Determinism is a philosophy stating that for everything that happens there are conditions such that, given those conditions, nothing else could happen. Different versions of this theory depend upon various alleged connections, and interdependencies of things and events, asserting that these hold without exception. Deterministic theories throughout the history of philosophy have sprung from diverse motives and considerations, some of which overlap. They can be understood in relation to their historical significance and alternative theories. Some forms of determinism can be tested empirically with ideas stemming from physics and the philosophy of physics. The opposite of determinism is some kind of indeterminism (otherwise called nondeterminism). Determinism is often contrasted with free will.

Determinism is often taken to mean simply causal determinism: an idea known in physics as cause-and-effect. It is the concept that events within a given paradigm are bound by causality in such a way that any state (of an object or event) is completely determined by prior states. This can be distinguished from other varieties of determinism mentioned below. Other debates often concern the scope of determined systems, with some maintaining that the entire universe (or multiverse) is a single determinate system and others identifying other more limited determinate systems. Within numerous historical debates, many varieties and philosophical positions on the subject of determinism exist. This includes debates concerning human action and free will, where opinions might be sorted as compatibilistic and incompatibilistic.

Determinism should not be confused with self-determination of human actions by reasons, motives, and desires. Determinism rarely requires that perfect prediction be practically possible – only prediction in theory.

Read more about Determinism:  Varieties, Free Will and Determinism, Determinism and Mind, History

Other articles related to "determinism":

Chain Of Events - Determinism
... Determinism is the philosophical proposition that every event, including human cognition and behaviour, decision and action, is causally determined by an unbroken chain of events ... many varieties and philosophical positions on the subject of determinism exist from traditions throughout the world ...
Geographic Determinism
... Geographic determinism is the theory that the human habits and characteristics of a particular culture are shaped by geographic conditions ... way to mitigate risks associated with geographic determinism ...
Self-refuting Idea - Examples - Determinism
... particularly by Christian apologists, that to call determinism a rational statement is doubly self-defeating ... not succeed against the compatibilistic view, since in the latter there is no conflict between determinism and free will ... of correctly executing the laws of logic, in which case there simply is no contradiction with determinism ...
Modern Perspectives - Quantum Mechanics and Classical Physics - Other Matters of Quantum Determinism
... the radioactivity of such elements has posed a challenge to determinism due to its unpredictability ... The challenge for determinism is to explain why and when decay occurs, since it does not seem to depend on external stimulus ...
Metaphysicians - Central Questions - Determinism and Free Will
... See also Determinism and Free will Determinism is the philosophical proposition that every event, including human cognition, decision and action, is causally determined by an ... Some philosophers, known as Incompatibilists, view determinism and free will as mutually exclusive ... If they believe in determinism, they will therefore believe free will to be an illusion, a position known as Hard Determinism ...

Famous quotes containing the word determinism:

    Old-fashioned determinism was what we may call hard determinism. It did not shrink from such words as fatality, bondage of the will, necessitation, and the like. Nowadays, we have a soft determinism which abhors harsh words, and, repudiating fatality, necessity, and even predetermination, says that its real name is freedom; for freedom is only necessity understood, and bondage to the highest is identical with true freedom.
    William James (1842–1910)

    Man is a masterpiece of creation if for no other reason than that, all the weight of evidence for determinism notwithstanding, he believes he has free will.
    —G.C. (Georg Christoph)