For this paper, you will write a dialogue between you and an imaginary Socrates. You will debate the question of free will versus determinism. Remember that the Socratic Method involves asking a series of questions to clarify key words and ideas. In your dialogue, the imaginary Socrates should be asking clarifying questions, and you will be answering them. Please refer to the excerpt from Plato’s Meno as an example (below). This paper should be 4–6 pages.
Your dialogue should address the following questions:
- What is the definition of determinism?
- What is the definition of free will?
- Do you agree that every event has an explanatory cause?
- How do you define event?
- How do you define explanatory cause?
- Do you agree that every human choice or event has an explanatory cause?
- How do you define human choice? How do you definite human event? Are they different?
- Do you agree that to have an explanatory cause is to not be free?
- How do you define free?
- Do you think that free will and determinism can coexist in any way?
- Is it possible to have external determinism and internal free will?
To have cohesion and reach solid conclusions, your imaginary Socrates will probably ask you more questions than the ones listed above. Be sure to include all of the above ideas in your dialogue.
Your dialogue should also include all of the following:
- Use of the Socratic Method to form all conclusions (this will be achieved by the question and answer dialogue between you and the imaginary Socrates)
- Clear and concise language, using proper spelling, grammar, and punctuation
- Correct definitions of free will and determinism
- Logical explanations and valid reasoning for each conclusion
- Clear answers to each question with a definite stance or position
- You must reach a conclusive answer to each question
- 4–6 pages in length
The following is an excerpt from Plato’s Meno (Soccio, 1995):
Socrates: …Do not all men…desire the good?
Meno: I think not.
Socrates: There are some who desire evil?
Socrates: Do you mean that they think the evils which they desire, to be good; or do they know that they are evil and yet desire them?
Meno: Both, I think.
Socrates: And do you really imagine, Meno, that a man knows evils to be evils and desires them notwithstanding?
Meno: Certainly I do.
Socrates: And desire is [for] possession?
Meno: Yes, [for] possession…
Socrates: Well, and do those who, as they say, desire evils, and think that evils are hurtful to the possessor of them, know that they will be hurt by them?
Meno: They must know it.
Socrates: And must they not suppose that those who are hurt are miserable in proportion to the hurt which is inflicted upon them?
Meno: How can it be otherwise?
Socrates: But are not the miserable ill-fated?
Meno: Yes, indeed.
Socrates: And does any one desire to be miserable and ill-fated?
Meno: I should say not, Socrates.
Socrates: But if there is no one who desires to be miserable, there is no one, Meno, who desires evil; for what is misery but the desire and possession of evil?
Meno: That appears to be the truth, Socrates, and I admit that nobody desires evil
Here is what I have so far.
Socrates: What is the definition of determinism?
me: The belief that a person’s actions are dependent on their environment or
circumstances. There is no freedom.
Socrates: What is the definition of free will?
me: The ability of a person to choose from different options.
Socrates: Do you agree that every event has an explanatory cause?
Socrates: How do you define event?
me: Things that happen.
Socrates: Are things that happen free will?
Socrates: How do you define explanatory cause?
me: That there is a cause for all events.
Socrates: Do you believe that all events have causes?
Socrates: Do you agree that every human choice or event has an explanatory cause?
Socrates: How do you define human choice? How do you definite human event? Are they
me: A human choice is when a person has options and chooses one of them. A human
event is a something that happens in a human’s life. Yes.
Socrates: Do you agree that to have an explanatory cause is to not be free?
Socrates: How do you define free?
me: Having the freedom to make choices in one’s life.
Socrates: Do you think that free will and determinism can coexist in any way?
Socrates: Is it possible to have external determinism and internal free will?