Hoary old free will debate

Propose a formal or informal debate or discussion in this forum. Declare a challenge/invitation or respond to one.
davidm
Posts: 477
Joined: Wed Feb 15, 2012 2:12 am

Hoary old free will debate

Post by davidm » Fri Apr 25, 2014 5:19 pm

Anyone interested in reviving the hoary old topic of free will for a formal debate? I would define free will as the proposition that when we face a choice, we have at least two alternatives genuinely open to us, and that a choice, when made, was not forced, compelled, or determined. I would defend that proposition.

It looks like the devlish debate room could use a revival, after all. :evil:

User avatar
subsymbolic
Posts: 13371
Joined: Wed Oct 26, 2011 6:29 pm
Location: under the gnomon

Post by subsymbolic » Fri Apr 25, 2014 6:02 pm

[quote=""davidm""]Anyone interested in reviving the hoary old topic of free will for a formal debate? I would define free will as the proposition that when we face a choice, we have at least two alternatives genuinely open to us, and that a choice, when made, was not forced, compelled, or determined. I would defend that proposition.

It looks like the devlish debate room could use a revival, after all. :evil: [/quote]

Perhaps a little more details about the two genuine alternatives? Why would we need to have two alternatives? Sometimes, I'm sure, the choice would be balanced between two things, but more normally, we'd want the best choice to be the one we'd always want to make: cash in the lottery ticket or burn it?

In other words, this caveat isn't really a call to have two choices, but a call to always have been able to do otherwise all other conditions being the same.

So perhaps a bit more about the two alternative and a bit more about the mechanism that would allow such a choice to be rationally made...

User avatar
Politesse
Posts: 19647
Joined: Wed Jan 27, 2010 5:28 am
Location: Chochenyo territory

Post by Politesse » Sat Apr 26, 2014 3:51 pm

I wouldn't say your decisions are "compelled", but they are predictable, on principles discoverable by science. I've never been clear on just free will advocates want to be "free" from so badly, and why. As I see it, a free mind would not be a very successful one. All this evolution to give us a fantastically primed thinking device, and free will advocates just want to throw it all away and "wing it"? But as I agree with the proposition as stated, I might not be the best candidate for a debate partner.
"The truth about stories is that's all we are" ~Thomas King

User avatar
Jobar
Posts: 26251
Joined: Mon Feb 23, 2009 6:42 pm
Location: Georgia

Post by Jobar » Sun Apr 27, 2014 4:30 pm

Ah- while this topic is certainly appropriate for SC, and we can move it to Philosophy if everyone wants to participate, this particular subforum is for setting up one-on-one debates, not carrying the debate on with multiple contributors.

Is any one person interested in taking davidm on? David, you need to precisely state the topic to be debated, I think.

I suggest that someone starts a free-will thread in Philosophy and Morality, and carry on there. OTOH, anyone who is interested in debating formally should continue here.

davidm
Posts: 477
Joined: Wed Feb 15, 2012 2:12 am

Post by davidm » Sun Apr 27, 2014 5:32 pm

[quote=""Jobar""] David, you need to precisely state the topic to be debated, I think. [/quote]

As stated, it is this: I would define free will as the proposition that when we face a choice, we have at least two alternatives genuinely open to us, and that a choice, when made, was not forced, compelled, or determined.

I would go further and defend libertarian free will against both compatibilism and hard determinism. Of course I could be wrong. :eek:

So, I want to defend a robust account of free will.

davidm
Posts: 477
Joined: Wed Feb 15, 2012 2:12 am

Post by davidm » Sun Apr 27, 2014 7:54 pm

I will go further and defend the thesis that determinism in all its forms is false, and hence free will cannot be impeached by recourse to determinism.

:jawdrop:

Valheru
Posts: 6995
Joined: Fri May 08, 2009 7:46 am

Post by Valheru » Sun Apr 27, 2014 7:59 pm

Let's hear it. Not interested in a formal debate but do want to hear how you'll crack /that/ chestnut.

davidm
Posts: 477
Joined: Wed Feb 15, 2012 2:12 am

Post by davidm » Sun Apr 27, 2014 8:28 pm

No one is interested in a nice, formal debate with a peanut gallery? :d unno: How boring!

davidm
Posts: 477
Joined: Wed Feb 15, 2012 2:12 am

Post by davidm » Mon Apr 28, 2014 3:50 am

Maybe the debate topic should be, Resolved: determinism in all its forms is false.

User avatar
Jobar
Posts: 26251
Joined: Mon Feb 23, 2009 6:42 pm
Location: Georgia

Post by Jobar » Mon Apr 28, 2014 4:06 am

OK, that's a clear statement. You'd be defending free will; now, does anyone want to defend determinism?

