that Compatibilism is a valid option - a position not conceded by both sides...

Side: Yes
14giraffes(85) Disputed
1 point

Compatibilism is a valid option that is intellectually tenable and supported by philosophers like David Hume, Daniel Dennett, and Shelly Kagan. It's not a "fairytale for adults" or anything illogical.

Side: No