Overview

determinism


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The doctrine that every event has a cause. The usual explanation of this is that for every event, there is some antecedent state, related in such a way that it would break a law of nature for this antecedent state to exist yet the event not to happen. This is a purely metaphysical claim, and carries no implications for whether we can in principle predict the event (see chaos). The main interest in determinism has been in assessing its implications for free will. However, quantum physics is essentially indeterministic, yet the view that our actions are subject to quantum indeterminacies hardly encourages a sense of our own responsibility for them. See also dilemma of determinism, libertarianism (metaphysical).

Subjects: arts and humanities.


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