User avatar
Politesse
Posts: 19647
Joined: Wed Jan 27, 2010 5:28 am
Location: Chochenyo territory

Post by Politesse » Mon Apr 28, 2014 4:11 am

I'm game.
"The truth about stories is that's all we are" ~Thomas King

davidm
Posts: 477
Joined: Wed Feb 15, 2012 2:12 am

Post by davidm » Mon Apr 28, 2014 4:16 am

[quote=""Politesse""]I'm game.[/quote]

So you'll defend determinism and I'll defend free will? It must be understood, though, that determinism and free will are not binary distinctions. Compatiblists hold that free will can co-exist with determinism. So the proper question is whether any form of determinism is actually true, and the subject of free will then becomes secondary. But free will obviously enters into it.

Valheru
Posts: 6995
Joined: Fri May 08, 2009 7:46 am

Post by Valheru » Mon Apr 28, 2014 4:18 am

Go Poli!

User avatar
Jobar
Posts: 26251
Joined: Mon Feb 23, 2009 6:42 pm
Location: Georgia

Post by Jobar » Mon Apr 28, 2014 4:19 am

OK. I'm about to hit the sack, but I'll set this up tomorrow.

davidm
Posts: 477
Joined: Wed Feb 15, 2012 2:12 am

Post by davidm » Mon Apr 28, 2014 4:23 am

Great, thanks, Jobar. :)

User avatar
Politesse
Posts: 19647
Joined: Wed Jan 27, 2010 5:28 am
Location: Chochenyo territory

Post by Politesse » Mon Apr 28, 2014 4:35 am

[quote=""davidm""]
Politesse;540346 wrote:I'm game.
So you'll defend determinism and I'll defend free will? It must be understood, though, that determinism and free will are not binary distinctions. Compatiblists hold that free will can co-exist with determinism. So the proper question is whether any form of determinism is actually true, and the subject of free will then becomes secondary. But free will obviously enters into it.[/QUOTE]

Understood. I presumed this from the way you phrased the claim, so I'm glad you agree; I would not be caught defending all forms of determinism...
"The truth about stories is that's all we are" ~Thomas King

davidm
Posts: 477
Joined: Wed Feb 15, 2012 2:12 am

Post by davidm » Mon Apr 28, 2014 4:51 am

OK, then I think we can have a nice debate. :)

User avatar
Jobar
Posts: 26251
Joined: Mon Feb 23, 2009 6:42 pm
Location: Georgia

Post by Jobar » Mon Apr 28, 2014 12:51 pm

OK, what I have done is to close the Proposal thread, and am about to split off all this other discussion to the 'Free Will Debate Peanut Gallery' thread in P&M, where I will open it.

Then, we'll get a few more formalities cleared up, and should be ready to go by this evening, US East coast time.

User avatar
Jobar
Posts: 26251
Joined: Mon Feb 23, 2009 6:42 pm
Location: Georgia

Post by Jobar » Mon Apr 28, 2014 1:20 pm

All moved to the Peanut Gallery; only davidm, Politesse, and I should post here now.

We only need to make a couple more choices, then we can start the clock on the debate. David, Poli, how long should each one have before their contribution is due? I suggest every 3 days, with a three day grace period, but you can set that up as you like. And I'm presuming davidm starts off. Do you want to do a set number of turns, or keep things open ended?

Ah, let me say that I'm an amateur at moderating formal debates, so if there's anything else needs doing that I'm leaving out, poke me about it.

User avatar
Politesse
Posts: 19647
Joined: Wed Jan 27, 2010 5:28 am
Location: Chochenyo territory

Post by Politesse » Mon Apr 28, 2014 2:25 pm

3 days sounds fine to me. davidm should start, as the one advancing the proposition. I would prefer a set number of rounds. Perhaps an opening statement and two rebuttals each, as is normal in my neck of the woods? Or you can suggest another format, I'd just rather not have the thing drag on.
"The truth about stories is that's all we are" ~Thomas King

davidm
Posts: 477
Joined: Wed Feb 15, 2012 2:12 am

Post by davidm » Mon Apr 28, 2014 3:32 pm

Opening statement due three days from as I type this (Monday morning my time)? That sounds fine; I'll probably have the opening statement done sooner than that. What is the word limit? Or is that something we just jointly agree upon?

User avatar
Politesse
Posts: 19647
Joined: Wed Jan 27, 2010 5:28 am
Location: Chochenyo territory

Post by Politesse » Mon Apr 28, 2014 3:33 pm

What do you think would be reasonable?
"The truth about stories is that's all we are" ~Thomas King

davidm
Posts: 477
Joined: Wed Feb 15, 2012 2:12 am

Post by davidm » Mon Apr 28, 2014 3:37 pm

Maximum of 3,000 words for the opening argument?

davidm
Posts: 477
Joined: Wed Feb 15, 2012 2:12 am

Post by davidm » Mon Apr 28, 2014 3:51 pm

Having already started to write the damned thing, can the max limit be 5,000 words? And I'm pretty economical with words, being an editor and a writer, but there is a lot of ground to cover here.

User avatar
Politesse
Posts: 19647
Joined: Wed Jan 27, 2010 5:28 am
Location: Chochenyo territory

Post by Politesse » Mon Apr 28, 2014 3:54 pm

Okay!

(should I be worried? :) )
"The truth about stories is that's all we are" ~Thomas King

Post Reply